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Perceptions of Landscape: Observed and Observing Systems

  • Di Battista V
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The idea of ``landscape as perceived by the population'', as introduced by the Convention Européenne des Paysages (CEP) in 2000, raises questions of systemic nature related to the interaction among observed and observing systems, people and knowledge, actors and users, configurations and denotations, multi-scale and multi-criteria evaluation methods. In the ``perception of the landscape'', the several disciplines involved should consider interactions among observing (people) and observed systems. But it does not occur. The processes activated from both higher and lower levels of observation do not talk to each other and are often conflicting. In the ``perception of landscape'' every observed system deeply interacts with the observing system. The result is a range of variability of interactions between perceptions and actions so wide and ever-changing, that does not seem operable. We study these problems in the case study of Casale Monferrato (hilly area of 523 km2, 38 municipalities, 8 areas listed as UNESCO Heritage Sites, population of about 65,000 inhabitants). There is a great difficulty in describing the ``perception'' of the landscape in simple terms, where non-comparable understanding and values arise from different ``stakeholders'' as well as from different disciplinary fields. A further complication arises from the non-intentionality of agents acting on the landscape. We envisioned a process to reduce these problems and improve self-regulation in the unintentional project, also in its relations with the intentional one. With this purpose in mind we figured out visibility analyses having comparable and measurable parameters to allow attributions of value necessary to develop further awareness-raising, direct perception and participative actions. We acted on the relationship of visibility within the system: paths, number of users, time and frequency of usage in various modes. We also used measurable and compatible measurements: visual field, variety and coherence of characters, dominants and prevalent visual characteristics. We considered a limited and well-specified field of observation and we considered the dominant aspects and characterized sub-areas. This process underlines identity aspects and allows research related to the perception of values by inhabitants or visitors, in collaboration with municipalities.




Di Battista, V. (2016). Perceptions of Landscape: Observed and Observing Systems (pp. 169–174).

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