Comprehensive landscape valuation requires an integration of ecological, economical and social values. Landscape image does not only comprise its spatial and structural parts but also the formal visual and cultural aesthetic expression of the landscape. In accordance with this holistic image of the landscape the manifestation of these special elements and visual functions is reflective of the natural and cultural coherence and beauty of long functioning natural and cultivated landscape systems. Landscape image and identity on the one hand and its natural or cultural variety (singular appearances of elements, local peculiarities or particulars) on the other hand are the most important criteria for evaluation, classifying and protecting against possible impacts on the local and regional landscape. However, in addition to the desirability of preserving existing landscape identity, the protection of existing elements, space and functions should not blindly rule out the possibility of new developments emerging with new values. Based on this basic idea value ranking of landscape features and individual expression of partial image sectors can be performed on the level of ecological and sustainable land use and planning culture. In landscape planning it is recognised that such a ranking requires a combination with professional judgement, informed opinion and public preferences as well. To ensure the aims of preservation and development of a high-quality nature and culture beauty special methods of analysis and demonstration of the landscape structure and image are requested. The demonstrated methodical steps should correspond to the objective of a sustainable nature and landscape preservation and development on an aesthetic landscape planning level with guidelines and helpful data for the impact assessment and intervention rule (German nature conservation act). © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
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