International conference Border Landscapes: People – Emotions – Landscape – Solutions

Renewal of Czech – German border landscape

Pilsen 2015 European Capital of Culture

Nigel Thorne

The organisers and participants in the Conference would like to thank everyone who has participated in the event since the original international ‘call for ideas’. As a part-statement of intent and conference memorandum, the following has been agreed:

a. Past, Present & Future – as much as the negative devastation of the past has played a significant part in most people’s memories, so we should also remember the happier times before such devastation; rejuvenation and reinvigoration is not only about the future but also about the present. There will be different needs, demands and aspirations for the short, medium and long term.

b. Complex & Multi-layered – landscape is not only about the aesthetics of design; in order for there to be appropriate intervention one has to consider history, heritage and culture, it is about socio-economics, education, health and well-being, and it will always need to pay due regard to local, regional and national political agendas. This might be viewed as a new period in the relationship between humans and nature in order to ensure true sustainability.

c. Value & Authenticity – to secure appropriate and sustainable solutions the right questions must be asked of the right people at the right time; those who hold political and economic power need to be able to engage with those who vote them into those positions for a comprehensive understanding (a combination of ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches). Only then can solid foundations for a way forward be established.

d. Dynamics & Change – there is a need to recognise that change is inevitable but underlying any change must be the mutual respect of humans working with nature not abusing it; allowing for modifications but not at the expense of nature; our obligation is to engender quality over quantity in all matters in order to help unify necessary change.

e. Emotions & Therapy – individual and shared values can be readily expressed through relationships with our landscapes; there is an understanding of a sense of belonging and how we form our own bonds with the land in which we might live and work; there is a need to emphasise scale and balance, both physical and mental between the land and the mind, towards a shared, constructed reality.

f. Contact & Communication – genuine stakeholder engagement and consultation is of paramount importance to securing value and quality in our various landscapes; there is an obligation to encourage input across the widest human spectrum from those who may have an interest; there should be no assumption that just because a landscape appears perhaps abused, impoverished or under-used that it is equally unloved or not valued. There is a need to speak with, and better understand, the opinions and thoughts of anyone and everyone, the known and those not so easy to discover.

g. Cooperation & Collaboration – unless and until the widest range of stakeholders and interested parties can find a way of working alongside each other, on the basis of mutual trust and goodwill, then appropriate modifications and repairs to the landscape will only be temporary; in order to establish both bio- and socio-diversity their needs to be mutual respect and understanding; there needs to be leadership but not without representation – the process is about community creation in all its guises.

h. Integration & Compromise – so many of the benefits of working in a valid democracy come about through decentralised power, a successful eco-social environment (i.e. the combination of sustainable landscapes and communities) cannot be viewed as an imposition. Inevitably, each and every successful outcome will be site-specific and unique to the landscape, people and communities it serves. Just as there must be a political will and ambition to create appropriate policy and legislation, so must there be approval and acceptance from those who will need to comply with it. This will always demand compromise and understanding.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” (Chief Seattle, Suquamish Tribe, c1786-1866)

Pilsen, 16. 5. 2015 | Memorandum (pdf)