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Titolo: Is landscape a commons? Paths towards a metabolic approach
Data di pubblicazione: 2015
Abstract: Is landscape a commons? And if it is, is it like air, water, earth and all those shared resources which we habitually manage (such as woods and pastures) and which we normally classify as ‘civic use’ or ‘collective property’? We use the term commons with referenceto Elinor Ostrom’s theories of an alternative paradigm to the neoliberalist model, where small-scale shared resources are viewed as a valuable set of goods which are not traded commodities, and are neither exclusive nor in competition with one another. We speculate here that there are at least three good reasons to consider landscape as a commons. Firstly, because, as noted by the Italian scholar Giovanna Ricoveri, there is no single definition of commons. Rather, such notion is heuristically fertile, owing to its ability to intersect a wide range of meanings and variables in time and space. A second reason is deeply rooted in landscape polysemy. This may be called a liquid concept as it shifts shape depending on the cognitive, discursive and cultural vessel into which it is poured, and may thus carry multiple meanings. As a result, there is not one, but numerous senses to landscape-commons, which shift and vary on the basis of superimposed signifieds (or ‘vessels’ into which we pour it). Finally, the commons – with their ecological and historical components – form the ‘raw matter’ essential for the metabolism of all organic life and for the conservation of human cultural and territorial identity. Consequently, when such components appear as landscape, we may consider them as commons which all living beings need, including humans. Landscape is a commons in many-fold senses. Its most obvious definition identifies it as a ‘collective visual asset’, ‘framework of land’, ‘panorama’, ‘tour d’horizon’ and so on, that is to say, as a visible object which can be observed externally and at a distance by anyone. In other words, landscape belongs to anyone and everyone. The main limitation of such a tenet (as spread by the media and holiday marketing) is that it equates landscape to a postcard, thereby turning our experience of it into a selective, static, passive and external one. In order to overcome such limitations we must think of landscape not just as an imago loci, but rather ‘enter it’ and look at it as the product of material and non-material practises, which, in time, have come to shape the territory. Thus landscape is an integral part of a historic-environmental, territorial heritage, and, as such, it is a ‘commons’ to be protected and looked after, so as to preserve the collective memory of the past, as well as the historical identity of the places. It is also true, however, that all natural landscape components which have not, as it were, been ‘reprogrammed’ are not always necessarily dominant in social representations. It is indeed the dearth of natural contexts, coupled with privatization and diminished dwellers’ contribution, which has led us to raise the question of landscape as either a recognisable or not-recognisable commons. Following on some of Hannah Arendt’s theories (further developed by Bernard Debarbieux), we identify two opposite poles whereby we may acknowledge landscapes as commons: a ‘renewable’ landscape and a predominantly ‘industrial’ one. The former is based on metabolic labor between human beings and nature (sharing common traits with John Brinckerhoff Jackson’s Vernacular Landscape). It links the conservation of sustainable biological systems as well as horizontal, self-sufficient social practises. The latter is a sort of ‘grade zero’, where the intertwines of landscape are virtually all artificialised by human work as they are modelled by machinery (which usually is not compatible with the integrity of life metabolism on earth). Castiglioni_Landscape as Mediator_2015.indd 44 14/05/2015 11:16:12 45 is landscape a commons? Landscape is a ‘common resource’, as it is not simply a beautiful view to be admired or the product of territorial practises from a more or less recent past. It is primarily a common resource for it can function as precious intermediary between a territory and its people. In other words, when a community responsibly takes charge of it, landscape is, or can be taken as commons. Upon the auspices of the European Landscape Convention, it is vital that local communities be actively involved in and collaborate with landscape governance. We must therefore look at those local communities who are actively working towards a locally developed reappropriation of both land and common resources as well as the recovery of self-centered, endogenous territorialization.
ISBN: 978-88-6787-284-8
Tipologia:2.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)

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