Annual Report of the Landscape Observatory of Finland 2017

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After its official constitution in December 2016, the landscape Observatory of Finland has been operating in diverse ways to support the implementation of the European Landscape Convention in Finland. The Observatory promotes research, discussion, participation and actions on landscape issues. A central principle is that any Finnish territory, rural or urban, local or regional, whether outstanding, ordinary or damaged, has an associated landscape that deserves study, management and planning. Furthermore, those landscapes can become assets for future sustainable development and wellbeing. Following the monthly meetings of the Steering Group of the Observatory, a diagnosis of the current level of the implementation of the European Landscape Convention in Finland was conducted. This comprehensive document will be released in January 2018 and includes some crucial conclusions that will guide the work of the Observatory in the coming years. In particular, the diagnosis showed that there are already excellent initiatives in Finland regarding valuable rural landscapes as well as a promising collage of academic, governmental and social organizations working complementarily in this issue. However, the same diagnosis hinted at a potential for positive contributions in other geographical scopes like urban, periurban, industrial or highly mixed areas. Besides, the diagnosis detected a gap in the development of landscape policies and landscape quality objectives that could support more integrative ways of working in land use, spatial or sectoral planning. In addition, the report indicated that landscape is still understood by big groups of the society as an aesthetic and rural quality and that the increasing lack of confidence in planning, especially amongst some social and political sectors, might affect negatively the implementation of sustainable landscape policies and practices. As a consequence, the dissemination of a more open and holistic understanding of the landscape concept in Finland and the definition of newframeworks and referents the landscape observatory was established as a key objective. The aim is to show the benefits that proactive landscape planning and management can generate for all social groups and stakeholders. In its final part, the diagnosis identified the most relevant topics for futures studies and projects, as well as some potential new members that could extend the social base of the Observatory. The identified topics were in many cases connected with urgent issues affecting the evolution of Finnish landscapes: urbanization, climate change, depopulation of rural areas, intensified forestry, new systems of governance or the socio-cultural dimension of the landscape. Following the finalization of the diagnosis, the Observatory started its initial actions.
Landscape planning, european landscape convention
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Galan Vivas , J 2018 , Annual Report of the Landscape Observatory of Finland 2017 : Diagnosis of the level of Implementation of the European Landscape Convention in Finland (2017) . Consortium for the Landscape Observatory of Finland .