This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 265104


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Landscape in a Changing World

PhD Summer School

19th - 28th, September 2012, Lesvos Island, Greece


The overall objective of the Summer School was to analyze the opportunities and challenges of safeguarding and developing the multiple contributions of landscape to life and society, in light of crises and change, in the 21st century. The emphasis was on European landscapes and societies.

The course had an emphasis on three main thematic areas:

  • Services and other goods offered by landscape to societies with changing needs and priorities
  • Planning and managing landscapes of the past, present and future, with a view to adapting them to challenges posed by current crises and complying with the efficient, sustainable and comprehensive provision of such services
  • The impact of policy on landscape change and the role of public participation in landscape stewardship

During the course the participants were trained in a broad platform to study the role and place of landscape in human sustainable development and quality of life; methods and tools for understanding, implementing and assessing land use and landscape change; and critical and multidisciplinary approaches employed in comprehensive, participatory decision-making, governance and interventions in the landscape.

Course structure

The program included lectures, workshops, in-class presentations, a field atelier, group work, an optional individual assignment and a final exam. Prior to the course, the participants were invited to prepare assignments, which were further discussed during the course.

The summer school was framed by social events and possibilities of enjoying the landscape of Lesvos, in order to encourage networking amongst the participants.

The Steering Committee of the Summer School Course consisted of Theano S. Terkenli (Associate Professor, Course Leader, Department of Geography, University Hill, University of the Aegean, Mytiline, Lesvos, Greece) and Evangelos Pavlis (Ph.D./ Researcher, Department of Geography, University Hill, University of the Aegean).

The lectures presented by the VOLANTE project members were:

Landscape—paradoxes for science and policy - by Bas Pedroli, Theo van der Sluis

European spatial developments are more and more defined by the global market. In Europe, there is growing demand for quality of life based on a healthy and specific environment. Landscape diversity is an asset that requires an interdisciplinary approach and therefore it is difficult to develop EU-wide landscape policies and strategies. The challenge is to reach a comprehensive view, by integrating geographical and landscape ecological principles with design, cultural history and socio-economic considerations, by focusing on landscape as a whole instead of decomposing landscape into constituent elements.


Landscape conscience and the development of a European landscape conscience - by Evangelos Pavlis

Until recently, the study of human conscience has been mainly anthropocentric (philosophy, psychology, biology and physics), but human conscience is affected by the human-space interrelationship and can be developed through the protection, management and planning of “landscape”. This workshop aims at introducing the concept of “landscape conscience” and elucidating and analyzing the mechanisms, the historical evolution and the significance of the development of a landscape conscience in Europe.


Landscape assessment: NATURA 2000 areas - by Theo van der Sluis, Bas Pedroli

Sustainable production functions of landscape include economic viable activities, ecological stability, expression of place of identity, historical dynamics, recreational activities. Ecological stability is realised when activities do not pose large pressure on the environment and no irreversible changes occur. For this, it is important that areas which are considered very valuable, or representative for natural areas and natural landscapes, are protected from interventions. This presentation gives an introduction of the key aspects of Natura2000 network: the Birds & Habitats Directives, background information on habitat types in the European Union, steps in the implementation process and mapping and monitoring of Natura2000 habitats.


Landscape in/for Society in times of change - by Theano S. Terkenli

Landscapes around the world, old or new, highly-prized or ordinary, prominent or mundane, are increasingly calling for acknowledgment, preservation, management and/ or development. Some are under threat of being irreparably lost. Many major social, economic and environmental challenges that our society is facing, as well as many solutions to these challenges are embedded in landscapes. This presentation aims to explore the perspectives, arguments, tensions, understandings, interpretations, and potentials that belie the concept of “landscape”, in the context of contemporary life.


The Greek landscape: problems, prospects and management challenges - by Theano S. Terkenli

Greek landscapes have been plagued by much neglect, misuse or even irreparable destruction, especially since Greece’s era of rapid urbanization. Landscape is absent from most expressions of everyday private or public life in Greece, whereas in Europe it has repeatedly been attributed with the properties of an essential medium and product of a high quality of life; the essential context of a desirable standard of living. This presentation will elaborate on the deeper causes of the landscape problem in Greece: its cultural roots, as well as the cultural means to its remedy and rectification.

Changing Mediterranean Landscape - The Portofino Case - by Theo van der Sluis, Bas Pedroli

Portofino is iconic for many Mediterranean areas, under pressure from urban development and tourism. Farming has almost ceased within the Portofino peninsula and without new functions for traditional cultural landscapes there is no future for multifunctional agriculture.



Due to the multidisciplinary perspectives, students from a broad field of expertises were invited. 9 students from 3 countries attended the course.

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