Sessions > Open Sessions

Authors can submit papers directly on PESCRL website by March 25 ('Submit a communication' section). Submission requires a title, an abstract, 5 keywords as well as one contact information and the institutional attachment of all authors. Abstracts and presentations should be made in English. The abstracts will be fully refereed by the program committee and the accepted ones will notified by april 23th. Some sessions might require full papers before PESCRL event in September.

Open sessions

S.1 – Renewable Energy and Landscape Quality

Chair – Michaël Roth, Nürtingen-Geislingen University, School of Landscape Architecture Enrivonmental and Urban Planning

Abstract: In response to climate change, limited fossil fuels, and rising energy demand and prices, renewable energy is heavily promoted throughout Europe. While objectives to boost renewable energy and trans-European energy networks are ambitious, it is increasingly understood that public acceptance becomes a constraining factor, and general support for green energy does not always translate into local support for specific projects. Perceived landscape change and loss of landscape quality have featured heavily in opposition campaigns in many European countries, even though renewable energy can facilitate sustainable development, especially in disadvantaged regions rich in wind, water, biomass, geothermal or solar energy.

This session investigates the links and relations between renewable energy production and landscape quality, and the role of public participation for the social acceptance of renewable energy production in the landscape. The session aims at developing a better understanding of how landscape protection and management, including heritage preservation, and renewable energy deployment can be reunited to contribute socio-environmentally to the sustainable transformation of energy systems.

To our session, we invite papers from various disciplines that present theoretical, empirical or applied approaches to dealing with conflicts and synergies between renewable energy production and landscape quality. Perspectives we would particularly welcome include:

  • Synergies between landscape protection and renewable energy production
  • Management of landscape quality under the influence of renewable energies
  • Cultural heritage preservation in landscapes affected by renewable energy production
  • Social acceptance of renewable energy production systems in the landscape
  • Impacts and mitigation of scenic landscape quality impacts caused by renewable energy production and transportation
  • Design of renewable energy landscapes 


S.2 – Engaging all five senses with the landscape: Exploring sensorial tools for the representation, design, planning, and management of rural landscape

Chair – Wang Kuang-Yu, Chung Yuan Christian University. Claire Planchat, UMR Territoires.

Abstract: Sensorial approaches can be complementary to the commonly applied rational tools for landscape planning and territorial development. Examples can be found more frequently in urban contexts where art and sensorial approaches have been used for planning and engaging people. However, there are fewer examples in rural landscape planning and development. The sensorial approach uses the five senses in the context of rural landscape planning. It means using sensitive practices in workshops to highlight the geographic traits of an area, which could become assets for sustainable, inclusive, local development. For example, developing the sight, the touch and the sounds of an area by creating audible artworks, which allow inhabitants to look at, and listen to, the places and landscapes of their daily lives in different ways. The other example is developing a representation of the locality (or new locality) through its tastes. Creating (new) food recipes and organizing meals using local resources - with the collaboration of artists, chefs, residents, artisans, shop owners, landscape architects, and local officials - could help to highlight the links between the landscape, resources, products, and producers and to develop new strategies for improving the quality of life and sustainable development of the locality. In the contemporary context, as the urban-rural and global-local exchanges have significantly increased, the development of an area could be connected to, and driven by, the global and interregional sources from beyond the locality. This might prove alien to the locality and the sensitivities of the inhabitants. The new strategies for sustainable local development, under situations of interregional exchanges and competition, could be the differentiation of local products (material and non-material) on the basis of territorial resources and identities. Sensorial workshops could help to unleash people's imagination and experience, placing them in unusual situations, and allowing their daily life experience to be transformed into new creativity. This session aims to explore, within the contemporary context, how sensorial approaches/tools/workshops can help in the representation of the landscape of a locality and as a medium for enrooting sustainable, inclusive, territorial development. The session welcomes presentations, dialogs, case studies, projects, evaluations, comparative studies, and interactive demonstrations on the subject. We aim to create a network for future collaborative projects (research/practice), applicable workshop programs and teaching programs.

S.3 – The diversity of outland use in past and present. Indistinct traces of diverse practices

Chair – Pille Tomson, Estonian University of Life Sciences | EMU – Department of Landscape Management and Nature Conservation. Vestbö-Franzén ådel, Jönköping County Museum

Abstract: The session aims to gather insights on how past agricultural outland practices formed European landscapes and what the legacies of these landscapes are today. Outland and outlying areas have traditionally been connected to extensive land use. Biodiversity has benefitted enormously from the mosaic landscapes resulting from different outland-regimes. Today numerous former outlands serve as core areas of protection. 

The effects of haymaking and cattle herding are well studied, while the impact of slash and burn cultivation, prescribed burning or the collecting of leaves and twigs for fodder is less understood.

Two main questions arise: How do we study former outland use that leave few and indistinct traces? Here, interdisciplinary studies using a multitude of different data is probably the best way forward. Key disciplines and data sources are pollen analysis, historical maps, archeological excavations, anthracology and the study of historical and ethnographical records.  These methods and sources in combination have the potential to give new insights into the use of outlands and their former development.

The second question deals with outlying landscapes today, their characteristics and values. How do we manage and protect the traits of former human land-use regimes in historical outlands, and how do we prevent them from being overgrown by wilderness or turned to monocultures? The historical outlands are ancient cultural landscapes with high biodiversity, which provides important ecosystem services and may become an asset for future food security and quality of life.


S.4 – European landscape transition across Europe. The challenge of Central and Eastern Europe

Chair – Pedroli Bas, Land Use Planning Group, Wageningen University & Research

Abstract: The pace and impact of recent landscape changes diverge largely across Europe. Shifting political and socio-economic situations in the European post-communist countries and accession to the EU are gradually having an imprint on landscape heritage, identity and character, reflected more and more in landscape functions, structure and pattern as well. Land take, land use intensification and land abandonment appear as major processes in the landscape, driven by market competition, land ownership conditions, changed opportunities for work and mobility. Global trends, facilitated by EU policies and measures, visibly change local landscapes and livelihoods. While the north-western and Mediterranean parts of Europe experienced comparable landscape changes earlier, for countries of Central and Eastern Europe such landscape transition is now occurring as an unintentional and inevitable side-effect of socio-economic progress, to the good and to the bad. Is Central and Eastern Europe making the same mistakes as experienced in other parts of Europe earlier? How is landscape transition monitored, where are the hotspots of transition and what are the mechanisms of change? How are changes in the landscape perceived and influenced by communities in the East and the West? Is there an opportunity for modern commons to arise?  This session will fundamentally reflect on such issues, building upon empirical observations of changing landscape-related phenomena.  

S.5 – Landscapes of tourism destinations: which quality of life?

Chair – Terkenli Theano  S., Professor, Department of Geography, University of the Aegean, Greece

Abstract: Tourism is a major and ever-evolving force of change at all geographical levels, though, perhaps most poignantly at the landscape scale. The landscape of a tourist destination becomes a social interface where local and global factors, parties and perspectives—indeed, all aspects—of tourism come together in the production, reproduction and consumption of landscape and quality of life for all sides involved. Tourism represents an important driver of and target for cultural and environmental change—both positive and negative—at the destination landscapes. Well-being, gastronomy, and various other special visitor interests, highly related to and dependent on landscape resources, are currently instigating exponential tourism growth in Europe and elsewhere. As visitors’ priorities and consumption patterns evolve, how do tourism impacts and interplay with the destination landscapes affect quality of life in/ through/ for the landscape (new challenges, potential, threats and constraints)? Increasingly, Europeans opt for ‘green’ tourism and ‘slow’ traveling (in 2016, almost one out of five adults in Europe take into account environmentally-friendly practices of their holiday destination)—how do these trends affect destination landscape quality? At the same time, certain European destinations suffer from uncontrollable tourism growth and new flexible forms of accommodation, increasingly displacing locals from their homes and places of residence (Barcelona, Venice, Mykonos etc) and eliciting what has termed ‘overtourism’ and ‘antitourism’ or ‘tourismphobia’. This session, thus, aims to explore the questions ‘which quality of life at the destination landscapes, how and for whom?’


S.6 – Intangible benefits of agricultural landscapes

Chair – Bezak Peter, Slovak Academy of Sciences (ILESAS, Landscape Europe). Rapporteur: Wenche Dramstad (NIBIO, Landscape Europe)

Abstract While agriculture’s main aim is to provide food and fibre, it has long been recognised as a source of multiple benefits to the quality of human life. This is especially apparent in its influence in water retention, biodiversity, recreation and cultural identity. Although agriculture’s multi-functional role has always been appreciated, recent EU agricultural trends lead to increased farm and field sizes, more arable farming, less mixed farms and ultimately to farming homogenisation. Farm management is strongly influenced by global policies, and local needs are less prioritised. There is therefore unsolved imbalance between economic purpose and social and ecological consequences. Is this due to a lack of documentation, stakeholder engagement and simply linking benefits to the land, or just another variety of the “tragedy of the commons”? Exactly what are the most valued intangible benefits of the agricultural landscape and what are the most suitable instruments to measure and monitor the many various functions of agricultural landscapes and their link to the quality of life? Finally, do the UN’s “Sustainable Development Goals” help to better define the main objectives of future farming and outline the main challenges in a future where food production remains as important as ever?

Pre-session activity: This session is initiated and organised by members of the Landscape Europe network. The network plans to organise a common meeting for its members and invite other approved contributors to this session prior to the PECSRL2018 conference. This event will therefore promote early discussion on intended contributions at PESCRL2018 to ensure that they are straightforward in answering defined questions and raised issues from the session proposals and to enable rapid progress towards common publication.

Organising the session:

  1. Oral presentations will come first with a short time for spontaneous audience questions. This will be organised by the chair of the session
  2. After all predetermined presentations, presenters will be invited to set up the session panel and they will be questioned by the chair and audience. Here, the chair will concentrate on asking generic questions to compare experience from different studies and different regions, and formulate the key messages from the session


S.7 – From ghosts to crops: how intangible heritage can shape landscape character

Chair – Dabaut Niels, AHRC-Northern Bridge, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, McCordCentre for Landscape

Abstract: In the last three decades, the adoption of management tools and practices in heritage, archaeology and landscape studies has aided specialists in the establishment of several methodologies that complement research, characterisation and promotion of landscapes seemingly in an effective way and in the long term. Most of these cultural heritage and historic landscape management approaches in Europe are still top-down': experts develop tools and methodologies to define heritage and generate ideas about the historic landscapes inhabited by communities.  However, in many cases fieldwork uncovers local tales, practices or processes that cannot be easily acknowledged, represented or cared for in the traditional ?top-down' management schemes. Most of the times, these patterns tend to have an ethnographic background and relate to the past of the local communities but also to their present and future, as stories of ancestors, tales of nasty ghosts, annual community ceremonies, practices to define field & settlement boundaries, development of food production or to prevent a bad crop yield.  In many cases, these patterns shape the landscape; they organise specific, tangible and intangible features and can be considered as part of the place identity, containing important messages for the biography, the changes undergone and the preservation of the historic landscapes in question. They may not be easily recognisable for the outsider but they make sense to the communities that passively or actively engage with in their everyday activities or even live by them. They form an important factor within the quality of life and the well-being of people that live in the area. These stories and practices and the perceptions and values of communities for their historic environment are often neglected in management policies that tend to generalise and sweep this kind of data in the folklore array for local historians.  In this session, we invite papers discussing relevant stories, practices or processes that annotate the landscape with unconventional and indiscernible values, meaningful to the surrounding communities but not easily represented in the established historic landscape typologies or management processes. We will also examine possible strategies, tools and examples of good practices for incorporating these into sustainable management processes.


S.8 – Rethinking Traditional Vertical Land Use in European Mountain Areas

Chair – Prof. Dr. Rolf Peter Tanner, PHBern – University of Teacher Education, Institute for Upper Secondary Education, Berne, Switzerland. PD Dr. Oliver Bender, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research, Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract: All over Europe, landscapes of mountain areas are shaped not only by horizontal patterns but even more by the verticality of land use. Today, in most regions the traditional way of exploiting the resources of the upper altitudinal zones is at stake. These areas are either increasingly abandoned (and often converted into protected areas) or subject to non-traditional (over)exploitation, which finds its expression in tourism facilities, transport infrastructurees or hydroelectric-power plants.

In his monograph ‘Die Alpen’, Werner Bätzing describes a tendency of decomposition of agrarian land use in the Alps, towards intensification in favourable and extensification in unfavourable areas (Bätzing 2015). Most of the upper altitudinal zones of mountain ranges belong to the latter category. Throughout the Alps, in all altitudinal zones, this path leads towards a structure of large, mostly unused areas (Alpine Brache = ‘alpine fallow’, Diener et al. 2005) with isolated patches of intensively used tourism resorts, amenity settlements (Bender, Kantscheider 2012) and strip cities along the main transport routes. Contrary to Diener et al. and other authors (i.e. Birkenhauer 2003), who favour this development, Bätzing speaks for the concept of ausgewogene Doppelnutzung (‘well-balanced double utilisation’), combining external place-based utilisation (hydropower production, tourism), internal place-based utilisation of the local potential (traditional handicraft, local agricultural production) and ubiquitous, non-place-based utilisation (any economic sector which requires no specific location factors).

The higher altitudinal belts are most affected by these processes, which can be described and analysed by the geographical base concept of ‘Change’ (Taylor 2011). At first glance, the following simple questions emerge: What was different in the past and why? In which way and to which extent did vertical land use change? What could be different in the future and which opportunities are desirable? The special session aims at the following issues: 

  • What are the different traditional vertical land use systems in different mountain ranges of Europe? What influences the different ways? Are there analogies or homologies?
  • What is left of the traditional systems in terms of current land use and of more ‘palimpsestic’ remains? Which of these remains merit protection and possibly a re-commodification?
  • Are there still possibilities in European mountain areas to (re)activate traditional ways of production and to commodify these products?
  • Are there new ways for the utilisation of the higher altitudinal zones?

S.9 – Mapping and tools about landscape change

Chair – Baas Henk, Cultural Heritage Agency

Abstract: Cultural landscapes are dynamic. They will change in the (nearby) future, as they did before due to environmental, demographic and/or societal change. In the history of the PECSRL-conferences, there has been strong focus on the history of our landscapes. But the PECSRL-conferences are also about connecting landscape and heritage to future developments, such as climate change, agriculture, urban growth and land abandonment. Knowledge about the past can contribute to policies facing new social, economic and environmental change. This was also one of the key elements of the JPI-project CheriScape ( The proposed session is about connecting heritage with landscape, in a deep conviction that heritage and landscape both are ways in seeing and acting that help people make the transition from past to future. As such, it helps society achieve to the main theme of this PECSRL-conference: Quality of Life. Mapping and characterisation (often in context of the European Landscape Convention) are essential in understanding the values and dynamics of our cultural landscapes. But often, a map is not more than a collection of dots, that gives no sufficient explanation about change whatsoever. A landscape biography is an instrument that provides deep insights in landscape change, but it is not a map. Spatial planners, urban developers, landscape architects and other specialists who are involved in shaping our landscapes, are mostly focussing on maps as the central tool of exchanging information. So if we want them to understand landscape change, we have to put this kind of knowledge into maps. But can this be done without making a pastiche of the complex and diverse changes that faced our landscapes?   In this session we want to focus on papers about all kind of instruments (such as maps) and research related to landscape change. We challenge researchers to join our session and to share their insights on mapping and connecting landscape change to new policies on quality of landscapes, quality of food and quality of life. E.g. how can GIS tools help professionals in gaining information about the processes of change in landscapes? Organized by Henk Baas (Cultural Heritage Agency Netherlands, chair), Edwin Raap (Landschap Noord-Holland NL, rapporteur), Niels Dabaut (PhD Newcastle University, rapporteur), prof. dr. Veerle van Eetvelde (University Ghent) and prof. dr. Hans Renes (University Utrecht)


S.10 – Traditional landscapes: Exploring the connections between landscape, identity, heritage, and change

Chair – Zdeněk KučeraCharles University, Faculty of Science; Alexandra Kruse, EUCALAND. Hans Renes, Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences. Csaba Centeri, Szent István University, Faculty of Environmental and Agricultural Sciences

Abstract: The aim of the session is to discuss (the concept of) traditional landscapes, their ambiguous nature and connections to contemporary landscape research and practice. Particular attention will be given to connections of traditional landscapes with the themes of identities, landscape transformations, landscape management and heritage.

Within cultural landscape research much attention has been given to unique historical, environmental, economic, social and cultural conditions which have contributed to the development of specific forms of landscapes and their management. A prominent position in these discussions occupy so-called traditional or historical landscapes which are in particular believed to be: rather stable and slowly developing; of pre-modern origin; showing unique examples of historical continuity of local landscape forms as well as practices; rare and preserved in marginal locations. Although, such a notion of traditional landscapes may be criticised from different perspectives, especially for not considering the importance of change for formation and recognition of specific meanings and values bounded with local landscapes and heritages (see e.g., Renes 2015; DeSilvey 2017), it may be argued as well that the ideas of traditional landscapes still contribute to the formation of present identities and that traditional landscapes are often referred to while promoting particular regions and communities, their products and heritages. In this sense, traditional landscapes may be viewed as constructed or invented, their present recognition being a result of particular perceptions and interpretations of local environments and their pasts. Traditional landscapes thus also (see Schein 2009, p.383): serve as a facilitator/mediator of particular social, cultural, economic, and political intentions and debates; contribute to normalization and reproduction of various social and cultural practices.

Hence, the key questions addressed by the session are:

  • What is meant by traditional landscapes? How are they recognized and what are their characteristics and functions? Are there any transformations acceptable in connection with traditional landscapes? Can transformations of present landscapes result in formation and recognition of new traditional landscapes?
  • What is the connection between traditional landscapes and authenticity? Do landscape protection, management and planning contribute to sustainability of traditional landscapes and their heritages? Can they contribute to recognition of new ones?
  • What are the meanings and values of traditional landscapes? Are traditional landscapes important for identity formation across various geographical scales? How and why? And what is the role of local products in sustaining traditional landscapes, authentic regional cultures, and their identities?

Both more general and conceptual contributions as well as case studies are welcomed. The session is organized by the Institute for Research on European Agricultural Landscapes e.V. (EUCALAND) in cooperation with the Historical Geography Research Centre, Charles University, Faculty of Science, Prague, Czechia.

The session is organized by the Institute for Research on European Agricultural Landscapes e.V. (EUCALAND) in cooperation with the Historical Geography Research Centre, Charles University, Faculty of Science, Prague, Czechia. EUCALAND is an expert network that deals with the cultural and agricultural landscapes of Europe, promotes their consideration and preservation of their heritage. The session follows organization of successful EUCALAND special sessions at the PECSRL meetings in Óbidos (2008), Riga/Liepaja (2010), Leeuwarden (2012), Gothenburg (2014) and Innsbruck/Seefeld (2016).

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S.11 – A European Identity for Food Sovereignty?

Chair – Pierre-Mathieu Le Bel and Salma Loudiyi, Irstea and vetAgroSup

Abstract: The notion of Food Sovereignty has encountered different fates according to where it has been applied. The Food Sovereignty project is widely known as it has been used in the Global South by Via Campesina, the transnational peasant movement. Indeed, we hear from Food Sovereignty in case studies and reflections that mostly rely on global South realities, from where food sovereignty movements have emerged. Current research testify that deep changes occurred and that the original idea expanded and changed to encompass the Global North and urban communities (Shattuck, Schiavoni and VanGelder, 2017).

In Europe however, the notion has not circulated as much. A slow movement toward the appropriation and application of Food Sovereignty on European case studies is however emerging in academia (Azkarraga Etxagibel and Desmarais, 2017; Calvario, 2017; Moragues-Faus, 2017), but overall the use of the Food Sovereignty concepts and practices seem limited to civil society and the urban realm. What about rural Food Sovereignty in Europe? What about Food Sovereignty advocated by both civil society and local governments?

This special session aims to explore how Food Sovereignty can best be understood and applied to the European contexts. It is particularly interested in the politics of identities, stakeholders and governance of food systems, as well as the role of local contexts in shaping the “Food Sovereignty project”. As such, proposals could explore:

  • The role of local government as well as states through the outcomes of legislation on the Food Sovereignty projects. How to tackle the considerable challenges constituted by the interactions between civil society and local governments through new spaces of co-operation, deliberation or democratic governance?
  • Identity being closely linked to Food Sovereignty in the Global South, how to think an inclusive identity coherent with European challenges?
  • How to contribute to the formation of a scientific community that looks at Food Sovereignty not only as a social movement or a set of ideas but as a theoretical framework and a scientific approach toolkit.
  • Other subjects, such as comparative experiences between Europe and other continent allowing us to learn from distinct experiences are also welcome.

S.12 – Gaming as a mediation tool

Chair – Sylvie Lardon et Yves Michelin, INRA and VetAgroSup

Abstract: Gaming is more and more used as a mediation tool, in order to help local communities or stakeholders to express their own point of view of a local place, its landscapes, and its products or to think about and to elaborate new policies, or for managing common resources.

Many experiences still exist using different types of games (play role, board game, participatory drawing…) combined or not with simulators, based on traditional components (board, cards, dice) or digital ones.

Geography is interested in gaming for a long time, at the beginning for an educational purpose but this discipline can help game designers better incorporate spatial and time dimensions as well as for cross scaling and for combining natural and social aspects. 

This session has 3 main goals:

  • To take stock of the interests and limits of gaming for better taking into account landscape quality, health or local food product in local projects or policies
  • To exchange about methods and techniques for conceiving and designing games
  • To discover and experiment concretely different games

We have planned to combine theoretical and case studies presentations, interactive demonstrations of games and a gaming session where everyone will have the opportunity to experiment different games during a speed playing session. Two types of presentations are expected :

  •  A short presentation of a game, (aims, targeted audience, material, short description of the rules, main results, interests and limits)
  • A presentation with a demo (1 hour) during a dedicated time where participants will practice as gamers and will evaluate at least 2 games. A common grid will be proposed in order to produce a comparative analysis at the end of the session.

After the conference, if we have enough material, we expect to publish a book (in English) or to propose a special issue in an international journal. 

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