The University of Oregon is the only American university to consult with 14 European partners on a methodology to maintain and preserve European landscapes. Landscape architecture professor Deni Ruggeri will present the UO's findings at the EUROSCAPES project final conference in Val Maubuée, France, in October.
The partners in EUROSCAPES have "the ambitious objective of offering a new management model for these landscapes, as a milestone policy instrument to implement the European Landscape Convention treaty objectives," the project website states. Participants identified tools, practices and policies to serve as foundations for a landscape management plan addressing environmental, social and economic concerns.
"The purpose of this project," Ruggeri says, "was to gather knowledge directly from those municipalities and practitioners actively working on the maintenance and preservation of the European landscape, with the scope of defining a EU-specific methodology to be used in assessing the value of landscapes and, as a result, to help establish a priority in terms of landscapes to preserve and maintain.”
The EUROSCAPES project comes in response to the 2000 European Landscape declaration signed in Florence, Italy. The convention was unprecedented because it helped establish a common definition among all EU partners of what constitutes "landscape" and a set of shared principles to take into account in assessing the "value" of a landscape.
Ruggeri is one of the three academic partners — together with Zuzana Hudekova of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava and Anne Jaluzot of the U.K.-based Design Council — to offer expertise in assessing the EUROSCAPES project outcomes. In particular, the UO was charged with analyzing, comparing and synthesizing the work of the partners, which included municipalities, provinces and regions, into a common methodology related to landscape maintenance and preservation of significant landscapes.
"The UO was chosen to provide a non-European perspective to this process of evaluation," Ruggeri says. "In particular, our team compared the work of the European partners to similar efforts currently under way" such as the Landscape Architecture Foundation's Landscape Performance Assessment and the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a joint venture of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and the American Institute of Architects, which offered a point of reference for the evaluation of the EUROSCAPES partners' work.