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Fact Sheet

World Rural Landscapes – North America

United States and Canada

Susquehanna River Valley
Susquehanna River Valley

The World Rural Landscapes (WRL) is an initiative for global conservation and management to foster cooperation in the study, management and protection of rural landscapes. More information is available on the project’s web site: http://www.worldrurallandscapes.org 

What is the Purpose of the World Rural Landscapes?

The aim of this initiative is to serve as a common platform for discussion on the shared principles, methodologies and ways of managing rural landscapes at the international, national, and local level.

The World Rural Landscapes also intends to:

  • Raise awareness
  • Provide a place for international, public-private and interdisciplinary cooperation
  • Support discussion and synergies at a scientific level and between the scientific sector and private and public stakeholders on operational issues
  • Promote tangible actions for the good management of rural landscapes, at a political, administrative or participative level

Who is leading this Initiative?

The effort is being lead by International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL). The ISCCL was established in 1970 by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in partnership with the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) as a joint expert committee to promote world-wide cooperation in the identification, increased awareness, study, education and training for protection, preservation, restoration, monitoring, management of cultural landscapes.

The ISCCL leads the coordination of the overall World Rural landscapes initiative and advises ICOMOS on World Heritage cultural landscape issues.

For the World Rural Landscapes initiative, working groups are being created and organized by themes or regions on almost every continent. The overall project coordinator for the World Rural Landscapes is Professor Lionella Scazzosi – lionella.scazzosi@tiscali.it at the Polytechnic Institute in Milan.

In North America the US ICOMOS Cultural Landscape Committee is coordinating this effort and has established a World Landscape Committee- North America with assistance of scholars and experts from Canada and the United States.

What is the Proposed Outcome?

One proposed outcome is The Atlas of the World Rural Landscapes, which is a project coordinated by the World Rural Landscapes Initiative. The aim of this project is to depict the wide range of types of rural landscapes in the world, by making a selection of the most representative ones of each region. To achieve this goal, more than 40 ISCCL members from all over the world are working on the Atlas.

The Atlas will contain:

  •  Bibliography at the regional level and a comparative bibliography at the global level
  • Glossary
  • Rural landscapes classification (types)
  • Methodology for the characterization of rural landscapes
  • Criteria for the evaluation of rural landscapes
  • Identification of illustrative cases

How can researchers in North America participate?

Members of the International Scientific Committee for Cultural Landscapes in North America have established a World Landscape Committee- North America. Interested researchers and partners can join the committee or contribute to the work.

For example, as part of this worldwide effort, one of the goals of the project is to identify a selection of significant rural landscapes in North America with a focus on productive landscapes. Regions formed by the interaction of culture and nature with a focus on agricultural practices including grazing and forest management, are proposed as a starting point. The Committee is looking for experts to contribute to the North American section of the Atlas of the World Rural Landscapes. You can participate in this work by:

  • Identifying and writing up short case studies on regional productive rural landscapes and
  • Recommending key references for the bibliography for North America and comparative literature globally.

To participate in the World Rural Landscapes – North America, Please contact Brenda Barrett (Brendabarrett88@gmail.com) or Nora Mitchell (norajmitchell@gmail.com) for further information or to volunteer to help.

Powerpoint:  Introduction to World Rural Landscapes North America

Powerpoint:  Austalian ICOMOS Plan for Contribution to World Rural Landscapes


May 1, 2014