The word landscape has power. It evokes the sweep of a great river valley, a vista of agricultural fields with scattered farms and small towns, a great park designed to pleasure the eye, monuments of past industrial might, or even the other side of the mountain. Landscapes are made up of the people who live on the land who seek to improve their lives, honor the past, build for the future, and who hold the meaning of a place in their minds. With this kind of energy no wonder the idea of large landscape scale conservation and preservation is catching fire from the Crown of the Continent to the Chesapeake Bay.
I am fortunate to have spent a career working in many of the fields in the landscape world – historic preservation, national and state heritage areas, and conservation and recreation. So it is exciting to see this emerging movement that calls for a more holistic approach to saving place. Recent articles, books, conference sessions, and report after government report identify working on a large landscape scale as the new policy direction to bring people and resources together across political and disciplinary boundaries.
But working on a landscape scale is hard work and there is a pressing need to identify what strategies produce results and to synthesize existing programs that make a difference. Then there is the challenge of translating between the vocabulary and agendas of the different groups, who want to preserve working lands, revitalize communities, restore historic monuments, or provide ecosystem services.
The goal of the Living Landscape Observer is to be at the crossroads of these ideas and to provide a posting place for academics, government agencies and practitioners. The site will report on people, places, politics, and policy in the large landscape field. As the mission statement says, we will try and be a voice for the interests of nature, culture and communites.
I am the self appointed editor and I want to thanks the Observer’s associate editor Eleanor Mahoney for helping launch this site. I also want to thank the many people who said it might have some value. Finally, I want to ask you to get involved as any forum is only as good as the participants.
There are many ways to be involved:
- Subscribe to the Living Landscape Observer Newsletter and have the latest observations delivered to your email doorstep.
- Comment on our postings, we need your feedback.
- Share the Living Landscape Observer with your friends and colleagues.
- Send in news and updates from the field.
- Become an Occasional Observer and help grow the movement.