The Landscape Cultural Construction: A Recognition of the Roman Tradition

The Landscape Cultural Construction: A Recognition of the Roman Tradition

Isabel Sousa Rosa, Joana C. Lopes, Ricardo J. Ribeiro
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8379-2.ch026
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The interdependent relation between urban settlements and their environment has been broadly neglected over the last two centuries, particularly near major urban centers. This reflects in an unbalanced and often inadequate occupation of the territory, leading to the deterioration of quality of human life by loss of ecological and cultural diversity. In this sense, it was carried out a research to develop a Potential Land-Use Plan for the Portuguese territory to assess the land suitability for the installation of multiple human activities. The concept proposed for this chapter, will be based on a reinterpretation of tradition, following the current concepts of ecological and cultural sustainability, concerning the historical occupation of the Portuguese territory focusing on the Roman period using a GIS environment.
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The landscape, like a dynamic entity, expresses itself according to the relationships that occur in the territory. These relationships emerge on the land by the complex interaction between biophysical and human systems, which result from the ongoing actions of communities upon their efforts to survive (Ingold, 2011; Barnet, 2013).

However, the recent unilinear vision of economic development that has been broadly adopted is currently being challenged by the territory’s inability to endure the transgression of its limits. It is crucial to be aware of the extent of consequences associated with the various modes of resource exploitation and the landscape intervention, which couldn’t jeopardize the survival of communities. The increase of incompatibility between human activities and ecosystems that support them means that must be find alternative approaches that contribute to the maintenance of the territory integrity.

In Portugal, from a legal standpoint, the answer to this problem has been explored through a series of actions implemented under the classification, management and safeguarding of resources form, though without an integrating framework of concerning the landscape dynamics. This lack of holistic knowledge leads to a constant questioning of measures taken to classify elements are the most appropriate to meet the current human needs involving the future of spatial planning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Roman Territorial Organization: Establishes principles that stipulate how the elements which are part of the territory are organized, and in the case of Roman period it comprises the infrastructures implemented during the occupation. They can be associated with the need to manage the territory regarding political, administrative and economic purposes. The expression of these infrastructures can be recognized through elements regarding the urban settlements organization (like civitates and villae ) or the Roman itinerary ( via , miliarium , mansio and mutatio ).

Cultural Heritage: Recognition of human actions resulting from tangible or intangible expressions regarding aesthetic, historic, scientific or others, through which the cultural identity of a particular community is built on and once jeopardized needs to be protected.

Geographic Information System: Is a software designed to enable procedures for capturing, management, analysis and display of different types of geographically referenced data. It allows studying complex problems regarding land use planning by performing spatial operations.

Landscape Units: Areas which to identify a set of landscape characteristics with higher relevance in a certain area of territory resulting from the interpretation of its physical features and their interaction with land uses.

European Landscape Convention: Legal instrument of international scope which aims to promote the protection, management and planning of landscape as a subject of law, which defines a theoretical and conceptual framework of instrumental body and guiding strategies to be adopted by each European member state, leaving open the way of inclusion in their respective legal systems.

Territory: Space where a particular order is established, resulting of the processes of a particular organization at a given time (either from nature or the various types of human occupation) and which is valued by culture.

Cultural identity: In the context of the landscape, is the recognition of a set of territorial characteristics, associated with a process of cultural significance carried out by local communities, so it means that their sense of belonging is shared through memory, resulting from past experiences projected in the present.

Landscape: It is a concept that is expressed according to the relationships that occur in the territory established by the complex interaction between biophysical and human systems which arise from the actions of communities while transforming space as a result of their struggle to survive.

Ecological Network: Combination of points, lines, areas and volumes that represent the natural subsystem of landscape composed by physical elements (lithological, geomorphological, water and air) and biological elements (living soil, natural and semi-natural vegetation and main habitats), essential to a balanced operation of the territory.

Land Suitability: Factor which allows assessing the territory land-use in view of a set of potential multiple uses resulting from the joint interpretation between the properties of natural resources regarding its intrinsic characteristics (physical, chemical, biological, etc.) and the type of land occupation made by man.

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