Landscape, heritage and local participation as building blocks for a rural park framework

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Landscape, Heritage and Local Participation as Building Blocks for a Rural Park Framework
L. GOMES DA COSTA – luis@binauralmedia.org (President of Aldeias de Magaio, São Pedro do Sul, Portugal) M. C. VALVERDE – mica.valverde@gmail.com (Master in Rehabilitation of Architecture And Urban Centers,
Technical University of Lisbon, Faculty of Architecture, Portugal)

ABSTRACT: In recent years,there has been a proliferation of interventions in Portuguese rural areas for the requalification rural resources. On a few occasions the interventions take into account the local communities and the future they want to build. This essay focuses on two aspects for the establishment of a framework for rural landscape promotion: firstly, the understanding of several social interpretations andparticipatory mechanisms for rural spaces and, secondly, the complexity of rural spaces and the need for a complete inventory of the several natural-cultural-economic resources KEYWORDS: Rural Heritage, Rural Landscape, Community Participation, Representational Spaces, Experiential Spaces

1. INTRODUCTION In recent years there has been a proliferation of interventions in Portuguese rural areas for therequalification and use of natural and/or built resources, many of them financed by European structural funds. These interventions are often characterized by the urge to show results in the short term by making visible the investments and the decisions made. On a few occasions the interventions explore other possibilities and uses that take into account the local living communities and the futurethey want to build from their own potential. Within this context, it becomes necessary to revise the intervention models for rural areas. The main factors that we consider essential when setting up a model for sustainable development in rural areas, largely coincide with the global changes in recent years and have to do with how to design the development strategies, taking into account agriculture,tangible and intangible heritage, architectural interventions, participation and more generally the increase of relations between economy and culture. Bearing in mind the aforementioned context, this essay will focus on two aspects considered as crucial for the establishment of a new framework for rural landscape promotion: a) The understanding of several interpretations for rural spaces associatedwith different types of rural promotion projects and the establishment of participatory mechanisms that could enhance the involvement of local populations in rural development initiatives. b) The complexity of rural spaces and the need for a complete inventory of the several natural-cultural-economic resources (layers) and its holders; Theses aspects will be addressed within an analysis of thestrategy of Aldeias de Magaio, a holistic rural development initiative being carried in rural villages belonging to the Portuguese municipality of São Pedro do Sul. 2. THE CASE STUDY Aldeias de Magaio is a network of 20 mountain rural villages, all part of São Pedro do Sul Municipality (Dão-Lafões Sub-Region, Portugal). Aldeias de Magaio is established as a NGO which members are mainly cultural andsocial organizations from the several associated villages.
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The Aldeias de Magaio Network is geared to foster its mountainous territory as a Rural Park, providing a detailed knowledge and innovative uses of its resources as a factor for the attraction of diverse specific audiences (i.e. not oriented towards mass tourism), capitalizing on the diversity of the existing tangible andintangible heritage. 3. EXPERIENTIAL PARTICIPATION SPACES, REPRESENTATIONAL SPACES AND LOCAL

In recent decades it has been revealed in southern Europe a growing tension between two ways of understanding rural areas: the rural as a space for everyday vitality and authenticity and the rural as an utopian/artificial space that results from idealization mechanisms. We call the first experiential space...
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