IFLA: Cultural Landscapes Committee

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Spalene Porici

Cultural Landscape Type: Evolved Continuing

Project Name: Landscape Renewal in Spalene Porici

Project Type: Documentation Project, Cultural Landscape Assessment; Planning Project, Comprehensive Master Plan; Intervention Project, Rehabilitation and Adaptation for New Use; Management/Stewardship/Legal Elements, Landscape Management Systems

Location: Town of Spalene Porici, Plzen Region

Cultural Landscape Size: 5,400ha

Property Owner/Steward: Community and Private Property

Funding: Municipal Authorities

Relevant Historical Dates: Prehistoric to Present Times

Historic Landscape Architect, Designers: Klara Salzmann, Ph.D.

Contact: Klara Salzmann, Authorized Landscape Architect, Czech Republic, klarasalzmann@yahoo.com

Project Description:

Spalene Porici is a small West Bohemian town southeast of Plzen city. The local authorities are really concerned for their history; they renewed their historic buildings and try to utilize them for the needs of today’s life. On top of that, they care about their landscape, for example they successfully operate a constructed wetland water treatment plant.

Since the end of World War Two, the landscape of the Czech Republic followed a similar development to the rest of Europe. Land ownership remained infringed and landscape appearance has been shaped by the overall economic development. However, in the aftermath of the 1948 coup the situation changed dramatically and the state assumed ownership of virtually all land. One of the first actions on the agenda of the new Communist government was land confiscation and unification following the Soviet model. Needless to say that the terrain configuration differs drastically from the large flat fields of Russia, resp. Ukraine. The forced collectivization eliminated the small stripe fields and replaced them with huge unified acreages sized in hundreds of hectares. The destruction of all trees, alleys, trails, etc. standing in the way of this "progress" logically followed, too.

The Czech state issued a special decree to compensate the victimized former land owners. However, this action presumes landscape restructuring reflecting the landscape utilization changes resulting from the passage of time. To do so, the city commissioned a landscape architect to work out a Master Landscape Plan to redefine and preserve all the present landscape values. The future landscape planning requires integration of all landscape aspects in accord with the European Landscape Convention. This Master Landscape Plan utilizes the following five of the Convention principles:

Humans in the landscape – inhabitation, accessibility, viewpoints.

  1. Landscape historic development definition, cultural heritage site inventory, landscape historic structures, former historic settlements, road network development.
  2. Riverside landscape – protecting water flow valleys, return of those areas to nature, flood prevention and protection.
  3. Natural values, wetlands, solitary trees, important biotopes.
  4. Local energy potential.

Public cooperation is crucial. The best approach is to engage the public into the very process of landscape discovery and planning. This approach makes the project fully credible and valid.

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. . .deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world.

World Heritage Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972