Georg D.W. Callwey GmbH & Co. KG

Topos announces the next issue – 56 “Cultural landscapes”

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Source: Georg D.W. Callwey GmbH & Co. KG

Munich (Germany), 2006 – October – 2nd. – The landscape architecture journal “Topos”, a Callwey Publishing publication, announced today that the issue 56 “Cultural Landscapes” of Topos is available.

This is not about the cultural landscapes that are the evidence for long years of cultivation adapted to the landscape and that are usually beloved for characteristic features often distinguishing entire regions. Everyone can immediately think of examples, such as the rice-paddy terraces in Bali or the vineyards in Burgundy. These production landscapes, however, keep their familiar look only as long as the original form of cultivation can be maintained. As a rule, landscape is neither the site nor the subject of museum projects. In fact, landscape is constantly transforming itself with the demands made on it by the market, politics and society.

This issue of Topos therefore concentrates on the cultural landscapes in which we live and which we are changing. Landscape spaces are never created as a complete whole. They always involve interactions between the landscape and human beings. This means urban expansion along with infrastructures as well as economic uses – in other words, cultural landscape.

The exploitation of natural resources is the greatest influence on transformation processes in the landscape. It can lead to the loss of familiar landscape images, even to everything we associate with homeland, when the soil is exhausted and the rural population has to move to the city. More than half of the people in the world already live in cities, and far from all of them in ideal conditions. Opportunities to have a share in prosperity are very unevenly distributed.

Logically, therefore, urban landscape is also regarded as a cultural landscape that requires our attention in order to continue developing positively. Depleted landscape can be revitalised, as this issue shows with the example of Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam and that of Riemer Park in Munich, which has just received the International Urban Landscape Award. “Winning the fight against social unrest, against crime and radicalisation, against unsafe cities depends on investments in an urban structure with a human face,” writes the former Director of UNEP Klaus Töpfer, the patron of this Award.

Maintaining ecological equilibrium is one of the essential tasks of the cultural landscape. Especially in view of the increasing demand for resources and in view of climate change with its occasionally dramatic consequences, intelligent landscape interventions are necessary for balancing nature’s economy. Integrative processes are even profitable, as the Dimbangombe project in Zimbabwe demonstrates. Here farming, animal husbandry, tourism and wildlife management are mutually beneficial.

Topos covers projects ranging from the preservation of historic parks in North America through expanding urban agglomerations in China to the savannah in Africa – all of them about the cultural landscape.

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