chapter  4
34 Pages

LANDSCAPE RESOURCES

Landscape offers a convenient framework for integrating the human dimension of resource use, and natural resources in the countryside. The countryside can be viewed as a mosaic of social and environ­ mental resources fundamentally linked together. 0'Riordan has defined resource management as 'the process of striking a balance between improving the well-being of people and causing undesirable environ­ mental change'^. By this term of reference land­ scape is a basic component of the rural resource system. Landscape, as used in this Chapter, refers to both land-use and scenery in an area - indeed, Linton specified the two basic elements of scenic resources as the form of the ground, coupled with the 'mantle of forests and moorlands, forms and factories, natural vegetation and human artefacts by which the hard rock body of the landscape is clothed',3 Problems arise in dealing with the landscape as a resource, however, in part because landscape is a product of complex popular culture operating over a long period of time, it is created in an unconscious manner on the whole, and it remains largely unperceived as a resource by the main groups and individuals who shape it.4 4.1 LANDSCAPE AS A RESOURCE Type of Resource There is little doubt that landscape, or scenery, can

be viewed correctly as a natural resource. The exact type of resource, adopting the classification scheme outlined in TABLE 2.1, is perhaps difficult to specify, if - indeed - specification is either necessary or of value. Some landscapes can be viewed as a renewable natural resource, in the same that they can be created, managed or modified (by landscape planners and architects, for example). Natural land­ scape is clearly a non-renewable natural resource, however. On the other hand, landscape can be regard­ ed as a non-utilitarian resource, with social and aesthetic value of greater importance than its purely practical values. Regardless of how the resource base is classified, Linton has stressed that

like other natural resources, it is a potential asset that becomes actual only when valued and exploited by a society that has reached a particular cultural and economic level. For something more than a century there have been people of sufficient sensibility to set store by scenic variety or splendour, and of suf­ ficient wealth and leisure to travel in search of them,5

As with many non-utilitarian resources, interest in the resource base has only awoken consequent upon a change in attitudes towards the environment at large, away from a strictly economic view of what the environment offers, towards a more overtly moral or - aesthetic concern for present and future environment. The landscape resource has also evolved in importance because of the planner*s tendency to separate the environment into three discrete policy areas - the protection of physical and mental health? the enhancement of economic value? and the preservation of sensory and participatory pleasure^ - to each of which landscape can be of immediate and lasting signifi­ cance . Landscape and countryside planning gDower has isolated landscape as one of the eight principal functions of open country, and he has stressed the importance of landscape in ali countryside planning. Dower lists four main objectives in countryside planning: (a) provision of access and facilities for open-air

enjoyment?