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Stefansdottir, Hildur (2008) Icelandic landscape character assessment. Other thesis, SLU.

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Summary Following the demands of the European Landscape Convention a methodology has been developed in order to assess and judge character of landscape. The challenge is to look at three acknowledged methods from Scotland, England and Denmark with the aim to identify which parts of the methods that are suitable to use in Icelandic circumstances. This is done both by comparing the methods with a synthesis and by carrying out two methods on the case study area in Flatey, a small, flat island near the North coast of Iceland. Flatey was inhabited from the 9th century till 1967 when the last annual inhabitants moved to the mainland. Since then the houses have been renovated as summerhouses and are still mostly owned by descendants to the last settlers. The compared methods are; Landscape Character Assessment, LCA, (Scotland), Historic Landscape Characterisation, HCL, (England) and Landskabet I Kommunplanlægning (Denmark). While the LCA and the Danish method provides a method that is more general and an overall assessment, the HLC is more focused on the specific where the aim is to integrate smaller studies and measures into an assessment of landscape. This makes the HLC more suitable as a pre-study or a done parallel to the other two. The Danish method shares the same methodology and structure in most parts, which is logical since it is developed based on the LCA method. For Icelandic conditions it was decided that combining the LCA and the Danish method would provide a suitable method. This was done in a way were the phases and steps of LCA are followed and complemented with the visual analysis technique and evaluation form of "Landskabet i Kommuneplanlægning". Defined elements which are evaluated are borrowed from a Swedish adaptation of LCA (Det Skånska Landsbygdsprogrammet, 2006), but the working process of the Danish method is followed. This combined method is called Icelandic Landscape Character Assessment. That approach can be used to reveal an objective view on landscape to be used for arguing in favor of landscapes, in development and planning fields. The ground structure in the combined method is following the process of LCA, starting with collecting data concerning natural, cultural and social factors. Most of these information where collected in GIS format and are therefore analysed and mapped using that program. The desk study also include study of written resources, homepages for local associations and other picture material available. This is used to form a draft of landscape character types and areas, working in different scales. Field study is a vital and important part of the characterisation. That setting is formed to take in aesthetic aspects and experiance gained in field. The material collected can be recorded as; written descriptions, an annotated sketch, checklists, photographs, interviews and other observations. These pre-studies are used for mapping of character types and areas, with crosschecking of arguments for borders and divisions. When character types and areas have been formed, the notes from field survey are used to identify key characters and further on descriptions of each Landscape Character Type or Area. The evaluation process is also based on field survey source material. Visual Quality, Integrity, Identity, Rarity and Entirety are given grades within each character type/area (unique, high, medium-high, medium and low) in order to point out the most important character elements of each character area.The last step is were decisions are made and guidelines developed. This stage can involve presentation of character divisions for more people and progressive work with planners, entrepreneurs, politicions or local people. That work might even call for reconsideration of evaluation or additional desriptions in order to enable decision maker to take well informed judgement calls. The input of Icelandic Landscape Character Assessment will give important information for development planning policies at both regional and local level. It provides an input for Environmental Assessments, both at the level of plans and policies as well as for the individual development proposals. It is a significancant informing work on special areas where working on identification of areas for designation, justification for special treatment by designation. The character aproach should help in accommodating necessary changes with development, without sacrificing local character. An overall knowledge and recognition of landscape character importance, among the population of Iceland, will also develop respect for the landscape and its resources.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords: Landscape character assessment, Iceland, landscape analysis, European landscape convention
Subject (faculty): Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science > Dept. Landscape Architecture
Divisions: SLU > Faculty of Landscape Planning, Horticulture and Agricultural Science
Depositing User: Hildur Stefánsdóttir
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2008
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015 10:00
URI: http://ex-epsilon.slu.se/id/eprint/2323

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