The European Landscape Convention defines Landscape as, “an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”.
The Council of Europe Landscape Convention was the first international treaty devoted exclusively to all dimensions of the landscape. It addresses the major challenges in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, with a view to sustainable development.
The countries who signed the Convention have declared themselves “concerned to achieve sustainable development based on a balanced and harmonious relationship between social needs, economic activity and the environment”, considering the cultural dimension of the landscape.
The Convention applies to the entire territory and covers natural, rural, urban and peri-urban areas. It includes land, inland water and marine areas. It concerns landscapes that may be considered outstanding as well as everyday and degraded landscapes.
The vision of GEOLAND is to establish a learning path for the Higher Education students and their professors so that they are able to apply their geospatial analysis knowledge in in decision-making for landscape management, planning and protection of Natura 2000 sites across Europe.
Natura 2000 is a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitat types which are protected in their own right. It stretches across all 27 EU countries, both on land and at sea.
GEOLAND will focus in promoting digital skills like PPGIS (public participation GIS), low-cost geoinformatic tools and the digital readiness of higher education students in the Covid-19 pandemic era.
GEOLAND also embraces citizenship through using scientific information and digital technologies, as outlined in the European Commission’s DigComp Conceptual reference model, and the DigCompedu.framework for educators to engage with policy and promote the protection of Natura 2000 areas.
Monitoring and protecting the Landscape is a crucial environmental goal that is planned to be achieved by GEOLAND. The project aims to enable the uptake of novel ways to engage and empower students in environmental science and stimulate participatory decision-making. In addition, GEOLAND will highlight the fact that students and, in general, citizens can in fact have a real impact in environmental monitoring and landscape management.
1. explore and develop educational procedures for the effective participation of Higher Education (HE) students and Professors in decision-making for landscape management, planning and protection of Natura 2000 sites.
2. enable the uptake of novel ways to engage and empower HE students in environmental science and stimulate participatory decision-making.
In particular, it will provide the opportunity to students, citizens and stakeholders to become interested in the definition and implementation of landscape policies and to play an active part in setting sustainability indicators of desirable landscape quality objectives (Landscape Quality Objectives/LQO).
3. attempt to identify and summarize the environmental/cultural stratification in the examined landscapes through a sophisticated Landscape Character Assessment (LCA). On the basis of this Assessment, the capabilities of geospatial technologies (Earth Observation and Geographic Information Systems) and Web-based GIS applications will be exploited.
4. encourage/introduce innovative pedagogies (citizen science), technologies and state of the art approaches (LCA) to higher education studies in Europe, while addressing issues of teaching and learning about Landscape as a multidisciplinary subject area in universities.
Specifically, the GEOLAND project will develop:
a) an Educational Handbook for monitoring European Landscape,
b) a Web based GIS platform where numerous geospatial data may be uploaded and analysed and students’ opinion about landscape will be obtained through questionnaires and crowdsourcing.
Output 1: Educational Handbook for monitoring European Landscape
Output 2: Training course – Web-based GIS platform
Output 3: Policy outreach
Output 4: Students work online gallery
Output 5: The digital educational readiness of Higher Education Institutes