“Its not about winning an argument but about creating a better outcome” (The Environment Council, 2001)
There is currently a lot of interest in the ‘Landscape Scale’ approach to addressing nature’s decline and the impact of climate change. This idea of ‘bigger’, ‘better’ and more ‘joined up’ is seen as a key way of creating more resilient landscapes. However, more resilient landscapes don’t just happen, they will be facilitated, if not created, by people who have a role in those landscapes. How those people are engaged and how they work together will have a profound effect on the success of landscape scale working.
Working closely with organisations South Downs National Park Authority, WWF UK, Natural England and the Big Chalk Partnership, Resources for Change has been addressing the issue of how best to engage people across landscapes and have designed and facilitated several ‘Landscape Conversations.’
Landscape is a complicated idea, it has layers of interest and meaning for people; geological, archaeological, historical, ecological, as well as being a place of work, recreational and social space, and fundamentally where people live. All these interests need to be given a voice so the key concept of a Landscape Conversation is to ‘get the whole landscape in the room’.
When you get diverse groups of people together in a room (or on a Zoom) who share a passion for a place stuff happens. People start talking to complete strangers, make connections, find common ground and recognise the power of collaboration. A well-designed landscape conversation has three outcomes; it increases people’s understanding of a particular landscape and other people’s views about how it should be managed; increases connections across the landscape as people experience working together; and, most importantly, generates solutions to address the challenges the landscape faces.
The circumstances in each landscape, both natural and human are often very different and so Landscapes Conversations are designed to provide a bespoke approach, but each has facilitated conversations are its core. If you would like to read about some examples of Landscape Conversations in action, please click any of the following links: