Simon Bell

Landscape character and place value as a framework for sustainable recreation planning and management

The concept of landscape character assessment as a tool to inventory, classify and determine development capacity has been around for three decades and came to the fore when the European Landscape Convention came into force. While landscape character is a neutral, value-free concept, nevertheless it can be used as a framework for assessing or ascribing value, sensitivity, pressure and, ultimately, capacity for development – including recreation and tourism. In outdoor recreation planning and design the landscape – the place, such as a forest, lake, coastline – has specific values – intrinsic and extrinsic which makes it attractive to visitors. Without an understanding of the sensitivities and pressures associated with recreation, this valuable place is at risk of degradation. This presentation will outline an approach to resolve this, using experiences of teaching the subject in Estonia and working on the Latvian project “Sustainable Land Resource and Landscape Management: Challenges, Development Scenarios and Proposals”.

Dr. Simon Bell is

Chair professor of Landscape Architecture at the Estonian University of Life Sciences

Associate Director OPENspace Research Centre, University of Edinburgh

Programme Director for PhD in Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh

Past President European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (2012-2018)

Andreas Muhar

Frameworks of the Human-Nature Relationship and their Relevance for Sustainability Transformation

A plethora of concepts have been introduced into scientific debates to describe and analyse human-nature relationships but also to frame societal processes and policy making: “ecosystem services”, “nature-based solutions”, “blue/green infrastructure”, “bio-economy” etc. This year’s MMV conference mentions the “Green Deal” concept in its subtitle. The talk addresses the relevance of such concepts for tourism and outdoor recreation management and in particular discusses their linkage to different pathways for transformation towards sustainability.

Andreas Muhar is professor of Sustainable Landscape Development, Transdisciplinarity and Knowledge Integration at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria. His research focus is on theory and practice of sustainability transformation with a particular focus on tourism, recreation and regional development. He was one of the founders of the MMV conference series, with the first MMV conference organised in Vienna in 2002.

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria

Agnese Balandiņa

From obscurity to stardom. Boardwalk in Ķemeri Raised Bog as a witness of visitation changes in Latvian nature in the last two decades.  

Agnese Balandiņa, Manager of Ķemeri National Park (KNP) Nature Centre of the Nature Conservation Agency, has been part of the team of the Managing Institution of KNP since 2008. She has taken active part in the application and certification process of KNP for the European Charter for Sustainable tourism in 2012 and 2017, with the main tasks including establishment and maintenance of KNP tourism forum, elaboration of KNP tourism strategy and action plan, as well as the organization of a wide range of local, national and international activities for various target audiences, including tourism stakeholders (events, seminars, lectures, presentations, projects, etc.).

With visitor monitoring and management being one of the cornerstones of sustainable tourism development, experiences from KNP have encouraged the development of united visitor counting system in all Latvian Protected Areas, in cooperation with Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences.

Hans Stoops

Environmental education through outdoor sports: the SEE project

The Sustainability and Outdoor Education (SEE) project aims to enhance the protection of natural landscapes through education about responsible outdoor behaviour across Europe. This is achieved through collaboration between outdoor sports professionals and conservation organisations across Europe with the support of the Erasmus+ program. Consortium partners include: Technical University Munich, Sport Northern Ireland, National Resource Centre for Expertise and Sport Performance, The National Institute for Physical Education in Catalonia, International Mountain Biking Association Europe, Mountaineering Association Tara, Surf Clube de Viana, Folkungaland, EUROPARC Federation.

Hans Stoops, Advocacy Officer, International Mountain Bicycling Association Europe. IMBA Europe creates, enhances and protects great places to ride mountain bikes. Hans has previously worked as a project manager responsible for recreational cycling, sustainable trails and cycling tourism at the Swedish cycling advocacy organisation Cykelfrämjandet. Sweden.