Integrated Policies for Terraces: The Role of Landscape Observatories

  • Anna MarsonEmail author
Part of the Environmental History book series (ENVHIS, volume 9)


So far, we do not have a systematic evidence about the effectiveness of single policies, nor of their different combinations applied in diverse contexts for safeguarding and bringing into new life terraced landscapes. We just know that policies that are more diffuse include regulations about how terraced landscapes should be preserved and restored, and some financial compensative measures in the frame of agricultural policies. From an academic point of view, if we consider, according to Lowi (1972), the four types of policies usually employed (distributive, redistributive, regulatory and constituent), it becomes quite clear that successful policies need a sensible combination of these different “resources”. Just as an example: a restriction (like a rule about how to restore terraces) is more easily accepted if combined with some kind of benefit (financial, but also of other nature) and will have an easier implementation if the diverse institutions share it. However, such an approach is seldom practised, since terraced landscapes do not represent a sectoral interest, and no financial or economic lobby pushes for redirecting public policies towards effectiveness in preserving this collective heritage. In such a general context, local landscape observatories represent a new and great resource, since they are reframing the issue from below, adopting de facto an integrated point of view and a collective interest. In Italy, many of them have done an important job in raising consciousness about terraced landscapes heritage value, but also acting directly for repairing them, for preventing abandonment, for promoting new sustainable agriculture, for spreading good practices. After an introduction dealing with policies for terraced landscapes, the paper will therefore explore, with reference mainly to Italy, what landscape observatories are, how they work both on a voluntary or institutional base, how they are helping to reframe the terraced landscapes preservation issue, looking into new ways to reconcile economy and landscape.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IUAV University VeniceVeniceItaly

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