Strengthening Cultural Identity

In this perspective, nature is valued for its contribution to the identities of places and local and regional communities. The connection between humans, community and nature is restored and strengthened. In 2050, there are many semi-natural habitats. The diversity of species, habitats, forms and functions is high. Nature is used in many ways, such as for a good living environment, recreation and regional products. Many investments are made in conserving and improving nature areas, rural landscapes, and urban green and blue spaces. This is particularly done by local and regional groups, businesses and public authorities; they feel strongly connected with nature.

Why?

In Strengthening Cultural Identity, nature is experienced as an integral part of the identity of local and regional communities and as essential to the well-being of people.

What?

In this perspective, by 2050, the trend of converting nature and landscapes into built-up or intensively farmed areas has been reversed. More green and blue spaces in and near cities have been created. Networks of natural and semi-natural habitats have become more prevalent in rural and urban areas. Nature is always nearby and accessible.

Nature areas, such as alpine pastures, coppice woodlands and heathlands, are highly accessible via well-developed networks of footpaths, floating paths, treetop paths, and others. These networks create many possibilities for people to experience nature.

In agricultural areas, the remnants of traditional landscapes have been preserved or redeveloped. By 2050, many of the agricultural areas that are currently under threat of abandonment or that already have been abandoned, have been recolonised by young people seeking to live and work with nature and by elderly people returning to their roots.

In 2050, rivers and particularly coasts are very popular destinations for recreation and tourism, even popular than they were in 2015. Surface waters meet the water quality standards for bathing and are highly accessible for various types of recreation and tourism.

In urban areas, highly attractive and accessible green and blue spaces provide ample possibilities for leisure, recreation and other activities. Architectural design, landscaping and art are used to express a sense of old and new.

How?

  • This state of nature, in this perspective, is primarily being realised by civil society; particularly by groups of citizens and farmers. They are being supported by entrepreneurs from tourism, catering and other areas.
  • This pathway is dominated by ‘community governance’ – people cooperating in local and regional networks and building partnerships. Farmers, tourism entrepreneurs, citizen groups and others work together in various collectives in which they share resources.
  • In 2050, the EU considers ‘landscape’ as an umbrella theme. Nature, rural and regional development funds are pooled in a dedicated and enlarged EU landscape fund. Regions in the Member States have funds that play an important role in financing collective initiatives.