Disappearance and enclosure of rural public ways in Spain: Impact on the right to landscape (2017)

The loss of public rights of way in Spain is a well-known problem, and several associations, such as the Plataforma Ibérica por los Caminos Públicos (PICP – an NGO for the defence of public pathways), actively advocate for their protection.

Nevertheless, the consequences of losing access to such an important common heritage are not well defined. This aim of this project is to gather information about its impact on the ‘right to landscape’, in order to better coordinate activism, improve dissemination and to raise the issue before the relevant administrative bodies.

After we scrutinised the processes of pathway disappearance in Spain, we were ready to propose advances in the conceptualisation of landscape justice. This consisted of differentiating between landscapes of injustice and landscape injustice.

We deem the latter to be in effect when the free perception of the territory is curtailed or excluded by dominant discourses.

These ideas were accepted in the journal Landscape Research, and the article was published online in March 2020 under the title “The disappearance of public paths in Spain and its impact on landscape justice.

Further to that, the PICP organised a three-day seminar on ‘Public Pathways as an Environmental Resource’, November 15th – 17th 2019), which was included in the official Plan Andaluz de Formación Ambiental (Andalusian Environmental Training Programme). These annual series of courses are co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and address professionals and stakeholders from the public, private and the third sectors. Our findings were presented as an introductory lecture, so as to underline the social benefits of a much needed improvement in the management of the public rights of way.

Our three-panel exhibition was displayed for the duration of the seminar, and continues to be at the disposal of the PICP for their dissemination activities.

Rural public ways in Spain – Nov 2019 seminar © Michela Ghislanzoni/Plataforma Ibérica por los Caminos Públicos (PICP)

Applicant: Michela Ghislanzoni, Territoria, análisis y gestión del medio in partnership with Plataforma Ibérica por los Caminos Públicos (PICP).

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