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Citizen Engagement in the Heritage and future of Small Towns and Landscapes   Phil Turner
Winchester South East England, UK [email_address] Phil Turner Vice President of ECOVAST  www.ecovast.org Philip A Turner, ...
<ul><li>From my synopsis you will see that two ECOVAST projects have, at the heart of them, a strong reliance on the engag...
ECOVAST has an active interest in the heritage of buildings, the landscape setting of villages and small towns,  cultural ...
In the work of ECOVAST and its influence on policy at European Union level and through the Council of Europe, our ASSET pr...
There are examples from the UK, from Croatia and from Poland of community-led plans that can identify the visions and need...
ECOVAST has pioneered the involvement of citizens in Landscape Identification - A guide to good practice.   http://www.eco...
ECOVAST is a membership organization dependent almost entirely on voluntary effort Some members have day jobs, and scope f...
Despite these benefits, and some other occasional sponsorship of, for example publications, the majority of effort is volu...
The politicians and professionals cannot succeed without the people.  It is contended that public policy decisions are bet...
In an uncertain future (facing climate change and financial challenges) will volunteering be increased or are there factor...
To initiate and sustain volunteers requires motivation.  What motivates people to volunteer? <ul><li>A fascination with a ...
Many campaigning organizations find that their membership profile is ageing, dominated by retired and semi-retired activis...
Can training in skills be offered, perhaps with certification or diplomas? That would improve the quality of volunteers, b...
There are many examples of success in engaging school pupils and students and formal youth membership organizations in, fo...
Are there are institutional and governmental processes that deter volunteers? Core finance for voluntary organizations is ...
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Citizen engagement in the Heritage and future of Small Towns and Landscapes (Philip A. Turner)

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ECOVAST has an active interest in the heritage of buildings, the landscape setting of villages and small towns, cultural heritage, the survival of towns and villages -’sustainability’ and the involvement of citizens in integrated rural development.

In the work of ECOVAST and its influence on policy at European Union level and through the Council of Europe, our ASSET project (Action to Strengthen Small European Towns) has generated thought about the key role of towns related to the surrounding landscape and villages and the future importance of ‘Localness’ - food, energy and services - especially health, housing, retail, education and transport.

There are examples from the UK and from Poland of community-led plans that can identify the visions and needs of local residents, visitors and workers and that can influence rural development in terms of the management of land and economic enterprises.

ECOVAST has pioneered the involvement of citizens in Landscape Identification - A guide to good practice (download pdf). The purpose of this guide is to help the citizens of Europe to understand, to celebrate and to protect the landscape in which they live; and to assist governments in their work to implement the European Landscape Convention.

The two ECOVAST projects have, at the heart of them, a strong reliance on the engagement of local people, with local knowledge, in assessing and influencing the future survival of:

1. Small Towns in rural areas
2. Landscape quality

Other interests of ECOVAST national sections and individual members also rely on local interest and citizen involvement: survival of the built heritage; of culture, customs, skills and traditions of rural people; of ecosystems and bio-diversity; and the place of new technology, renewable energy and tourism promotion.

People who volunteer their time and expertise make that involvement possible, in large measure.

For that reason, I conclude by posing several questions about the context of volunteering, to promote discussion about the future strength and capacity of volunteers.

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Citizen engagement in the Heritage and future of Small Towns and Landscapes (Philip A. Turner)

  1. 1. Citizen Engagement in the Heritage and future of Small Towns and Landscapes Phil Turner
  2. 2. Winchester South East England, UK [email_address] Phil Turner Vice President of ECOVAST www.ecovast.org Philip A Turner, Dipl. Arch., Dip.TP., RIBA (retired), MRTPI Chartered Town Planner, Royal Town Planning Institute
  3. 3. <ul><li>From my synopsis you will see that two ECOVAST projects have, at the heart of them, a strong reliance on the engagement of local people, with local knowledge, in assessing and influencing the future survival of: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1. Small Towns in rural areas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2. Landscape quality </li></ul></ul></ul>Other interests of ECOVAST national sections and individual members also rely on local interest and citizen involvement: survival of the built heritage; of culture, customs, skills and traditions of rural people; of ecosystems and bio-diversity; and the place of new technology, renewable energy and tourism People who volunteer their time and expertise make that involvement possible, in large measure. For that reason, I conclude by posing several questions about the context of volunteering, to promote discussion about the future strength and capacity of volunteers.
  4. 4. ECOVAST has an active interest in the heritage of buildings, the landscape setting of villages and small towns, cultural heritage, the survival of towns and villages -’sustainability’ and the involvement of citizens in integrated rural development.
  5. 5. In the work of ECOVAST and its influence on policy at European Union level and through the Council of Europe, our ASSET project (Action to Strengthen Small European Towns) has generated thought about the key role of towns related to the surrounding landscape and villages and the future importance of ‘Localness’ - food, energy and services - especially health, housing, retail, education and transport. ASSET project (Action to Strengthen Small European Towns)
  6. 6. There are examples from the UK, from Croatia and from Poland of community-led plans that can identify the visions and needs of local residents, visitors and workers and that can influence rural development in terms of the management of land and economic enterprises. United Kingdom England
  7. 7. ECOVAST has pioneered the involvement of citizens in Landscape Identification - A guide to good practice. http://www.ecovast.org/papers/good_guid_e.pdf The purpose of this guide is to help the citizens of Europe to understand, to celebrate and to protect the landscape in which they live; and to assist governments in their work to implement the European Landscape Convention.
  8. 8. ECOVAST is a membership organization dependent almost entirely on voluntary effort Some members have day jobs, and scope for using some of that time and office resources to devote to some work for ECOVAST and, rarely, their employers cover costs of travel to meetings in distant member states Some employers, such as government agencies, are able to contribute finance to projects such as ASSET and, like universities, can make meeting places available
  9. 9. Despite these benefits, and some other occasional sponsorship of, for example publications, the majority of effort is voluntary – attending visits and conferences, writing papers and communicating using the home (or office) computer, experiencing and surveying the townscape and landscape, thinking and talking to others and lobbying for changes of policy and practice.
  10. 10. The politicians and professionals cannot succeed without the people. It is contended that public policy decisions are better informed if citizens are widely and deeply involved in the processes of strategy and implementation - bottom-up influence; sense of community ownership; capacity-building; skills and innovation – all and more can increase effectiveness.
  11. 11. In an uncertain future (facing climate change and financial challenges) will volunteering be increased or are there factors that will cause its decline? This involvement, too, relies on voluntary time and effort. In the past, local politicians were unpaid and therefore volunteers The trend is away from that
  12. 12. To initiate and sustain volunteers requires motivation. What motivates people to volunteer? <ul><li>A fascination with a topic or issue? </li></ul><ul><li>Strong belief in the importance of a scarce or valuable resource? </li></ul><ul><li>A chance to change things? </li></ul><ul><li>A skill to offer? </li></ul><ul><li>Enhancement of CV and employment chances? </li></ul>- The opportunity to meet like-minded people? - Chances to travel and explore new places? - Time on their hands? - Retirement?
  13. 13. Many campaigning organizations find that their membership profile is ageing, dominated by retired and semi-retired activists, with few younger people willing or able to join in. is this because of long working hours; competition with other activities such as art, sport or family care, or because of lack of adequate income? Is there evidence that the 20 to 50 year-old age group is looking for some financial reward to enable them to supplement salary, or replace lost income? Can volunteers be offered money, or can other rewards be considered – for example, travel costs, access to computers or other mobile technology?
  14. 14. Can training in skills be offered, perhaps with certification or diplomas? That would improve the quality of volunteers, but what of the quantity? Demographic change, retirement policies and longevity may accentuate the trend to reliance on ‘grey power’ but paradoxically, the future is crucially about and for those who are now young, so they should be given greater opportunities to become empowered to influence the management of the planet
  15. 15. There are many examples of success in engaging school pupils and students and formal youth membership organizations in, for example, heritage, conservation, ecology, biodiversity – even spatial planning. However, the interface between such young persons and those from the voluntary sector can be impaired if the role models all have ‘grey hair’ How can the 20 to 40 year olds be recruited? as facilitators… as youth workers?
  16. 16. Are there are institutional and governmental processes that deter volunteers? Core finance for voluntary organizations is difficult to find, so project finance is relied upon Where grant aid is received from government and local government sources, the ‘contract culture’ is increasing Financial accountability and value for money prevails Officials are ‘target driven’ How far are volunteers de-motivated by bureaucracy? Phil Turner

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