Header image

35. Landscapes and tourism

Thursday, June 29, 2023
15:45 - 17:15


Kadri Kasemets
Tallinn University

The personal-existential landscape identity and micro-policies: reflections from three rural areas in Estonia


This presentation introduces the individually oriented landscape identity approach, the personal-existential identity of landscape, based on the Landscape Identity Circle created by Stobbelaar and Pedroli (2011). This view has a potential to bring together place-based visions that support regional distinctiveness and maintain continuity in the landscape, a significant knowledge for the policy makers. This distinctiveness could be a source of ‘smart decline’, orienting at endogenous governance and inter-regional networking. We apply the personal-existential identity view with its four components (distinctiveness, continuity, self-esteem, and self-efficacy) to a historically rooted people based on three Estonian rural villages who have drawn on their place-bound memories and meanings to create an interconnected sense of self and materialised them in their surroundings. These meanings have materialised through the restoration of village borders, self-realisation in agriculture and civil governance, or enabling a particular place-bound lifestyle. Communicating self-oriented values connected to the place would strengthen locals’ continuity-oriented self-identity, self-esteem, and accordingly self-efficacy related to the area. Collectively invisible, yet individually significant places would have a potential to become socially acknowledged landscapes, inviting so considering local laypeople as micro-level governors of it with binding local knowledge and collective learning.


Stobbelaar, D.J., & Pedroli, P. (2011). Perspectives on Landscape Identity: A Conceptual Challenge. Landscape Research, 36(3), 321–339.
Mark Raat
Phd Candidate
Fryske Akademy | University of Groningen

A history of transformations. On what the past will add to the debate on the future Frisian Veenweide landscape.


In the Dutch province of Friesland, as in other parts of the Netherlands, one of the major environmental challenges is the relatively rapid subsidence of the soil in the peatland area (Veenweide). This problem, as a result of intensive drainage of the peat, causes major environmental and practical issues. The only way to slow down the subsidence is to raise the groundwater level, as the Frisian province and water board decided to. However, this measure will hinder the current agricultural business model. Therefore, the Frisian policy is object of a heated socio-political debate. Scientists such as biologists and climatologists are actively involved in this heated discourse. There main focus regards necessity and effectiveness of government measures. However, residents and farmers, who keep a strong emotional tie with their landscape, say the cultural and economic aspects are disregarded. To fill a gap in the debate about the future Veenweide landscape, history could provide insights into how previous generations found answers to similar challenges. After all, the peat subsides ever since the very first people made the soil habitable. The Frisians literally shaped and reshaped this landscape many times. My PhD research aims to reflect on the region’s identity, revealing historical continuities and discontinuities over time. Therefore, I examine the characteristics of four drastic landscape transformations people undertook between 1600 and 1970, such as land reclamation, peat extraction and land consolidation. By zooming in on the decisions of past generations, we learn not only how the area has changed, but also why.
Dr. Eranga Ranaweerage
Research Fellow
Tokyo Metropolitan University

Sustainable Development of Wildlife-based Tourism in Urban-Rural Fringes: A Case Study of Anthropogenic Pressures on Koalas in South East Queensland, Australia


Koalas are tourism icons of Australia, and a large number of tourists visit Koala habitats every year to experience the exotic species. South East Queensland is one of Australia’s main Koala habitat regions. However, koalas are under serious threat due to various anthropogenic pressures such as development, vehicle strikes, pet dog attacks and stress-related diseases. The issue is severe in the urban-rural fringes where both koala habitats and developments occur. This study carried out a 23-year retrospective analysis of Koala hospitalization data in South East Queensland to identify the regional characteristics of issue and identified three types of urban-rural fringes: areas where anthropogenic pressures on koalas have been significantly controlled and managed, areas where the issue is somewhat managed and areas where it has not been able to significantly control the issue. Based on these characteristics, we suggest the regional mechanism of co-existence between rurality and urbanity in urban-rural fringes. The mechanism includes basic regional characteristics including koala habitat, bush fire and urban-rural fringes. Then there are negative aspects such as rapid tourism developments, habitat loss, and decline in koala population, decreased green spaces and deterioration of living environment. When positively impacted by expanding koala habitat, green corridors, conservation areas, eco tourism and educational programs, koala hospital admissions decrease and the living environment improves which leads to the co-existence of rurality and urbanity.

Session host

Agenda Item Image
Akke Folmer
NHL Stenden

Hindertje Hoarau-heemstra
Nord University

Agenda Item Image
Albina Pashkevich
Dalarna University



Contact for questions about abstracts or registration: groningen@congressbydesign.com 

Contact for questions about the content of the programme: ruralgeo2023@rug.nl