Culture de l’eau et projet de paysage: annotations pour une réflexion (Water Culture and Landscape Project: reflective notes)

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The map of historical human settlements, with a few exceptions, corresponds to the one of the rivers and waterfronts of the world. At the origin of everything, always, and despite everything is: water. Rivers have shaped the landscape over the centuries. They have signified important means of communication and, at the same time, constraints. Natural fords have determined the direction of roads. Writers, painters and poets that have described and enjoyed the rivers, led them to be loved by revealing what can be seen of their forms. One of the cornerstones of the European Declaration for a ‘New Water Culture’, introduced and signed in Madrid in February 2005, refers to the ‘cultural values’ of water territories. Rivers are presented as a natural heritage that hosts territorial and collective identity values; they are referred to as the soul of many landscapes and of many human communities that lived near their banks for hundreds or thousands of years. The ecological and landscape functions generated by the rivers, as well as the cultural, social and functional values should be recognized and cherished. Renzo Franzin alerts us on the fact that: “We can identify today, particularly in the most water-rich countries, a gradual disappearance of the Culture of water, although it had produced along the centuries a knowledge rich in signs and crafts, all aware of the amazing and valuable aspect of this resource, that was run as a heritage to safeguard and develop in a wise utilitarian vision, limiting wastes and risks”
Sustainability in heritage protected areas : Book of Proceedings of the 5th AESOP European Urban Summer School Tours, France, from 1st – 8th September 2014
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