Cultural landscape and cultural routes: Infrastructure role and indigenous knowledge for a sustainable development of inland areas

Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 223, 2016, 576-582
Daniele Campolo, Guiseppe Bombino, and Tiziana Meduri
The interest in using heritage as a basis for prosperity is shared among policy makers, social scientists, and landscape professionals alike. But how do we conceptualize these resources – both tangible and intangible – in a way that they become the source of economic and social development? Cultural landscapes are multifunctional areas, and composed of layers of heritage and associations between people and the land beneath them. And as a concept, cultural landscapes have been promoted for their often underutilized role in sustainable development.
Connected to cultural landscapes, is the phenomenon of cultural routes. Cultural routes “represent interactive, dynamic, and evolving processes of human intercultural links that reflect the rich diversity of the contributions of different peoples to cultural heritage” (CIIC, 2008). A common and shared cultural heritage – one that transcends a regional or singular cultural line – is one that demands a pluralistic ethic and joint efforts to be promoted.
This paper analyses a territory in the province of Reggio Calabria, Italy that fulfills the cultural route and cultural landscape criteria. It considers how a big abandoned infrastructure could become a driving force for sustainable development in inland areas. The paper focuses in particular on abandoned railways and greenways in the region as a means for “slow tourism”.
By bridging inland communities, and considering the broad landscape in their planning, the authors aim to develop a network of tourist destinations which connect economic and heritage benefits. This type of development project reflects a trend in tourism, with increased representation of an aging population who favors ecotourism, cultural travel and relaxation. The approach in the project presented serves as a possible mechanism to maintain landscape connectivity, bolster economic development, and promote local and shared cultural heritage in the rural landscape.
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