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Workshop 4: Environmental
and Cultural Assets
Rapporteur: Professor Mark Shucksmith
ESPON Seminar, Espoo, 14-15 November 2006
Fisheries, environment, culture and tourism are assets
which give places potential to achieve objectives of
competitiveness, cohesion and sustainability (part of an
array of tangible and intangible assets).
Tension between conservation and exploitation: one
challenge is to develop a balanced strategy – how can
ESPON help provide the evidence to assist this?
How to combine tangible and intangible assets?
How to build the capacity of places to manage these?
Tangible & Intangible Assets
EU FP5 Dynamics of Rural Areas project shows how
tangible and intangible assets can work together. Tangible
resources now less important than intangibles.
Key to economic performance were:
Institutional and governance structures
Social capital
Entrepreneurial spirit (presence of ‘creative class’?)
Education and skills
Attractive environment
Cultural resources
Fisheries (2.1.5)
Overexploitation of resource -> fleet reductions.
Growth in aquaculture, but environmental impacts.
NUTS3 unfit for studying spatial impacts -> LAU.
Spatial planning systems must cover both terrestrial
and marine part of the coastal zone.
Lack of coordination between policies & programmes.
Effectiveness of FIFG programmes depends heavily
on absorptive capacity of regions (governance and
institutional capacity; resources; alternatives)
Combine best elements of the spatial planning system
with best elements of voluntary partnership.
ESPON 2013: ‘area studies’ to unravel causality.
Cultural Assets (1.3.3)
Data difficulties, inconsistent databases –> ESPON 2013.
Base indicators: heritage assets, landscapes, museums
(commodities); “creative class” (productive); cultural
diversity, education level (capacity).
Three classifications developed:
 Market: comparing visitor numbers with cultural assets;
 Functional specialisations – how well do regions pursue
conservation; production; and valorisation of assets?
 Cross Thematic Analysis – with other ESPON measures.
Circular relation between culture and economic
development suggests some strategies shown in diagram..
Low P, high S
High P, high S
Under-exploitation of heritage
Increase demand (higher gear in
cultural marketing)
Capacity building: increase
“new” cultural assets and use
them in regional promotion
Low P, low S
Cultural capacity deficit
Potential for valorisation of
Reduce pressure levels (e.g.
extreme protection)
Create “alternative” cultural
products to satisfy existing
High P, low S
Heritage at risk (excess
demand pressure)
Impact of Environmental Policies (2.4.1)
Territorial trends: urban growth unevenly related to
population Δ ; loss of natural & semi-natural areas not
correlated with GDP Δ.
Can urban growth have positive environmental impact?
TIA methodology: environmental policy -> environment
and territorial trends and so -> territorial objectives
(eg. Natura 2000 designation reduces mining and
quarrying especially in peripheral areas.)
Studied on different spatial levels: local, regional,
national, transnational, and European level.
Method mainly mapping of two superimposed variables
rather than multivariate analysis. Causality?
Tourism pilot project (1.4.5)
Trends: more, shorter trips; urban tourism; cheap flights.
 But data only on international travel and includes business trips.
Future proposed work under ESPON 2013:
 Travels and flows
Who is travelling where, for how long, and why? What mode?
 Economic effects and employment
Demand side (tourist expenditures and consumption)
Supply side (accommodation, transportation, facilities, attractions)
Job creation and economic development
 Environmental and social effects
 Harmonise data to increase comparability: Eurostat data on bed
spaces is not only useless but dangerous.
 Address future challenges for tourist regions. Some case studies
Implications of Stern Report on Climate Change?
• How does management (and planning) of environmental and
cultural assets affect spatial development?
Natural Heritage is viewed as an asset for attracting economic
activities: does this require limitations on development? Tension
between enabling and regulatory roles of spatial planning.
Are there virtuous circles: eg. does good scenery and culture attract
‘creative class’ who generate growth? How can this be promoted?
For ESPON 2013 a pilot study is advised focusing on the use of
management and planning tools to see how intervention might
protect, build and valorise these assets.
Common issue of data deficiencies suggest need both for data
harmonisation and for complementary approaches.