Landscape Futures and the Challenge of Change

Towards Integrated Cultural/Natural Heritage Decision Making

In coming decades, accelerated environmental change and widespread economic insecurity will require heritage and landscape managers to make difficult decisions about how to manage assets and allocate resources.

New strategies are needed to help practitioners respond proactively and sensitively when change or loss is inevitable, and when standard conservation approaches are not feasible.

Principal Investigator Caitlin DeSilvey introduces the project in this short video

Landscape Futures and the Challenge of Change is an impact and engagement follow-on from the Heritage Futures research project. Heritage Futures research and cross-sectoral knowledge exchange identified barriers to the effective management of heritage change and transformation, but also found that shifting attention from the loss of discrete heritage assets to focus on their broader landscape context opens up alternative perspectives. The current project builds on this research to develop practical approaches for managing transformative change that enhance both natural and cultural heritage values.

The project aims to:

  • Consolidate knowledge about actual or perceived barriers to managing change, transformation and decline in UK heritage assets and landscapes.
  • Use landscape-scale thinking to develop an approach that understands change as an opportunity for generating integrated cultural and natural heritage value.
  • Develop and disseminate a decision support framework to deliver consistency, confidence and capability in managing asset transformations across the UK heritage sector.

The project runs from February 2020 to January 2022, and is designed around a set of collaborative and consultative activities, including preparation of a policy review, creation of an extended practitioner network, organisation of collaborative workshops, publication of the framework document and delivery of a series of outreach events (including webinars and conferences).

Research team

PI, Professor Caitlin DeSilvey 
(University of Exeter)

CoIs, Professor Rodney Harrison
(University College London)

Dr Hannah Fluck
(Historic England)

Professor Rosemary Hails
(The National Trust)

Dr Ingrid Samuel
(The National Trust)

Amber Blundell
Research Associate

Dr Harald Fredheim
(University of York)
Former Research Assistant/affiliated researcher

Project Partner (Natural England)