Construction and Metabolism of Cultural Landscapes for Sustainability in the Anthropocene

Año: 2020
Categoría: Antopoceno, Sistemas socio-ecológicos, Medio Ambiente

Autores: Diego Subercaseaux, Juan Gastó, José Tomás Ibarra, Eduardo Arellano.

Revista: Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6301; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166301

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In the Anthropocene, humans have become the dominant force behind the transformation of the planet and its cultural landscapes. In recent decades, there has been a paradigm shift in the sciences, changing the focus from the study of separate components to the study of wholes. In light of this, several fields of study have attempted to address the dichotomous paradigm of nature versus society by developing integrative concepts, such as ‘social metabolism’, to explain the inextricable interrelations between nature and society for building a sustainable future. In this paper, we examine the metabolism of cultural landscapes, considering the actions of social actors in their territories.

Cultural landscapes emerge from the artificialization of nature and the opening of the land, resulting in a landscape that conforms to the culture and the availability of technologies, thus creating a whole system with either higher or lower levels of life quality and sustainability. Three central elements operate interactively in the construction of cultural landscapes: the territory, the social actors who act in the territory, and the articulators (e.g., technology and regulations). The construction of cultural landscapes gives rise to a gradient of territorial typologies, including wildland, rural and urban, which have different requirements and consumption of resources and energy. In the Anthropocene, many cultural landscapes have been constructed in such a way that they require and consume increasing amounts of energy. We describe carrying capacity, polycentricity, and Universal Lawfulness as three of the main considerations for the design of sustainable cultural landscapes


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