“What I saw on Ios was a beautiful but empty island”, Angelos Michalopoulos, 04-Νοv-2022, Forbes Greece
Should ’emptiness’ be included as an inherent value or a criteria attribute that justifies the alteration of a landscape?
The landscapes you see in this video, photographed over many years by the people of Ios (some older, some more recent and some of landscapes now unfortunately massacred beyond recognition), represent the quintessence of the island’s identity. Over time, we understand that these landscapes change, often due to the development of buildings & new infrastructure to cater for changing cultural and functional requirements. We also understand that landscape (as opposed to private ‘land’) is a common good which no one possesses and is important to all of us, regardless of whether it is deemed ’empty’ or otherwise by individual businessmen. A competent spatial plan should formulate the aspirations of the public, according to article 1.c of the European Landscape Convention (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Landscape_Convention).
The following is taken from 𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐤 𝐋𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐞.
‘When people do not value the natural landscape or are unable to understand its importance, the landscape is destroyed’. Greece is famous for its diverse landscapes, which constitute a major part of its natural and cultural heritage. Yet these landscapes are rapidly being altered – and only very rarely in a good way – by largely unsustainable development. In contemporary Greece, personal benefits and profits seem to be the sole consideration, before which all others pale and disappear, including respect for the law.
Save Ios seeks to preserve the richness and diversity of the islands’ landscapes. We highlight Article 5 of the European Landscape Convention that seeks “to recognise landscapes in law as an essential component of people’s surroundings, an expression of the diversity of their shared cultural and natural heritage, and a foundation of their identity”. Our Association calls for sensible policies not to prevent change, but rather to channel it as a result of careful consideration. A competent spatial plan represents a system that will enforce rules on landscape development.