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Austrått landscape in Ørland, Norway

Author: Annegreth Dietze-Schirdewahn, Professor NMBU

Since 2010, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning (ILP), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has worked with an important manorial landscape in Norway. Several landscape architect students worked with different themes related to this landscape in projects and master theses. Since 2015, the Norwegian Research Council supports a new project that enable us to look at this multifaceted landscape of outstanding natural and cultural values on local, national and international levels.

Austrått landscape is a Green Cultural Heritage located on a peninsular in Ørland municipality, Sør-Trøndelag county in mid-Norway. Remains from the Iron Age are evidences of a long history. With one Ramsar site (The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance) and four Nature protection areas, Ørland is an important area for nature conservation, especially birds.

In the 17th century the castle Austrått is built in the heart of Ørland. Beside the castle, there are a hunting park, a garden/park, and a few crofts from the same time. It once involved various types of activities within the landscape (gardening, husbandry, farming, hunting, road building etc.). Today, only the castle is recognized as a cultural heritage site; the adjacent areas are mostly farmland, some patches of woodland, a golf course and areas for other recreations. The hunting park is preserved by the Biodiversity Act. The garden has lost most of its traces. The lack of knowledge of the history threatens the value of this Green Cultural Heritage as a whole.

In 2011, a military NATO-airbase was decided to develop in the west of Ørland, which is estimated to bring 2000 more residents onto this peninsula and makes the total number 7000 by 2020.

This research project addresses fragmented management of cultural landscape due to changing land use and ownership, diverse values and interests held by various sectors and protected by individual Acts and legal instruments. The project aims to develop new knowledge that can be incorporated into management policy and practice to facilitate integration of values and uses of cultural landscape within the local planning and development process.

The project is led by Professor Annegreth Dietze-Schirdewahn from Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Other national partners: Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU); Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR); Ørland cultural center. International advisory board: Kulturstiftung Dessau Wörlitz; ICOMOS IFLA International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes. The project lasts for 3 years.