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Chapter 9: Cultural landscape paths in a polarised Belgium

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Chapter Summary

Despite the small size of Belgium, an astonishing diversity of landscapes has developed due to the great variety of natural conditions and many different cultural influences. From the second half of the 19th century the country became highly industrialised and urbanised, which caused the decline of traditional rural landscapes. Today, Belgium is a federal state with three autonomous regions: Flanders, Wallonia, and the Brussels Capital region. Spatial planning, heritage, landscape and environment are within the scope of their political and legal authority. This chapter provides an analysis of the landscape paths of two landscapes in very different geographical situations. The study of local landscape paths unravels causes and mechanisms of change that give a better explanation of the unique identity of places, and hence of the local character. From this point of view, this kind of study can contribute to a broader and deeper valuation.

Keywords: archaeological heritage; Belgium; biodiversity; Brussels Capital region; cultural landscape; industrialisation; urbanisation



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