The European Landscape Convention affirms that landscape is the basis of the identity of communities and places landscape as a key concept of contemporary European urbanity. Among the variety of European territorial contexts, the management of cultural landscapes is particularly complex in large metropolitan regions, which are subject to intense environmental, socio-economic and lifestyle changes. The aim of this project is to study the cultural landscapes of the metropolis in order to characterize them, to better understand some complex heritage phenomena and to propose management guidelines in line with the targets of the 11th Sustainable Development Goal.

The project focuses specifically on the landscapes of the metropolitan region of Madrid, but its conceptual and methodological results will be applicable to other areas. To this end, the methodology is based on the study of the metropolitan region as a complex urban-rural gradient. Accepting that every cultural phenomenon has a spatial expression, the methodology interprets critical cartographies elaborated from the correlations between the material and immaterial components of the landscapes. This methodology proposes 9 lines of mapping grouped into 3 blocks: (i) cultural values and infrastructures; (ii) cultural assets and protected areas; and (iii) agro-ecological activities and supply channels. Maps are expected to identify cultural values and ecosystem services, and give sectoral (local or global) readings of the region.

Based on the mapping, the project will provide criteria for the creation and design of the future landscape in metropolitan regions to achieve more culturally and environmentally sustainable development models. It will also provide criteria for adapting landscape planning and management decisions to changing circumstances affecting the built environment and its quality. Finally, it will offer guidelines for the protection of cultural and natural heritage at the landscape scale, in relation to the design of networks of green areas and public spaces, as well as urban-rural articulation.