Arthur Spiegler /
an einem sehr heißen Tag .... Arthur im Einsatz bei "Get on Europe" in Lilienfeld:
wie am 29.8. bereits berichtet nahm ich an der Kenozero-Konferenz im Nordwesten Russlands, Region Archangelsk vom 14. – 21. August 2005 teil. Sie wurde von der russischen ECOVAST Sektion (Frau Dr. Olga Sevan, Kulturinstituut Moskau) und der Leitung des Nationalparks Kenozero organisiert und wurde auch von staatlichen Stellen unterstützt.
Der Name Kenozero setzt sich zusammen aus dem Flussnamen „Keno“ und dem russischen Wort „Zero“ für See (wie in Österreich z.B. der Traunsee).
Das Generalthema war „Culture and Partnership – two main aspects of suistainable rural development“. Für jede/n der/die sich mit ECOVAST und seinen Aktivitäten und Arbeits-schwerpunkten auseinandersetzt klar erkennbar also nein „Ur-ECOVAST-Thema.
Dies war auch der Grund, weswegen ich Mühe und Kosten auf mich nahm an der Tagung teilzuneh-men. Dazu kam meine Neugier als Geograph, eine Region und Landschaft kennen zu lernen, die mir bis dato gänzlich unbekannt war.
Gleichlautendes Interesse nehme ich auch für G.I.V.E. und E.R.D.E. an, was den Wert an der Teilnahme noch wesentlich steigerte. Dass es im Rahmen des Generalthemas natürlich auch um Dorf- und (Klein)stadterneuerung ging, sei der Vollständigkeit halber hinzu gefügt. Meinen beiden mit ECOVAST verbundenen fachlichen Hauptinteressen, ländliche, nachhaltige, regionale Entwicklung und Land-schaft stehen, wie ich hoffe für jede/n ersichtlich, in engster Verbindung.
Meine Rolle in ECOVAST ist die eines Vicepräsidenten und Leiters der Arbeitsgruppe Land-schaft; auch bin ich der „Gründer“ der österreichischen ECOVAST Sektion, anläßlich des Kleinstadtsymposions in Murau (Steiermark), September 1998. Von der Tagungsleitung gewünscht waren „gute Beispiele“ der Praxis aus EU-Ländern, aus denen für die Entwicklung der Region gelernt werden kann. Am Ende dieses Kurzberichtes füge ich daher meine Darlegungen aus österreichischer Sicht und Erfahrung an, die ich auf der Konferenz vorgetragen habe.
Gemäß meinem viele Jahre gehaltenen Grundsatz, dass jede Tagung so gut ist, wie ihre Nach-bearbeitung und Folgen (follow up) werde ich, was ich dort auch versprochen habe versuchen, (Projekt)partner für die „schöne aber arme“ Region um den Nationalpark Kenozero in Österreich und in der EU zu finden. Dies ist mit ein entscheidender Grund, die Sache in das Wiki zu stellen.
Russland ist für mittel- und westeuropäische Verhältnisse ungewohnt groß, was sich nicht nur räumlich auswirkt. Die Region Archangelsk, von der die Region Kenozero eine Unterregion darstellt ist fast so groß wie Frankreich – das nur zum Vergleich und zur Einstimmung. Der Nationalpark und seine Region Kenozero ist Teil der südlichen Taiga-Zone. Die Höhenlage reicht vom Meeresspiegel bis (an wenigen Stellen) über 300 m und ist von weiten Wäldern, Mooren, flachen Flüssen und Seen gekennzeichnet sowie zumindest im Bereich des National-parks von brach gefallenen landwirtschaftlichen Flächen und starkem Bevölkerungsschwund. Letzterer ist Ursache für so viele verfallend Häuser und kleine Ortschaften (wir würden dazu vielleicht Weiler sagen). Absolut dominierend sind das Holz-Blockhaus, die Holzkirche und die vielen, vielen, oft in den Wäldern verstreuten Holzkapellen und nnicht seltenen Wald-friedhöfe. Die Holz-(Bauern)häuser sind ferner durch die zu jedem einzelnen gehörenden „Badehäuser“ (Sauna) gekennzeichnet. Die Unterschiede in Kultur und Landschaft zu Österreich und Mitteleuropa sind enorm und doch lassen sich einige gemeinsame Grundprinzipien in der Vorgangsweise zur nachhaltigen ländlichen Entwicklung festmachen, wie ich dies in meinem Vortrag darlegte. Dadurch werden Hilfe und Partnerschaft wesentlich erleichtert.
Austrian presentation at the “Kenozero Conference”, August 2005
Although being well aware of the great differences in culture, history and environment (land-scape) between Austria and northern Russian regions there certainly exist some common de-cisive and basic principles of successful actions for sustainable European rural development. They can be condensed in five mental and material terms, the second, third and fourth consist-ing of several sub-terms:
1. The desire of the local people to improve the situation,
2. start a SWAT-Analysis carried out and discussed in the public,
3. Identification of the region´s or landscape´s character and the local fundaments of nature and culture that could serve as motors of sustainable rural economy,
4. develop a leading idea or vision of the regions future and
5. a lively partnership of all involved, aiming at a movement called “regional governance”.
Some of those points you already have fulfilled, at least partially. The next most important step is to raise the financial means to initiate a sustainable development for the whole region in which the National Park can take over a crucial role. Suggestions on that point will be drafted at the end of the paper.
The desire of the local people to improve the situation This “basic drive” almost needs no further explanation, it is the mental force that is driving every progress and development. It really is one of the basic forces of our existence. But anonymous murmur of discontent and indistinct wishes of enhancement alone will not do. It is necessary that the needs are well articulated and presented by a group of persons and their speaker respected by the population. This group of representatives – five to fifteen people -can be called “initiative-group” and it will be the local partner for experts and planners – be they foreign or domestic – and the representatives of the authorities. In Austria no financial support for communities (for example village and town renewal) is granted unless a local or regional “initiative-group” has been nominated. Members and the speaker of a local or re-gional “approach-group” to my estimation could well be found among the participants of this conference.
Carrying out a “SWOT-Analysis means a participatory process in which local people often with the guidance of some experts discuss the “strengths, weaknesses, options and threads of a region or a specific place (e.g. village, small town, resort). From what one learns out of this procedure you can develop well based guidelines into the future. Going through a SWAT-Analysis with the local people means a very important educational process. People after-wards know much more about their place, their environment and future options. As I have been told an analysis like this has already been carried out. I very much would like to see its results.
Everybody has desires, visions or ideas of the personal future and that of his or her homeland (house, village or town) but they often remain unarticulated and vague. Taking part in the public process of a SWAT-Analysis supplies every interested person with some basic knowl-edge to develop successful strategies. The guidelines and strategies based upon the strengths and options of the place can be developed in several public talks and discussions – again a task for the “initiative-group” in near contact with the National Park. In Austria and Western Europe the National, Nature or Biosphere Parks are all deeply involved in sustainable regional development. When sketching guidelines for the future by all means you should begin with the “strengths” of your region and enhance the weaknesses later on in the course of progress-ing the task.
This rather new term means the lively functioning of an interactive regional or even interregional co-operation between civil society and its represents with the official authorities of all levels (the local, regional, provincial and national level in some cases supplemented by the European level. In the process of “regional governance” the “approach-group” can and should play a distinct role. Of course such perfect regional development is desirable but takes its time and not always can be completed. But our best examples of good and sustainable practice rely on these principles and come very close to such an ideal state of affairs.
Three examples of “best and sustainable practice” and their main structures
Up to the nineties region of rich farmland, smooth hills and the characteristic huge rectangular farmhouses traditionally surrounded by big apple and pear trees was rather unknown in the Austrian public. Traditionally farmers used to produce cider for their own use mainly as bev-erage on hot summer days at harvest time. In the sixties and seventies the farmers children were taught in school to be modern, better buy the drinks on the market and the farmers were paid premiums by the authorities to cut down the useless trees that were seen as a hindrance for the machines of big scale farming.
This policy if consequently carried out according to officials would have been the ruin of this landscape by loosing one of its most characteristic and distinctive features: the big pear trees growing around the farmhouse or in long lines along the field paths or even in avenues along public roads (see picture). The character of this region is determined by the huge four-edged and square farmhouses, their surrounding orchards, the pattern of fields and strips of wood. Also a certain sort of bumble-bees and many birds are linked to the existence of a big amount of pear (and apple) trees.
In the late eighties and nineties a young local entrepreneur who strongly disliked to watch the decay of his home-landscape had the idea of improving the quality of the local cider and its production. Within a few years he proofed his success, even in creating a new “pear cham-pagne” which is on the menu of many hotels, some even in Vienna. Meanwhile the Cider Region is renowned for many farmers that sell their products at their house, connected by a network of signed bicycle trails and in addition there also are cultural events emerging. Now the landscape is flourishing by the safeguarding of its rural characteristics mainly through the local people.
Now a days there are many cycle routs leading through the “Cider Region” and many farms and country pubs are offering local food. There also are certain weekend-celebrations throughout the year as the “pear blossom” (third weekend in April) or harvest-celebrations in autumn.
But there also are deep historic roots of which I point out two: Firstly the neighbouring re-gion to the south is the so called “Iron Region” with a tradition of mining and crafts related to iron reaching back to pre-roman times. The region of miners and workmen in the alps relied on the farmers of the pre-alpine “Cider Region” for their supply of food. In return the farm-ers became their iron tools from the “Iron Region”. So throughout many centuries there has been well balanced trade between the two very different regions and landscapes.
Secondly in midst of the “Cider Region” you can find the location which first in a historic document of the 10th century was called “Ostarrichi”, the old name of which “Austria” is drived. So the Cider Region also is called the “cradle of Austria” and the memorial place is well renowned and a target of cultural tourism. So I think you easily could find both, natural and cultural aspects, the “strengths” of the re-gion, constituting the character of the landscape and to improve the development of a whole region. Furthermore the decisive role of the one person who had the strong vision of a better future without that the whole landscape might have decayed can be outlined clearly.
The mot important factor for a new start in local development was the severe economic and psycho-social crisis caused by the close down of the local cutlery. To some local political representatives it became obvious that a basic change of municipal politics was necessary. A new political culture was performed to prevent fruitless political trench warfare and, together with the local people in open discussion a guideline for the future was developed.
A new land-use plan, no more scattered over-development and the revitalisation of the his-toric village centre and the old vicarage was decided and achieved. The movement also spread into the surrounding region (part of the “Iron Region”).
To day the restored vicarage accommodates the bureau of regional development, and its old working quarters give shelter to a local fruit-drying company. The necessary energy supply is offered by a farmer co-operation on chopped wood. With this development also the old or-chards and fruit sorts have been preserved and the old tradition on iron works and cutlery is now shown in a museum. The region joined into the neighbouring “Iron Region” that is aim-ing to become an “Euro Region” and as a whole develops prosperously.
Again there has been a personal driving force. In this case it was the mayor of the village “Steinbach” giving the name to the whole movement that is very well known as positive ex-ample of sustainable local and regional development in Austria and beyond.
An almost anonymous village of some 1700 inhabitants some 40 km to the south-east of Graz, the Styrian capital, without industry, wine (vineyards begin some 30 km to the south) nor tourism. A young imaginative entrepreneur in designing who wanted to move out with his work from his parents home decided together with two other local brightly spirited youngsters to buy and renovate the closed down house of justice. (In Austria, due to a wave of privatisa-tion and re-organisation of public infrastructure, many post offices, local houses of justice and other public offers are shut down). The three of them succeeded with some help of the com-munity and the government of Styria.
In the course of development these absolutely independent bureaus went through a strange but very effective change towards synergisms that in the beginning was not intended and that not has finished until now.
On an initiative of the organisation E.R.D.E. (European Rural Development through Educa-tion) they offered to join in to an experiment of virtuell education to the other end of Austria. The so called “Days of Utopia” organised by E.R.D.E. in co-operation with the University of Graz (days of “open door”, science for every one) and the monastery St. Arbogast (in Vorarl-berg at the west end of Austria) were linked together by means of electronic with the possibil-ity of mutual life-discussion over hundreds of kilometres. To the utmost astonishment of the organisers some 750 local people joined in this three day event.
Now this new way of “open for every body” adult education in Kirchbach is part of the activi-ties of the whole region (the “Vulcano Land Region”, the east end of Austria near the border to Hungary and Slovenia). Previous activities and co-operation in this region was co-triggered by an ECOVAST project called “Witranet” in the late nineties (meaning to identify and revive the old wine traditions in remote wine regions throughout Europe).
Now it is up to you - a conclusion (after taking part in the conference)
Dr. Arthur Spiegler ECOVAST Europe and Austria August 2005
Ill. 1 (and 2): Landscape of the Cider Region, a rich farm land showing its most characteristic and valuable features: the scattered, huge, square farmhouses; the coves and lines of big pear trees, the origin of the pear cider; the pattern of fields. There are rare and rather small stretches of wood in between (not visible) and always in view to the south the first hills and mountains of the Alps that already are part of the neighbouring “Iron Region”. In spring time the whole landscape is illuminated by the white blossoms of the big pear trees.
Ill. 3 (and 4): Part of the village Steinbach at the Steyr river that rises in the alpine limestone mountains of the “Iron Region”. This river and others provide hydro-power which beside the iron itself and wood, the source of charcoal to process wrought iron is the third nature-born asset of this landscape and region. Some of the early water power stations are built in mag-nificent “art nouveau stile” but even more rare have become the early concrete bridges, both of the time of the turn of the 20th century.
Ill. 5 (and 6): The region and landscape of the eastern part of Austria´s province Styria, al-ready near the Hungarian border is part of the “Pannonian climatic belt”. At the same time it is the wine and apple region with flat and smaller farmhouses. The most characteristic hzouse form of the region is called “Archduke John´s House” with its typical protruding entrance to which small steps from both sides are leading, and the characteristic “pannonic archadia” that are shown at this newly restored rural restaurant.
Vom 14. bis 21. August nahm ich an der "Kenozero" (Keno-See) Konferenz in Russland teil. Genauerer Bericht folgt.
BernhardHaas: RELATIV einfach mag wohl ein treffende Beschreibung des Tacis-Programmes sein. Die Nö. Dorf- und Stadterneuerung hat 2003 gemeinsam mit exakt dieser Region (Gleb Tiurin) um eine Tacis-Förderung angesucht, wurde leider abgelehnt. Kontakt: ChristineHofbauer
"Ich glaube die obige Beschreibung des Dorferneuerungsprozesses gehört aus dem beschränkten Tagebuch-Zusammenhang herauskopiert, als Gerüst für eine auszubauende Prozessbeschreibung im Rahmen einer GV Patternsprache."
Hallo Helmut, kannst Du die Dinge auf die es Dir dabei ankommt mal anführen? Franz