Scholarly article on topic 'The Mediterranean Diet as Cultural Landscape Value: Proposing a Model towards the Inner Areas Development Process'

The Mediterranean Diet as Cultural Landscape Value: Proposing a Model towards the Inner Areas Development Process Academic research paper on "Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries"

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{"Cultural resources" / Evaluation / "Integrated approach" / UNESCO / "Inner areas."}

Abstract of research paper on Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, author of scientific article — Francesco Calabrò, Giuseppina Cassalia, Carmela Tramontana

Abstract This paper presents the overall concept and the first stage of a research project focused on the Mediterranean Diet as opportunity and a valuable tool for the sustainable development of the Inner Areas. The goal is to contribute to the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria planning and the methodology is based on the definition of a evaluative-oriented tool that allows the identification of the correct assets of knowledge and planning towards the cultural landscape valorization. The scope is to design and share a project of knowledge able to help in enhancing the contexts of local products, preserving the “tangible” elements bringing this “intangible” lifestyle named Mediterranean Diet, in order to produce specific effective impacts on territories and communities.

Academic research paper on topic "The Mediterranean Diet as Cultural Landscape Value: Proposing a Model towards the Inner Areas Development Process"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 223 (2016) 568 - 575

2nd International Symposium "NEW METROPOLITAN PERSPECTIVES" - Strategic planning, spatial planning, economic programs and decision support tools, through the implementation of Horizon/Europe2020. ISTH2020, Reggio Calabria (Italy), 18-20 May 2016

The Mediterranean Diet as Cultural Landscape Value: Proposing a Model towards the Inner Areas Development Process

Francesco Calabróa'*, Giuseppina Cassaliaa, Carmela Tramontana*1

aPAUDept. Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria, SalitaMelissari, 89124 Reggio Calabria, Italy


This paper presents the overall concept and the first stage of a research project focused on the Mediterranean Diet as opportunity and a valuable tool for the sustainable development of the Inner Areas. The goal is to contribute to the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria planning and the methodology is based on the definition of a evaluative-oriented tool that allows the identification of the correct assets of knowledge and planning towards the cultural landscape valorization. The scope is to design and share a project of knowledge able to help in enhancing the contexts of local products, preserving the "tangible" elements bringing this "intangible" lifestyle named Mediterranean Diet, in order to produce specific effective impacts on territories and communities.

©2016 The Authors.Published byElsevierLtd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of ISTH2020

Keywords: : Cultural resources; Evaluation; Integrated approach; UNESCO; Inner areas.

1. Introduction

The Mediterranean Diet, inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, involving Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco, and from 2013 also Cyprus, Croatia, Portugal, could be seen as the optimal tool for the development of particularly disadvantaged areas, such as inner areas of the metropolitan city of Reggio Calabria (Calabro F. et al, 2015). The recognition of this outstanding universal value identifies in

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +39 0965 1696302; fax: +39 0965 1696550. E-mail address:

The paper is the result ofthe joint work ofthe three authors. Scientific responsibility is attributable equally to Calabrö, Cassalia, Tramontana.

1877-0428 © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of ISTH2020


Mediterranean life style the more balanced interaction between nature and humanity, according to the original etymology of the word "diet" that is life style. As stated by UNESCO, the Diet refers to all the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills and cultural spaces with which peoples of the Mediterranean have created and re-created, over the centuries, a synthesis between the cultural and the social organization environment. From this standpoint, it reveals a universe of abilities, rituals, symbols, and traditions related to food production, harvesting, fishery, zootechnics, conservation, processing, and cooking. (8.COM UNESCO) Therefore, Mediterranean Diet appears as an element that goes far beyond the simplistic sense linked to nutritional properties -as generally instead it appears - bringing itself values that necessarily in Italy must be extended to the whole Mediterranean area and not to specific areas (such as the town of Pollica in Cilento's area), emphasizing the individual specificities. Not limited to nutritional values, then, instead and especially attention should be given to the ways and contexts where these foods are produced and consumed, or rather the cultural landscape that characterizes this lifestyle.

This paper presents the overall concept and the first stage of a research model, where the Diet, according to this more thorough reading, becomes an opportunity and a valuable tool for the growth of the Inner Areas. In addition, the application model considers the Mediterranean diet not uniquely referred to the values related to the Intangible Heritage: according to the proposal sense, the Diet becomes amplifier of tangible values, contributing to the cultural landscape connotation designed by this lifestyle, understood as an interaction between nature and humanity. In this sense, the proposed model focuses on both physical and human components, declined into a variety of adequate phases and activities. Protecting the areas where typical products are grown and adopting strategies on a local level in order to preserve the living habits of the place are the basic actions that will have to be carried out to make a positive impact on the regions and communities.

2. The research project approach and methodology

The research project for the development of the inner areas of the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria is based on the definition of an effective model able to integrate a set of historical, cultural and environmental resources, in order to guide the choices of urban and economic planning area. (Nestico A, De Mare G., 2014)

The primary objective of this model is expressed in the identification of the correct axis of knowledge, planning and feasibility assessment oriented towards the development of identity resources linked to the Mediterranean Diet.

The model has been structured into three phases:

• Phase A - Knowledge;

• Phase B - Programme;

• Phase C - Feasibility-Sustainability.

The knowledge phase is focused on the definition of the contextual framework and the consistency of the identity heritage (tangible and intangible) to be protected, its significance and local community' perception. This phase is designed in order to develop detection tools useful to define the addresses for the implementation of phase B.

The programming phase is made of the systematic organization and coordinated implementation of programs fostering the sustainable development of the inner areas of the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria. The data collected in the phase A define the programming axis, and its implementation is expressed through the definition of projects that will be evaluated in Phase C. To this end, an early stage qualitative-quantitative evaluation is designed in order to define the criteria and indicators of the programme. Particularly, the relevance and coherence evaluation does apply to Phase B, where the relevance is concerned with assessing whether the project is in line with local needs and priorities and coherence refers to the consistency/complementarity and freedom of contradiction of guiding general principles, analyzing whether the whole set of identity resources have been taken into consideration in the forming objectives or not. In this sense, the close connection between Phase A and B allows the identification of specific interrelations between resources and between resources and detractors, and accordingly appropriate strategic projects capable of enhancing the same resources, and mitigate the disturbances are formulated. The definition of indicators in the programming phase therefore becomes a priority in the Feasibility-Sustainability phase, Phase C. This phase leads to a technical, procedural and economic evaluation of the potential projects,

identifying the main lines of a management and development strategy, involve all stakeholders (public and private), all resources (tangible and intangible) and services (infrastructure, reception services, research and training services, etc.) in the area (Fig. 1) (F. Calabro, L. Delia Spina L., 2014) (L. Delia Spina et al., 2015). In this phase the evaluation knowledge intervenes through the assessment of efficiency and efficacies of the proposed projects. While the Effectiveness measures the extent to which the planned activities had achieved its purpose, or whether this can be expected to happen on the basis of the outputs, the Efficiency measures the outputs - qualitative and quantitative - achieved as a result of inputs. The latter generally requires comparing alternative approaches to achieving an output, to see whether the most efficient approach has been used.

The definition of this systemic model - specifically, in the initial phase and under experimentation, being to the cognitive phase -comes from the idea that the needs placed by the design of an integrated scheme can only be addressed through a multidisciplinary methodological approach able to link the issues related to the valorization of identity cultural heritage with new functions assigned to these resources, in order to pursue the objectives related to cultural heritage enhancement, likewise the development of the local economy (Fusco Girard L., Nijkamp P., 1997).

Fig. 1 - The evaluation role within the application model

3. The Phase A: the significance of knowledge for the cultural heritage valorization within the cultural landscape context

The stage of knowledge is the priority phase for the implementation of actions to value: this kind of approach, has deep roots in the modus operandi and the track pursued by Prof. Edoardo Mollica that, through its publications (i.e. inner areas of Calabria, 1995) and even more through the transfer of his experience/passion on the field, has always pointed to the involvement and participation of local communities in the processes of cultural resources recognition and the integrated design of the cultural heritage conservation (Mollica E., 1995).

The collection of data relating to local resources is further considered in relation to the entire set of data useful for the definition of the conservative measures applied, the state of conservation of the common heritage, the

interfering noise than usual with the identified resources, rather any other resources that can be placed in relation with the resources itself (Cassalia G., 2014).

Collecting and relating such a huge amount of data can be handled by defining a unique method of data gathering and encoding and an evaluation support allowing an effective relationship.

For this reason, specific forms have been designed on the following topics:

• Intangible Cultural Heritage and Collective Identity

1.1a form: Agricultural Productions and food preparations

1.1b form: Traditional Craftsmanship

1.2 form: Social practices, rituals and festive events

1.3 form: Oral Traditions and Expressions

• Tangible Cultural Heritage and Collective Identity

2.1a form: historical local building heritage

2.1b form: historical monumental building heritage

2.2 form: Archaeological Heritage

2.3 form: naturalistic Heritage and agricultural landscape

3.1 Intangible Cultural Heritage and Collective Identity

Intangible cultural resources are generally connected to the vocation of a geographical context, representing the variety of living heritage of humanity as well as the most significant vehicle of cultural diversity. It includes all immaterial elements that are considered by a given community as essential components of its intrinsic identity as well as of its uniqueness and distinctiveness in comparison with all other human groups. However these resources, as such intangibles, are often hardly identified and measured.

Hence, how to detect and analyze, the intangible assets of a given place? And further, when a cultural resource can be defined as heritage? According to Prof. Edoardo Mollica, "goods" become a "resource" when a community take it as such, considering it adequate to satisfy some of his needs. Then the community, supported by experts, works for its exploitation, owning the required tools and knowledge to its valorisation: there it is "heritage" (Mollica E., 1995). In consequent, the key element for cultural planning is therefore the variable "awareness" or knowledge and undistorted perception of territorial resources (Assumma V., Ventura C., 2014). In order to identify what can be defined as "intangible heritage", the paper refers to the UNESCO's Intangible Heritage Convention which aims to (a) to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage; (b) to ensure respect for the intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups and individuals concerned; (c) to raise awareness at the local, national and international levels of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage, and of ensuring mutual appreciation thereof; (d) to provide for international cooperation and assistance. (Convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Paris 2003). The novelty of the Convention is, above all, in the introduction of a principle of legal recognition and protection of intangible assets attributable not only single individuals but also to entire communities, groups, linguistic ethnic minorities.

Structuring the forms to investigate the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Collective Identity of the research project case study, the areas defined by the wording of the 2003 Convention were followed (art. 3): (a) oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; (b) performing arts; (c) social practices, rituals and festive events; (d) knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; (e) traditional craftsmanship.

In particular, the following sub-forms have been designed for the Phase A of the research:

1. la Agricultural Productions and food preparations

1.1b Traditional Craftsmanship

1.2 Social practices, rituals and festive events

1.3 Oral Traditions and Expressions

Deepen the first form, 1.1a Agricultural Productions and food preparations it is meant to investigate the products and the production processes oflocal food and wine attributable to the precepts of the Mediterranean Diet. In particular, general and specific recognition parameters are defined as follows:

• Identification of the product or process and localization. This form is referred to food and wine.

• Classification - Brief description of the product mainly related to: Fruit and vegetables; grain products; Milk and dairy products; Meat and fish; Wine; Oil - and their food preparations, also typical of specific occasions or times of the year.

• Know how - Brief description of the traditional/craft production process; this section is meanly focused on the description of the roots of the process, i.e.: the starting date of cultivation / production / breeding of that product in the area. The reading of this data shows the reasons why that product or activity may be representative of the authenticity and rootedness heritage.

• Nutritional data - schematic reconstruction of the storage conditions of the product and its beneficial properties or possible contraindications.

• References - Brief description, including photographs, video; interviews and literature sources.

• Community perception: That includes the understanding of cultural and social awareness of local communities, their "sense of place", acknowledgement of cultural landscape value.

The implementation of this form has been considered particularly significant for the analysis of the elements of the Mediterranean diet that characterize the area in question. The culinary tradition is an integral part of the cultural identity of a region: it is the union between the culinary authenticity and traditions. It is an expression and promotion of the area's heritage: in it are intertwined food, culture, tradition and economy. The type of food, how to prepare it and eat it refer to a past of community life and a food culture perceived as a sign of identity. The territory of the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria is characterized by the practice food of the Mediterranean Diet, which belongs as much to the local as to the universal culture.

Through the Knowledge Phase, the project aims primarily to redefine the authenticity of the Mediterranean diet, to reiterate its high value of intangible heritage, contributing to the identity needs satisfaction and ensuring a solid connection with the complex local context of production and offers. Secondly, the Mediterranean diet has seen as heart of a regional development policy, based on the valorization of the value of this intangible asset through integrated interventions able to promote knowledge and awareness and further through collective initiatives attracting new economic and productive activities, encouraging the development of local enterprises, and promoting a positive image of the local resources and the regional context. This research project aims to strengthen the creation of local identity linked to the Mediterranean diet, where the local community can re-discover their sense of place in turn contributing to its spread.

The sub-forms identifying traditional handicraft, social practices, rituals and festive events, traditions and oral expressions (forms have the same setting of the first sub-form (form 1.1a). In particular, in the subform 1.2 a section detecting the "Period" is added, in order to specifying what time of year the event takes place and identifying whether it is an historical or contemporary event. Further, the sub-form 1.3 does further include dialects, ethnic minorities, historical figures, myths and legends, traditional dances and music characterizing the case study.

3.2 The Tangible Cultural Heritage and Collective Identity

The survey phase involves, according to the approach that sees the original sense of the Mediterranean Diet as a lifestyle to the underlying theme to actions aimed at sustainable development of the territories, a phase of investigation relative to the cultural heritage of tangible identity, which essentially focuses on the study of the historical centers and landscape that characterizes the case study area, the expression of a specific cultural identity, designed by a specific lifestyle.

Before examining into the specifics of the proposed research, a set of definitions are reported below, based on international and national references concerning the meaning of tangible cultural heritage.

This concept is founded in Articles 1 and 2 of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, drawn up in Paris in 1972 during the 17th session of the General Conference of UNESCO

(Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage,1972). According to this Convention, Cultural Heritage is identified by:

• monuments: architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view ofhistory, art or science;

• groups of buildings: groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of outstanding universal value from the point of view ofhistory, art or science;

• sites: works of man or the combined works of nature and of man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological points of view.

• natural features consisting of physical and biological formations or groups of such formations, which are of outstanding universal value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view;

• geological and physiographical formations and precisely delineated areas which constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation;

• natural sites or precisely delineated natural areas of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty.

Over the following updates of the Convention, made by the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, it is also introduced the concept of mixed heritage, marked by items that meet natural and cultural criteria together (Operational Guidelines, 1992).

It is useful for our purposes to recall the 1985 Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe, which recognizes that the architectural heritage constitutes unrepeatable expression of the richness and diversity of cultural heritage, invaluable testimony of the past and a common good, including the monuments, urban and rural historic centers of conspicuous historical, archaeological, artistic, scientific, social or technical interest and the sites, considered the combined works of man and nature (Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe, 1985). This reflection will then be taken in the concept of cultural landscape introduced with the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention of 1992, understood as combined work of nature and man, representing the evolution of human society in the course of time and the ability to adapt man according to the influence of the physical constraints and opportunities provided by the natural environment and by all the social, economic and cultural forces of the territory (Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, 1992).

The Italian legislation took advantages of these concepts and through the DL 42/2004 identifies the cultural heritage as in cultural goods as artistic, historical, archaeological movable property, as in landscape assets testimonials of civilization, i.e. buildings and areas constituting an historical, cultural, natural, morphological and aesthetic expression of the territory (DL 42/2004)^.

In this basic overview, that more generally focuses on importance of recognition, protection, conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage, the paper engages the logic related to the research project, that in the knowledge phase (Phase A) further focuses on the tangible heritage of the areas taken into examination, distinguishing this heritage into subcategories of investigation, identified by the above-mentioned national and international references:

• The historical and building heritage, which in turn is divided into:

a) historical common heritage, defined as the minor architecture, such as residential and labor buildings, or rather the historical centers that characterize the inner areas of the Metropolitan city of Reggio Calabria

b) monumental heritage, consisting of noble buildings, religious and defensive architecture,

t DL is Italian acronym for Decreto Legislativo, in English Legislative Decree

• the archaeological heritage, including most encountered types in the territories in question as residential and productive centers, sacred areas, theaters, spa facilities, suburban villas and sites and underwater finds.

• the natural heritage and agricultural landscape, where the natural features and elements that characterize the agricultural landscape are included, such as mode of water channeling for irrigation or production machines or particular agricultural land arrangement techniques as a function of the typical crops.

In order to collect the information in a uniform way, as in the case of intangible heritage, the survey forms for each identified sub-category have been designed. It does represent the main instrument for the completion of the knowledge phase, designed for cataloging information, the forms are duly verified by qualified support bibliography, according to the objective to be pursued.

3.2.1 The historical and building heritage

a) historical common heritage

The attention to building heritage generally arises from the growing need for actions aimed at their conservation, in view of the new functions and reuse of such buildings for targeted purposes in addition to the preservation of cultural identity expressed by places in the built landscape, and further to social and economic development of particularly disadvantaged areas, such as those under consideration (F. Calabro, et al., 2014).

The form - which is part of the experimental model De.S.C. (Tramontana C.,2015) is divided into the following sections:

• Identification of building, by means of the indication of the type (residential or labor building), the properties (public or private), the cadastral directions, time of construction, presence or otherwise of any constraints, intended function and the detectable dimensional quantification.

• Localization of the building on appropriate cartography.

• Photo description.

• Calculation of conservation cost: once ranked the building based on its state of conservation, compared with 3 categories proposed by the form itself, the building conservation cost are calculated using the parametric cost determined in advance for the chosen class.

b) monumental heritage

The structure of this form is divided into:

• Identification, in addition to the cadastral data, of the period of construction, the presence or absence of a bond, name and type, among those listed: noble buildings, religious or defensive architecture;

• Localization on cadastral mapping and orthophotos, and photographic description accompanied by references on maps;

• Brief description of the building, on the basis of appropriate references, the salient features of the building and any changes that have characterized over time are summarized.

• Brief description, including photographs, from which it is seen the state of conservation and in which both indicate if the property needs or not tangible interventions (thus aimed at physical recovery) or intangible interventions (aimed at the enhancement);

• Guidance on accessibility, informing about the presence of information panels, info-point, information materials and their effectiveness, giving in case of negative evaluation, recommendations on possible improvements to be proposed.

3.2.2 archaeological heritage

The schematization proposal for the monumental heritage - identification, location, description, indication on accessibility - is presented again in the archaeological heritage form where are included, as mentioned, the inhabited

and productive centers found, sacred areas, theaters, bath complexes, suburban villas and any underwater nature finds.

3.2.3 natural and agricultural landscape heritage

The form for the natural heritage and agricultural landscape, differs from the previous in quantification of hectares, typical crops in the area and identification of any typical agrarian settlements, which help to draw the cultural landscape of the area under investigation.

This type of form, unlike the common heritage, record the precise excellence of the areas under consideration, underlining its importance also in view of the use, the ultimate goal of the plan.

4. Conclusions

As stated above (introduction), the paper is a part of a larger research project and proposes a project of knowledge aimed to define a systemic and integrated approach to the process of cultural resources recognition. For results, see the end of the implementation of Phase B and C, highlighting that the proposed methodology pursues an integrated approach to local resources that enrich and identify inner areas, through the common thread of the Mediterranean Diet, helping to bridge the gap afflicting those territories, as the one of the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria, excluded in the phase of rapid industrial expansion, and for the same reason, where social organizations and traditional productive activities still survive.


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