Accepted Paper:

"We are the true architects of the Park!": (Non)participation, creativity and conflict in National Park Peneda-Gerês (Portugal)  


Humberto Martins (CRIA-UMinho)

Paper short abstract:

The rhetoric of participatory methodologies cannot obscure two facts: local dwellers do not feel respected and things occur beyond formal processes. Creativity and adaptive responses by those who live in a Portuguese National Park allows us to have a more vivid picture of the actual life of a NPA.

Paper long abstract:

Natural Protected Areas are heritage sites created in many cases upon the resistance of many of their customary dwellers who, inversely, claim to be their true architects. History shows how conflictive has been the implementation of these territorial reserves and landscapes. Basically and to sum up a long and complex debate, there are various and conflictive perspectives on what is meant to be conservation and the priorities of allowed human activities. In the Portuguese Classified Areas System, Human activities are regulated through two main legal frameworks - Plano de Ordenamento (Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act) and Carta de Desporto da Natureza (Nature Sports Chart) both object of public consultation and the former to be revised each five years. However, for many of the local dwellers these participatory methodologies are simply formal obligations, which the management authorities do have to apply. In other words participation serves much more to inform about new rules or assumptions rather than to receive substantial contributes from those who live in these areas. The paper approach this subject from a critical perspective that invites us to look at individual and creative responses that finally claims more complexity to clearly a non-dichotomic process. Who is who when and how? This a revelatory question that suggests us to look at circumstantial and adaptive negotiations by the individuals who have different interests in NAPs.

Panel Heri03
Imperatives of participation in the heritage regime: statecraft, crisis, and creative alternatives (Cultural Heritage and Property Working Group)