Culturally significant areas
The concept of culturally significant areas (CSA) helps planners and managers to take account of immaterial cultural values in MSP.
Areas can be defined as culturally significant for various reasons and based on different community value sets. Within Baltspace, we set out how to do a cultural values baseline as a first step in a CSA assessment.
The CSA approach is a method for identifying places of cultural importance on the coast and in the sea. It establishes what is valued by people, where these values are located, when in time they are relevant and to whom, and which places, features or areas are particularly significant compared to others. CSAs support MSP in that they make cultural values spatially explicit, enabling them to be considered in decision-making.
Significance in this context is no absolute measure, but intimately linked to the cultural connection of a community to a given area, place or activity. CSAs must therefore be identified in a participative process based on locally relevant classifications and assessments, bearing in mind there may be issues of scale (e.g. national significance vs. local significance).
Baltspace took the first steps towards identifying CSAs, namely a baseline assessment to determine the range (type) and spatial (and temporal) extent of cultural values in the area concerned. This can be done by referring to existing information (such as designated heritage sites), but should ideally also involve the local community and communities of interest to ask for their specific views. Mapping is an essential part of the baseline survey, although this is subject to various constraints. Baltspace used a case study area in Sweden to determine the range and spatial extent of perceived cultural values within a local community.
The training module describes CSA and the application of the concept in the project: