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MODSCAPES is a collaborative research project funded under the HERA JRP III (Humanities in the European Research Area – Joint Research Programme) 2015 call dedicated to “Uses of the Past”.

MODSCAPES deals with rural landscapes produced by large-scale agricultural development and colonization schemes planned in the 20th century throughout Europe and beyond. Conceived in different political and ideological contexts, such schemes were pivotal to nation-building and state-building policies, and to the modernization of the countryside. They provided a testing ground for the ideas and tools of environmental and social scientists, architects, engineers, planners, landscape architects and artists, which converged around a shared challenge. Their implementation produced new rural landscapes which have seldom been considered as a transnational research topic. Hence, MODSCAPES aims to raise awareness around this largely underestimated shared cultural heritage which stands today as a tangible evidence of recent European history.

MODSCAPES is carried out by a team gathering expertise in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, planning, art history and anthropology. It is led by five experienced individual investigators, with the support of four associated partners of international relevance in their specific areas of activities. modscapes combines research-driven and bottom-up participatory activities based on the collection, treatment, elaboration, and critical discussion of visual data and multiple narratives regarding 10 case studies located in 7 UE- and 3 non-UE neighboring countries. Introducing the concept of landscape as a unifying paradigm for a trans-disciplinary approach to the topic’s tangible (the built environment) and intangible legacies (the related cultural and sociopolitical contexts), this project aims to establish its European relevance, but also to bridge research, practice and policies. Hence, it aspires to test its outcomes against the current challenges faced by modern rural landscapes as a resource for future “reflective societies” and “inclusive environments”. modscapes’ various deliverables and activities engage and target diversified audiences to enable a better understanding of the common patterns and rich diversities which shaped our national identities and may help to support shared European narratives.

Expected duration (provisional): September 30th 2016 – September 30th 2019
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