Sustainable Management of Cultural Landscapes – a synergistic partnership


Since October 2017, Gaia Education has been a key active member of the Erasmus + funded strategic partnership, SUMCULA. Bringing together 13 partners from across academic institutions and public organisations in 10 European countries, the project set out to develop courses and didactic resources on sustainable management of cultural landscapes, regional development and cultural heritage, aimed at the Master’s level.

The project wished to address the need for better holistic integration of different core subjects such as natural conservation, cultural conservation, and urban and land-use planning, to name but a few. The overarching goal of SUMCULA is to establish a network of partners who have a shared understanding of the importance of sustainable and resilient landscape management, and who can collaborate for years to come.

Over the course of the project, the consortium of partners has worked together to create the following outputs.

Master’s programme

The project has created a guiding structure for a Masters programme, with a fully developed course to be launched by the University of Palermo. To support this, the other academic project partners will offer guidance, lecturing capacities, and also elective courses. In tandem, SUMCULA’s public organisation partners will act as important assets for field-based course activities, internship opportunities, and as large scale laboratories for education and research, as well as opportunities for mid-career courses and different forms of continuing education.

Case studies

The case studies developed by the project amount to around 100, and exemplify the breadth and cross-disciplinary nature of landscape studies. They represent problems, questions, methods, theories, practical experiences, and possible models and solutions, and originate from throughout Europe. Ultimately, the case studies aim for a holistic approach. Together, the Master’s programme and the case studies form a knowledge bank, in the shape of the SUMCULA book, which will be updated over time.

Landscape management software

The knowledge bank also hosts the landscape management web-based software, which supports local and regional landscape development and planning. This software includes publicly available Geographic Information System (GIS) layers, which can be used largely in fieldwork.

The materials developed by the project are available through the European Ecocycles Society online platform, reaching wider audiences beyond academia.