[ Summary ]
Evaluating the environmental competitiveness of an area
How can an area’s environmental competitiveness be evaluated? In
other words, how is it possible to evaluate the ability of local
players to preserve, develop and enhance their environment, not
only economically but also socially, culturally and aesthetically?
As we have seen, the player/environment relationship is at the
heart of this issue. In such a complex issue as this, some aspects
are tangible, such as the way in which men and women treat the
environment in their everyday lives, on farms, in business, etc.
And then there aspects that are less immediately tangible
underlying them, more difficult to change in the long term, i.e.
the rules of the game and the deeply ingrained values that underpin
people’s habits and behaviour.
Evaluating an area’s environmental competitiveness therefore means
peeling away these various layers of the player/environment
relationship in order to understand how they interact, starting
with the most tangible aspects before proceeding to the more deep-
rooted, but in the long term more decisive, issues. This calls for
four stages of analysis:
- The first stage is an inventory of the existing situation,
seen from the angle of the potential and limitations of what is
possible and tolerable in the relationship between players and
- The second stage corresponds to the actual physical
relationship between players and the environment, i.e. systems of
exploitation and utilisation practices.
- The third stage involves striving to ascertain which rules
govern the terms of the relationship, in particular ownership
rights, rights of use, etc.
- Finally the fourth stage represents the values underpinning
the players’ practices and behaviour towards the environment.
These four stages of analysis and their interactions can be applied
to each of the various components of the area’s capital involved in
the player/environment relationship. Four of the eight territorial
capital components described in
Part 1 are of particular relevance:
- human resources, i.e. the local players themselves;
- physical resources, i.e. everything to do with the
- the landscape, not only in terms of the spatial planning of
the area’s physical resources but also as an embodiment of the
concrete and real-life image of the area and its environment;
- external relations and markets as a form of relationship
between the local environment and players from outside the area
(new consumer demands, global environmental concerns, etc.).