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Several studies and international conventions highlight the importance of public participation in the process of strategy building. In spite of all these initiatives, public participation methods are not common tools in the practice (especially in Central-Eastern-Europe). In the frames of our research, we applied the ppGIS (Public Participation GIS) method, a special, mostly new tool in Hungary, in order to bridge the gap between the scientific world and local citizens. The method combines community based mapping with GIS techniques. It aims to foster the integration of the public into the process of evaluation, planning, and decision making using GIS technology. Our former research project justified the significance of this method, especially in mapping cultural ecosystem services, since these cases are the most important to local knowledge.

We applied the ppGIS method in micro-region of Vác, situated in Budapest Metropolitan Region. Five cultural ecosystem services were chosen based on former scientific literatures (these are the most commonly used cultural ecosystem services, since these describe the social-cultural background of a place, region): aesthetic value, recreational value, spiritual value, cultural and historic value, and educational value. The survey was carried out between 2017 and 2018 collecting 184 maps. The data was digitized and processed using GIS. The objectives were to define the level of local identity in this peri-urban region, and to analyze the relationship between the frequently used, visited areas and the location of the most important cultural landscape elements for the locals.

We had the following research questions:

  • Which landscape elements, settlements, regions are marked mostly with local significance? What are the causes for regional disparities?
  • Do the commuting or travel routes influence the significance of landscape values for the society?
  • Is there any correlation between hiking trails, cycling routes and the location of marked landscape elements?

Our results show that most of the regionally known values are in the administrative and historic center of the micro-region, but some settlement-groups may have their own local identity, as the level of appreciation differs when we analyze the separate watersheds within the micro-region. It turned out that there is a correlation between bike routes and cultural ecosystem services in the region. The hiking routes are crossing the area where the most values were marked by locals outside of town centers or villages. In spite of high road density and the huge number of commuting residents, the most important daily routes did not always influence priorities locally.



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