3 Historical materialist approach

It might be argued that defining accessibility affects how specific landscape reflects to us; how it looks, and which kind of functions it creates. Landscape lost its neutrality when it became a strategic concept in city planning together with the renovation of historical city neighborhoods and preservation of historic buildings in the 1970s (Wohlleben, 2008), when cultural industry developed within the planning of cultural economy. At that time the neo-liberal values started to dominate in economy. They were oriented to public-private partnerships and entertainment industry (Rofe, 2004; Julier, 2005*; Walker, 2007). In the literature of critical geography the works of Harvey (1990*); Lash and Urry (1994); Massey (1995*) consider accessibility to have a great influence. Harvey (1990) emphasizes, for example, cultural and ideological restructuring, which has caused the production and marketing of images and the movement from the production of goods to the production of services. The increasing significance of reflexive subjectivity has caused reflexive modernization and affected not only the subjects, but also the objects involved in mobility. The issues of power and inequality are explicitly addressed by Massey (1995), who argues, that the mobility and control of some groups can actively weaken other people. The time-compression of some groups can undermine the power of others (quoted in Eade, 1997*). Jacobs and Fincher (1998*) have made criticism towards the right to use space, concentrating on the topics of housing, suburbia, the inner city, ghettos, gentrification, social polarization and urban social movements. In the context of pastoral and rural environments, Olwig (2002) and Cosgrove (1984) have studied conflicts between the desire for rational explanation and organic biological wisdom, between city and pastoral, and between state and community (see also Bender, 1993*). Mitchell (2001*) has explored the ways in which contemporary public access to the countryside in England is being subverted by vested interests and the ideological power of private property.

Property relations, led by discourses of institutionalized planning politics, are related with the contextual meaning of law. These are claimed to underpin and determine the values and motives, as well as the market structure (Adger and Luttrell, 2000*; Liebcap, 2009*). Discursive or symbolical aspects could be seen as strategic tools for the support or resistance of landscape accessibility. Discourses become more powerful when they are supported and opened by the institutional planning politics and understood and acknowledged in the wider sociality (see Delaney et al., 2001*). Private property enables policies on housing (see the case study of Iran in Keivani et al., 2008). For example, Gülöksüz (2002) has studied the relationship between state law and property-based social relations unfolding in the process of the formation of private property in urban land. The socio-spatial impacts of property-led redevelopment on China’s urban neighborhoods in the context of changed everyday value have been studied by He and Wu (2006).

In another case study, the law of footpaths, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic has been interpreted as a positive consequence of interaction on a community level, for example in reducing reliance on motorized transport, where rural context defines access to the countryside as providing mobility networks for local residents (Morris et al., 2009). Mitchell (2001*) has studied the change of the legal structure of public space in American cities through the implication of anti-homeless laws. Gated communities are also claimed to be a strategy for the sense of community (Wilson-Doenges, 2000). Gated communities of post-communist Poland have been analyzed from the discursive linguistic and spatial perspectives by Gasior-Niemiec et al. (2009). For a good overview about the gated communities, their inner organization and grasping accessibility in the urban environment in Beijing (see Wu and Webber, 2006).

Besides material values the role of accessibility lies in the meaning of creation of social statuses, cultural capital, atmospheric feeling and collective memory (Moran, 2004; CzepczyƄski, 2008). Sennett (1986) has developed a sensory analysis of accessibility. He has pointed out the widening gap between the public and private experiences which affect how we relate to others in public spaces. Sennett has concentrated on the city and the senses by showing how the physical spatial order, social relations and the public imaginary of places are intricately linked by underlying sensor regimes. Contemporary urban regeneration projects often use sensuous power and ideologies, which work through a network of associations between the material and the social world in public space. Sensuous meanings are more dispersed and fluid, infiltrating the daily life of individuals in more complex and insidious ways (see Degen, 2008*, p. 55–56). About social exclusion from a phenomenological approach see also Bude (2006).

Social rights contain moral values and social expectations. For example, social expectations proved to be the predominant predictor of people’s willingness to follow the rules, which determine the people’s behavior evaluation and the perception of the respective behaviors. A collective self-obligation for example could increase the acceptance of rules and regulations to a greater extent (see Seeland et al., 2002*). Abrahamson (2004*) stresses that power relations and discourses of difference are directly connected to the contribution of the constitution of identities, which could cause social oppression and exclusion. For example, ‘crime-fear’ is analyzed as operative in the construction of providing a series of warrants for broader projects of alternative social ordering. Foucault’s term heterotopia is used in analyzing the security-parks, where a ‘rights of privilege’ might be linked up to discursive strategies (see for example the case study of gated communities in post-apartheid South-Africa in Hook and Vrdoljak, 2002). The threat of terrorism has been manipulated in the United States to achieve political results that reinforce the established power structure. It has limited the residents’ right to the city which is visible in the restriction on their use of public spaces (see Marcuse, 2006*).

Studies have also been made on the institutional implications of the racialized discourse, the racist expression of spatial location and the consequent marginalization of groups of people in the framework of producing urban peripheries, slums, segregated spaces and gentrification (see Goldberg, 2001). Oppression and exclusion goes back to the level of everyday practice and personal, subjective contribution to accessibility. On a higher level these everyday contested landscapes are connected to social terms like class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nation or race (Eade, 1997; Berking et al., 2006*). Those whose appearance is different in some manner may be singled out for scrutiny and may be denied entry and be subjects to diminished access to streets, sidewalks, squares and parks (Kirby, 2008*).

Specific attention is also paid to the textual, semiotic and symbolical meanings, where language, cultural, social and educational aspects are included in defining accessibility. For example, often just a renaming is a tool to redesign neighborhoods (Beauregard, 1993; Zukin, 1995), where a definite social group creates narratives to give a new meaning to the material environment and present them as everyday environments (Julier, 2005). Green planning has influenced the development of eco-villages, creating new milieus in the neighborhoods (Brand, 2007); or the concept of bohemianism through music stores and book stores has a special significance in the cultural and symbolic economy (Metzger, 2008*, p. 388). In creative industry, the most known milieu combination is the ‘creative milieu’ (Florida, 2008; Landry, 2008), where the importance of the creative social potential in planning is stressed. Aesthetic perceptions of landscapes also play an important role in the contextual meaning of accessibility. Landscape perception contains different values, as it is shown in the conflict of farmers and naturalists about biodiversity and socio-economic circumstances (see Natori and Chenoweth, 2008). Ryan (2006) has focused on studies about discourses of rural landscape presentation. He analyzes the valuation of rural landscape in suburbanization by planners, homebuilders and local citizens. One of his main arguments is that rural landscapes are under tremendous pressure from residential development as people are drawn to the scenic beauty, access to nature, and quieter lifestyle of rural living. Similar results appear also in an Estonian study by (Palang and Peil, 2010).

The discursive cultural dilemma of accessibility is, for example, connected to the topic of heritage. In cultural industry the historical building environment is a tool for creating nostalgic environments with the purpose to adapt old buildings to contemporary needs and to give them commercial appearance (Willis, 2005). The historical preservation of urban and rural landscapes has been studied from different perspectives and grappled with the question how to handle the commercial development, because the increase of tourists and the identification of the young generation have shown the possibility of sustainable development. At the same time commercialization changes the heritage environment itself by showing the conflict between preservation and contemporary practices (Wang and Lee, 2008). The tools for creating heritage environments are both material and narrative, such as building style, building material and design (Saleh, 2000; Ziller, 2004; Hasse, 2005; Manzo and Perkins, 2006). The main conflict has been between environmental and historic preservation projects and modern planning (Long, 2009). Old urban inner city neighborhoods have been profoundly influenced by the creation of touristy commercial environments (Shenjing and Fulong, 2007). At the same time, vernacular urban landscapes are often ignored by the urban municipalities, where the question of power and ideology remains, for whom and for which purposes the vernacular architecture becomes valuable as heritage (see Brumann, 2009).

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