top of page

Land heritage and
Thriving Rural Communities
across Europe

Rural places are home to communities who matter. These diverse communities have a right to survive, to thrive and to lead on the development of their places. They make a valuable contribution to wider society, in cultural, economic and environmental terms.

We are helping people to safeguard their cultural heritage and to use it for community and wider public benefit. We are aiding them as they develop their communities and empower themselves in decisions about the land and the local environment.


We are working with communities across Europe and with community associations, environmental NGOs, universities and public bodies. Much of our work focuses on promoting community empowerment, so that the people who live in a place take part in decisions about the land and its conservation, development and use. We are also promoting inherited land use practices and cultural knowledge, for their intrinsic worth and because of their contributions towards environmental and humanitarian goals. 



Community Empowerment & Landscape

This research was undertaken together with Community Land Scotland. In it, we looked at Scotland’s policies for landscape, natural heritage and the historic environment. We considered the extent to which people can take part in conservation decisions, and the impact of policies on people’s ability to develop their communities and places.

Read and hear about the research.

Dates: 2017-18


Community Empowerment & Landscape Decision-making

This network includes people from communities, NGOs, academics and public bodies. We are exploring cultures of decision-making in Scotland. This is to help empower people in sparsely-populated areas to sustain and grow their communities, conserve their environments and contribute towards a Just Transition to net zero. The network is coordinated by Inherit, Community Land Scotland and Newcastle and Edinburgh universities.

Find out more.

Dates: 2020-22


Inspiring Rural Heritage

This applied research aims to further the conservation and sustainable use of upland landscapes. We are exploring ‘living heritage’ and ‘protection through use’ approaches to conservation. Such approaches are led by local communities and institutions. Project partners are collaborating on case studies in the UK, Italy, France, Spain and Montenegro, and sharing the results at European level.

Dates: 2020-23


Negotiating Landscapes of Rights

Durham University's Negotiating Landscapes of Rights project is exploring the negotiation of rights around common resources, with case studies from around the world. We are contributing to this by looking at how land is important for the realisation of people's right to a cultural life. In particular, we are looking at land and cultural rights in Scotland. 

Visit Durham's project website.

Dates: 2020-21


Community Land Ownership & the Climate Emergency

Through this research for Community Land Scotland, we have documented how urban and rural community landowners are using their land, buildings and other assets to help address the climate emergency and to generate other community and public benefits. The research is part of CLS’ campaign to advocate land reform as a means of helping to deliver a fairer, greener and more sustainable Scotland.

Read the research and watch the film

Dates: 2020-21

bottom of page