Intelligent Landscape Conference

Intelligent Landscape Conference, call it magic!

Between the 9th and the 11th of November 2023, Materahub flew to the Balaton Uplands for the Intelligent Landscape Conference: here is our report.

Image above by Edina Cseh

Between the 9th and the 11th of November, Sara and Angela from Materahub flew to the Balaton Uplands for a very special meeting.

Mid July, fairly hot in Matera.

Inbox. It is Laura from the KEK – the Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre, one of our well established partners. She invited us to Intelligent Landscape, one of the closing events of the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture programme.

Where the heck is Balaton,” exclaimed the colleague sitting next to me, “from the sound of the name, it is certainly somewhere much cooler than here”.

And in fact the Balaton Region is a freshwater rift lake in the Transdanubian region of Hungary, one of the ideals of “living the good life” in Hungarian culture: a region which, nonetheless, in recent decades has been invaded by mass tourism resulting in conflicts and tensions on the real estate market, or the impact of changing climates and lifestyles on the ecological landscape, traditional farming methods and practices and most importantly on communities.

And so November arrived and we (Sara and Angela) flew to Veszprém, in the Balaton Uplands, for the Intelligent Landscapes Conference.

What happened then is difficult to explain in words: a rich tapestry of possibilities, three days where architects, tourism experts and landscape designers discussed how to turn the high attractiveness of the region more sustainable for local economic development.

Intelligent Landscape Conference
Intelligent Landscape Conference - Photo by Edina Cseh

A key theme throughout the conference was the concept of “carrying capacity” concerning destinations. This concept was exemplified through a comparative analysis of Veszprém and Lake Balaton with Matera and Basilicata, featuring the perspectives of two Materahub project managers, Angela Dibenedetto, an expert in local development, and Sara Simeone, specializing in sustainable tourism.

Special attention was given to community spaces: open or closed, renovated buildings with new functions or new buildings designed to meet the needs of the new age. They are as much in demand today as they were in the past, just like the entrepreneurs who create and run these spaces for community activities.

We also shortly introduced some of the projects that deal with sustainable tourism and rural development, such as Open School Village Hosts and Grassroots Eco-Health Tourism.

As we bid farewell to Veszprém, the echoes of discussions for a more intelligent approach to our landscapes lingered, leaving an indelible mark in our vision for a more sustainable and harmonious future for our cultural and natural heritage.

Intelligent Landscape Conference
Intelligent Landscape Conference - Photo by Edina Cseh