In supporting a community to create a long-term vision of the sustainable future that they want, the Charter brings together economy and ecology, as well as the naming of tangible and intangible assets. Flourishing human economies depend on healthy local eco-systems. The Charter opens up the space for a conversation about how a community can step forward to steward its local eco-system and protect it from harm. Alongside that runs a process to map the local economy and ask questions about how broad-based it is, whether jobs are being created for local people, and how much local money goes to support local shops and services.
Natural spaces (streams, beaches, parks, woods etc), built infrastructure and buildings are seen as tangible assets. Our mapping process invites the naming of those assets, without which the community would be diminished. We also draw out intangible assets through community conversations. For instance, children may be seen as a tangible asset to a community, as well as schools. When we talk about the quality of those schools however, and their role in preparing the next generation to carry the culture of that place into the future, we are naming an intangible asset. Both kinds of asset contribute to the well-being of the community and are named in the Charter as worthy of protection.
"The local tangible and intangible assets are an inseparable ecological and socio-cultural fabric that sustains life, and which provides us with the solid foundations for building and celebrating our homes, families, community and legacy within a healthy, diverse, beautiful and safe natural environment. This is the basis of a true economy, one which returns to its root meaning (oikos - home, nomia - management)." Falikirk Community Charter
Humans have been shaped by their environments as much as they have shaped the natural world around them. The natural world has been the source of fuel, nutrition, and livelihood for people throughout history. Furthermore, our environment has served to shape our understandings and awareness of the world around us, including of course our cultural activity. Nature and culture have continuously informed each other and are tightly interwoven in humankind's cultural heritage.
In the Community Charter, we bring Nature and Culture together, inviting communities to name different tangible and intangible aspects as assets that collectively comprise their cultural heritage. The Chartering process is making history by making Cultural Heritage integral to the natural environment and a material consideration when any development is proposed in the territory that the community inhabits.
"'Cultural heritage' means a group of resources inherited from the past which people identify, independently of ownership, as a reflection and expression of their constantly evolving values, beliefs, knowledge and traditions, including all aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time.”
The Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society