Creating a landscape proposition

A landscape proposition is an early stage action-oriented document of the landscape restoration process. It is a concise report developed from activities with landscape partners and key stakeholders, such as partnership building, stakeholder alignment, identification of restoration opportunities, activities to improve shared understanding
and the co-creation of a landscape vision. It collates essential information on the landscape and restoration goals, and, based on the landscape vision, sets out steps to develop a more detailed landscape plan at a later stage. The proposition is context-specific and can benefit from the processes for strategic planning as described in the Guidebook chapter ‘Foundations of strategic planning’. The right moment to develop a landscape proposition depends on context; it could be in a first design cycle, or after a few revisions.

Key uses of the Landscape Proposition

The landscape proposition includes a roadmap for developing a landscape plan and identifies what funds are needed and avail¬able. So, it can be used to:

  • Communicate restoration ideas to wider stakeholders, investors and policymakers to create 4 Returns impact in a landscape
  • Mobilise resources needed for the next development phase – mainly creating a stakeholder-owned landscape plan.
  • Inform an agreement between partners on the coordinated actions needed to create a landscape plan
  • Mobilise more stakeholders to support or join the landscape restoration process
  • Suggest short-term actions (one-to-two years) to develop a landscape plan that delivers a broadly shared landscape vision

Important considerations

  • The proposition is often written from the perspective of a limited number of key landscape partners and more stakeholders are likely to become involved over time.
  • Early actions can be included in the proposition, but activities might need adjusting as more stakeholders join the planning process.
  • Similarly, any emerging vision for the landscape should be broad at this stage so that more inclusive goals can be set later during the multistakeholder process.
  • Funding to develop a landscape proposition also should be flexible to allow for changes as both the vision and proposition become enriched by new stakeholders
  • The proposition does not replace the landscape plan but is a useful basis for creating one.

How does a proposition feed into a Landscape Plan?

Remember, a landscape proposition includes a roadmap for developing a landscape plan and identifies what funds are needed and available. So, the proposition precedes but does not take the place of a more detailed plan. A 4 Returns landscape plan is a document that sets out your restoration activities aligned with the landscape vision. It builds on the landscape proposition and defines activities, targets, budget and finance sources over the long term. It is important to take time developing a landscape plan to ensure that it is co-created and agreed upon with stakeholders, with roles and responsibilities assigned. Developing a 4 Returns landscape plan from scratch can take between one and three years.

Referencing this tool: Commonland, Wetlands International, Landscape Finance Lab (2024), Landscape Proposition (Commonland)

Illustration: Janina Engel, engel.studio

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