Designing for spatial justice: repurposing Armenia’s post-Soviet rural-urban region
This study assesses landscape changes in rural Armenia in the 30 years since the formation of the independent republic following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The research applies spatial justice theory to interpret these changes and implement the future development of a democratic landscape design process that can increase spatial justice. The Ashtarak Watershed is focused on as a case study of an Armenian Rural-Urban Region. The work starts with the European Landscape Convention (ELC) and its implementation in Armenia. It defines landscape in the local context, surveys the historical layers of landscape development, and frames spatial justice theory from the global to local scale to define spatial injustice symptoms and apply them to the case study area. Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) is used to record and analyze the physical and cultural landscape as a basis for scenario development. The LCA process proposes agriculture, energy, tourism, and urbanization as the main drivers of future growth in the region. Three scenarios for future development were crafted for each driver and introduced to landscape connoisseurs via semi-structured interviews to gather tacit knowledge and produce a final aggregate scenario. The final scenario was formed by landscape democracy and ecological systems thinking theories to design for spatial justice. In conclusion, this study identifies prevalent spatial injustice symptoms in the landscape and offers policy recommendations to alleviate them.