MiLAND - The impact of migration on landscape identity in an urban and a rural context

The interactions between people and their surroundings play an important role in the construction of their identities. We know the landscape we live in, we interact with it daily and in doing so, we make it our home. Feeling at home in our surroundings plays an important role in our quality of life. People sometimes struggle severely with being displaced when for example peoples’ landscape is being turned into a nature area or when people have to flee their home due to war. Even when people voluntarily migrate, it often proves a struggle to settle in their new surroundings. The places in which people have lived previously, shape how they are connected to the landscape they live in. Migrants for example often value features in the landscape which remind them of their home. Also, people's cultural background and values shared with the local community have an impact on how they perceive and value their surroundings. Major differences between how migrants and natives view their landscape can contribute to segregation. This research will, therefore, address these issues, investigating differences in how migrants and natives identify with the local landscape and trying to uncover underlying factors that influence the effects of migration on people's landscape identity. This research project is divided into four different phases: participatory landscape character assessment, focus groups, surveys, and in-depth interviews. These steps will be applied in rural and urban areas in both Belgium and Portugal to understand the processes of landscape identity formation across different contexts. This project is funded by the FWO and is carried out in collaboration with the University of Lisbon and the University of Évora (Portugal).

Research units

Staff members


  • University of Lisbon (Portugal)

  • University of Évora (Portugal)