Cultural landscapes may be urban or rural, and they include parks, gardens, historic sites, agricultural landscapes, and ethnographic landscapes. Often, cultural landscapes are “protected” landscapes, recognized as World Heritage Sites, National Parks, National Heritage Areas, or bounded and designated in some other way. Other cultural landscapes may not be officially designated as such, but encompass landscapes reflective of a particular culture or interactions of several cultures and the patterns they have developed socially and on the land. Cultural landscapes are places with significance and meaning for those who create them, live in them, or experience them as visitors.

Cultural landscapes are now recognized nationally and internationally as a significant category of cultural resources, demanding specific theory, training, and practice for successful conservation and management. Cultural landscape management draws on a body of knowledge and skills developed in the fields of landscape architecture, planning, heritage conservation, historic preservation, public history, and anthropology over the last thirty years.