Defining Genius Loci and Qualifying Cultural Landscapes of the Minahasa Ethnic Community, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

PhD project by Cynthia Erlita Virgin Wuisang

Indonesia has a rich and diverse suite of bio-ecosystems, cultures and ethnic communities across the country. Increasing population growth and development in Indonesia have resulted in the disappearance of the natural landscape as well as the deterioration of distinct ethnic groups. In order to maintain their socio-cultural and environmental systems, the Indonesian government has attempted to protect and conserve the natural environment as well as culture in the national agenda. As each nation and each region has different environmental conditions and characteristics, overcoming this problem requires comprehension of the socio-cultural systems of society and the development of a holistic environmental-conservation strategy to assist the maintenance of ethno-ecological relationships with specific sites.

The aim of this research is to document and analyse the concept of genius loci as it relates to the land occupied by the ethnic groups of The Minahasa on Sulawesi in Indonesia. The research seeks to qualify the contribution of genius loci to better inform landscape and environmental planning systems in the region with the potential of implementation in Indonesia as a whole. The project will demonstrate the important role genius loci can have in shaping the identity of the local context and the region that presently hosts a multi-cultural and multi- religious society whilst seeking to determine the validity of genius loci as a component of cultural landscape systems.

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