Main Article Content
Spatial planning, as stated in the 1983 Torremolinos Charter, should give a geographical expressionto the economic, social, cultural and ecological policies of society. As such, planning is animportant interdisciplinary action with which to shape the future of different communities andplaces. Spatial planning of today needs to take into account the current values of our society,which are expressed in many different documents and charters, both on international and nationallevel. One of such values is the understanding that development cannot happen at the expense ofhistory and culture. While the identification of valuable architecture in Estonia is relatively welldocumented, the same cannot be said about different cultural values present in landscapes. This isespecially evident in historic rural areas, where the architecture is but a small portion of whatmight make the area valuable. In many cases Estonian rural countryside still holds plan structureelements (e.g roads, the shape and size of the plots, placement of agricultural land in relation tothe farmyards) that can be traced back hundreds of years, thus playing an important role indetermining the character and milieu of the area. Unfortunately, since at the moment there is nocomprehensive overview on how to spot these elements, they are mostly left unnoticed. This isturn means that spatial planning and development carried out in the countryside mightunwittingly destroy important historic cultural layers. To bridge this evident gap in knowledge, thisarticle provides an example on how to use retrospective qualitative map analysis of historic mapsto determine how Estonian rural settlements have evolved and how their historic plan structureelements have survived into present day. The article summarises the types of historic maps thatare available in Estonia, giving overview of the reasoning behind their compilation and of theelements depicted. As a practical example this article uses the village of Hageri in Estonia to depictthe implementation of the method, pointing out how the different plan structure elements innowadays village have formed.