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Landscape and Agency

Landscape and Agency

Wall, Ed and Waterman, Tim (eds.) (2017) Landscape and Agency. Routledge, Abingdon and New York. ISBN 978-1138125575 (In Press)

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This book explores how landscape, as an idea, a visual medium and a design practice, is organized, appropriated and framed in the transformation of global cities and environments. The authors question landscapes which reinforce economic and social hierarchies of inequality, such as those which facilitate the reimaging of architectural projects, accelerate gentrification or undermine environmental literacy. Landscape and Agency explores how the development of thought and practice will fundamentally change our engagement with future landscapes which can be thought and practiced differently.

Though the twentieth century saw the development of fatefully destructive practices, technologies, and ideologies, there was also a powerful movement in thought based in more ecological models of thinking from American pragmatism to Henri Lefebvre’s conception of landscape as oeuvre. J.B. Jackson, one of landscape’s great twentieth century thinkers, describes in Discovering the Vernacular Landscape that the term ‘landscape’ was taken in the 10th Century to refer to the ‘collective aspects of the environment’. Rather than the largely scenographic and painterly art it would later become, a ‘landscape’ was first understood as something produced through social and technical changes to the land, the manipulation of the valley basins, coastal shores, rivers and wetlands to provide sustenance, shelter and defence. The transformations of cities and territories can be argued to both accommodate and result from the global production and circulation of commodities, finance and technologies. But the physical reframing and reconfiguration of lived and material landscapes remains central to these globalized processes. Simultaneously, as responding to green concerns has become essential to governments and corporations landscape has acquired an elevated role in the expansion, regeneration and redevelopment of urban spaces, as evidenced by discourses such as those focused upon green infrastructure and ecosystem services. Landscape has been brought to the fore as a medium through which strategies of growth and accumulation can be pursued or accommodated.

Landscape and Agency discusses the development of contemporary landscape from the legacy of a picturesque visual medium to the disciplinary realignment proposed by landscape urbanism. The book is concerned with the many ways in which the relationship between, on the one hand, the ideas and practices of landscape, and, on the other, social and subjective formations and material processes are invested with agency. It critically examines the role of landscape in uneven processes of contemporary urban development, environmental debate and political agendas and asks how these relationships can be analysed and rethought through the dialectics of theory and practice.

Item Type: Edited Book
Uncontrolled Keywords: Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Agency, Ecology, Politics, Cities, Design
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of Architecture & Landscape
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Last Modified: 05 Jul 2017 14:48
Selected for GREAT 2016: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None

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