Trial reflection on the specific role of landscape architecture

 

The process of understanding Nature makes further progress and research has reached civilization’s most distant places. The research methods used in natural science, especially the life sciences, serve to increasingly relativize the dividing line between humans and nature. As a discipline, landscape architecture has always, more than most, been concerned with the link between scientific and artistic practice and its role is to understand nature in all her complexity and to make our interactive embeddedness in nature visible.

 

What are the after-effects of events such as the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima or the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? To look at the global issues of the environment demands a level of sensitivity that transcends political borders and calls for ways to make joint action possible.


Sometimes familiar cultural landscapes are subject to irreversible changes. Now that the relationship between culture/technology and nature has become fragile, how will the profession continue to do justice to its task of reconciling them? The consequences of these developments require a new basic understanding of the sphere in which landscape architecture operates. Therefore, reaching agreement on the necessary research and teaching topics is worth the effort:


What value is attached to nature in societies whose value systems are continually altering?


Nature as an expression of yearning: how are perceptions of “Nature” changing? How close to Nature are we, how far alienated? What future-oriented aesthetic practices are needed? Are people waking up to the environment?


Nature as differentiated from the concept of culture: does this differentiation still make sense? What visions guide us when we seek to preserve and cherish natural and cultural landscapes?

 

Are trends towards a new understanding of landscape apparent?


What approaches to teaching exist to convey an understanding of nature to future generation of landscape architects and planners?