Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mapping the web of landscape aesthetics: A critical study of theoretical perspectives in light of Environmental Sustainability
by Chang, Hyejung, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2009, 434; 3360621
Abstract (Summary)

The main idea of this dissertation lies in a critical study of existing theoretical positions of landscape aesthetics under the broad topic of “Environmental Sustainability.” Despite its intrinsically experiential and potentially aesthetic nature, landscape as aesthetic experience has been largely neglected as a subject matter because of its complex interdisciplinary nature and the conceptual deficiency that surrounds this topic. This recognition led to an attempt to articulate the theoretical premises, conceptual frameworks, methodological characteristics and implications of these positions as well as their relationships with one another through analysis, evaluation, and suggestion of alternatives.

The study intends to make a series of arguments to support the following propositions: (1) Aesthetic meanings and values of landscape can have a shared structure with other human beings in terms of their psychological, biological, and ecological well-being, (2) Landscape aesthetics integrates and intersects three modes of well-being: the evolutionary, the existential, and the holistic, and (3) Landscape aesthetics fosters our moral attitude toward environmental sustainability.

The strategic focus of the arguments is on underscoring the potential as well as the impediments of existing theories to contribute to an existential, holistic, and evolutionary view of aesthetics, liberated from a too narrow focus on anthropocentric values and moving toward re-discovering them in a new light that articulates human universals—a desire for eco-centric well-being in place—in our relationship to landscape as a paradigm for environmental sustainability.

The expected contribution to knowledge is (1) To establish a useful framework for conceptual thinking about landscape and its complex value system, (2) To identify criteria for sustainable cultural, ecological, and social qualities and values, and (3) To identify features and manifestations of an “aesthetic” landscape as a primary motivating force toward a “sustainable” landscape: beauty engendering duty.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tesar, Paul
School: North Carolina State University
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Landscape architecture
Keywords: Aesthetics, Design theory, Environmental ethics, Landscape aesthetics, Sense of place, Sustainability, Well-being
Publication Number: 3360621
ISBN: 9781109183429
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