Landscape, Imagination and Morality, Ian Thompson

This paper explores the agency of ‘landscape imaginaries’.  The notion of a landscape imaginary is related to the philosopher Charles Taylor’s use of the term ‘social imaginary’ to refer to ‘the way in which our contemporaries imagine the societies they inhabit and sustain’.   Imaginaries are not expressed in theoretical terms but are carried in images, stories and legends.  From the perspective of landscape architecture, one of the important things we need to do is to identify the imaginaries we have inherited from the past which continue to shape our landscapes and constrain our environmental choices today. Designers have a particular responsibility because not only do they make aesthetically and ethically loaded choices about how the world will be, but they can also reinforce and perpetuate harmful imaginaries or initiate new ones, hopefully less harmful.  To illustrate this the paper considers the influence, both for good and ill, of the pastoral-picturesque imaginary.

Ian Thompson, Newcastle University, UK

Harvard Citation Guide: Thompson, I. (2012) Landscape, Imagination and Morality, International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture, [blog] 23 May 2012, Available at: [Accessed: 01 June 2012].

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