Sustainability and Beauty


10/08 issue of LAM, by Elizabeth Meyer:
"Contemporary theory and the practice of sustainable landscape design have little regard for the performance of appearance, particularly beauty."  Instead it's all about ecotechnologies like daylighting of streams.  "Sustainability has 3 legs, we are told:  ecology, social equity, and economy." HUH? (No aesthetics.)
Author will show that "immersive, aesthetic experience can lead to recognition, empathy, love, respect, and care for the environment." She believes a "concern for beauty and aesthetics is necessary for sustainable design if it is to have a significant cultural impact."

First, "every work of lA, whatever its scale, ought first of all be responsive to the whole range of interactive systems – soils and geology, climate and hydrology, vegetation and wildlife, and the human community." 

1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro Declaration on the Environment and Development contains 27 principles to guide sustainable development, and Principle 1 is "Human beings are at the center of sustainable development.  They are entitled to healthy and productive life in harmony with nature."

"Sustainability, as an ethic, is decidedly a middle-ground position between an egocentric and ecocentric worldview.  It straddles the human and nonhuman, attempting a hybridity that sees the interconnections between and across a homocentric and biocentric worldview."  Use ecotechnologies but also it should "be an aesthetic experience that changes people's environmental ethics.  And "from my perspective the latter is the most important reason to care about sustainable landscape design.  The apprehension and experience of beauty, especially new, challenging forms of beauty, can lead to attentiveness, empathy, love, respect, care, concern, and action on the part of those who visit and experience designed landscapes." "Not all change will or has to be based on education, guilt, or a sense of sacrifice.  "

Next: Architect Enzo Piano:

Wants an aesthetic of sustainability. 

Calls beauty an emotion.  Emotion of beauty is probably one of few big human emotions that can compete with the unfamous other, like power, money, victory, and fighting.

Known for cutting edge design that's also green.  Sustainable architecture.  Though super-successful, lives in modest home, has modest office, which he likes to be small enough that he knows all the employees by n ame.