Sustainable landscape use and aesthetic perception-preliminary reflections on future landscape aesthetics

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In this paper, a conceptual framework is described for a better understanding of future landscapes as aesthetical objects. The paper is divided in four parts. In the first part, the poor aesthetic reality of today's landscapes is described and the consequences for aesthetic perception are explained. In the second part, a more sustainable use of landscape is discussed as developmental necessity for the next decades, and some aesthetic aspects of such a development are examined. In the third part, human aesthetic perception is described as a basic cognition process, differentiating between four major levels of knowledge or of sense (perception, expression, symptomatic information, and symbolic meaning). In the last part, all aspects of the first three parts are used to determine basic aesthetic categories of future landscapes. As the most relevant aesthetic categories are identified: the beautiful, the (new) sublime, the interesting, and the plain. Finally an attempt is made to derive from these categories the most important aesthetic prototypes of tomorrow's landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-237
Number of pages15
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 25 May 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Aesthetic perception
  • Beauty
  • Landscape
  • Landscape aesthetics
  • Sustainability


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