This course seeks to give the student insight into how to use critical theoretical concepts to inform and guide a landscape architectural and planning practice that is capable of wedding perspectives taken from the social and natural sciences and the humanities. The course examines this practice on three inter-linked levels, that of the region, that of the urban district and that of the local environment from a multiplegenerational/cultural perspective. In concentrating on the relation between working concepts and practice, the course also seeks to provide the historical and philosophical background that is necessary to grasp the use of concepts that are not fixed and finished, but living and contested tools that enable the conception of new approaches to the planning practice of landscape architects and planners from other disciplines. An important aspect of the course is the insight that society and its landscapes are not uniform, but are made of multiple cultures ranging from those of differing generations to different classes and ethnicities. A focus of the course is thus upon the landscapes of childhood and youth.
The course combines group discussion of central theoretical texts with field study of key up-to-date examples of landscape architectural and planning practice. The emphasis will be on fundamental working concepts that linked to the concept of landscape, such space, place, region and nature. These concepts will be treated in the context of the actual planning practice of landscape architects, and planners from other disciplines, within public and private agencies, as expressed at the level of a region, the urban district and that of the local environment (for example a courtyard or local park).
The course’s goal is that the participants shall have attained:
• insight into use of key theoretical concepts.
• learn historical background for key concepts.
• learn to wed perspectives taken from the social and natural sciences and the humanities.
• learn to work at the region, the city and the local level.
• develop the interface between working concepts and practice.
This course is concerned with concepts such as place, space, nature, landscape, childhood, time, environment, region and representation that are key to rural, urban and heritage planning, as well as landscape design. Success as a student depends on the ability to be able to make key concepts speak to the particular subject or problem that the student is interested in exploring. This means learning to think about concepts not as something to be memorized, but as flexible tools for thought and creative work. It is good to learn to make use of the fact that concepts don't have a single meaning, but are sites of conflict, with different interests seeking to define them in their own way. Take a look, for example, at the definition of landscape to be found in a standard dictionary, such as the Merriam-Webster. Landscape can mean a scenic backdrop, which can be designed and used like the scenery of a play in the theater. Landscape, however, can also be an arena of activity. In this case it is less something that you look at passively, but something that you participate in actively. How you think about landscape can have a big effect on the way you plan, design and manage "landscape." Since any discussion of concepts can easily become too abstract, we will focus on a concrete example, the landscape of "Ørestaden" or the "Öresund region."
Course Leader: Kenneth Olwig, Professor, Co-Leader Maria Kylin, Associate Professor
Location: SLU in Malmö/Alnarp
Time: 26/3-1/6 2011.