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Explanations for what makes one landscape scene preferred over another – formalistic, cultural and ecological – continue to be generated by landscape architects and land managers, philosophers and psychologists. This is needed for planning in the countryside and the protection of natural scenery, yet agreement still eludes us.
Landscape Appreciation does not favour any particular theory, but critiques the many theories seen over the last half-century. It informs readers of the main lines of argument so that they can make up their own minds.
Part one, on post-war aesthetics, examines ideas about the unconscious, holism, overarching 'metanarratives', and the search for objectivity. Part two describes the consequences on the 'cultural turn' in that period, giving rise to new theories taking the human as reference. Cultural geography, cultural landscapes, changes in methods of assessment and some new ideas on landscape design are set in this context. Ecocentrism proposed a very different approach. The final part looks into the philosophical input, expanding upon 'environmental aesthetics'. It concludes with a more down-to-earth analysis of 'satisfactions' from immediate formal qualities, the sublime, meanings, and beauty.
The balanced, didactic approach taken will make this a standard text for all those in teaching and in landscape practice.
Dr David Jacques is a landscape historian and conservationist. He was influenced by the environmental movement of the early 1970s, and became committed to exploring the right relationship between people and the land, giving him an abiding interest in the history and theory of landscape. He has since written several books and numerous articles on garden and landscape history, for which he is perhaps best known. His first foray into landscape appreciation was in 1980 when he criticised the landscape-evaluation methods of the day, and his views on the topic developed when working on landscape-planning and highway-alignment projects, and also when inspector of parks and gardens for English Heritage. In the early 1990s he was central to the campaign to revise UNESCO's criteria for world-heritage sites to allow recognition of cultural landscapes, and in the 2010s has several times assisted the International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in its advice over nominations for them.