Coming: Fall 2023

As designers, we strive to make, to shape, and to depict beautiful things, places, and environments. Yet while beauty is central to our praxis, it is neither objective nor universal, and defining it is not an easy task. Beauty can be appreciated visually or intellectually: it takes on different forms and has different meanings in different cultures and contexts. What, then, do we mean when we describe something as beautiful? Or, perhaps more interestingly, how do definitions of beauty designate that which is not? Issue 18 of LA+ will examine the concept of beauty as it relates to landscape architecture and the constructed environment. What is a “beautiful” landscape today? Is there such a thing as “natural beauty”? Why do humans across the cultural spectrum concern themselves so much with the beautification of themselves, their objects, and their surroundings? Is beautification benevolent or nefarious? Is there value—economic or otherwise—in beauty, and whose interests do ideals of beauty serve? In the end, why does beauty matter at all?

LA+ BEAUTY invites contributors from across a diverse temporal, ideological, and disciplinary spectrum to reflect on the question of beauty. The issue does not aspire to arrive at any singular definition of beauty, rather, it seeks to challenge us with alternative views through deep and critical reflection. LA+ BEAUTY is guest-edited by Colin Curley.

Email abstract and short bio to laplus@design.upenn.edu by 28 February 2022. More information on submissions can be found here.

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