Title

Towards a new infrastructure: Aesthetic thinking, synthetic sensibilities

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-3-2016

Abstract

What is the relevance of aesthetics and sensibility for infrastructure? Drawing on the ideas of Jacques Rancière, Susan Sontag, and Gregory Bateson, the historical example of Frederick Law Olmsted, and a number of contemporary case studies, this essay argues that the value of aesthetics and sensibility lies in their ability to conceive of and produce infrastructural projects that are an integrated, multifunctional part of the landscape, rather than something isolated from it. It is argued that such an understanding of infrastructure is increasingly important, as the interdependent social, environmental, economic, and political problems it is asked to tackle–for example, the issues associated with rising sea levels–cannot be solved using its traditional techniques of isolation and optimization. Rather, they demand the synthetic techniques and products produced by aesthetic practices such as landscape, architectural, and urban design.

Publication Name

Journal of Landscape Architecture

Volume Number

11

First Page

54

Last Page

65

Issue Number

2

DOI

10.1080/18626033.2016.1188574

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