This article offers a constructive critique of landscape urbanism by identifying and discussing key conceptions of landscape circulating as part of this discourse. After giving an overview of the discourse and arguing the case for a theoretical critique of landscape urbanism, the article identifies three prominent usages of landscape as a concept. These are landscape as building block, as medium, and as imaginary. The article’s main section discusses the problems that arise when landscape urbanists are unaware of the tensions created by the multiple meanings of landscape, and it challenges the implied notion that landscape is an uncontested, unifying model or medium. An exploration of the implications of a naturalized notion of landscape argues that such a conception promotes reductionist approaches to landscape and is based on an ill-defined conception of ecology, while also supporting the trend towards de-politicization and neglecting the aesthetic dimension of landscape. The article concludes on a constructive note by presenting two strands of research in landscape theory that could serve as a starting point for advancing a theory of landscape urbanism.


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pp. 75-86
Launched on MUSE
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