Beautiful urban landscapes?

Contribution to the 7th Hessian Conference for Urban Development

Beautiful landscape is both an ideal and a problem. Judgements of beauty tend to be seen as purely subjective and arbitrary; they must therefore always withdraw from “objective” material interests. Beauty, however, alongside other criteria for the quality of the lived environment, plays a significant role in city and regional marketing. These questions were addressed at the 7th Hessian Conference for Urban Development, which was organized by the Hessian Urban Development Network (NetStH) in cooperation with the Schader Foundation on 8 October 2015 in Darmstadt. The conference aimed at fostering a dialogue between the disciplines of urban research and practice.
Using examples from planning practice, Martin Janotta, in his article ‘The Development of Urban Open Space – Can Beauty be Planned?’, shows that landscape aesthetics, at all levels of planning from regional planning to the concrete design of a park, presents a pertinent range of topics in landscape and environmental planning. He explains how each evaluation method is adapted to each respective level of scale, demonstrates how ecological and aesthetic interests can be made compatible, and makes clear that the early involvement of the relevant stakeholders in the planning process is crucial for the successful realisation of a project.