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Urbanistica Cover n.137/2008

Dilemmas and divisions in the landscape culture. Disciplinary consequences

paesaggio, landscape, tools, pianificazione,
planning, strumenti

Pier Carlo Palermo

Do we live or do we contemplate landscape? Even if the dilemma comes from the Nineteenth Century, the question is today absolutely current. This is a radical alternative between two profoundly different ideas of landscape as shared living environment or as a distant picture, as in the conceptions of Goethe and Simmel. These ideas are not unchallenged, for example the living environment itself hints at a world with unitary and stable identity, granting a harmony among urban forms and genius loci, influencing coherent behaviours, or rather it hints at ongoing conditions, risking scattered transformations guided only by multiple and sometimes contrasting views. In this sense, we should recognize that there are two main families of interpreting landscape and that each family is divided into different perspectives. One can consider landscape as a set of unique places, or as the actual form of living conditions; one can select a shared view or an intertwined and confused sum of ordinary views. Can this variety of situations be governed by the same tools?

This article appears in issue 137 of Urbanistica (pag. 53).