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Sustainable City Life. Exploring Aesthetic Values in Urban Settings

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The XIth IIAA International Summer Conference on Environmental Aesthetics.
Lahti, Finland, 6.8.–8.8.2015

The International Institute of Applied Aesthetics (IIAA) will arrange
the XIth IIAA Summer Conference on Environmental Aesthetics in Lahti,
Finland, 6.8.–8.8.2015. The theme of the conference is “Sustainable
City Life. Exploring Aesthetic Values in Urban Settings “.

Urbanization is one of the major trends of the contemporary world
posing problems in need of urgent solutions. Especially questions of
sustainability have been in the forefront. However, it is important to
note that sustainability does not merely encompass ecological and
environmental considerations. It is equally important to take social
and cultural factors into account when forming a view on what makes
urban life sustainable. As an increasing number of the world’s
population live in cities, solutions of urban planning and urban life
that contribute to a more sustainable life can have a major impact
globally.

Aesthetic considerations form undeniably one of the important aspects
of urban experience – aesthetically satisfying environments, for
example, increase human well-being. But what could the role of
aesthetics be in attempts to create a more sustainable urban life?
Some aesthetic decisions in an urban context can, for example, lead to
an excessive use of natural resources and, thus, be in conflict with
the goal of sustainability.

However, it is possible to look at the relationship of aesthetic
considerations and sustainability from another angle. Innovative
environmental art can be a powerful means to improve people’s
ecological awareness, thus forming one platform where ecology and
aesthetics meet. The preservation of cultural heritage in an urban
setting central to the issue of cultural sustainability has an
aesthetic aspect to it as well. The issue of the cultural
sustainability of landscapes has also received growing interest.
Moreover, the important role of aesthetics in urban well-being is hard
to deny. The ultimate contribution that environmental aesthetics can
have on the issue of urban sustainability, however, demands much more
reflection.

We invite researchers from different fields of the humanities, social
and environmental sciences to discuss these questions. People
interested in exploring them are asked to send an abstract of 400
words to iiaa-info@helsinki.fi by the 28th of February 2015. The time
allotted to each paper is 40 minutes (30 minutes for presentation and
10 minutes for discussion).

Keynote Speakers

To be confirmed.

Conference fee: 100€ and 50€ graduate students.
Contact person: Kalle Puolakka (kalle.puolakka[at]helsinki.fi).