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CFA: 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 August 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).

For more information on the IIAA, please visit: http://www.helsinki.fi/iiaa/

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