Beauty between Space, Place, and Landscape: Recovering the Substantive and Normative Character of Beauty

Paolo Furia


Notions of space and place are often used interchangeably in everyday speech, but they are distinguished both conceptually and historically. When put in relation to space and place, beauty

reveals all its vitality and ties to socio-political issues, like: why do we consider a place beautiful and another place ugly? How do taste judgments about places influence planning, tourism, heritage policies, urban, and landscape architecture? I will develop my argument in four points. First, I will shortly pin down the main tenets of a concept of beauty that is inherently spatial, by rephrasing Roger Scruton’s insights on the beautiful and Ed Casey’s notion of ‘implacement’. Second, I will address the interconnection between the modern emergence of a quantitative and objectivist concept of space and a non-relational idea of beauty. Third, I will expose the relationship between the concept of place, idiographic and qualitative, and the emergence of a site-specific, phenomenologically based concept of beauty. In conclusion, I will show how non-relational conceptions of beauty risk to colonize aesthetic experience and I will take a stand for a relational conception of beauty against the risk of standardization of both landscape appreciation and planning.


Beauty; Place; Space; Landscape; Standardization

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ESPES. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics (ISSN 1339-1119) is published biannually by University of Presov, Slovakia and the Society for Aesthetics in Slovakia. Registration number of the journal in the Register of Periodical Publications of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic: EV173/23/EPP.

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