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Towards an ’epistemology of invention’ for landscape architectural design Rossing, David William

Abstract

Most contemporary cultural landscapes are designed and constructed by way of fundamentally flawed epistemological underpinnings: the basic simplifications and separations of which are progressively and perilously at odds with the 'social nature' of both physical and meaning-full life. Thus one of the most significant problems facing design is epistemological — how operative logics are embedded in and perform through the material world, to shape experiences of the built environment. In a generalized sense, then, contemporary experience often becomes confused with too much disturbance, and we with our constructions often become predisposed to actions and attitudes of mastery through violence in relation to the world. This general condition — which has by now accumulated tremendous momentum — must be associated with both experiential and environmental crises. We must embrace transdisciplinary approaches through which we might better comprehend, contemplate, and more adeptly curtail this performing phenomenon. There is a contingent relationship between being a responsible designer and one's awareness of and respect for what mediates one's interventions. The arguments presented here suggest that the practice of Landscape Architecture (and related fields) must better scrutinize and mediate how knowledges are experienced and deployed through the design realm. Three main goals of this work follow: 1) Enunciate conditions and tendencies of everyday life manifest of this globally dominating phenomenon (this productive epistemology), and associate them with modes of authoring or design, method or style, perceived as more or less proper to the task. 2) Articulate or bring together the histories of both human and nonhuman actors as fully constitutive of our collective existence; 3) Tender propositions for an alternative 'epistemology of invention', which aims to redeem the hidden and oft-suppressed potentials of everyday life, b y mobilizing all our faculties proper to the task of more life-sensitive design.

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