The book is organized in three major sections. Part one, titled Landscapes of Struggle, Possibility, and Prosperity, includes a chapter on new axioms for reading the landscape followed by two chapters that read processes of economic development and distress in mountain landscapes of the U.S. and South America. Part Two on Political and Economic Driving Forces of Landscape Change includes two chapters each on political driving forces (political constructs and institutions) and economic driving forces (environmental economics and global financial markets). Part Three, titled Integrative Landscape Change compares innovative rural landscape policies in Europe and the U.S., and draws implications for future landscape inquiry, planning, and design.
The authors argue that new, fertile forms of interaction between people and space are now happening in what they call the ‘intermediate space’, at the border of “urban normality” and those parts of a city where citizens experiment with unconventional social practices. This new interaction engenders a collective conscience, giving a new and productive vigor to the actions of individuals and also their relations with their environment.
These new relations emerge only after we abandon what is called the “therapeutic illusion of space”, which still exists today, and which binds in a deterministic manner the quality of civitas, the associative life of people in the city, to the quality of urban space. Projects for the city should, instead, have as their keystone the notion of social action as a return to a critical perspective, to a courageous acceptance of social responsibility, at the same time as seeking the generative structures of urban life in which civitas and urbs again acknowledge each other.
This book will be of interest to planners and environmental designers, as well as scholars in both landscape studies and social science and planning fields who are interested in the sustainable development of coastal areas. The case studies and associated planning and design strategies, together with the bibliography of selected relevant literature, will provide an invaluable reference for these scholars.