“Considerations in Urban Aesthetics: Planning, Mobilities, and Everyday Life.”

May 31, 2017 - June 2, 2017
Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, University of Helsinki


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  • Aalto University

Keynote speakers:

Michael Gunder
University of Auckland
Tim Schwanen
University of Oxford


Arto Haapala
University of Helsinki
Raine Mäntysalo
Aalto University
Raine Vasquez
University of Helsinki
Vesa Vihaaninjoki
University of Helsinki

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Call for Papers

(Extended deadline: February 15th, 2017)

“Considerations in Urban Aesthetics: Planning, Mobilities, and Everyday Life.” 

The XIIth IIAA International Summer Conference on Environmental Aesthetics in Collaboration with the Department of Built Environment, Aalto University

Lahti, Finland 31.5.–1.6.2017 and

Helsinki, Finland 2.6.2017

The International Institute of Applied Aesthetics’ (IIAA) XIIth IIAA Summer Conference on Environmental Aesthetics will be organized in both Lahti and Helsinki, Finland. The conference will begin in Lahti on 31.5.–1.6.2017, and conclude at Aalto University in Helsinki, on 2.6.2017. The theme of the conference is “Considerations in Urban Aesthetics: Planning, Mobilities, and Everyday Life.“

Aesthetic considerations constitute one of the important aspects of urban experience, with aesthetics likewise playing a major role within urban planning. Our routes of commuting, for example, span across different units of the environment and include a variety of aesthetic experiences: an apartment, a building, the neighborhood block, the city district, the whole city. These different zones affect habituation processes and function as a setting with which we engage and disengage within the fluctuating spatio-temporal rhythms of the everyday. It is paradoxical, therefore, that even though the relevance of aesthetic considerations both in planning processes and in the experience of built environments is undeniable, the nature of the aesthetic and aesthetic experience is only seldom, if ever, analyzed explicitly in regards to Urban Planning.

However, these issues concerning the urban environment are so complicated and multifaceted that an interdisciplinary approach may be needed to grasp them. Can we bring together expertise in philosophical aesthetics, architectural theory, and planning theory to develop the conceptual tools needed to better understand the relevance and role of aesthetic values both in the complicated planning processes of urban environments and in the everyday lives of urban citizens? What, for instance, is:

  • the role of aesthetic values in appreciating urban environments?
  • the role of aesthetics in the confrontation between consensus-based and pluralism-based theories of urban planning? 
  • the aesthetic preconditions of achieving a consensus?
  • the aesthetic assumptions both in planning processes and in people’s judgments of the results of proposed plans? 

To discuss these and related themes, we enthusiastically invite researchers interested in exploring the topic to send an abstract of 400 words to raine.vasquez(at)gmail.com or to iiaa-info(at)helsinki.fi by the 15th of February 2017. The time allotted to each paper is 40 minutes (30 minutes for presentation, 10 minutes for discussion).

Keynote Speakers: Michael Gunder (University of Auckland)

Tim Schwanen (University of Oxford)

Conference fee: 100€ and 50€ graduate students 

Contact person: Raine Vasquez, raine.vasquez(at)gmail.com

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