Aesthetic sustainability

Last changed: 13 December 2022

An exploratory project that, in an interaction between practice and academia, investigates the concept of 'aesthetic sustainability' to understand how it could enrich the sustainability debate and ultimately create more sustainable environments.

Aesthetics is crucial to understanding and addressing sustainability-related challenges, but it has a precarious and ambivalent role in landscape architecture.

Aesthetic values are usually considered luxury problems in comparison to urgent global challenges such as climate change and loss of biodiversity. This leads to questions regarding design and quality of experience being left behind in relation to questions regarding ecological, economic and social aspects of sustainability.

In 2018, however, the Swedish Parliament introduced a new architecture and design policy where architecture, form and design are seen as means to create a sustainable, equal and less segregated society. 

Architecture, form and design must contribute to a sustainable, equal and less segregated society with carefully designed living environments, where everyone is given good conditions to influence the development of the shared environment. (Prop. 2017/18:110:17)

Aesthetics, art and culture are strongly intertwined, therefore UNESCO's and the World Bank's (2021) report on the importance of culture for urban development, is highly relevant in this context. The report describes an untapped potential in cultural expressions and contexts to create sustainable environments.

We are interested in a discourse based on the intrinsic value of aesthetics, where we investigate how aesthetics can contribute to promoting a sustainable development.


Project leader

Vera Vicenzotti, Associate Professor, Senior Lecturer, Division of Landscape Architecture, SLU, +4618671928
Read more about Vera Vicenzotti on her CV page
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Assistant project leader

Sofia Sandqvist, Senior Lecturer, Division of Landscape Architecture, SLU, +4618673456, +46730870215
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Project participants

Anton Bergman, strategisk samhällsplanerare, avdelningen strategisk planering, Uppsala kommun

Mathias Holmberg, utvecklingsledare, hållbarhetsavdelningen, Uppsala kommun

Karin Lekberg, kulturstrateg, Landskapslaget

Anders Mårsén, landskapsarkitekt, Landskapslaget

Ebba Sääw, projektutvecklingschef, NordR

Project time


External funding