Unfolding Middle Eastern Landscapes
Changing Forms, Evolving Tools, Transforming Meanings
Beirut, 31 May-2 June 2016
This conference aims to bring together landscape academics and professionals to reflect on the discourse of landscape in the Middle East. The organizers hope that speakers, contributors and participants will contribute to the environmental and cultural specificities shaping the emerging profession of landscape architecture in the Middle East. The conference is jointly organized by the newly established Lebanese Landscape Association (LELA) and the American University of Beirut and sponsored by the International Federation of Landscape Architecture (IFLA), with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lebanon.
Landscape is a word with multiple meanings, an idea that is complex, in part nature and in part culture. The layered meanings and complexity was addressed by definition of landscape by the European Landscape Convention as “an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors.” Nevertheless, the visual meaning, landscape as scenery, dominates the common understanding of the word universally and in the Middle East. Introduced during colonial restructuring of traditional cities in the early twentieth century, the word landscape continues to be perceived in terms of city parks, green boulevards and spacious roundabouts. This narrow interpretation is problematic not only because it precludes the layered meaning of the English word and the overlap with nature, region and country, but also because it limits the professional scope. Nor is there a sufficient body of critical research into the regional landscape history, traditional landscape practices and indigenous management to complement the prevailing understanding of landscape in the Middle East.
The conference organizers are calling for abstracts that demonstrate a range of professional and academic approaches to landscape design and planning in the Middle East at the local and the regional scales. Contributions can follow one of six broad themes (download Conference document for details)
Deadline for abstract submission: 30 March 2016
Early Registration (reduced fees): 15 April 2016
Registration (full fees): 28 April 2016
Notification of Acceptance: 30 April 2016