More than Landscape: Toward Cosmophanic Diversity in Environmental Planning and Governance

Related GLP Member: Andreas Haller


As a result of the global effort for sustainable management of natural resources, the spatial scale, holistic concept, and/or integrative approach of “landscape” is increasingly used in collaborative environmental planning and governance. However, it is often overseen that “landscape” is just one possible way to see and interpret the human environment—and that it is not understood cross-culturally. What if the unintended misuse of the landscape concept by researchers and, consequently, by practitioners, in cultures where there is no such notion or univocal idea, were an obstacle for managing natural resources sustainably and achieving well-being of humans and nonhumans? We argue that considering the diversity of seeing and interpreting the environment could be a radically new, people-centered, and gender-sensitive ontological approach to planning and governance that has the transformative power to improve the interactions of society and natural resources.