Conference paper

Untaming aesthetics: cross-species design considerations for the built environment

Urban planning Animal populations Design Australia
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A preoccupation with the aesthetic ideal of beauty has marked an anthropocentric notion of civilisation and a human centred approach to the way we design our urban environments. By untaming aesthetics this study explores a broader definition of aesthetics beyond the human to connect species via their sensory perceptions. Through a design-led aesthetic conversation designers can engage with alternate animal perspectives to create environments that enhance a gradient of engagement possibilities from cross-species cohabitation to co-creation. This Study proposes a cross-species design led approach that uses aesthetics as common ground. Firstly, by engaging with multi-disciplinary perspectives to enable an understanding of alternate animal sensory perceptions and secondly using this understanding to develop an aesthetic approach that can engage other animals in a design conversation. Through analysing the perspectives of an Australian peri-urban household’s dogs, cats and birds the paper illustrates how a cross-species design conversation could work. Through this design-led aesthetic conversation the paper starts to articulate a more-than-human understanding and considerations for how we design our built environment. This paper aims to open up for discussion the possibilities enabled by untaming aesthetics for a post-anthropocentric urban environment.

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