Prospects for an Ethics of Architecture

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Architects and designers are responsible for creating a built environment capable of enhancing certain values and undermining others. Thus this book examines the way in which the ethics of the built environment can be thought about and its connection to well being.

Bringing together the reflections of an architectural theorist and a philosopher, this book is less concerned with absolutist understandings of the two components of ethics, a theory of `the good' and a theory of `the right', than with remaining open to multiple relations between ideas about the built environment, design practices and the plurality of kinds of human subjects (inhabitants, individuals and communities) accommodated by buildings and urban spaces.

By way of opening up speculation on ethics and the built environment, the book calls into question the narrowness of some theory, thereby reinforcing hopes that the study of architecture and ethics can promote forms of activism and efforts aiming for improved living conditions, the meaningful and honest commemoration of historical events and urban renewal.

Revisiting debates over famous architectural designs such as Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial and New Urbanism's quest for community, the book establishes a conceptual and ethical framework for understanding these and other circumstances that have shaped or will shape our lives.

By exploring the notion that architecture and design can, and possibly should, in their own right, make for a distinctive form of ethical investigation, this book encourages philosophers and architects, scholars and designers alike, to reconsider what they do as well as what they can do in the face of challenging times.

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Chapter 1 Ethics architecture and philosophy
Chapter 2 Architecture ethics and aesthetics
Chapter 3 Architecture and culture
Chapter 4 Experiencing architecture
memory monuments and memorials
New Urbanism planning and democracy
Index of names
Subject index

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About the author (2011)

William M. Taylor is Professor of Architecture at the University of Western Australia where he teaches architectural design and history and theory of the built environment. His recent work includes The Vital Landscape, Nature and the Built Environment in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Ashgate, 2004), the edited collection The Geography of Law, Landscape and Regulation (Hart, Oxford, 2006) and the co-edited book An Everyday Transience: The Urban Imaginary of Goldfields Photographer John Joseph Dwyer (UWA Press, 2010). He is currently researching the subject of architecture and transience and preparing a collection of essays on architecture, ships and the sea.

Michael P. Levine is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Australia. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, Baruch College (City University of New York), the University of Virginia, and in Moscow as a Fulbright Fellow. Recent publications include Politics Most Unusual: Violence, Sovereignty and Democracy in the 'War on Terror' (co-authored); Integrity and the Fragile Self (2003, co-authored); Racism in Mind (2003, co-edited); The Analytic Freud (ed.); and articles on moral psychology, philosophy of religion, history of philosophy, metaphysics, and film. He is currently writing on philosophy and film.

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