Environments are arenas for different sorts of values. Environments are valued for their beauty and aesthetic experiences they afford, but there are also moral and ecological values that need to be taken into consideration, for example, in decision-making concerning particular areas both in human and in natural environments. Different values can also come into conflict with one another. The ecologically best environment is not necessarily the most valuable environment from an aesthetic point of view. How should the weight of the different values present in environments be assessed? Is aesthetic value in some ways inferior to other sorts of values or could aesthetic value perhaps serve as a reason for preserving parts of the environment?
There is also an interesting question about the possibility of aesthetically appreciating damaged environments. How does the morally questionable background of an environment affect its aesthetic value? Can a mine or a quarry, for example, be considered beautiful?
The value of natural environments and green spaces in urban environments on promoting human well-being has also been increasingly recognized. How should these results be taken into account in urban planning? One increasing challenge faced by urban planning is the development of more environmentally sustainable cities. Could aesthetics in some ways aid in achieving this goal?
We invite researchers from different fields of the humanities, social and environmental sciences to discuss these questions. People interested in exploring them are asked to send an abstract of about 400 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 15th of February 2013. The time allotted to each paper is 40 minutes (30 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion).