Landscape architecture means defining open spaces. Here the constant change in ecological and socio-cultural context of a city or an open landscape acts as a motor for the transformation of a city.

Landscape architects present and design these processes of development. Architects, town planners, artists, sociologists, and engineers are alongside landscape architects able to answer the complex questions concerning the development of towns and of rural areas. Providing creative solutions is not the only key to success. The focus is set on a careful planning of urban spaces, which meet the requirements of a modern living together. The steady transformations in our social environment confront us with new challenges. The changes in open spaces, which derive from an increase in mobility, privatisation, the growing importance of the media and the social change, create new phenomena, with which we have to cope, and with this a constant change in the perception of the city and the open land comes naturally. This development, however, is not exactly new; it repeats itself regularly and is a “proof that we are alive after all and that life will go on. It is at those turns that the sloughing of knowledge takes place. This is the eve and the dawn of cognition.” (Schlögel, Karl, ‘In spaces we read time, spatial turn, finally’ – original titel: ‘Im Raume lesen wir Zeit, spacial turn, endlich’ – p. 60, Munich/Vienna 2003).

City centres are becoming more and more faceless, they loose their identity to a seemingly global idea of the city and tend towards uniformity because of stricter regulations in design. All this makes it ever more difficult to read and understand the genuine face of the city and even seems to question it.

At the same time, the inundation of our lives by masses of pictures reaches immense dimensions. It seems to be part of the concept not to be able to resist this flood of information. Despite the variety of appearances, the ‘iconic turn’ in its lone phenomenology leads to a simplification of the representation of the world. As a result we fear the banalisation of public spaces. At the same time the global village struggles for its own features and uniqueness. Is this the key to the survival of the European city?