Operational Environment
LA+ Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture
no. 03 Tyranny, edited by Tatum Hands

Buy: ORO Editions (May 2016)

From the first utopian impulse of Plato's Republic to today's global border controls and public space surveillance systems, there has always been a tyrannical aspect to the organization of society and the regulation of its spaces. Tyranny takes many forms, from the rigid barriers of military zones to the subtle ways in which landscape is used to 'naturalize' power. What are these forms and how do they function at different scales, in different cultures, and at different times in history? How are designers and other disciplines complicit in the manifestation of these varying forms of tyranny and how have they been able to subvert such political and ideological structures?

LA+ TYRANNY asked contributors to consider how politics, ideology, and technology manifest in our landscapes and cities in ways that either advance or restrict individual and collective liberty.

Associations between landscape architecture and the military industrial complex throughout history and to this day should be familiar and well documented, but they are not. And yet, the military and landscape architecture share similar methods and technologies, even if purposed for different ends. This essay attempts to expose several "cords of militariality" that bind the profession of landscape architecture to a conceptual and physical militarization of the environment. This is potentially an important relationship to explore both in theory and practice as the planet is increasingly defined in both military and ecological terms.