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Environmental AestheticsCrossing Divides and Breaking Ground$
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Martin Drenthen and Jozef Keulartz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254491

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254491.001.0001

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Thinking Like a Mall

Thinking Like a Mall

(p.174) Chapter 11 Thinking Like a Mall
Environmental Aesthetics

Steven Vogel

Fordham University Press

Steven Vogel examines the history of the City Center Mall in Columbus, Ohio, asking whether the same sorts of consideration that led Aldo Leopold to call for humans to “think like a mountain” might suggest that we should also learn to think like a mall. The moral considerability of natural entities such as mountains is often claimed to derive from their autonomy or independence from human beings. But, Vogel claims, malls too exhibit autonomy, as do all humanly built structures. The commercial failure of City Center itself shows this, revealing it to have been subject to an ecology of commerce that escaped human understanding and prediction. Human artifacts, Vogel concludes, are as marked by “otherness” from humans as so-called natural objects are; we cannot “identify” with our artifacts, we do not “see ourselves reflected” in them, they do not exist on the other side of an ontological divide from natural entities. We live in one world, not two; if we are to let mountains be, we should let malls be as well.

Keywords:   City Center Mall Columbus, Aldo Leopold, Autonomy, Human Artifacts, Ontological Divide

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