Is landscape literature? Potentially, since each can inform or adopt the other. Is landscape painting? Yes, since landscape and representation are inseparable. Is landscape photography? Yes, both are strongly interwoven. Is landscape gardening? No, but both are diminished by decoupling. Is landscape ecology? It is a complicated relationship. Is landscape planning? Yes, landscape is the medium and result of planning. Is landscape urbanism? According to the evidence, yes. Is landscape infrastructure? Yes, and politically so. Is landscape technology? They are entwined through making. Is landscape history? Landscape has a history and is a history. Is landscape theory? Yes, but this leads to more intriguing questions. Is landscape philosophy? Both are inextricably linked. Is landscape life? Landscapes are for life. Is landscape architecture? Both are topographic arts.
If, as the editors state, this process unpacks landscape’s (unquestionably cumbersome) baggage, how then should it be repacked? Which disciplinary luggage should be retained, reconfigured, supplemented, or discarded? Here, the book proffers more questions than answers: it opens up the cone of inquiry rather than narrowing it down; it reconnoiters the territory rather than crystallizing a nascent movement. For this reason, Is Landscape … ? is unlikely to achieve the impact of contemporary edited classics (with whom it shares some authors), such as Ecological Design and Planning (Wiley, 1997), Recovering Landscape (Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), and The Landscape Urbanism Reader (Princeton Architectural Press, 2006). Rather—as is embodied in the vivid safety yellow of the jacket—the book is best understood as a report on a work in development.