Special Issue "Eco-didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability of Culture and Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella
Guest Editor
Concordia University Research Chair in Integrated Design, Ecology, And Sustainability for the Built Environment (IDEAS-BE)
Associate Professor, Design and Computation Arts, Concordia University
Interests: Theory of environmental architecture, landscape and urban design, urban art and design, sustainable design, public spaces, public enlightenment, community knowledge exchange, design as social transformation
Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Chupin
Guest Editor
School of Architecture, University of Montreal
Interests: Theory of architecture and urban design; Design thinking; Architecture competitions and awards; Analogical thinking; Comparative qualitative analysis; Mediations of excellence
Prof. Dr. Cynthia Hammond
Guest Editor
Department of Art History, Concordia University
Interests: History and theory of architecture, landscape architecture, and the city; Urban and cultural landscapes and landscapes; Gender and space; Feminist and posthumanist theory; Research-creation and interdisciplinary practice; Community-engaged scholarship and creative work

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecological awareness can be traced back to the 1960s with the publication of Rachel Carson’s watershed work, Silent Spring, which drew public attention to the enormous environmental impact of pesticides and other pollutants on delicate ecosystems. Her work anticipated other key eco-political awakenings, such as the energy crisis of the early 1970s and the series of international environmental agreements politically defined at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which constituted a significant shift in global awareness and action of ecological crisis. Artists were already on high alert by the early 1990s, responding to the environmental crisis through activist and educational stances. Today, the world is faced with multiple aspects and consequences of the climate crisis, but there has been a change in citizens’ relationships to more than thirty years of overwhelming environmental issues. Works of art, architecture, and design that reside in the public realm and contend with the environmental crisis have begun to occupy a new, discursive terrain as agents of public enlightenment. They adopt an educational stance choosing to address politics, culture, ethics, economics, business, or even provide solutions. These works, which might be called “eco-didactic”, do not simply demonstrate their concern about pressing ecological issues; rather, they are driven by an urgent need to explain, to teach and maybe even implicate viewers and visitors about the crisis as well as the consequences of inaction.

For this special issue of Sustainability, we invite essays that focus on environmentally-driven architecture, landscape design, and public art practices that have emerged over the last two decades (2000-2020). We are interested in practices that manifest a distinctively “didactic” environmental discourse, i.e. one that aims to educate and influence the public.   This special issue invites papers that present cases and contribute to the reflection of the following:

  1. How have art, architecture, and design come together in recent decades to express ecological and environmental concerns?
  2. How does this “eco-didactic turn” cross disciplines, specifically art, design and architecture?
  3. By what means do these eco-didactic installations establish public platforms for raising awareness?
  4. To what extent do these eco-didactic works in the public realm lead to public enlightenment?
  5. How do such creative practices contribute to the potential of public space as a political forum?
  6. Can these eco-didactic art, design, and architecture practices influence small businesses, corporations, governments, and policy?

Prof. Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella
Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Chupin
Prof. Dr. Cynthia Hammond
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • environmental architecture
  • public art
  • landscape design
  • environmental design
  • public awareness
  • civic action
  • didacticism
  • educational practices
  • didactic devices

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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