Press Room

Announcing the Publication of LA+TYRANNY

PhiladelphiaThe University of Pennsylvania School of Design announces the publication of the latest issue of the critically acclaimed interdisciplinary landscape architecture journal: LA+TRYANNY. 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? The new issue is available for purchase online at and at select retailers.
In LA+TYRANNY semiotician Patrizia Violi, sociologist Mona Abaza, and landscape architect Nick Pevzner each examine the ways in which we express and memorialize certain traumatic events through art, design, and erasure. Geographer and political-ecologist Erik Swyngedouw explores the architecture of protest, while urbanist Stephen Graham looks to how art can work to highlight and destabilize what he calls the “new military urbanism.” Chang-tai Hung reveals the intriguing history behind Tiananmen Square and its place in Chinese political culture, while architectural historian Steve Basson examines the role of public squares as an urban formation synonymous with both the expression of freedom and of tyranny. In other essays, Jim Kennedy unpacks and critiques the ‘emergency’ architecture of refugee camps, Fionn Byrne explores connections between landscape architecture and the military in respect of design methodologies and technologies, Rodrigo Firmino discusses the rise of technological surveillance in today’s hyper-connected cities and its impact on public space, Christopher Marcinkoski assesses the tyranny of speculative urbanism in Africa, Casey Lance Brown examines the rise of stateless space at national borders, and Matthew Gandy shines a light on the very first tool of modern surveillance: artificial illumination.
LA+TYRANNY also includes a provocative short-form essay by Richard Weller on the ubiquity of the Photoshopped landscape architectural view. Feature artists for this issue are Hasan Elahi, whose self-surveillance project, Tracking Transience, has become a thorn in the side of FBI intelligence gatherers, and Jesse Krimes, whose Apokaluptein installation at Eastern State Penitentiary uses prison-sourced materials to recreate a complex work devised during the artist’s own incarceration.
For review copies, contact Editor-in-Chief Tatum Hands,
About LA+
LA+ brings together contemporary thinkers and designers in two lavishly illustrated issues annually. With the aim of revealing connections and building collaborations between landscape architecture and other disciplines, each issue’s theme is explored from multiple perspectives—not only that of designers, but also historians, artists, lawyers, psychologists, ecologists, planners, scientists, philosophers, and others. 
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About PennDesign
PennDesign is an inventive place of learning where the many fields of architecture, planning, preservation, landscape and the fine arts come together on shared ground. At PennDesign, we are dedicated to design that is creative in nature and transformative in impact. In a collaborative environment that fosters inquiry and experimentation, faculty and students seek to recast the distinction between theory and practice, expand knowledge and invention through research, and contribute works of value and beauty.
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