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Have you ever noticed an eyesore and thought, "Why would someone build that right there?" One environmental psychologist in town for MSU's Public Affairs Conference believes it's not only visually rewarding to consider aesthetics when developing public policy: it's also the law. KSMU's Jennifer Moore reports.
This year, MSU’s Public Affairs Conference focuses on the theme of “Sustainability”—how to sustain our resources, whether they be environmental, economic or social.
One speaker at this year’s conference is Dr. Richard Chenoweth, an environmental psychologist who works in the area of landscape aesthetics. His work doesn’t focus so much how often you mow your lawn or weed your flower bed, but more along the lines of: how does landscaping fit into the public policy of cities, states, and the federal government?
"If we're talking at the federal level, the "grand-daddy" legislation was the National Environmental Policy Act. And when you lookat the language of the National Environmental Policy Act, it says that it's the duty of the federal government and the agencies within it to ensure for all Americans'safe, healthy, productive, and aesthetically and culturallypleasing surroundings.' That's the law," he said.
Chenoweth has served as an advisor on landscape aesthetics to local, state and federal government agencies, as well as non-profit groups. He says although federal law stipulates that aesthetics should be taken into consideration when placing power lines or other large visual objects, the law is rarely enforced.
Dr. Chenowith will be participating in this Thursday’s session: Communicating Sustainability Through Media and the Arts. The session begins at 1:30 in Plaster Student Union, Room 313, on the Missouri State University Campus.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.