Faces of Land Policy

Faces of Land Policy is part of a series of posters by Ben Davy. Each inspired by land use, planning, and / or law texts. The posters tie together the visual with the inspirational, the imagery with complementary texts.

September 2023

In the final chapter of A Sand County Almanac (1949), environmentalist Aldo Leopold (1887–1948) presented his land ethic. The land ethic was an early (modern) version of biocentric environmental policy (not the human species, but Nature is its focus). Leopold regarded humans not as conquerors, but as citizens of the land community. In particular, he was critical of reducing the value of land to its economic exchange value and of ignoring the existence value of land. Because of the heavy weight he put on environmental values, Leopold was accused of “environmental fascism” by Tom Regan, an advocate for animal rights.

Depicted in the above poster: In the spring of 2021, during the third wave, this bee was not impressed by lockdown commands. She still kept social distance, though.

August 2023

Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (b. 1951), a Chilean surgeon, was President of Chile from 2006–2010 and 2014–2018. From 2018 through 2022, Bachelet served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her call to respect and protect human dignity and human rights in the struggle against COVID19 was widely ignored.

Depicted in the above poster: Visitors entering the Bielefeld museum of history admire an aerial photograph of the city located in the East of North Rhine-Westfalia. Dressed for the occasion (summer 2020), they are wearing face coverings and keep social distance.

July 2023.

In A Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963), civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), explained why looking for everyday injustice is more important than the quest for ideal justice. The quote presents an ecological definition of injustice. Like pollutants in the air or water, through environmental cycles, find their way into human organs, injustice has the toxic power to contaminate social and political relationships even quite distant from the source of injustice. The sculpture Macht zu Lande (Power over Land) by Edmund von Hellmer decorates the Hofburg, the former Habsburg castle in Vienna-Central City. Depending on the viewer’s perspective, the face of the giant (a son of the Earth) appears to be devious, angry, vulnerable, violent, or frightened.

June 2023

The Austrian economist F.A. Hayek (1899–1992) hated planning. In his 1944 book The Road to Serfdom, he defined planning in a way that many planners presumably find acceptable. Under this definition, planning connects the past, the presence, and the future by solving common problems “rationally” and with “foresight”. This definition can be misunderstood as saying that planners can escape social, economic, ecological, or political mortality (and Hayek feared that planners would give in to the temptations of collectivism and central planning).

The above poster shows a memento mori (= remember your mortality!) in the City of Höxter, North Rhine-Westphalia.