This paper sets out to interpret the phrase ‘the city landscape’. Beginning with landscape aesthetics based on two categories — the picturesque and the sublime — the author attempts to demonstrate that a city can be interpreted in terms of a cultural landscape. This necessitates a re‑interpretation of the category of the sublime, whereby, through references to Edmund Burke, Theodor W. Adorno and Arnold Berleant, the sublime assumes the nature of a category which determines the existential situation of a person in the world. Here, the sublime provides people with an impulse to undertake efforts to fashion their surroundings and forge the essence of the living world. As such, the sublime also becomes a category that promotes social activities aimed at improving the quality of life in a city, such as the activities of ‘urban gardeners’.