Landscape urbanism

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Landscape Urbanism is a theory of urban planning arguing that the best way to organize cities is through the design of the city's landscape, rather than the design of its buildings. The phrase 'Landscape Urbanism' first appeared in the mid 1990s. Since this time, the phrase 'Landscape Urbanism' has taken on many different uses, but is most often cited as a Postmodernist or Post-postmodernist response to the failings of New Urbanism and the shift away from the comprehensive visions, and demands, for Modern architecture and Urban planning.

The phrase 'Landscape Urbanism' first appeared in the work of Peter Connolly, a Masters of Urban Design student from RMIT Melbourne. In 1994, Connolly used the phrase in the title for his Masters of Urban Design proposal at RMIT Melbourne. Here, he suggested that 'a language of "landscape urbanism" barely exists and needs articulating', and that 'existing urbanisms [...] are limited in the exploration of the landscape'. He also used the term 'landscape as urbanism' in his 1994 essay, '101 Ideas About Big Parks'.[1] In 1996 Tom Turner wrote that

The city of the future will be an infinite series of landscapes: psychological and physical, urban and rural, flowing apart and together. They will be mapped and planned for special purposes, with the results recorded in geographical information systems (GIS), which have the power to construct and retrieve innumerable plans, images and other records. Christopher Alexander was right: a city is not a tree. It is a landscape.[2]

From the late 1990s, the phrase 'landscape urbanism' was used by landscape architects in the United States to refer to the re-organisation of declining post-industrial cities, such as Detroit. From the 2000s, it was used in Europe by architects to mean a highly flexible way of integrating large-scale infrastructure, housing and open space. By the late 2000s, the phrase became associated with highly commercialised, multi-phase urban parks, such as Olympic park design.

History[edit]

The first major event to do with 'landscape urbanism' was the Landscape Urbanism conference sponsored by the Graham Foundation in Chicago in April 1997. Speakers included Charles Waldheim, Mohsen Mostafavi, James Corner of James Corner/Field Operations, Alex Wall, and Adriaan Geuze of the firm West 8, among others. The formative period of Landscape Urbanism can be traced back to RMIT University and University of Pennsylvania in the late 1980s, at a time when Peter Connolly, Richard Weller, James Corner, Mohsen Mostafavi, and others were exploring the artificial boundaries of Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Architecture, searching for better ways to deal with complex urban projects. However, their texts cite and synthesize the ideas of influential modernist methods, programmes and manifestoes that appeared in the early twentieth century. Charles Waldheim, Anu Mathur, Alan Berger, Chris Reed, amongst others, were students at the University of Pennsylvania during this formative period for Landscape Urbanism. After the Chicago conference, European design schools and North American design institutions formed academic programs and began to formalize a field of Landscape Urbanism studies, including Oslo School of Architecture [4], Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium [5], the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Toronto, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology [6]. In 2000 the London's Architectural Association developed its own Landscape Urbanism program under the direction of Ciro Najle and chairman at the time Mohsen Mostafavi. This was marked by the 2003 publication of the book "Landscape Urbanism: A Manual for the Machinic Landscape" a year before chairman Mostafavi left the AA.

Themes[edit]

James Corner is the author of an essay entitled "Terra Fluxus." He has identified five general ideas that are important for use in Landscape Urbanism. They are as follows:

  1. Horizontality - The use of horizontal alignment in landscaping, rather than relying on vertical structuring.
  2. Infrastructures - placing less of an emphasis on urban infrastructures that have been traditionally used, such as roads and airports, and instead relying on a more organic use of infrastructure.
  1. Techniques - those who practice the idea of landscape urbanism should be able to adapt their techniques to the environment that they are in.
  2. Ecology - the idea that our lives intertwine with the environment around us, and we should therefore respect this when creating an urban environment.

Projects[edit]

The following are Landscape Urbanism projects that are available that can provide more information about the theory in practice:

Criticism[edit]

One opponent to Landscape Urbanism is New Urbanism, led by Andres Duany,[3] which promotes walkable communities and smart growth with its Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND). In response to landscape urbanism’s focus on expansive green space in urban development, Duany stated that “density and urbanism are not the same.” Further, “unless there is tremendous density, human beings will not walk.” [3] The result is patches of green sprawl that lose connectivity to the greater network.

Emo Urbanism[4] is another philosophy critical of Landscape Urbanism. The movement contends that Landscape Urbanism views ecology as an aesthetic element of style and not infrastructure. The artificial ecology replaces the entropic state[5] to re-create a "natural" landscape that fits a particular brand or aesthetic. The loss is a dynamic, adaptive, and certainly essential urban system. Emo urbanism differs by making evolving "nature" a key component of the design process. The realization of this process is called “urbanature." As an evolving urban ecology, Charles Morris Anderson has described this connection as the “thinness.” It is the simultaneous perception and implicit understanding of the past, present, and future. Emo Urbanist projects include the built work of Charles Anderson at the Olympic Sculpture Park[6][7][8] in Seattle, WA; The Anchorage Museum Common[9] in Anchorage, AK; and the yet to be constructed Project Phoenix [10] in Haiti.

Ian Thompson has published a critical review of landscape urbanism in which he identifies its ten tenets and asks six critical questions. His conclusions are:

...there are ideas with the Landscape Urbanism discourse which have great merit, among which I would include the breaking down of professional distinctions, the integration of ecological thinking, the foregrounding of infrastructure, the interest in the positive use of waste materials and the emphasis upon functionality rather than mere appearance. There is also a quantity of dubious philosophy, unhelpful imagery and obscurantist language that Landscape Urbanism ought to dump. ... Larding the case for Landscape Urbanim with Deleuzian and Derridean references was a mistake, since it was done principally to impress an academic elite, and it has even left large sections of its intended audience bemused'.[11]

Landscape urbanism has been criticized as an idea that is only loosely defined from a set of flashy projects. These are expensive schemes with a commercial and esthetic purpose that satisfy a local or regional ambition to invest in ecology or sustainability without posing a more globally applicable approach. A true merger of landscape architecture with the field of Urban Ecology lacks. From this criticism Frederick Steiner introduced landscape ecological urbanism as an approach that can include the field of urban ecology and Wybe Kuitert has shown how such integrative planning and management of the city should rely on analysis.[12] Discerning the potential quality of wild nature in the city is a first step to see how new urban ecology might be developed. Potential vegetation maps for a city are the tool to this end.[13]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Almy, Dean, "Center 14: On Landscape Urbanism", The Center for American Architecture and Design, The University of Texas at Austin, 2007
  • Allen, Stan. "Mat Urbanism: The Thick 2-D." Case: Le Corbusier's Venice Hospital and the Mat Building Revival. Ed. Hashim Sarkis. Munich ; New York: Prestel, 2001.
  • Connolly, Peter, "Embracing Openness: Making Landscape Urbanism Landscape Architectural: Part 2", in "The Mesh Book: Landscape/Infrastructure", Edited by Julian Raxworthy and Jessica Blood, RMIT University Press, Melbourne, 2004, 200-219.
  • Corner, James. Recovering Landscape : Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999.
  • Czerniak, Julia. CASE--Downsview Park Toronto. Munich ; New York; Cambridge, Mass.: Prestel; Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, 2001.
  • Duany, Andres. The New Civic Art: Elements Of Town Planning. New York: Rizzoli 2003. Print.
  • Kapelos, G. (1994). Interpretations of Nature : Contemporary Canadian Architecture, Landscape and Urbanism. Kleinburg, Canada: McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
  • Kerb 15 - Landscape Urbanism]. This issue includes contributions from Charles Waldheim, Mohsen Mostafavi, FOA, Karres en Brands, Kongjian Yu, Kyong Park, Kathryn Gustafson, Stephen Read, Kelly Shannon, Richard Weller, Sue Anne Ware, Cesar Torres, Peter Connolly and Adrian Napoleone, Melbourne, RMIT Press, 2007.
  • Landscape Urbanism: An Annotated Bibliography
  • Moran, E. F. (2011). People And Nature: An Introduction To Human Ecological Relations. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  • Mostafavi, Mohsen, Ciro Najle, and Architectural Association. Landscape Urbanism : A Manual for the Machinic Landscape. London: Architectural Association, 2003.
  • Tanzer, K. (2007). The Green Braid : Towards An Architecture Of Ecology, Economy And Equity. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Topos 71 -Landscape Urbanism. This issue includes contributions from Charles Waldheim, James Corner, Mohsen Mostafavi, Adriaan Geuze, Susannah Drake, Kongjian Yu, Frederick Steiner, and Dean Almy.
  • Wilson, Matthew. 'Vertical Landscraping, a Big Regionalism for Dubai', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 34, 925-40. 2010.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kerb: Journal of Landscape Architecture, no 1, Melbourne: RMIT University Press, 1995.
  2. ^ Turner, Tom, City as landscape, London E&FN Spon, 1996 p.v
  3. ^ a b http://bettercities.net/article/street-fight-landscape-urbanism-versus-new-urbanism-14855
  4. ^ Soleri, Paolo (2012). Lean Linear City. Cosanti Press. ISBN 978-1-883340-07-0. 
  5. ^ http://www.thehighline.org/galleries/images/high-line-1999-2006
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ 2008
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ http://www.ca-atelierps.com/projects/anchorage-museum/
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ Ian Thompson (2012) Ten Tenets and Six Questions for Landscape Urbanism, Landscape Research, 37:1, 7-26,
  12. ^ Steiner, F. R. (2011), Landscape Ecological Urbanism: Origins and Trajectories, Landscape and Urban Planning 100: 333-337 and Wybe Kuitert (2013): Urban landscape systems understood by geo-history map overlay, Journal of Landscape Architecture 8:1, 54-63 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/18626033.2013.798929
  13. ^ Kuitert 2013 The Nature of Urban Seoul: Potential Vegetation Derived from the Soil Map International Journal of Urban Sciences. 17, 1: 95-108 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/12265934.2013.766505

External links[edit]