SCENARIO 01: Landscape Urbanism
What do we envision when we talk about landscape urbanism? Who are the designers, the makers, the thinkers engaged in the project of the city? What does landscape urbanism bring to the conversation?
Long described as an “emerging” practice, landscape urbanism—with all of its ambiguity and complexity—has in fact already emerged and represents a significant 21st century design and planning ethos.
Understanding urbanism goes beyond theory and words: the collective visualization of our world—through imagery, visual representation, and built projects—is even more important in influencing how we understand and think about urbanism and landscape.
In practice, landscape and urbanism have been held apart by professional boundaries. An examination of the work by early urban theorists Geddes, Mumford, and MacKaye reveals the historical and theoretical underpinnings for bringing the two disciplines together.
The Dutch government commissioned West 8 to create a project along the Roggenplaat, one of several artificial islands used to construct a storm surge barrier. The firm shaped the island’s sand deposits into plateaus bold enough to impress passing drivers. So, where is it?
Data visualization tells us stories about how, what, and why things are happening. Information that is clearly presented shapes how we behave and directs future decisions. At the same time, information can be overwhelming and confusing.
The acts of drawing and design record the traces of thought-process. Each project provides an opportunity to push perimeters. We try, experiment, and investigate—that’s our task: to take what we know and extend the lines of thought into new arenas.
Tools and techniques of design have aided a transition from landscapes rooted in historic formalism to landscapes centered on ecological and social performance.
Ecological urbanism reveals the need for re-qualifying urban design while acknowledging that the discourse around landscape urbanism is entering a mature phase of its development.
Meg Studer interviews Charles Waldheim, chair of landscape architecture at Harvard, about the significance of landscape urbanism in today's volatile economic, political, and environmental conditions.