Landscape Urbanism Journal Archive

“Landscape urbanism is a mode of thinking about the design of cities that places landscape as one of the first steps in urban development, rather than the last.” was a project, founded by Sarah Kathleen Peck in 2011, as a platform for students, academics, practitioners and enthusiasts to participate in the ongoing dialogue and debate around the term and concept of landscape urbanism. Landscape urbanism is a mode of thinking about the design and functioning of cities that uses landscape as the lens by which cities are both understood and shaped. The website was comprised of three main sections: an online journal, a visual library of projects—and an ongoing blog.

This website was about interrogating, challenging and opening up dialogue for new and diverse interpretation of the theory, expression and potential of landscape urbanism and its relevance for the contemporary urban project. We seek to promote ongoing conversation among design professionals, clients, educators, public participants, students, artists, writers, and others interested in the design and configuration of the built environment. By providing a web-based platform, aimed to create a transparent and accessible format for dialogue and critique.


Issue 1: Indeterminacy and Multiplicity

Summer 2011      Edited by Sarah Peck and Eliza Shaw Valk


Letter from the Editors

by Sarah Kathleen Peck and Eliza Shaw Valk
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 on cities we live in and those that we image for the future?


Landscape Urbanism: Definitions & Trajectory

by Christopher Gray
Landscape urbanism has in fact emerged. Long described as an “emerging” practice, landscape urbanism—with all of its ambiguity and complexity—represents a significant 21st century design and planning ethos.


The Re-Representation of Urbanism

by Gerdo Aquino
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.


Grounding Landscape Urbanism

by Shanti Fjord Levy
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.


Infrastructure Adrift: West 8′s Shells

by Laura Tepper
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?


Working Definitions: Shift, Settle, and Buck

by Eliza Shaw Valk
What, exactly, is landscape urbanism? Why is it so hard to understand and define the term? In a walk through the city, I puzzle over what we mean when we talk about our work. Is it really so complicated? Yes.


Interview With Jason King: What’s Next For Landscape Urbanism?

by Sarah Kathleen Peck
Isn’t our major strength as communicators to be able to capture complexity and interpret it to the wider public in a way that is authentic? If we can’t achieve that with landscape urbanism…


The Culture Now Project: The State of the Contemporary American City

by Grady Gillies, Jai Kumaran and Clayton Taylor
Through the exploitation of industrial, social, or ecological resources, cities shrink, production centers fade, and environmental resources are tapped leaving land desperate for repurposing.


The Expanded Field of Landscape Architecture (Excerpt)

by Elizabeth Meyer
Landscape architecture is not a practice that can be adequately described as either this or that. As such, its contributions have either not been recognized or have been misinterpreted and maligned.


Issue 2: Buzz or Noise?

Fall 2011      Edited by Sarah Peck and Eliza Shaw Valk


Letter from the Editors

by Sarah Kathleen Peck and Eliza Shaw Valk
We work in a profession where precision and accuracy are critical. The better we can document and convey our intentions, the better they can be understood and implemented. We tell stories about what we do and why we do it. How well we tell these stories matters.


Information Anxiety: Towards Understanding

by Richard Saul Wurman
Communication is equivocal. We are limited by a language where words may mean one thing to one person and quite something else to another. The founder of TED conferences, Richard Saul Wurman examines the architecture of communication.


Smart Phones and Public Spaces

by Amanda Walter
Mobile devices have enabled new ways of communicating, we have changed the way we behave in public and transformed our interaction with everyday objects. Will these emergent forms of exchange also inform and alter the way we design our public realm?


Visualizing Information

by Lauren Manning
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.


From Hand to Land: Tracing Procedural Artifacts in the Built Landscape

by Andrea Hansen
Tools and techniques of design have aided a transition from landscapes rooted in historic formalism to landscapes centered on ecological and social performance.


The Lines of Thought

by Eliza Shaw Valk
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.


Airport Urbanism: Cultural Drivers at LAX

by Katherine Harvey and Michael Pinto
For a traveler, the space of the airport is one of transition and displacement. Osborn’s LAX Cultural Planning Study proposes a counterpoint to this disorientation by introducing tangible connections with cultural engagement and a traveler’s lens for discovering art.


#landarchSD: The Power of Social Media

by Brian Phelps
We design places so that we can engage with environments and each other. Social media provides an opportunity to share our expertise, enthusiasms, concerns, and visions for these spaces with a huge audience.


Leadership and Cultural Landscapes: An Interview With Charles Birnbaum

by Sarah Kathleen Peck and Eliza Shaw Valk
Charles Birnbaum talks about the pressing need for leadership in urban environmental stewardship today. “Our greatest challenge will be getting our message out to a broader audience.”


On Landscape, Ecology, and Other Modifiers to Urbanism

by Charles Waldheim
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.


An Interview With Charles Waldheim: Landscape Urbanism Now

by Meg Studer
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.


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