Call For Submissions: Scenario 4, Building the Urban Forest

Building the Urban Forest

Scenario 4: Building the Urban Forest

The forest carries deep cultural significance. Within the urban landscape, this ecologically complex, spatially layered, dynamic system is also understood to perform a wide range of essential ecosystem services, from increasing property values to mitigating climate change. Reforesting cities is one of the defining trends of twenty first century urbanism, but there is little agreement about how our urban forests are to be designed, planned and managed.

As arborists, parks departments, landscape architects, planners and community groups engage in the reforesting of cities, how are they collectively shaping the urban landscape? How do we quantify the benefits of urban forests? Where should we focus our attention and effort — streetscapes, backyards, vacant lots, woodlots, parks, highway medians or large remnant tracts? What hybrid ecosystems are yet to be designed? How many trees are enough? A million? What makes a forest urban?

Scenario Journal welcomes the submission of critical essays, provocations, and design projects that explore the topic of building the urban forest.


Submission Requirements:

  • We accept pieces in a range of formats including academic essays, op-eds and built or unbuilt projects.
  • Article-based submissions should range in length from 2500 to 4000 words and be formatted in the Chicago Manual of Style with all sources clearly documented.
  • Design projects should have a clear and focused text no longer than 1000 words, accompanied by 6-10 images.
  • Send submissions to, with ‘ISSUE 4′ in the subject line. Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • DEADLINE: Submissions are due November 1, 2013. All submissions after that date will be accepted on a rolling basis. If you have an idea or project in process, please submit your intention or outline as early as possible.


Scenario 3: Rethinking Infrastructure. Latest Issue Now Published!


Image credit: “Delving deep: a ganat system in an Iranian desert tunnels deep into the mountain profile,” from The Humanity of Infrastructure by Dane Carlson. NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data from NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

We are excited to announce the launch of the latest issue of the Landscape Urbanism Journal – Scenario 3: Rethinking Infrastructure! Crafted by Editors-in-Chief Stephanie Carlisle and Nicholas Pevzner of the the newly-named Scenario Journal, Issue 4 looks at the pressing questions of how infrastructure of the next century will be imagined and built. As the co-editors write,

“Infrastructure underlies and shapes urban growth, yet for the most part exists outside the realm of design discussions, tucked below ground or hiding in plain sight. Long fascinated with complex, dynamic powerful systems, designers are finally turning their attention to the potential of infrastructure as fertile conceptual territory.With the pressing issues of climate change, financial malaise, unemployment and failures of governance, it is clear that the old approach to infrastructure — heroic but expensive, brittle, and difficult to maintain — will not be possible for too much longer. How do we ensure that the urgent conversation about the design and conception of infrastructure is a multidisciplinary project? How do we move beyond the buzzwords of green infrastructure, soft systems, and eco-engineering, in order to create a landscape infrastructure that is robust enough for the challenging times ahead?”

These questions framed the past six months of research and work by Stephanie Carlisle and Nicholas Pevzner in the latest issue of the Landscape Urbanism Journal, Scenario 4: Rethinking Infrastructure. Continue reading

Under The Surface, Past The Image, and Towards a Conversation: An Interview With TRACE SF: Bay Area Urbanism

“Getting under the surface, past the image, is something words can do well— and should, if we are to broaden how design is valued.” — Brad Leibin, Trace SF.

A common rhetoric of architects, designers, urbanists and connoisseurs of the built environment is that good communication and relevant platforms for consistent conversation don’t exist. Yet the recent increase in recent websites and publications, however–particularly location-based and topic-based sites such as Trace SF: Bay Area Urbanism in San Francisco or Visualizing Systems from Harvard–are demonstrating a willingness to engage and perhaps expand the conversations around the complexity of design.

While the recent essay by Adam Greenfield hints at the fact that the inherent complexity in city undertakings makes them hard to comprehend, let alone communicate–we at Landscape Urbanism are excited by the apparent increase in (digital) places and possibilities for dialogue. This Fall, we had the chance to sit down with the founders and editors of Trace SF to talk about San Francisco’s urban scene and the broader need for communication and dialogue about the future of our rapidly-changing cities.

Landscape Urbanism: What led to the founding of TraceSF?

Yosh Asato: The desire for more critical discussion about the evolution of San Francisco and the greater Bay Area—in all its physical, social and cultural dimensions—has manifested in different publications over the decades. TraceSF is the most recent response. It’s an independent forum for a diverse community of contributors interested in the Bay Area urban environment and the many forces, design included, that shape the region’s culture and future.

LU: What do you think TraceSF has accomplished so far, and how do you hope it will evolve?

Yuki Bowman: Cities are multidisciplinary organisms that require multidisciplinary perspectives in order to be considered in new ways. Our lack of institutional affiliation Continue reading