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How Public Open Space Reactivates the City

Public open spaces are vital for understanding cities. They are the main environments for citizens’ interaction and stimulation. While cities create the physical environment for social life, public spaces work as the stage and catalyst of social interaction. Therefore, well-functioning public spaces are crucial for any urban environment due to being physical spaces for civic participation, sense of belonging, and social integration. Likewise, a lack of common space results in the decay of the social structure of the city by limiting possibilities for simple communication and interaction. However, urban public space tends to be more and more exclusive due to top-down planning and standardized practices with limited adaptability. This is further compounded by market forces leading to t...Read More

70 Rainey: An Outdoor Oasis 100 Feet in the Sky

It’s no secret Austin, Texas has become an international destination for those in search of culture, abundant green space and a burgeoning food scene. In 2015, Austin and the surrounding metropolitan region experienced the nation’s second-fastest-growing economy. The result of this growth can be witnessed across the city through erected cranes and structures quickly arising from the earth. One of the most anticipated residential towers in Texas is now open – 70 Rainey. This residential development, celebrates what it means to live in this dynamic city. Rising 34 stories above Austin, this project required the entire team to incorporate world-class design, dramatic architecture, uncompromising luxury, verdant landscaping and meticulous attention to detail. Organically Luxurious 70 Rainey do...Read More

Eco Altitudes [Land8x8 Video]

Cars take up a ton of real estate in America’s cities. From local roads and on-street parking stalls to elevated highways and multi-story parking garages, cities devote 50 to 60 percent of their space to cars. If we could reclaim this valuable land from vehicles, imagine the many ways cities could be transformed. Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have the potential to become a major catalyst for urban transformation, providing cities with the opportunity to reclaim their urban public space. As cities prepare for the advent of AVs and other new mobility technologies, Amna Ansari, Architect and Urban Designer at SWA Group, believes that design professionals have an essential role to play. During the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Houston, TX, Ansari explores how we might shape these emerging technologie...Read More

Nature in the City: Tracking Pollinators in Denver’s Newest Park

Residents of Globeville, a neighborhood in north Denver, have limited access to natural areas and open space – factors that impact social equity, along with mental and physical well-being. The neighborhood is zoned urban industrial and is littered with a recycling plant, an armory, and scrap yards. It was home to the Globe Asarco Plant, a high-purity metals (cadmium, arsenic, lead, and zinc) refining facility, awarded Superfund status in 1993. An exciting 80-acre park project is slated to change the status quo. Beyond designing a park, Denver Parks and Recreation and Denver Public Works, along with lead design firm Dig Studio, undertook an in-depth, year-long community engagement process designed to build social capital alongside the wealth of new green space. The Beginning The Globeville ...Read More

A Platform for Multiple Interpretations: Staging Urban Landscapes [Review]

Cannon Ivers’ Staging Urban Landscapes: The Activation and Curation of Flexible Public Spaces is a beautifully designed and expertly choreographed survey of urban landscapes at the intersection of public space design and programming. As Sergio Lopez-Pineiro argues in his essay “Scratch That!”, “public space is no longer considered to be only physical space but…seen as a combination of physical space with a curatorial program.” Ivers makes a strong case for the advantageous mixing of both. The book includes essays, case studies, historic reviews, and a visual index all focused on the alignment of design and activation. Ivers playfully and intentionally provides a little something for everyone. For the practicing landscape architect, the Case Studies offer a wide range of inspiri...Read More

How Circular Economy Can Build Sustainability

The circular economy seeks to move beyond traditional manufacture, use, and dispose culture to build resilience into systems, products and services throughout their lifecycle and beyond. In this article, we look at the circular economy and how it can be used in urban design and landscape architecture to improve sustainability. Linear Economy Our current approach to consumption is largely a linear process. We purchase products, use them for their useful lifecycle, and then discard them. Often this waste is not recycled or reused and simply ends up in landfill. In nature, very little is wasted. Often the faeces of one organism goes on to feed another, which in turn creates waste products that add humus to the soil. The nutrients from the humus ultimately fertilize vegetation in a closed loop...Read More

8 Degrees of Connection [Land8x8 Video]

What brought you to your profession of landscape architecture? Who encouraged you along your career path? Who has helped you succeed and attain your professional goals? These are among the questions landscape architect Shaney Clemmons, Founder and Principal of Shademaker Studio, considered as she prepared for her presentation at the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Austin, TX. When asked to present on the topic of “Next Practices in Landscape Architecture”, Clemmons reflected on those people who played a key role in her professional life and used her presentation as an opportunity to share her belief that fostering, appreciating, and maintaining these connections are key to the future of the profession. Coupling two sociology theories together, six degrees of separation (the theory that any pers...Read More

Top Video Resources for Landscape Architects

As practicing landscape architects, it can be easy to feel distanced from innovation in the field. Designers outside of major metro areas – or remote from landscape architecture schools – can find it difficult to feel knowledgeable or inspired. In small firms, particularly, the resources necessary for continuing education are often difficult to justify. Fortunately, there’s been a recent movement for universities and other organizations to release online video of lectures and presentations. These lectures may not provide the social benefit of attending a conference – and you may not get an education credit, but they can be a cheap and flexible way of learning. If you’re needing some inspiration, flick over to YouTube or Vimeo. Listen to these experts. You’ll learn somethi...Read More

Architecture and the Forest Aesthetic: Review

Situated in between several disciplines, Architecture and the Forest Aesthetic by Jana VanderGoot is organized around the central idea that humans are most fit to inhabit the forest biome. Humans flourish where trees do. Using examples exclusively located in the temperate forests in the northern and southern hemispheres, the book pursues a larger aesthetic agenda. As it moves into the affective domain, the author’s purpose is to underscore the coevolution of humans and forests and their instructive power in helping us design long-term systems that benefit this relationship. First and foremost, VanderGoot exposes readers to varied visual and verbal languages, concerns, and positions from unconventional sources. The result: an expanded disciplinary repertoire of case study projects. The chap...Read More

New International Landscape Architecture Prize Announced by TCLF

Aiming to raise the visibility of the field and its practitioners, The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) has established an international landscape architecture prize of $100,000 to be awarded every two years, beginning in 2021. In addition, the Prize features two years of related public engagement activities to honor a living practitioner, collaborative or team for their creative, courageous, and visionary work in the field of landscape architecture. TCLF board co-chair Joan Shafran and her husband Rob Haimes have generously provided a lead gift of $1 million to underwrite the Prize, which was collectively matched by the rest of the board and other donors, launching a $4.5 million fundraising campaign to endow it in perpetuity. “Landscape architecture is one of the most complex and, ar...Read More

Tampere: The Most Exciting City You’ve Never Heard Of

Tampere (Finland’s second city) is the largest inland city in the Nordic region, serving an area containing over 505,000 inhabitants. With a long and productive industrial heritage, Tampere is the fastest growing city region in Finland with a projected increase in population of 23% by 2030. With this rapid expansion and internationalisation comes a staggering estimated €6 – €10 billion investment in the city. In this article, we take a brief look at how some of that €6-10 billion is being invested in the urban design of this prosperous city. Tramway One of the major investments currently being implemented in Tampere is the new 14-mile (23 km) tramway, which connects the city centre with Hervanta to the south, the university hospital to the east, and in the second phase Hiedanra...Read More

Humanitarianism + Landscape Architecture: Crisis, Commotion and Collaboration

Mapping the Crisis  The world’s first modern atlas emerged in 1570. Nearly 450 years later, Professor Richard Weller, chair of Landscape Architecture at University of Pennsylvania, and his team produced “Atlas for the End of the World”. Atlas for the End of the World uses cartology (mapmaking) to show the world’s situations in the context of issues faced by humanity in the 21st century. Whilst Weller’s research screams to the viewers of the urgency of a changing world, often it doesn’t become a priority until it becomes critical. [Cue Humanitarianism]. The term “humanitarism” can be as ambiguous as “landscape architecture” because it is perceived to be very broad and difficult to exactly define for many. The purpose of Humanitarianism is deeply rooted in...Read More

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