Danish-American landscape architect and conservationist Jens Jensen (1860 – 1951) was a champion of the midwestern Prairie Style landscape. A proponent of native gardens and open spaces, Jensen was a dynamic figure who became a major influence in modern American landscape design. In “Jens Jensen The Living Green,” this documentary tells the amazing story of Jensen’s pioneering work in landscape architecture, prairie conservation, fighting corruption, and building the foundation for modern livable cities.
From the description:
Today four out of five Americans live in cities. Yet the connection between the urban experience and the physical and emotional need for city and national parks is only just beginning to be made. A century ago, a rebellious Dane, JENS JENSEN (1860 – 1951), rose from street sweeper to ‘dean of landscape architects’ to pioneering conservationist when he risked his career to stand-up to the great robber barons Andrew Carnegie and JP Morgan by staging a “Dunes Pageant” that drew an estimated 40,000 to the dunes. It was Earth Day, Woodstock and Lawrence of Arabia all rolled into one. His pageant whipped-up a conservation fervor that effectively stopped the steel manufacturers from industrializing the entire Indiana shoreline.
Jensen was a conflicted man, his Prairie Style revolutionized park design with 600 democratic and naturalistic landscapes for the workers of Chicago as well as the titans of industry. He predicted the devastating effects of the automobile on the environment, yet he worked for Henry and Edsel Ford. His story dramatizes an environmental battle that lasted five decades culminating in the creation of the nation’s first urban national park. A true conservation hero who used his art as activism, his philosophy and tactics on behalf of saving the land could not be more prescient.
Learn more about the documentary at Jens Jensen The Living Green.
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