Charles Birnbaum on ‘Redesigning Design to Make Room for Landscape’

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Charles Birnbaum on ‘Redesigning Design to Make Room for Landscape’

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    Amy Verel

    Interesting commentary from Charles Birnbaum on ‘Redesigning Design to Make Room for Landscape’:


    “Here’s a game I like to play. Try to find decent criticism about
    landscape architecture, planning and design, particularly regarding
    public space, in any of the major US dailies. Go ahead… I’ll wait
    why you think about that.


    Actually it’s no game… it’s a problem, especially considering the role
    that landscape architecture and planning plays in shaping our
    communities and cities. We have no shortage of architecture critics
    (who on occasion cover landscape), and there are a fair number of garden
    writers, but criticism about landscape architecture, planning and
    design is essentially restricted to publications geared to
    professionals, and largely absent from major dailies.”


    and comment on the complete article at The Huffington Post

    Noah Mabry



    Thanks for the link. HuffPo’s non news sections are so often polluted with celebrity gossip and psuedoscience new agey fake health news crap that it makes me happy when something awesome like this gets in.


    I totally agree with the premis here that LA needs some sort of strong publically visible crit in order to really establish itself as a leading design field in the public psyche.


    I also noticed the first comment was by Beth Meyer who is extremely articulate and knowledgable on this subject.







    Amy Verel

    My thoughts exactly on HuffPo, Noah, so much so that I don’t read it at all unless a particular article (usually commentary like this,written by someone I follow through other sources) comes to my attention.  For that reason I wondered about the potential drawbacks of TCLF using HuffPo, which has a credibility problem with many people, as a platform for Birnbaum’s excellent, now regularly-featured commentary. But then again, it’s a general interest platform that reaches a very wide, non-design audience so it just might be the perfect place for his posts (not to mention further to the exact point he makes in this piece).  And I think HuffPo has so much potential to be uniquely great (which is why the garbage they toss in the mix is so disappointing) that any initiative to raise the journalistic bar there is certainly welcomed!


    I agree that he makes an incisive observation about the marginalization of landscape architecture criticism, and a persuasive argument about establishing the profession as influential in shaping communities/environments at the societal level.  Raising the cultural presence and influence of the profession among the general public is a key (if not primary) piece of the strategy to foster a better understanding/appreciation of what, exactly, we do.  No disrespect to snowplow drivers (particularly from my current vantage point in Queens!) but I wouldn’t be sad to retire that witty rejoinder that serves me so well when someone ponders, in all earnestness and ignorance, what it is that I DO during the winter months…

    Noah Mabry

    As far as HP goes I have always liked their news coverage and I just think the other stuff they throw in the mix is, as you say, dissapointing. I check it all the time for real news, so the fact that this is the chosen platform for TCLF is great and I can’t believe I haven’t stumbled across a post before. It looks like Birnbaum has been blogging there since this summer, so I guess I have some (very quick) reading to catch up on.


    Birnbaum was a visiting proffessor while at Ohio State when I was there and I attended a lecture he gave at the time. He’s a really thoughtful guy and I really like that the foundation does. We bulldoze stuff in this country so carelessly, and built landscapes are often undervalued anyway I’m glad there’s an organization to defend the ones that are culturally significant.


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