October 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm #153676Doug DaviesParticipant
I found this article to be very interesting in that Landscape Architects are not mentioned once within the body of the text or related documents. Is it that the author was including landscape architects, urban planners, and architects hollistically under the title of “architect” or is it that there is a clear dissasoiation between the different professions. While I agree with the article as a whole, I only agree with it in the context of architects, not LA or urban planners…
Thoughts?October 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm #153680Roland BeinertParticipant
The author of the article (Kaid Benfield) is probably someone who a lot of landscape architects would like, if they read his other blog posts. He is often bringing up the importance of green space. I suspect he was writing mainly about architects.
On the other hand, how many landscape architects are really doing the sort of work Jan Gehl does? There are plenty of landscape architects out there who see an empty park and shrug. They tend to try to justify it by saying something to the effect of “Well, not all parks are meant to be full of people.”, even if the park is clearly meant to be more of a people space rather than a nature preserve.October 29, 2013 at 11:36 pm #153679Doug DaviesParticipant
Point well taken, I am unfamiliar with Kaid Benfield’s work. I do not argue with you that LA’s can fall into the same trap, realizing idealized renderings over people scaled – people oriented spaces.
I also find it frustrating how little the ASLA is engaging the public like the AIA has. Programs such as the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) Program or the Center for Communities by Design do wonders for communities all across the country, what is the ASLA’s parallel program?October 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm #153678Tosh KParticipant
As much as I do love the academic studies that get done, it always irks me when I see an ’empty space’ photo or a ‘packed space’ photo that is program based and not spatial planning based. Some spaces just cannot be used for an active urban life, on the other hand some spaces are temporal. Some of the ones that particularly are skewed for me are:
Rockerfeller Center: we were all taught sunken urban courts are suicidal, they’re always empty because nobody likes a fishbowl. Somehow the ice rink makes it ok, or rather desirable, but all too often these fail.
Boston’s City Hall plaza: all too often shown as an empty desolate space. It sure can be, but ever see it when they have the big screens up and are showing the World Cup or another huge event?
Schouwburgplein, Rotterdam: If Boston’s city hall plaza is ‘desolate’ so is this one – when there is no ‘event’ going on it’s plain and flat and windswept. It’s beautiful and stunning when they put on events, but seems very empty otherwise.
There is more a movement to do community charrettes and ‘stakeholder’ meetings with architects and architecture firms as an ‘added-value’ some of them provide. Planners seem to have this grasped pretty well (at least the ones I’ve worked with/for), maybe because they often end up doing a lot of the zoning/special use permit type of work? LAs seem to go both ways – the tendency is to understand larger scale issues with a post-modern sensitivity to multiple use groups; however I’m not sold on the fact that we do this type of research as a pre-design activity (often their given a cursory nod, but not the only basis of user programming in that: 1. uses will change post construction because of the design, and 2. user groups can change after construction -students graduate from colleges, commercial tenants change, neighborhoods can turnover, etc).
It’s not so much of losing touch with people as much as working with those that are directly affected by the work (as some clients don’t care while others may be wanting to change the surroundings-including the people).
I enjoy much of the writing/work of the UC Berkeley faculty in this regard. Walter Hood, et al have done solid work.October 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm #153677Roland BeinertParticipant
By the way, for anyone interested, Jan Gehl has a new book out called How to Study Public Life.
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