Many historic sites in Scotland, like Skara Brae, are extremely vulnerable to climate change. Courtesy Sylvia Duckworth via Wikimedia Commons.
The sudden loss of historic sites along coastal areas, and their just as sudden reemergence, are often among the unexpected consequences of sea-level rise. We recently came across this piece by Henry Gass at E&E Publishing on the vulnerabilities of Scottish historic properties to coastline erosion, and the inability of the existing regulatory structures to adapt to both the threats and opportunities it presents. This piece, originally published behind the publisher’s paywall, highlights some of these issues. E&E, which does excellent daily reporting on climate change and energy issues, has kindly allowed us to repost the article in full.
SCOTLAND FIGHTS TO KEEP ITS ANCIENT HISTORY
FROM VANISHING UNDER A RISING SEA
HENRY GASS, E&E PUBLISHING, LLC, AUGUST 1, 2014
A storm buried Skara Brae for centuries, and it would take a storm to unearth it again.
Roughly 5,000 years ago, a small community of farmers settled in the village on a small island off Scotland’s northeast coast. The villagers lived in geometrically identical stone houses, grew barley, raised cattle and sheep, and carved tools using volcanic rock from Iceland that washed ashore. Over 700 years, they built an ordered society until, archaeologists believe, the climate changed and powerful storms buried the village in water and sand.
Almost three centuries later, in 1850, another powerful storm tore into the island’s coastal dunes, revealing Skara Brae once more. Archaeologists have been excavating the site ever since, gaining detailed insights into the uniquely organized and comfortable Neolithic settlement. But now the climate is changing again, and it may not be long before Skara Brae is reclaimed by the ocean.
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Posted in CLIMATE, ENVIRONMENT, HISTORIC LANDSCAPES, LAM BLOG, PRESERVATION, SHORELINE, VIEWS | Tagged adaptation, climate change, historic preservation, Scotland, Skara Brae | Leave a Comment »
The proposed site for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art would replace two parking lots south of Soldier Field.
George Lucas, the filmmaker famous for the Star Wars franchise, can’t seem to catch a break. First, his bid to build a museum to house his vast populist art collection, along with memorabilia from his films, on Crissy Field in San Francisco’s Presidio fell through when the Presidio Trust “decided not to pursue any of the proposals to build a cultural institution.” The $700 million Beaux-Arts-inspired proposal, designed by the Urban Design Group of Dallas and the Office of Cheryl Barton of San Francisco, had received plenty of negative and positive criticism, and Lucas had vowed to take the museum to another city, such as Chicago, if rejected.
In June, it was announced that Lucas had indeed made good on that threat, and Chicago had successfully lured Lucas to its shores. Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, offered the current site, two parking lots covering roughly 17 acres, along the lakefront of Chicago for a yearly lease of one dollar, an offer too good to resist. Like the Presidio, the site could give visitors great access to waterfront cultural sites, along with stretches of green space, but it also offers the reflected glamour of being nestled among such world-class museums as the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium—an area known as the Museum Campus.
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Posted in CITIES, LAM BLOG, PEOPLE | Tagged Chicago, George Lucas, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, MAD Architects, Presidio, San Francisco, Studio Gang Architects, VOA Associates | Leave a Comment »
BY ADAM REGN ARVIDSON, FASLA
LeBleu’s work in Mobile is seeking to balance industrial uses with natural and recreational uses at the ocean’s edge.
Charlene LeBleu, FASLA, is an associate professor in the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction at Auburn University. For several years, she has been following the emerging discipline of marine spatial planning, which applies planning principles and community engagement to the world’s oceans. Along with her students, LeBleu has been working on a marine spatial plan for Dauphin Island Peninsula in Mobile, Alabama, where much of the confluence of historic, ecological, and industrial land uses takes place at and beyond the shoreline.
How would you describe marine spatial planning and how it differs from land-use planning?
Typical land-based planning focuses on how different types of users can exist next to each other and what’s the boundary and edge between them. The neat thing about marine spatial planning is the seasonal fluctuation of use. It links multiuse zones and limited-use zones so that a tourist can engage the edge, but then we may cut them off at certain times of the year when certain fish and other sea creatures are spawning. Marine spatial planning has this dynamic-ness built into it, so that it can reach out at a certain time, protect something, and then pull back and let other uses in.
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Posted in HABITAT, LAM MAGAZINE, NOW, OCEANS, PLANNING, UNIVERSITY, WATER | Tagged Alabama, Auburn University, Dauphin Island Peninsula, Marine Spatial Planning, Mobile | Leave a Comment »
A Mardi Gras parade passes by one of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority’s pilot rain garden lots in Algiers, designed by Spackman Mossop and Michaels. Credit: New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.
This week, the Van Alen Institute announced Future Ground, a new, open, and international competition to develop ideas and policies for dealing with New Orleans’s nearly 30,000 vacant lots and abandoned buildings. Nearly 10 years post-Katrina, New Orleans has thousands of idle urban spaces that the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, which owns more than 2,000 of them and is a cosponsor of the competition, wants to see turned into community resources.
The Future Ground RFQ stresses the need to develop workable policies for these vacant spaces as well as design solutions. It states that competitors should be multidisciplinary teams of “individuals and firms with expertise in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, graphic design, policy, engineering, finance, real estate, community development, and other fields.” Competing teams need to include local partners. Winning teams, the brief says, will receive $15,000 to work on small projects that can have broader applications and also generate policies that can sustain the program for the next several decades.
This is not Van Alen’s first foray into vacant land—it sponsored the Urban Voids competition back in 2005 for Philadelphia, and this competition is part of the multiyear, multiproject Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape initiative.
The timeline is short: The deadline for applications is September 29, 2014, and teams will kick off in New Orleans in October 2014 and wrap up by the spring of 2015. You can find the RFQ and more information, including a list of advisers, local sponsors, and jury members, on the Van Alen Institute site.
Tell us in the comments if you decide to submit, and what intrigues you about this opportunity.
Posted in AWARDS, CITIES, COMPETITIONS, ECONOMICS, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES, HISTORIC LANDSCAPES, IDEAS, REGULATIONS, SANDY | Tagged Abandoned Landscapes, Design Competition, Post-Katrina New Orleans, Urban Vacancy, Vacant Lands, Van Alen Instiitute | Leave a Comment »
BY LAUREN MANDEL, ASSOCIATE ASLA
Ryerson University’s green roof transformation.
In downtown Chicago, the city’s convention center, McCormick Place, dominates the landscape with 27 acres of rooftop. The facility’s West Building has more than three acres of thin, or extensive, green roof, which was installed in 2007 to meet city requirements. In recent years, a lack of maintenance has caused the roof’s Sedum species to decline, which gave employees of SAVOR, the in-house food service provider at McCormick Place, an idea that these highly visible vegetated planes could be used for a more productive purpose. The result is the McCormick Place Rooftop Farm.
Green roof infrastructure has matured to the point that the intended use for some older roofs may no longer be relevant. In Chicago, New York, and Toronto, there are projects to turn some of these roofs into fields of food. In the past decade, cities with progressive stormwater management policies have incentivized or even required green roofs on new construction, creating a veneer of vegetation across many urban skylines. But as with any landscape, the project matures and the needs of the users change.
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Posted in CITIES, FOOD, GREEN ROOFS, LAM MAGAZINE | Tagged Chicago, Chicago Botanic Garden, McCormick Place, New York, Ryerson University, Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Toronto | Leave a Comment »
For the cover story of LAM’s August issue, Jennifer Reut, an associate editor at the magazine, goes on safari in Louisiana with the Dredge Research Collaborative, a loosely joined group of designers and one journalist spellbound by the huge, hidden power of dredging waterways for shipping or flood control, and all of its odd side effects. It began as almost a science fiction-type pursuit, though one member of the collaborative, Tim Maly, explains, “As we began to research the present of dredge, our wild ideas were routinely falling short of reality.” Also in this month’s features, Jonathan Lerner surveys the outsized ambitions of Joe Brown, FASLA, who just retired from AECOM, the multinational design firm to which he welded the fortunes of the beloved landscape architecture firm EDAW in an acquisition nine years ago—to applause that was scarcely universal. And on the riverfront of Newark, Jane Margolies explores the degrading past and the brighter future of an old industrial site turned into Riverfront Park, with a boardwalk done in sizzling orange, by Lee Weintraub, FASLA.
In Foreground, we have the refashioning of certain large green roofs into farms; the balancing of goodness and financial prudence required to make social-impact design viable; and the layered dynamics of marine spatial planning as practiced by Charlene LeBleu, FASLA, at Auburn University. In Species, Constance Casey writes about the respectable labors of the mole—even if it can be a gardener’s scourge. In the Back, landscape architects in Denver suggest their personal favorite spots to visit during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in November. And of course, there’s more in our regular Books and Goods columns.
You can read the full table of contents for August here. As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.
Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating some August pieces as the month rolls out.
Credits: Concrete Mattresses—Jennifer Reut; Orange Boardwalk—Colin Cooke Studio; Joe Brown—Kyle Jeffers; Rooftop Gardening—Chicago Botanic Garden; The Women’s Opportunity Center—Bruce Engel, Sharon Davis Design; Marine Spatial Planning—Charlene LeBleu, FASLA; Mole—www.shutterstock.com/Marcin Pawinski; 9th Street Historic Park—Kyle Huninghake; Marché aux poulets—Camille Sitte, circa 1885.
Posted in BOOKS, CITIES, EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT, FOOD, GREEN ROOFS, LAM MAGAZINE, PARKS, PEOPLE, PRACTICE, REUSE, WATER | Tagged AECOM, ASLA Annual Meeting, Denver, Dredge, Dredge Research Collaborative, Dredgefest, EDAW, Joe Brown, Lee Weintraub, Mole, Newark, Riverfront Park, Street Design | Leave a Comment »
BY MELISSA RAGAIN
Los Angeles is fascinated with the improbability of its own existence in an otherwise depleted landscape. As a behemoth system, it has had an almost Faustian capacity to sustain itself by diverting resources away from smaller, less powerful systems. This summer, the Los Angeles Forum produced a show, now on view at the WUHO gallery, with the work of Lane Barden, whose 50-foot-long series of aerial images follows the flow of cars, water, and shipping containers through the city. It’s paired with Joseph K. Lee and Benedikt Groß’s The Big Atlas of L.A. Pools, which delivers exactly what it promises: a catalog of all 43,123 swimming pools in the city of Los Angeles. These projects together address the more subtle flows and stoppages of L.A.’s common-pool resources, using water as a metaphor for global movement and the uneven distribution of capital.
Barden’s piece, Linear City, focuses on the city’s arterial flows. Barden, a professional architectural photographer, has produced an aerial homage to the deadpan aesthetics of Ed Ruscha’s Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations from 1963, but without the humor. It’s a cumulative panorama of the Alameda Corridor railroad, Wilshire Boulevard, and the glorified ditch that is the current Los Angeles River.
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Posted in ART, CITIES, LAM BLOG, PEOPLE, PHOTOGRAPHY, STREETS, WATER | Tagged Cultural Geography, Joseph K. Lee and Benedikt Groß, LA Forum, Lane Barden, Linear City, Los Angeles, The Big Atlas of LA Pools, Urban Cartography, WUHO Gallery | Leave a Comment »