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Archive for the ‘CLIMATE’ Category

Margie Ruddick and Thomas Rainer talk about their new books on wild landscape design.

Margie Ruddick and Thomas Rainer talk about their new books on wild landscape design.

From the July 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

In the past several months, Thomas Rainer, ASLA, and Margie Ruddick have each published books centered around notions of designing “wild” landscapes in the public realm to help restore ecological diversity in urban settings. Ruddick’s book is Wild by Design: Strategies for Creating Life-Enhancing Landscapes (Island Press, $45), and Rainer’s is Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes (Timber Press, $39.95). We invited the two to ASLA’s offices to talk about the project they have in common. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Why did you each decide to write books on wildness in landscape design?

Margie Ruddick: I didn’t actually think of my work as wild at all until Anne Raver wrote this piece, “In Philadelphia, Going Green or Growing Wild?” [about Ruddick’s home garden, in the New York Times], and then I started to get e-mails from people all around the world, and I realized: This is wild gardening.

Thomas Rainer: It felt like a good place to be, and we [Rainer and his coauthor, Claudia West, International ASLA] are both plant geeks. We had a lot of practical problems to work out in terms of how to (more…)

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This month, we have a few big stories that take you back a ways before bringing you back to the present. After decades of re-do schemes in Pershing Square in Los Angeles, and a tense year of competition that just ended with yet another redesign by Agence TER and SALT Landscape Architects announced as the long-awaited winners, we will see what becomes of the new design, and all the things a design needs to back it up, like services and programming. In New York’s barren Battery Park City in the 1980s, a  small, subtle, and safe harbor came to life as a work of art, rather than a park, by Susan Child, FASLA; Stanton Eckstut; and Mary Miss, and it continues to mature and season handsomely. In the Netherlands, Room for the River, a nationwide project has been reworking the country’s four major rivers in anticipation of greater floods in the future for more than 20 years. Finally, in the small town of Bruton, near London, is the artist’s heaven of Hauser & Wirth Somerset, with maximal garden designs by Piet Oudolf.

In the departments: the building momentum of separated bike lanes means safer routes for cyclists, in Streets; and three landscape architecture student journals create a window into the design culture of their universities, in Education. And, as ever, don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for June can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 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 June articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Better Luck This Time,” Agence Ter with SALT Landscape Architects; “Still Here,” Lexi Van Valkenburgh; “There’s Room,” Your Captain Luchtfotografie/www.luchtfotografie.com; “So Happy Together,” Heather Edwards, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth; “Cycle Away,” Jennifer Toole/Toole Design Group; “Class Consciousness,” Michelle Hook.

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On February 28, Under the Dome: Investigating China’s Smog, a documentary about air pollution in China by Chai Jing, was released. In less than a week, the video received more than 200 million hits before it was taken down by the Chinese government. The video breaks down the composition of pollution and why it is harmful, the health effects on the human body, the most common sources for China’s pollution, the government’s roadblocks to reform, and the history of rapid industrialization and consequences experienced around the world–in Europe, for instance. There are even striking parallels to practices found in the United States, reminding us that we have a ways to go to curb our own fossil-fuel dependency. The video is 103 minutes long, and the content is well worth watching for an in-depth look at just how bad the pollution situation has become in China.

Above is a playlist of the documentary segmented into 8 videos. For the full-length documentary, please visit here.

 

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A monthly roundup of the news, dispatches, and marginalia that caught our eye.
data viz

California drought, visualized with open data. Courtesy USGS. http://cida.usgs.gov/ca_drought/

In the December Queue, the LAM staff spends way too much time playing with a drought data visualization, reads about rivers reappearing everywhere, and keeps tabs on Chicago’s bid to be an architectural capital.

CATCHING UP WITH…

  Though researchers continue to analyze the sustained ecological benefits of Minute 319, a pulse flow released in March on the Colorado River (“Fluid Boundaries,” LAM, November 2014), the social benefits to local communities were obvious.

 The river restoration and daylighting projects landscape architect Keith Underwood has worked on in the D.C. area have brought life back to what was once buried for fear of disease (“A Filmmaker Who Follows Buried Rivers,” July 22, 2014).

 Despite some criticism over the sustainability of the daylighted Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul (“A View From Below,” LAM, June 2010), the project remains an ecological and social success story.

FIELD STUDIES

 We are what we eat, but does the culture surrounding the food’s cultivation affect us as well? A recent study published by the journal Science says so.

Salon reports that a new study published by the Journal for Nature Conservation reveals a drastic decline in reindeer across the world due to tourism and inbreeding, among other factors.

•  Dalia Zein at Landscape Architects Network visits Parc André Citroën, considered by some as one of Paris’s worst parks.

The UN-Habitat website recently launched a new search platform to access the UN’s publications and reports on a variety of urban topics, from sanitation to gender to housing.

OUR WOBBLY WORLD

 New user-friendly interactive maps created with open data by the USGS visualizes the drought intensity over time in California and the Southwest.

 If you’re an American who doesn’t believe in climate change, you are now in the minority. A new survey conducted for Munich Re America finds that 83 percent of American respondents believe the earth’s climate is in fact changing, though only 14 percent identified it as a top concern.

 Tiny Bubbles department: According to scientists at Leeds University, if you can reduce the bubble size in the wake of oceangoing vessels, you can “counteract the impact of climate change.” 

A recent segment on 60 Minutes reports that the world population is tapping into groundwater at a quickening pace, and looks at ramifications for overdrawing from these vast, but finite, groundwater reserves.

OUT AND ABOUT

 In a bid to cement Chicago as an architectural mecca, the city recently announced calls for entry to the Chicago Architecture Biennial Lakefront Kiosk Competition as part of the premiere of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Submissions run until March 23, 2015.

Rick Darke, whose firm is known for “landscape ethics, photography, and contextual design,” will be the keynote speaker for the 2015 Ecological Landscape Alliance Conference & Eco-Marketplace, which takes place February 25–26 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

DISTRACT ME FROM MY DEADLINE DEPT.

 If this doesn’t stop you from jaywalking, we don’t know what will.

 Why plant a real tree when you can get an urban wind turbine that looks like one instead?

Show that you’re landscape cognoscenti with these aerial photos for your phone’s wallpaper.

 Even oil barons can get into the spirit of the holidays.

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A monthly roundup of the news, dispatches, and marginalia that caught our eye.

In the November Queue, the LAM staff sees the real Keystone XL story go viral, learns about the most-wanted environmental fugitives, laments that the Arctic may truly be “ice-free” by 2020, and daydreams about an enchanting bike ride inspired by a starry, starry night.

OUR WOBBLY WORLD

KCRW’s “To the Point” aired an extensive report on the Keystone XL and the various strategies Canadian companies are using to move tar sands oil to the Gulf of Mexico (see “Below the Surface,” LAM, November 2014).

 The EPA has recently released the latest iteration of its report on 30 indicators of climate change in the United States. The third edition of the report compiles new data that links human activities and a warming planet, including wildfire occurrences and the rising levels and temperatures in the Great Lakes, among others.

•  A swoon-worthy four-minute film on global fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions has won a 2014 Kantar Information Is Beautiful award.

Interpol launched Operation Infra-Terra, a list of the most-wanted environmental fugitives in the world. Among the top offenses are animal poaching, illegal mining, and illegal waste disposal.

• The Arctic could be “ice-free” as soon as 2020, according to Cambridge professor Peter Wadhams.

• As part of a $2.4 billion project to protect waterways, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens will add thousands of streetside plots to help soak up excess stormwater, while communities in Maryland seek to add similar measures to avoid large fees under a controversial “rain tax.”

FIELD STUDIES

 A four-and-a-half-minute video recently released by PBS highlights the haunting beauty of the historic McMillan Sand Filtration site in Washington, D.C., echoing the local residents’ advocacy for the site’s untapped potential.

 Seattle no longer has to worry about needing to choose between funding the police or the local park. Voters recently approved a measure that separates park funding from the general fund, though some worry that this money will not make it to the parks that need it the most.

In a recent essay in Places Journal, Brian Davis (see “The Dredge Underground,” LAM, August 2014) and Thomas Oles challenge the term “landscape architecture,” suggesting that  “landscape science” more accurately captures the core values of modern practice.

Berlin’s 33,000 resident artists have taken advantage of the slow regeneration of the city, giving more leeway for the creative improvisation of space and property.

Medium looks at contemporary cartography and the increasing complexity of modern maps. 

OUT AND ABOUT

United Divide: A Linear Portrait of the USA/Canada Border opened at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles on November 14.

• The Cultural Landscape Foundation and the Presidio Trust will host Saving Nature in a Humanized World January 22–24 at the Presidio in San Francisco.

DISTRACT ME FROM MY DEADLINE DEPT.

 Ever wonder what your city would look like if we all just turned off the lights?

 If Van Gogh was alive today, he’d want you to use this bike path.

• This memorial in Arizona aligns with the sun perfectly only on Veterans Day at 11:11 a.m.

 These pictures highlight works of art only nature could create.

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Close-up view of a moveable climate station.

Close-up view of a movable climate station.

From the November 2014 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Reid Fellenbaum

Reid Fellenbaum, Student Affiliate ASLA

It’s 2080, a world deep in the throes of a changing climate where a landscape’s fertility is analyzed by mammoth structures that roam the Great Plains. It may seem like a scene from a sci-fi novel, but it is actually the basis for Reid Fellenbaum’s “Meridian of Fertility,” winner of the 2014 ASLA Student Award of Excellence in Analysis and Planning, which examines historical practices, climate models, projected precipitation, temperature, and current soil quality of the Great Plains region and suggests that the “Meridian of Fertility,” a geographical dividing line between prairie lands to the west and areas suitable for agricultural practices to the east, is steadily moving eastward. The project proposes a series of shelterbelts to slow this migration, as well as a return to dry-farming practices (a no-irrigation method that relies on the conservation of soil moisture) informed by structures called climate stations that use “hyperlocal climate predictions” to determine the best site for farmers to plant their crops. We talked with Fellenbaum about his project, and how he sees it as a focus on resiliency in a changing world.

(more…)

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Bostonians like to think they are smart. Maybe they’re right—they are certainly smart enough to know when to ask other people for help. On October 29, the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Boston’s mayor, Martin Walsh, announced a major international design competition called Boston Living with Water to address the threat of sea-level rise and coastal flooding. The competition, which is open and meant to be interdisciplinary, will unfold in two stages and focus on three sites representing three scales of challenge: Building (a condo structure in the North End), Neighborhood (100 acres in the Fort Point Channel District), and Infrastructure (Morrissey Boulevard, a multiuse transportation corridor). Phase 1 entries are due January 29, 2015, after which finalists will be selected to advance to the second stage. An award ceremony and exhibition will be held in June, including the award of $20,000 to the first-place team and $10,000 each to second- and third-place teams.

International competitions aren’t launched every day, but what was more unusual about the kickoff was its context—a new mayor, only 10 months into his first term, assuming regional leadership on climate change. The cities and towns of Greater Boston believe firmly that good fences make good neighbors; regional cooperation is pretty much nonexistent. But, as Walsh noted, “climate knows no municipal boundaries,” which makes his concurrent announcement of a regional climate initiative including 13 metropolitan area mayors seem downright historic. The mayor spoke at ABX, the annual building-industry convention hosted by the Boston Society of Architects, where he was surrounded by the city managers of Cambridge and Chelsea, as well as by the directors of seemingly every city and state agency in any way involved with climate, planning, or infrastructure. It was a scene that would have been unimaginable a year before Sandy. But then, even if Bostonians aren’t always quite as smart as they think, they are certainly quick studies.

Elizabeth S. Padjen is an architect and the former editor of ArchitectureBoston magazine.

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