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Archive for the ‘HISTORY’ Category

BY BRADFORD McKEE

Credit: Courtesy Museum of Walking/Angela Ellsworth.

Postcommodity, Repellent Fence, 2015. Image courtesy Museum of Walking/Angela Ellsworth.

From the upcoming February 2017 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Instead of a sensible and humane overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws to deal with current realities, we are apparently going to get a wall between the United States and Mexico. It was among the most outlandish promises of the Trump campaign, if only one of its rank xenophobic turns: a gigantic blockade stretching from the Pacific Ocean, through the Sonoran Desert, and down the Rio Grande River to the Gulf of Mexico, with fear as its mortar. During the first week of the new Republican-led Congress, the House Republican Policy Committee chair, Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana, told the Washington Post that legislators are looking for ways to begin work on such a wall under existing law and with American (not Mexican) money. The existing law Messer means is the Secure Fence Act of 2006, signed by President George W. Bush, which called for 700 miles of actual fencing and a “virtual fence” of beefed-up surveillance along the Mexico border. That work remains incomplete. Barriers block less than half of the 1,954 miles of international boundary. Theoretically, a resumption of building could begin to lock it all up later this spring.

The human effects of this simplistic idea will be mixed. A big wall will stop some population flow, but hardly all of it, and it will kill informal cross border commerce. Ecologically, though, it is likely to be a catastrophe. It will fragment habitat on a huge scale in one of the most biologically diverse parts of North America—the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas alone is said to have (more…)

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A lift behind the scenes helped bring the National Park Service into being.

A lift behind the scenes helped bring the National Park Service into being.

From the April 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

In February 1916, the American Society of Landscape Architects met in Boston for its annual meeting. Among the reports entered into the proceedings was one of the Committee on National Parks. The committee was made up of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., Harris Reynolds, Stephen Child, Percival Gallagher, and Warren H. Manning, and it had been formed on the recommendation of ASLA President James Sturgis Pray in 1915, part of a groundswell of unease that had been brewing for several years over the fractured administration of the national parks.

The passage of the National Park Service Organic Act on August 25, 1916, established the park service and its mission, and though it has been amended many times, and threatened many more times than that, it remains, 100 years hence, our primary apparatus for preserving and interpreting the national parks. Ethan Carr, FASLA, the landscape historian and author of Wilderness by Design: Landscape Architecture & the National Park Service, writes that (more…)

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The things our art director, Chris McGee, hated to leave out of the current issue of LAM.

Credit: Sahar Coston-Hardy.

Credit: Sahar Coston-Hardy.

From “Industrial Evolution” by Tom Stoelker, in the August 2016 issue, featuring the National Park Service’s management plan to unite industrial history with natural beauty at the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson, New Jersey.

“A view above and below.”

—Chris McGee, LAM Art Director

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.

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BY JULIAN RAXWORTHY

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From the July 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

In my seminar on contemporary theories of landscape architecture at the University of Cape Town, I recently asked students, during the week allocated to discussing landscape urbanism, to choose a project from Africa that could be called “landscape urbanist.” One student chose the renovation of the Luanda waterfront in Angola. This project is an upgrade that could just as easily be described as conventional landscape architecture or urban design practice. That landscape urbanism seemed to just be landscape architecture to my students suggests how generic the term has become when considered in relation to implementation: It could be just about anything. Landscape urbanism is a vibe.

Landscape urbanism is an evocative term that has exercised great influence over academic design discourse in landscape architecture but has remained ambiguous in practical terms. One of its key propagandists, Charles Waldheim, Honorary ASLA, a professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, has attempted to provide a “general theory” for it in his new book Landscape as Urbanism, which, while engagingly going some of the way toward doing so, leaves the persistent question of “OK, but so what?” remaining.

Talking about landscape urbanism is more like (more…)

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BY MARK HOUGH, FASLA

Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway has finally gotten what it always needed—time.

Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway has finally gotten what it always needed—time.

From the July 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Call it the Emptyway. That was the headline of a 2009 Boston Globe article lamenting the perceived failure of Boston’s Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, which had opened a year earlier atop the city’s infamous “Big Dig.” For years, the Globe had expressed concern over the greenway—over its design and the process that created it. The paper was not alone. Others in Boston, including many in the media and the design community, shared a sense that what was built fell short of what had been possible. After decades of dealing with the project, which buried what had been an elevated freeway into a tunnel running beneath downtown, everyone had expected something special. What they got, however, to many people was at best mediocre. The New Republic, in an otherwise glowing 2010 treatise on contemporary urban parks, declared that the greenway “is not merely bad, it is dreadful.”

Hyperbole aside, there was some merit to the early criticism of the greenway. Attendance in the park was slow during its first few years, and there were times when it did appear fairly empty. A common complaint was that the designers had not provided enough for people to do. There were things to look at and paths to walk along, but not much more. People expected immediate gratification after years of headaches caused by the project, which was plausible but unrealistic.

What many critics of the greenway didn’t recognize is that (more…)

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FEATURE: We Declare

Reformulating a historic agenda after half a century.

From the May 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

At Independence Hall in Philadelphia in June of 1966, Ian McHarg, Grady Clay, Campbell Miller, Charles R. Hammond, George E. Patton, and John O. Simonds presented “A Declaration of Concern” on behalf of landscape architecture. It was a statement on the growing crisis in the natural environment and the claim of landscape architects in averting the environment’s total destruction. To the degree the declaration was dramatic and self-regarding, it was also true. It preceded much of the formal regulatory protection—preventive, punitive, and remedial—of resources that we know now. The declaration’s alarm over pollution and ecological ruin speaks for itself, but it managed to be both critical and optimistic. Its hope lay in the ability of landscape architects to figure out across disciplines how to make nature and society work as a whole, healthy system.

The Landscape Architecture Foundation is marking the half century of “A Declaration of Concern” with “The New Landscape Declaration,” a gathering of landscape architects, scholars, and advocates at the University of Pennsylvania on June 10 and 11. The foundation, which is also turning 50, asked a number of participants to write declarations of their own for the occasion as latter-day responses to the original. Five are printed here. Landscape architects have by no means retired the threats of 50 years ago, and other threats have proliferated around them, but the moral vision of the profession conceived at the midcentury has enlarged accordingly.

For more information on the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s event, go to https://lafoundation.org/news-events/2016-summit.

Throughout the month of May, we will be releasing the five featured essays and posting them below.


 

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sustainable Happiness: Actions for Interdependence

By Randolph T. Hester Jr., FASLA

Into an Era of Landscape Humanism

By Gina Ford, ASLA

The Landscape Architect as Urbanist of Our Age

By Charles Waldheim, Honorary ASLA

Developing Landscapes of Resource Management

By Alpa Nawre, ASLA

Fifty Years of the Declaration: Evolution and Prospects

By Mario Schjetnan, FASLA

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A new film focuses on Jens Jensen.

From the April 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Jens Jensen didn’t care much for the White City. According to the new documentary Jens Jensen: The Living Green, he, along with the architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, rejected the European influence of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and embraced the prairie and its ecology as the American landscape idiom. Today, many of his pioneering ideas about the use of native plants and landscape conservation have new currency. Jensen, who was born in Denmark but is closely associated with Chicago’s urban parks and midwestern landscape preservation, will be the subject of an Earth Day observance at the New York Botanical Garden. A screening of the documentary will be followed by a panel discussion with Darrel Morrison, FASLA; Robert Grese, ASLA; the filmmaker Carey Lundin; and Jensen’s great-granddaughter, Jensen Wheeler Wolfe.

Jens Jensen: The Living Green Film Screening and Panel Discussion at the National Building Museum, April 14, 2016, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

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