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BY TIM WATERMAN

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The genius temporum of Martí Franch’s Girona landscapes.

FROM THE JANUARY 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE

“I really want to make the whole city like this,” says Martí Franch of Estudi Martí Franch (EMF), speaking of his vision of designing the green infrastructure of Girona, Spain, through a process of enlightened and engaged landscape management. We are sitting in his office, among shelves full of models and a table full of drawings. With us are Marc Rosdevall, a landscape architect with the City of Girona and the project’s director, and Marta Costa-Pau, a reporter from the local newspaper who is eager to report on the most recent transformations EMF’s work has wrought on Girona, and, in an amusing bit of journalistic circularity, to interview me to find out why this work is of interest and important to an American journalist and his landscape architecture audience.

Girona is a city in Catalonia with a population of roughly 100,000, situated in the rocky green foothills of the Catalonian Coastal Ranges at the confluence of four small rivers. The landscape is typical scrubby Mediterranean maquis, studded with stone pines (Pinus pinea), holm oaks (Quercus ilex), and the inevitable and omnipresent formal Italian cypresses (Cupressus sempervirens), which have an air of nervous, attendant stiffness in the loosely informal Catalonian landscape, like butlers at a barn dance. When I visit in late spring, (more…)

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Many eyes are hungrily on the Arctic. The polar region is opening to resource hunters and shippers who see huge advantages in the unfortunate loss of its ice. Heavier development will inevitably find its way north, with enormous impact to ecology and indigenous societies. This month, Jessica Bridger, a LAM contributing editor, reports on the research by Leena Cho and Matthew Jull and their Arctic Design Group. Cho is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and Jull is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Virginia. They have taken landscape and architecture students to Svalbard, about as north as the settled north gets, to study urbanization patterns and develop design responses to the environmental challenges of industry amid the receding ice and shifting permafrost—signs of much more to come.

In Catalonia, Tim Waterman views the city of Girona as the landscape architect Martí Franch has connected it—humanely, narratively—through removal of vegetation that opens up views and creates connections. It’s as much an act of radical maintenance as it is design. And in El Paso, Mark Hough, FASLA, considers the University of Texas campus newly designed by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects of Austin. It regenerates the desert site (with its Bhutanese architecture) with the vigor you would expect from Christine Ten Eyck, FASLA. In the Back section, Anne Whiston Spirn, FASLA, writes on the work of the artists Helen and Newton Harrison and its suggestive flow into landscape architecture. And in Books, Julia Czerniak reviews The Course of Landscape Architecture by Christophe Girot.

In Now, read about postcoal scenarios for Utah and new moves in Scandinavian urbanism. The Office section asks firms about their collaboration software setups. In Water, Sasaki has helped Cedar Rapids, Iowa, get ready for its next big flood. In Tech, we have the intriguing potential of 3-D scanning for landscapes. And in Goods this month, we have fences—but only nice, almost come-hither fences. The full table of contents for January 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 January articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Permafrost Urbanists,” Jessica Bridger; “It’s About Time,” Estudi Martí Franch; “Desert Bloom,” Adam Barbe, ASLA; “Second Chances,” Sasaki; “Infinite Mapping,” Tommy Jordan; “Sharing Is Wearing,” Norris Design; “The Art of Inquiry, Manifestation, and Enactment,” Piet Janmaat

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