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This fall, LAM will be highlighting professional and student winners from the 2020 ASLA Awards by asking designers to dive deep into one image from their winning project.

The Landscape of an Agreement: The Role of Regional and Geopolitical Landscape, Agriculture, and Religion in a Future Peace Agreement Between Palestine and Israel, by shelter_expanse, Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award.

 

Image courtesy shelter_expanse.

“In our work we mostly try to investigate the relationships between people based on the land. We hope this image, in the form [of an] aerial panorama (like those of Heinrich Berann), succeeds in showing this by detailing two entangled populations making clear actions over the land, thus shaping their life and future. It is the landscape that delineates the ground for actions, the Judaean Desert at the foreground, and the Jerusalem Mountains at the back.”

“We always believe landscape can and must take a larger responsibility in society, toward greater equality and justice, with communal and spiritual aspects. But we were still surprised to find to what extent this is possible if one addresses the critical issues and sites with the right tools. In a region cultivated for thousands of years, landscape plays an enormous geopolitical role: People pray, live, and die for it. In a world torn by health and environmental crises, economic and political inequalities, we must come out into the land; leave behind the boutique work for a while. It should be based on a clear and universal set of principles.”

 —Matanya Sack, International ASLA, and Uri Reicher of shelter_expanse

 

The Palestinian–Israeli conflict in the West Bank is one of the world’s thorniest territorial disputes. The firm shelter_expanse, commissioned by Peace Now to look at the situation through the lens of landscape architecture, shows how considerations of topology, land use, and future development can inform negotiations by policy makers and analysts. The design team created a potential solution to the complex patchwork of overlapping claims based on its analysis of the region’s developed territories, agricultural lands, nature reserves, and heritage sites. Providing useful new data in the course of its research, the team created detailed maps of developed areas, turning up new communities not previously recorded. The resulting proposal is based on a vision for long-term stability and growth of a separate Palestinian nation and makes recommendations for specific land swaps between Israel and Palestine. The jury took note of the sensitive approach to the region, where “fights over ownership often neglect realities of the land itself,” and “the ability to de-settle land will hold lessons for flood-prone cities that face the prospect of retreat.”

—Lydia Lee

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BY TIM WATERMAN

The Milan Expo 2015 raises unsought emotions about food, cities, the world.

The Milan Expo 2015 raises unsought emotions about food, cities, the world.

From the July 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

A city like Milan reflects the strivings of generations. It has a rich quality of everyday life that includes a sophisticated food culture, which, as in so many Italian cities, is both distinctly local and, because of its history of trade, cosmopolitan. The evolution of the city’s form has intertwined with the tastes and appetites of the Milanese. The convivial quality of many of its spaces comes from enclosures such as its ubiquitous courtyard gardens, its cool semiprivate zones where neighbors come into contact, or its sidewalk cafés. Milan was once Mediolanum (meaning “in the midst of the plain”), the capital of the Western Roman Empire. It was enclosed by walls, but open to its countryside in the Po River Valley, where alluvial soils raised abundant grain and grapes, and roads brought influence from all over Europe.

Milan’s economy has suffered, as has all of Italy’s, from the crash in 2008, and recession and unemployment are tenaciously rooted. While its economy continues to be underpinned by industry and agriculture, notably by small, family-owned farms, government policy has looked to urban and infrastructural development for solutions to the crisis. Italy’s new, post-Berlusconi government is trying to show evidence of its ability to deliver, and Milan, the financial center of Italy, has become a showcase of contemporary neoliberal development. In particular, two developments have shown great international visibility: the Milan Expo 2015 and the business district at Porta Nuova, best known for the Bosco Verticale (vertical forest), the heavily vegetated and much-published twin luxury apartment towers by the architect Stefano Boeri.

Boeri has courted controversy at both sites, attracting antigentrification protests both from the working-class neighborhood the towers protrude from, as well as accusations of deploying expensive greenwash that would never be possible in a lower-cost development. Much the same objections have been raised against the plans for this year’s expo in Milan, which he master planned with Jacques Herzog, William McDonough, and Ricky Burdett. “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is the expo’s motto, meant, as it was, to embody a sustainable ethic, but it clashed with the presence of food giants such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola among the nations represented. Lavish spending on the project further excited anger, as many people questioned the concentration of municipal spending on one site instead of many, and the inevitable siphoning away of funds that such concentration engenders. On May Day in Milan, cars blazed in the streets, windows were smashed, and ‘No Expo’ graffiti proliferated.

(more…)

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