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BY KATHARINE LOGAN

Resource extraction companies are moving on public lands like never before.

FROM THE JULY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Since the creation of the Antiquities Act in 1906, American presidents have had the authority, the honor, and the privilege of designating as national monuments the country’s most culturally and scientifically significant public lands—including, by corollary, some of the most spectacular, biodiverse, heritage-rich, and downright magnificent landscapes in America.

It’s doubtful whether presidents also have the inverse authority—to deconsecrate a national monument once protected—but doubtful is good enough for the current incumbent. In December of 2017, the Trump administration announced the reduction of two national monuments in southern Utah, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears, to shards of their former expanses, exposing culturally and ecologically important places to oil and mineral development.

The deconsecration of Grand Staircase and Bears Ears exemplifies a larger trend in this administration’s management of public lands. Since 2017, federally owned lands and waters totaling more than four times the area of California have been put up for lease to the energy sector. Utah, with its oil, gas, and mineral resources underlying the vistas of the Colorado Plateau, is on the front line. About 65 percent of the state is federally owned, and the U.S. Department of the Interior has received some 230 lease nominations covering more than 150,000 acres. Development of these leases threatens iconic Red Rock Canyon lands, forested plateaus, indigenous cultural sites, archaeological troves, and geological marvels. Some of the leases would allow drilling within half a mile of renowned protected sites, such as Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, and within 10 miles of Bears Ears’s radically shrunken limits. (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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BY JONATHAN LERNER

When everyone wants a piece of the same postcard.

When everyone wants a piece of the same postcard.

From the August 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Mather Point, a limestone fin that juts into Grand Canyon National Park, is the first overlook from which many, possibly most, visitors to the storied national park get a glimpse into that astonishing other world. In the middle of a short flight of steps down from the rim to the overlook sits a pair of large boulders. There’s often an informal queue at that spot. Every day hundreds, maybe thousands, of people wait to clamber up and have their pictures taken. Shot from below and elevated by the rock above the crowd, people appear to float before the geological fever dream of the canyon. Invariably, they spread their arms wide, like wings. These portraits make an allusion to flight—and an illusion of solitude.

A redesign of the access to Mather Point for cars and pedestrians, and of the park’s nearby main visitor center, was completed in 2012. It more than doubled the parking capacity. But attendance at national parks has soared since then, and already these new facilities are frequently overwhelmed. For the National Park Service system as a whole, between 2012 and 2015, recreational visits were up nearly 9 percent. For national parks in the Intermountain Region, attendance rose (more…)

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