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The following news articles are geared toward students and other professionals.
Landscape Architecture
Marina One by Gustafson Porter + Bowman Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 January 2018 13:29
Gustafson Porter + Bowman: Marina One is an innovative, highly sustainable, high-density building complex in the Marina Bay financial district which upholds the city’s ambition to become a “City within a Garden”. Comprised of four-towers arranged around a central courtyard, the scheme integrates an extensive planted landscape into the fabric of the building. Gustafson Porter […] Add a comment
 
Profile | Nadia Amoroso Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 January 2018 10:00

WLA recently had the opportunity to speak with Nadia Amoroso. She is a faculty member at the University of Guelph, Department of Landscape, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development. She was the Lawrence Halprin Fellow at Cornell University and the Garvan Chair Visiting Professor at the University of Arkansas. She holds a PhD from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, London, and degrees in Landscape Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Toronto. She specializes in visual communication in landscape architecture, digital design, data visualization and creative mapping. She also operates an illustration studio, under her name, focusing on landscape architectural visual communication. She has written a number of articles and books on topics relating to creative mapping, visual representation, and digital design including, The Exposed City: Mapping the Urban Invisibles, Representing Landscapes: Digital, and more recently Representing Landscapes: Hybrid.

WLA | What made you want to become a landscape architect?
Nadia | I was originally interested in architecture, but visited a local University that offered a landscape architecture program, and I found the projects really interesting. I was intrigued as the design improvements of the outdoor spaces. I looked into the program more and researched what landscape architects do, and after that, I was hooked.

How would you describe your approach as a landscape architect?
Approach a project with fresh eyes. I try to understand the culture and history of the place, along with its aesthetic beauty. Each space is unique. I like to follow Christophe Girot’s “The Four Trace Concepts” approach- Landing, Grounding, Finding, and Founding. I also inspired by the works of Claude Cormier, and how is applies a sense of humor, playful and artistic measure to his works. I try to emulate that approach/ style. I am also inspired by a number of modern/ contemporary landscapes architects such as James Corner, Adriaan Geuze, Martha Schwartz, George Hargreaves, Kathryn Gustafson, Walter Hood, Kimyoung Kim, Jim Richards, Katt Orff, Chris Reed, Charles Waldheim, and many others who have made such a positive and lasting mark in landscape architecture. I try to utilize the works of many renowned landscape architects as a means of motivation and as precedents when approaching a landscape project.

You currently teach at the University of Guelph, what is the best thing about working with students?
I really enjoy working at School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph. I get to see a variety of ideas and projects done by the students, and it’s great to see a variety of work and creativity. The University of Guelph has the largest undergraduate landscape architecture program in Canada, about 65 to 70 students per year. We receive 500-600 applications for the BLA program. The students are great to work with, and it’s a good way to keep updated on the latest trends and projects in landscape architects.

This year the University of Guelph was selected to participate in the International Competition for the Winter Stations project. I used that opportunity to operate the BLA4 studio project as an internal competition, in which 13 teams presented their ideas for an installation for the Winter Stations projects- with the theme of Riot. The team with the project entitled- “Rising Up” won that coveted spot. Now I am excited to work with this team to help bring it to realization. Here’s more about it. Winter Station 2018

Thanks to Nadia for taking the time for her profile. Nadia is also a jury member of the 2018 WLA Awards.

The post Profile | Nadia Amoroso appeared first on World Landscape Architecture.

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To Become More Resilient, Boston Takes a “Landscape First” Approach Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 16:33
East Boston flood scenarios / Coastal Resilience Solutions for East Boston and Charlestown, Stoss

Instead of simply responding to catastrophe, Boston is getting out front on climate change. As part of its Climate Ready Boston plan, the city of 670,000 aims to act fast and protect two coastal neighborhoods most vulnerable to rising sea levels and storms: East Boston and Charlestown. New plans for these neighborhoods explain how a simple fix like creating a temporary flood wall at the coastal end of the East Boston Greenway, at a cost of just $100,000, would protect 4,300 residents, 70 businesses and critical infrastructure, and result in $17 million in benefits.

But perhaps the most important statement in the plan is: “more extensive measures combining green and gray infrastructure and new open space can be built and expanded over time to address risks from 1 percent annual chance floods with over 36 inches of sea level rise (by the 2070s).” In other words, landscape-based solutions are the answer for long-term protection and resilience. The plan calls for making $142-262 million of these investments over the next few decades, netting $644-751 million in benefits.

East Boston plan, near and long-term projects / Coastal Resilience Solutions for East Boston and Charlestown, Stoss
Charlestown plan, near and long-term projects / Coastal Resilience Solutions for East Boston and Charlestown, Stoss

An inter-departmental city government team lead the effort, which was conducted by engineers at Kleinfelder, landscape architects at Stoss landscape urbanism, and architects with ONE architecture. The district-level coastal resilience plan came out of the recently-completed Climate Ready Boston process and Imagine Boston 2030, the first comprehensive planning effort in 50 years, and resulted from the efforts of Boston Harbor Now and other non-profits.

In a phone interview, Chris Reed, ASLA, founder and principal at Stoss landscape urbanism, said East Boston and Charlestown were the focus of the first plans and conceptual designs in a series that will look at all vulnerable Boston neighborhoods. “The rationale was to look at the places that will flood first and also help disadvantaged neighborhoods threatened with displacement and gentrification.” An analysis of South Boston, including Seaport, is also underway, and more neighborhood analyses will be coming over the next few years.

Reed explained that Kleinfelder, Stoss, and ONE only proposed “flood control measures that have social, environmental, and economic benefits.” Flood control infrastructure takes the form of landscape berms, wildlife habitat, waterfront promenades, play areas, and strategic walls. Using evaluation criteria established in the report, the planning and design team settled on a layered approach with back-up defenses. In most instances, walls were minimized in favor of other kinds of multi-use infrastructure that enable access to and recreation on the waterfronts.

East Boston landing: a landscape-first approach / Coastal Resilience Solutions for East Boston and Charlestown, Stoss
Ryan playground in Charlestown / Coastal Resilience Solutions for East Boston and Charlestown, Stoss

The team also crafted a “development toolkit,” with new regulations to guide private developers and better leverage public-private infrastructure investments. For example, currently, new developments on the waterfront must have 50 percent open space. Reed explained that through new regulations, these open spaces can be better coordinated to maximize resilience. “The city can now gang up and locate protective open spaces strategically.” With the toolkit, the city can also now move beyond a “site by site approach” and scale up its resilient development efforts.

Recommendations are rooted in different flooding scenarios. Reed said the tricky part was “you can have a storm surge on top of sea level rise.” Instead of using outdated FEMA data, Boston is basing its analyses in dynamic models created by Woods Hole Group, University of Massachusetts Boston, and the Barr Foundation. Models project out to 2070, but purposefully stop there. “We just can’t project to 2100.”

Reed said funds have already been allocated to projects, including the coastal end of the East Boston Greenway and raising Border Street. But it’s not clear how Boston will pay for the billions it may actually need to spend on resilience, when all neighborhood analyses are said and done.

What is clear to Reed is that “there is an absolute need to address climate change.” And in our new age of resilience, what’s needed is a “landscape first strategy for city-making.”

In fact, Reed thinks these district-scale resilience plans return us to the era of Frederick Law Olmsted, when landscape served as a basis for urban planning. “People are re-discovering cities are part of the environment and impacted by nature and temperature change.”

Read the executive summary or full report (large PDF).

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Infinite Suburbia Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 16:11

InfiniteSuburbia_cover

Until recently, our city’s margins were neglected by researchers. Precisely how much neglect seems to have corresponded with the margin’s distance from its urban core, the city’s beating heart and a real draw for analytical minds. But Infinite Suburbia, a mammoth collection of 52 essays edited by MIT landscape architecture professor Alan Berger, geographer Joel Kotkin, and environmental urbanist Celina Balderas Guzman, seeks to elevate the discourse on our suburbs. The compendium is the result of a yearlong study at MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism, and, like suburbia itself, is sprawling, often beautiful, and a bit relentless.

We have, over the last decade, heard repeatedly that the 21st century is the age of the city. But Infinite Suburbia’s editors rightly recognize the vast majority of people who have moved to cities do not populate the cores but rather the edges. In the United States, for example, 69 percent of the population lives in suburbs. Our edges are rapidly shifting and expanding, demanding meaningful evaluation.

Still, the term suburbia isn’t specific; it has a vagueness with which many of the essays engage. Historian Jon Teaford writes about the myth of the homogeneous suburb, noting that industrial suburbs differ from those pocketed with shopping malls or others that serve primarily as wealthy enclaves. The variety of activity present in suburbs today is as rich as the variety present in urban cores.

Espen Aukrust Hauglin and Janike Kampevold Larsen, professors of urbanism and landscape at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, write about how in Norway, suburbia springs up in the pockets of limited spaces between geographical features. One clear example is the Grorud Valley. The valley’s history and geomorphology create a fabric of land use that contrasts with more traditional ideas of suburbia. In the valley, farmland, residential communities, and old mining infrastructure are adjacent to one another. Nature and recreation were large influences on the design of Norway’s satellite towns, so the path systems that gird these towns create a transition between the city and surrounding environment that enables recreation. Recent developments suggest that inner-city parks are gaining prominence in the valley, though.

Dr. Margaret Grose, landscape professor at the University of Melbourne, asks in her essay the pertinent question, “how can we design ecologically-richer suburbs?” It turns out biodiversity is not high on many planners lists of goals, if it’s considered at all. Grose suggests inverting the planning process so that ecological goals come first. Designing backwards through the planning stages and analysis can help give ecology its due in suburban design.

fowler california
A development in Fowler, California, shows how suburbs can be situated within the existing landscape fabric / Matthew Niederhauser and John Fitzgerald

The expansion of cities outwards in the last few decades and the resultant land use change has been both rapid and irreversible. As both editor and author of Infinite Suburbia, Berger investigates how planners in the past sought to “belt” suburbia with agrarian and recreational landscapes.

But with the clustering of cities into polycentric city-regions, greenbelts are being ask to function in new and peculiar ways. Rather than serving as a container for development, greenbelts can connect regions. Berger warns that they must be employed intelligently and compatibly with demands for growth, or they risk being ineffectual. For some examples of greenbelting done right, Berger recommends the Brussels capital region of Belgium as well as Hamburg, Germany.

Despite the potential ecological benefits of greenbelts or prioritizing biodiversity, experts still consider suburbia the most ecologically-destructive form of development. Consider the growth of the east coast megalopolis, a region defined decades ago by French geographer Jean Gottman, running from Washington, D.C. north to Boston. What habitat it hasn’t destroyed it has badly fragmented.

Alex Wall, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Virginia, asks in his essay what a counter-figure to this megalopolis might look like. While his essay doesn’t quite describe such a figure, it does make a strong argument for analyzing development at the regional scale in order to better understand the true ecological scope.

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Herdla Birdwatching Tower by L J B AS Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 08:48
L J B AS: The landscapes of western Norway is not only characterized by precipitous mountain slopes, glaciers, deep valleys and fjords, but also by industrial areas and fertile agricultural land along the rough coastline. Located on the very tip of Askøy, an island north of Bergen, you find Herdla, an area representing these typical […] Add a comment
 
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Copyright © 2018. Robert Hewitt | Clemson University professor of Landscape Architecture.
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