Landscape Architecture Frontiers

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Sponge City and LID Technology — Vision and Tradition
Wolfgang F. GEIGER
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2015, 3 (2): 10-20.  
Abstract   PDF (14986KB)

The meanings of Sponge City and LID Technology are explained followed by an analysis of the Sponge City and LID ideas in Chinese and world history. Recent developments of planning and design techniques for LID are summarized. Effects and limits of Sponge City and LID are explained on behalf of Chinese and international examples. Further some advice for best planning and design strategies including principles for merging technical and landscape / urban planning issues are given. Finally, experiences with practical designs and different projects are reviewed, highlighting what is needed to improve practice of Sponge City and LID theories.

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Bombs, Wood and Gold: Synchronizing the Processes of Mining and Demining in the Post-war Landscape of Laos
Xiaoxuan LU
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (2): 140-149.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2043KB)

The project poses a new linkage between resource extraction and post-war metal cycling economies, strengthening a livelihood that heals a war-scarred landscape. It proposes a strategy of "demining bombs by mining gold". The bomb-soaked landscape of Laos, which has 80 million unexploded bombs left over from the Vietnam War, provides an opportunity to rethink the processes of mining. Simultaneously, mineral exploration and excavation processes become mechanisms of rehabilitating and reconstructing the hazardous ground.

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Water Square Benthemplein in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (4): 136-143.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2233KB)

The design of Water Square Benthemplein is an innovative twofold strategy that combines water storage and improves the quality of urban public space. Most of the time the square is dry and used as a recreational space for youth sports and play. When confronted with heavy rainfall, the square changes from its usual appearance and function, becoming a temporary rainwater storage facility. Three basins were designed to collect rainwater: two undeep basins will receive water for the immediate surroundings and one deeper basin will only receive water when it is consistently raining.

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The Role of Biophilic Design in Landscape Architecture for Health and Well-being
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2015, 3 (1): 54-61.  
Abstract   PDF (10321KB)

As of 2007, over 50% of the global population is now urban. With more global urbanites, has come increased urbanisation and displacement of green space and natural environments from our urban centres. Biophilic design aims to restore natural stimuli in our built and designed environments to protect, maintain, restore and enhance our physiological, cognitive and psychological connections with the natural world. As part of a wider salutogenic approach to health, biophilic design has the potential to catalyze landscape architecture into playing a central role in public health of urban environments.

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Comparing Ancient Water Infrastructure for New Cities
James L. WESCOAT, Jr
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2014, 2 (5): 56-68.  
Abstract   PDF (6630KB)

When developing water infrastructure for new cities, it is useful to compare the water patterns and performance of distant cities in earlier times. This paper takes its inspiration from research on ancient urban water systems in China which it compares with ancient water infrastructure in South Asia and North America. In each case, there is a wealth of archaeological, historical, and geographical evidence, which is only occasionally drawn upon to inform new urbanization in the 21st century. Positive examples include the enduring emphasis on urban siting, watershed protection, stream restoration, floodplain management, and post-disaster reconstruction. Infrastructure failures include water depletion, degradation, disasters, and destructive conflict that have in some cases contributed to the abandonment of cities. The paper offers six principles by which comparative study of ancient water urbanism can have relevance for contemporary urban landscape design challenges.

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The Instrumentality of Data Used for Design: Exploring the Sustainable Meanings of Urban Orders in the New Data ENVIRONMENT
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2015, 3 (3): 10-19.
Abstract   PDF (1427KB)

City is a complex, self-organized system, in which various sub-systems interact with each other whereby urban orders emerge dynamically. Due to lacking of sufficient knowledge about the urban system, urban planners and designers had to work within a simplified concept framework. This oversimplified methodology has been influencing the debate about the urban sustainability. Although the so-called new data environment now provides possibility to acknowledge this kind of complex interrelationship, future-proofed theories and methodologies of urban planning and design are still deficient in related practices. Base on the quantitative understanding of urban orders, this paper aims to explore the issues on understanding the relationship between the urban orders and the meaning of sustainability in the new data environment, to establish a methodological framework of data augmented sustainable planning, and to reassert how to achieve the value rationality in urban planning and design through the exploration on instrumental rationality.

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The Effect of Landscape Patterns on Avian Communities during Summer Months in Beijing’s Urban Parks
Shilin XIE,Fei LU,Lei CAO,Weiqi ZHOU,Zhiyun OUYANG
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2016, 4 (3): 10-21.  
Abstract   PDF (2369KB)

Parks are among the most important green spaces in urban landscapes, making them hotspots for urban biodiversity research. The scale and spatial patterns of these urban landscapes suggest best practices for avian communities. This study considers the landscape patterns of Beijing’s urban parks and their relationship to avian species abundance and density. The study analyzed high-resolution satellite images, with an accuracy of one meter, from 29 urban parks during the summer months. The research showed the average size of Beijing’s urban parks to be small (with an average size of 13.9 hm2), with woodland landscapes as the most common landscape typology (with an average of 74.7%). In the analyzed parks, the patch density was high, with an average density of 8.63 per hectare, while the contagion index was low, with a 63 on average. Additionally, the number of avian species found in each sample park was low, with only 13.2 recorded on average. Spearman correlation analysis showed that avian species abundance were positively correlated with park areas, along with the landscape contagion and the proportion of woodland landscape, and negatively correlated with patch density, SHDI, and SHEI. Finally, the analysis showed a correlation between small patch size and low species diversity. The conclusions drawn can help provide guidance and reference for avian urban park planning and design.

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Examining the Relationship between Landscape Architecture as well as Urban Design and Architecture
Delin LAI
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (1): 78-82.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1776KB)

An overview of the development of picturesque aesthetics in the late 1800s, particularly its influence upon urban planning and architectural design in the 20th century, will shed light on our understanding of the interaction and connection of landscape architecture, architecture and urban design disciplines in the development of modern architecture; further, it will drive us to rethink the significance of landscape architecture in the contemporary study and construction of built environment. The developing history of picturesque aesthetics in the 20th century has witnessed the interaction among the disciplines of urban design, architecture and landscape architecture. It will further inspire us to think “crossing boundaries” between different disciplines on the variety of new issues associated with the living environment of human beings.

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Borders as Urbanism: Redrawing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea
Dongsei KIM
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (2): 150-157.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1925KB)

Despite the increasing number of borders and tensions in the rapidly globalizing world, designers’ understanding of the agency within the borders’ “construction-operation-deconstruction” process has been limited. Within this context, a brief reflection of how the new conceptual framework of “Border as Urbanism,” one which understands a border as a complex spatial condition that emerge from a series of continuous spatial negotiations is outlined. The origin, intention, and the larger background of the research are described. The evolving representations of borders in urbanism from an “object” to a “process” and current trends and conditions of borders within geopolitics are additionally unfolded. This then leads to how the “four lenses” of “History-Barrier- Flows-Global” are formulated as a result of this interdisciplinary synthesis, and this is applied to one of the most militarized, effective, closed border in the world, the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

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The University of Technology Sydney’s Alumni Green, Australia
McGregor Coxall
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (3): 124-130.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1269KB)

Traditionally, the world’s leading universities have included a spacious quadrangle at their hearts, often forming the epicenter of campus life. UTS is on a fast track program to modernize its dislocated urban campus and the Alumni Green project will be a key symbol for this expansion being accessible 24/7 to both students and the city at large.The design proposal explores an innovative interpretation of this historical landscape element through a new quad which is created through two simple moves: the Treillage — a functional lung — and the Grillage — s permeable living skin.

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Birmingham Railroad Park, USA
Tom Leader Studio
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (1): 91-101.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (6325KB)

Through a cohesive team of consultants and an extensive public/private partnership, this project reused the materials recovered from the warehouse and brick-making site, created knolls and views taking advantage of the topography, and built sustainable features and multiple design scales of program usage for visitors.

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Slow Down: Minghu Wetland Park in Liupanshui, Guizhou
Kongjian YU
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2014, 2 (2): 130-137.  
Abstract   PDF (1937KB)

Through a series of regenerative design techniques, particularly measures to slow down the flow of stormwater, a channelized concrete river and a deteriorated peri-urban site have been transformed into a nationally celebrated wetland park that functions as a major part of the city-wide ecological infrastructure planned to provide multiple ecosystem services, including stormwater management, water cleansing, and recovery of native habitats, as well as a creation of a cherished public space for gathering and aesthetic enjoyment.

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Six Questions towards a Sponge City — Report on Power of Public POLICY: Sponge City and the Trend of Landscape Architecture
Xianming TU,Tina TIAN
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2015, 3 (2): 22-31.  
Abstract   PDF (8978KB)

In December 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke at the Central Working Conference of Urbanization where he highlighted the significance of "building Sponge Cities where stormwater can be naturally conserved, infiltrated, and purified". Since this announcement, Sponge City construction has increased throughout the country. In October 2014, following publication of "Sponge City Construction Technology Guidelines", the Ministries of Finance, Housing and Urban-rural Development, and Water Resources collectively initiated a Sponge City pilot program. In conjunction with future development of Sponge Cities, the policy will gradually and eventually become a local government decision-making from a central government decision-making. Most recently, scholars, planners, and designers from economics, planning, landscape, and water conservancy met to discuss public policy regarding Sponge City implementation, future problems, and potential solutions. Based on the discussions of the forum, six questions are summarized towards the related issues of Sponge City construction.

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Landscape Performance: Quantified Benefits and Lessons Learned from a Treatment Wetland System and Naturalized Landscapes
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (4): 56-69.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1514KB)

Landscape performance, as defined by the Landscape Architecture Foundation, is “the measure of efficiency with which landscape solutions fulfill their intended purpose and contribute toward sustainability.” It is becoming a popular research focus in recent years; and its theoretical framework is built upon the sustainability triad: environment, economy and society. Through the quantification of environmental, economic and social benefits of a built landscape, its performance can be determined. This paper presents results from a landscape performance investigation and the lessons learned from a 3,200-acre master planned community that employs a treatment wetland system and naturalized landscapes. The research team identified environmental, economic and social metrics, and then collected data that reveals the performance results of the installed systems. Water quality, soil fertility, and herbaceous plant diversity were investigated. In addition, the research team quantified potential and actual benefits, including sequestration of carbon dioxide, and cost savings through the use of reduced mowing, fertilizer use, and reduction of irrigation with potable water. Environmental, economic and social benefit results are discussed. Lessons learned from management and maintenance issues during and post construction phases are summarized.

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Dialogue with the Local Government: Zhenjiang’s Sponge City
Jian HU,Dihua LI
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2015, 3 (2): 32-39.  
Abstract   PDF (7006KB)

Zhenjiang City is located at the confluence of the Yangtze River and the Grand Canal in Jiangsu Province. Faced with water logging and non-point pollution in the urban areas, Zhenjiang has begun to incorporate low-impact development (LID) strategies to address rainwater management issues in built areas. In this dialogue, Professor Dihua Li raises important points about urban policy, public participation, and financial support for Sponge City construction. Jian Hu, Director of Zhenjiang Drainage Management Division, responds from the governmental perspective, explaining local difficulties in Sponge City implementation and sharing Zhenjiang's experience and lessons in their practices.

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The New Geographic Landscape
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (1): 42-54.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (4011KB)

From the overexertion of technological engineering and the inertia of urban planning, the revival of geography and the recent emergence of ecology across the design disciplines are redrawing the contours of current practice, and opening new territories of research - from landscape architecture, to landscape urbanism, to landscape infrastructure. In response to the predominant challenges facing urban regions today, this new geographic optic opens the potential for the design of "infrastructural ecologies", involving dynamic configurations of live, biophysical processes in relation to the basic, technological management of waste, water, energy, food and mobility systems that underlie urban economies today. Operating as urban infrastructures, these new landscape geographies provide synthetic strategies that can shape, direct, influence and respond to the most pressing challenges of 21st century urban culture, ranging from changing climates, resource flows, and population migrations.

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Representing Complexity
Frederick STEINER
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (6): 44-63.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2767KB)

Ian McHarg helped build the foundation for geographical information systems (GIS) through his refinement of map overlay methods. McHarg’s use of map overlays in revealing ecological relationships and landscape patterns is arguably the most important representational tool and strategy for design since Filippo Brunelleschi’s refinement of perspective around 1413. In addition to overlays, McHarg employed other representational tools to analyze landscape complexity and to present how planning and design interventions interacted with biophysical processes and geological features. Spatial analytic strategies and representational techniques that focus on landscape complexity can expand the applicability and saliency of geodesign. This expansion could be similar to the influence of overlays to the creation of GIS. The other representational techniques employed by McHarg and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania and Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd (now Wallace Roberts & Todd, WRT) include: maps, transects, diagrams, bird’s eye perspectives, block diagrams, drawings, and photography. Each of these techniques will be introduced as they were used by McHarg then discussed for potential geodesign applications. A more comprehensive exploration will help expand the potential of geodesign and also acknowledge McHarg’s broader contributions beyond map overlays.

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Special Focus on 2013 Geodesign International Conference
Luqi WANG, Mengxi LI, Xiaojie HAN, Yao YAO, Xu ZHANG, Xianming TU, Tina TIAN, Xia LI
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (6): 76-101.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2552KB)

28th~29th October, 2013, the Geodesign International Conference was held in Peking University. The conference included keynote speeches, lighting talks and conference proceedings, discussing the geodesign's concept, framework, promise and practice around the theme “Geodesign: Maximinzing Beneficial Impacts”. This article collects the important speeches of this conference.

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Contemporary Landscape Design in China
Xin WU
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (1): 68-72.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1385KB)

Being interdisciplinary is a way of thinking, and need to realize the specificity of the discipline and its limits; need to jump the fence in order to engage other disciplines. The central concern of design is not to match up the logic or expectation of a particular discipline, but to based on the issues and to search for possibilities. A good designer should have curiosity, openness and broadness as well as the capability of synthesizing his / her knowledge and experience into design.

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Social Fabric and Spatial Permutation — Ban Krua, Bangkok
Christoph LUEDER
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2014, 2 (3): 148-155.  
Abstract   PDF (1382KB)

The community of Ban Krua has come to global attention through their successful resistance against a government proposal for a motorway that would have cut through their community on the banks of the Saen Saeb canal near Bangkok’s National Stadium. While academic studies attribute their erstwhile success either to the tactics of non-violent resistance sustained by community cohesion or to the communities’ longstanding ties with senior officials in the Thai military and bureaucracy, we were interested in the dynamic interrelationships between the social fabric that sustains this remarkable level of cohesion, and the spaces produced and inhabited by the community. Buildings are sometimes self-constructed and usually transformed over time; at the urban scale of the community the network of narrow alleyways is a direct extension of domestic space, subject to continuous permutation through dynamic processes of local connections triggering disconnection at urban level and vice versa.

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Eco-low Carbon Urban Planning Methodology
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2014, 2 (3): 70-75.  
Abstract   PDF (1297KB)

There is an increasing realization that the new type of urbanization requires a new type of urban planning. The new type of urban planning puts eco-low carbon objectives front and center, with strong emphasis on integration (technical, process and conceptual), understanding local context, human scale development in harmony with nature, strong place making, and partnering to finance eco-low carbon development through green credit initiatives. In this context, the Eco-low Carbon Urban Planning Methodology is necessarily quite strategic and high-level. The core emphasis is on providing a clear framework and a practical, step by step approach.

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Jinkui LI,Dihua LI
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2015, 3 (5): 26-31.  
Abstract   PDF (906KB)

This dialogue took place under the background of the ”new urbanization” referred by 18th CCP Report. Jinkui Li and Dihua Li first looked back the history of China’s urbanization, then discussed the typical urban morphologies and related contributing reasons, the different urbanization stages, the difference and shift between the western and eastern China, and finally, predicted and explored the issues and opportunities that would be brought by the “new urbanization” in China.

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Road, Time, Space and City
Minjie SI
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (3): 71-77.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1176KB)

A road traverses the land, composes cities, and connects buildings. It exists at various scales, bringing to life the sensory effects of different speeds. A road reconciles public space, landscape, infrastructure, and the city. Through analyzing classical urban planning cases, this article explores the relevance of roads as an infrastructure, to urban development, to urban landscape, and to urban image.

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Novel Urban Ecosystems: Concepts, Definitions and a Strategy to Support Urban Sustainability and Resilience
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2016, 4 (1): 10-21.  
Abstract   PDF (1135KB)

The 21st century is already known for unprecedented and fundamental changes and new trajectories — think climate change, global economics, migration and population growth. The world is now predominantly urban and will become increasingly so until mid-century when global population is expected to stabilize at around 70% urban. The world has entered a new geological era, the Anthropocene, in which the impacts and artifacts of humans are recognized as a geologic force. In this “Century of the City,” for the world to be sustainable and resilient, cities must be an essential part of the solution — and novel urban ecosystems will play a fundamental role. A new conception, definition, and typology of 21st century “novel” urban nature is proposed here as the basis for a novel urban ecosystem strategy to provide essential ecosystem services to support urban sustainability and resilience. This proposed novel nature strategy is informed by landscape and urban ecology and collaborates systematically in “designed experiments” with urban landscape architecture practice. Designed experiments on novel urban ecosystem are necessary to: 1) monitor the performance of innovative designs to provide essential ecosystem services; 2) to mitigate the inescapable ecosystem disservices; and 3) to build public understanding and support for new types and new models of novel urban ecosystems.

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What Determines the Image of a City?
Yanjing ZHAO
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (1): 83-88.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1989KB)

Different images of cities are inherited from their own culture. However, the inheritance is hardly to be analyzed dedicatedly. The password of different appearances of cities is the institution formed in the development process of a city. The convergence of engineering technology and institution of a city determines the image of the city. The appearance of a city is not simply an outcome of design, but duplicate and inheritance of institution genes.

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To Cross Boundaries? Build a Bridge!
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (1): 73-77.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2078KB)

We are living in a time that we must radically transform our human relationships to the earth. The crisis we are facing demands us to pool all of our creativity together, and demands adaptive, integrated solutions and systemic thinking. It is more than biology or ecology combining with art. It might be chemistry, physics, and certainly engineering, as well as psychology, and all the social sciences - and not so much a combining of these, as finding emergent ideas when these different kinds of knowledge come together. This kind of complex, systemic and multior trans-disciplinary approach is what we need to even begin finding solutions adequate to the need.

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Strategic Approaches to Urban Wetlands: Reconciling Nature Conservation, Engineering and Landscape Architecture
Antje STOKMAN, Johannes J?RG
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (4): 44-55.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1874KB)

Wetlands are at the same time among the most productive and the most threatened ecosystems of the world. One of the major threats for wetlands is urbanization. In the urban context there is a long history of associating wetlands with a number of water-related diseases, floods, pollution and poor living conditions.

Since the end of the 20th century, there has been a paradigm shift in the attitude towards wetlands: the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has promoted the importance of new concepts of wetland management in order to reduce health hazards by highlighting the many positive wetland values from the perspective of nature conservation. At the same time, engineering has broadly introduced the concept of constructed wetlands and biofilters as a way of effectively trapping and removing the pollution from stormwater runoff, wastewater and polluted river water. Linking the ecological and technical dimensions and integrating them with the high aesthetic and recreational value of urban wetland parks, landscape architecture has developed fascinating concepts demonstrating the high potential of an integrated strategic approach to the recovery and creation of wetlands in the urban context. This paper brings together these different perspectives on urban wetlands and argues by discussing different case-studies how wetlands can take a prominent role in urban ecosystems.

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Low Impac t Development Fac ilities in Guangdong Province, China
Jian LIU,Yuting HAN,Yanjiao SU,Lingyi WU
Landsc. Archit. Front.    2015, 3 (4): 30-39.  
Abstract   PDF (8871KB)

This paper outlines the current development of low impact development (LID) techniques in China, and the application of LID strategies in Sponge City construction as advocated by the Chinese Central Government. Innovative approaches and evaluation methods for LID are studied in two projects: the design and construction of the Civil and Structural Engineering Buildings at Shenzhen University and the Guangzhou Education City Master Plan. The Ecological Technology Institute of Construction Engineering, Shenzhen University implemented both projects.

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Architecture and Infrastructure
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (3): 66-70.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (983KB)

Ignoring the artistic and cultural facets of urban infrastructure is the reason why so many urban landscapes are not satisfying. Many spaces taken by infrastructure are also abandoned because of unreasonable use. These urban problems like fragment of urban functions are primarily caused by the frame segmentation of urban management. Architecture design can add consideration of art and culture into infrastructure, and through integrated urban governance and space expansion, architectures provide better life to citizens.

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Shifting Fields — Public Space Using Flooding as a Productive Phenomenon
ACT (Active City Transformation)
Landsc Archit Front    2013, 1 (1): 114-121.  
Abstract   HTML   PDF (3919KB)

The intent of Shifting Fields is to create a more experience-rich site, which underlines the relationships to the adjacent functions and characteristics. Flooding and continually rising sea levels can become a productive — rather than destructive — phenomenon, and also can help to transform and strengthen a town’s identity.

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