Apr 2024, Volume 12 Issue 2

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    Liyan XU

    It is a valuable tradition of landscape architecture to focus on the critical challenges to the humanity and to provide spatial solutions. Facing the major issues of global governance, such as climate change, resource scarcity and environmental constraints, abrupt disasters, and even the emergence of disruptive technologies, an “intelligent transformation” of landscape architecture is a compelling way to address them. Recently, driven by the great progress of new technologies including ubiquitous sensing, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, the intelligent transformation not only helps landscape architecture better respond to the critical issues in the entire process of situational awareness, problem analysis, scheme making, outcome representation, effectiveness evaluation, and governance and optimization, but also provides new opportunities for the discipline’s own transformation in terms of research objects, methodologies, and key skills.

    Meng XU, Yue ZHONG, Yu YE

    Facing the challenges of global climate change, the construction of low-carbon cities has become an inevitable pathway, where carbon emission assessment is a critical part to the transition towards digitalized urban planning and design of low-carbon cities. However, comprehensive review on carbon assessment tools applied to urban planning and design is absent. As a response, this paper selected and reviewed typical digital assessment tools of carbon emissions at both the city and district/neighborhood scales, and summarized their measuring dimensions and reference data. Currently, tools based on energy system planning and operational energy simulation dominate the field, while tools for carbon emission and carbon sink estimations based on land use types or materials are rapidly developing due to the increasing refinement of carbon emission assessments and shifts of decarbonization policies. At present, these tools are primarily used in energy planning and design, governmental decision-making, and building structural design and material choice, and their application in urban planning and design practice, especially in the early stages, remains limited. Hence, this study further underscored the limitations and potential development directions of existing carbon emission assessment tools by case studying low-carbon practices worldwide that have not utilized digital assessment tools—in the future, improving tools’ flexibility and adaptability for diverse scenarios, building comprehensive databases, incorporating the calculation of operational carbon, embedded carbon, and carbon sinks, and aligning with the needs for multi-dimensional, multi-criteria, and full-process assessments should be put into more efforts.

    Kangfu ZHUO, Qian QIU, Yuxi ZHANG, Fu LI, Liyan XU

    In compact cities, one of the main challenges is the competition for limited urban land resources between people and vehicles, where shared parking infrastructure may offer a potential solution. Building on existing literature, this study presents a technical framework for the time-division multiplexing strategy of transportation infrastructure, and explores its application in an old central urban area in China as a case study. This strategy includes three main steps: supply and demand identification, planning and design, and community promotion. Firstly, from macro to micro scales, identify characteristics of parking lots’ usage rates and the public activity demands based on mobile signaling data and field survey results. Secondly, develop the time-division multiplexing rules for parking lots according to the above characteristics and detailed spatial planning and design schemes. Finally, design an interactive model that can provide the public’s real-time feedback to ensure effective implementation of the schemes by guiding public behavior. Grounded in compact city theories, this approach extends spatial land use limitations by introducing a temporal dimension. By blending big data coverage with field surveys and interviews, and integrating planning and design with public participation, this study offers an effective solution to urban conflicts between people and vehicles.

    Juncheng YANG, Helena RONG

    This paper explores the application of digital twins (DT) in urban planning and landscape design. Initially developed in fields such as manufacturing and engineering, DT has emerged as a critical tool for replicating and simulating the physical world within a virtual environment. Its application enables real-time monitoring and future transformation simulations, offering profound implications for urban planning and landscape design. Despite its broad applicability, implementing DT in less controlled contexts like urban landscape environments presents unique challenges, particularly drawing skepticism around the feasibility of launching a universal city-level DT. This paper advocates for site-scale DTs focusing on specific urban elements, such as parks, buildings, and infrastructure, to enable more controlled and effective modeling environments, emphasizing the importance of creating an urban DT network through serial site-scale DTs. This approach requires ongoing experimentation in landscape and urban design practices and supportive economic and policy environments to foster interdisciplinary research and design and market adoption. Drawing from three design proposals, this paper explores the transformative potential of site-scale DTs, highlighting its role in creating more interactive, participatory, and responsive environments by integrating citizen data on emotions, interactions, and health factors, thereby advancing the design-intervened virtual-physical interface of public spaces and urban landscapes.

    Huaiyu ZHOU, Shuangbin XIANG

    Artificial intelligence (AI) image generation is revolutionizing traditional workflow in landscape architecture industry, among which the “image-to-image” generative adversarial network (GAN) exhibits potential to facilitate concept design. Therefore, it underscores the importance of applicability evaluation from the perspective of users. This research aims to evaluate the quality of the GAN-generated results, their effectiveness in integrating with design workflows, and the landscape architects’ acceptance of the results through image analysis and user survey. The evaluation focuses on layout generation and masterplan rendering within the Pix2Pix–BicycleGAN workflow. The evaluation metrics of image analysis including block number absolute/Euclidean distance, histogram distance, and structural similarity index measure, were employed. Additionally, the online survey with two questionnaires was conducted to evaluate the visual realism and preference for color and texture of the GAN-generated results. The findings indicate that the GAN-generated layout exhibits a high similarity to the human-designed layout, and the GAN-rendered masterplans fulfill the criteria for concept design and garner positive user acceptance. Conclusively, this study delves into the intrinsic rationality of the GAN generation methods and limitations in professional ethics and data bias, reflecting on the gaps between current AI-assisted design methods and evidence-based design.

    Di ZHENG, Jianxin WANG

    Faced with the future decentralization trends of intelligent agent distribution in urban neighborhoods, this article proposes a new, integrated pathway of “intelligent construction + scenario operation.” Its innovativeness lies in incorporating intelligent technology into processes of urban design, neighborhood renewal, and scenario operation. The pathway is tested through the empirical research on the case of the Shanghai Vanke Future City (NEXUS) project. In this project, the “intelligent construction + scenario operation” pathway is mainly demonstrated in scenarios of “intelligent transportation,” “convenient living,” “inclusiveness and security,” and “environmental governance.” The project becomes the model of combining production, ecology, and living together under Shanghai’s new city strategy, and has gained positive social impacts. It verifies that the pathway is conducive to improving the design, construction, and operation qualities of future urban neighborhoods, providing a reference for China’s smart neighborhood construction in the future.

    Rui ZHU, Galen NEWMAN, Sunghoon HAN, James KAIHATU, Tianyi WANG

    In recent years, the convergence of accelerating climate change, land use changes, and modified fire regimes has escalated the risk of catastrophic wildfires. In response, landscape stewardship tools such as the application of beneficial fire are being increasingly employed worldwide to mitigate fuel accumulation, improve habitat, and support eco-cultural practices. Beneficial fire encompasses various forms, including cultural burns, prescribed burns, or simply allowing naturally-occurring wildfires to safely burn out. Historically, those involved in planning and designing landscapes have resisted the transformative power of fire by embracing spatial techniques that suppress and push fire away. However, this article highlights co-creative strategies that embrace and utilize pyric forces. It discusses how landscape architects can broaden their wildfire adaptation toolbox to incorporate land-fire stewardship techniques. The article also acknowledges the agency of landscape architects to pursue (or not pursue) projects in fire-prone areas, promotes collaboration with existing fire stewards to gain insights and include them as key members of project teams, and explores how landscape architects could become active stewards themselves.