In the bustling heart of Bangkok, Thailand, the design team transformed a former tobacco factory into a vibrant new cultural landmark—Benjakitti Forest Park. The project faced a number of challenges including seasonal floods and droughts on the site, severe water pollution in the surroundings, poor accessibility, limited construction funds, and a compressed timeframe (only 18 months). The design has restored the site into an urban park with a resilient ecosystem that intercepts and reduces the destructive force of storm water, filters contaminated water, and provides much-needed wildlife habitat. Benjakitti Forest Park has not only become the largest public recreational venue for residents of downtown Bangkok and its environs, but also offers a low-maintenance, modular approach for worldwide urban public green space design practice.
Pro-environmental behavior (PEB) can help facilitate sustainable development, and PEB intervention strategies are developed to guarantee PEB effects. However, in most cases PEB intervention is attached less importance than environmental education. There is no specific programming for PEB intervention, and a full-cycle framework for planning and design that includes site operation and maintenance stages is still absent. Based on literature review and the authors’ experience on environment education activities, this article summarizes the PEB intervention strategies applicable to landscape planning and design, and comes up with a planning and design framework for environmental education sites, which consists of stages of site investigation, PEB intervention planning, development of design briefs, facility planning and design, maintenance and management programming, post-occupancy evaluation, and adjustment. The framework would provide guidance for the landscape planners and designers to improve PEB intervention effects, and offer new insights and tools for site operators and researchers.
Brownfield restoration has become a frontier topic in the research on urban ecosystem governance. Optimizing brownfield ecosystems through proper bioremediation approaches can provide urban landscapes and habitats with sound ecological potentials. Currently, the lagging theory and technique development of brownfield vegetation restoration, the species selection based on single causality, and the neglect of community structure and ecological functions formation have become major bottlenecks of brownfield restoration. Introducing the mechanisms of the assembly of plant communities for theoretical support, this paper proposes a novel technical framework of herbaceous planting for the ecological restoration of urban brownfields, which includes micro-topographic design, adaptive species selection, symbiosis structure design, building quasi-nature community structure, and in-situ planting. This research selected a brownfield site located in Hechuan District, Chongqing City for the application of the herbaceous planting, and evaluated the ecological benefits after restoration. Results showed that severely degraded brownfield vegetation has turned into an herbaceous community with a multi-species symbiosis and a stable structure, effectively optimizing its ecological functions such as stormwater retention and biodiversity conservation. This research can provide scientific evidence and a referable technical paradigm for urban brownfield restoration, and also contribute to the enhancement of urban ecological networks and ecosystem resilience.
The paper argues that “wasteland” as a colonial land-use classification of India’s Aravalli Hills and its forest system in periurban Delhi and Gurgaon dilutes their socio-ecological contributions to the regional landscape. Over time, the land-use designation has become a means to convert “wastelands” to ecologically insensitive “productive” use. The paper critically describes successive socioecological transformations of the Aravalli Hills with respect to colonial and post-independence land management policies and various episodes of socio-environmental transformations, with a focus on its forests. The research applies learnings from various disciplines towards understanding urban environments and engages the lenses of landscape and urban planning, as well as social and environmental sciences. The paper contributes to building knowledge and recognition of the socio-ecological values of forest “wastelands” in India and broadens the discussion on their future within a transforming urban landscape. The case study provides invaluable lessons for other contexts where the natural resources, particularly forests, are threatened by development.
For the field of national territorial planning, to identify and delimit redlines is the primary step to preserve valuable natural and cultural assets from human interventions, harmonizing human-nature and urbanrural relationships. In the reality, however, the dogmatic planning and design concepts, irrational construction standards, and unscientific and rigid management requirements that ignore the diverse localities, market rules, and stakeholders’ needs usually make the implementation outcome runs the opposite to what was wished, leading to “redline dystopias” called by the author that are damaging our homelands. This article presents a dialogue between the author and a farmer in Qicha, Hainan, to reveal how a “capital farmland dystopia,” one of the redline dystopias, comes into being, appealing for a profound re-examination and reflection in the planning and design professions.
In a high-density, human-centric urban setting, trees are often considered only as materials to structure spaces. The multiple damages and related causalities caused by fallen street trees in Hong Kong, China contributed to a destructive cultural connotation. Instead of ending up on top of a landfill, fallen trees on the Observatory Hill, an urban forest in Charlottesville, the USA are landing on the ground peacefully, nurturing the microcosm and teeming with new life for the ecosystem. It is a dead bounty and just the beginning of the tree’s life. Inspired by such as opposite experience of encountering fallen trees, this project started by challenging the cultural misconception of deadwood.
As a design project for the first foundation studio of the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Virginia, the proposal aims to redefine decomposition as a joyful process and refine people’s general perception of deadwood through light interventions on the ground. Simple manipulations through landform, material assembly configuration, and visual prompts encourage interactions between people and deadwood. By navigating the amplified wood decomposition setting, a reciprocal relationship will be the productive result, acting as the agency for soil incubation. By experiencing the temporal evolution of decay spatially, one can recognize and embrace the beauty of deadwood.
Today integrated regional development becomes a national agenda of China. The Demonstration Zone of Green and Integrated Ecological Development of Yangtze River Delta faces a task of exploring a more effective and localized coordination mechanism for the implementation of cross-administrative-area synergic projects under the current administrative regimes. This article reviews the current practice of cross-administrative-area synergic development at home and abroad, and summarizes corresponding mechanisms and key issues; then by focusing on the case of the Yuandang Lake Synergic Eco-Development Pilot Project that sits on the junction of Shanghai City and Jiangsu Province, this article sorts out the key issues and the solutions at each project stage, and proposes the “3P3S” coordination framework for the implementation of cross-administrative-area synergic projects. As an exploration of spontaneous bottom-up approach—instead of administrative orders—the “3P3S” coordination framework can efficiently promote project implementation under the current administrative regimes, providing reference for synergic implementation of regular cross-administration-area projects.
Street trees are a crucial part of urban landscapes. Yet as we expect street trees to perform both as living natural systems and urban infrastructure, treatments of street trees are often contradicting as the roles of tree care transfer across commercial nursery practices and local tree care practices by governments, private organizations or local communities. With current discussions and practices for street trees scattered or segmented, this project calls for a data-driven approach that will allow us to view street trees as one systematic and vivid entity.
The project is situated in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana in the USA, a city that is facing issues of subsidence, hurricanes, and rising sea levels. With an urgent need to consider the future of both the urban trees and the city, as well as measured and recorded incidents of change and shock in the landscape, New Orleans provides a rich platform for observation, analysis, and speculation. Geo-spatial data mapping is utilized in parallel with human scaled studies with the aim of developing a discussion towards understanding and designing of street trees in a manner that stretches across individual instances and city-scale tree networks. Similarly, it is important for the work to address projected changes in time. From this approach, systematic and geo-spatial-data-based approach to urban tree planning is developed. The work results in a conceptual design solution that proposes a transition of tree care practices to become localized in the streets of the city, most critically a solution that allows us to shift street tree discussions and decision-making processes from individual trees to urban forests to better anticipate for urban street tree resilience.
Since time immemorial, urban forestry and city tree planting have been part and parcel of the history of settling in Asia. Attention to urban forestry was a living tradition. It surely predates the late 20th century notions of urban forestry and forest urbanism. Trees are omnipresent (and create environmental quality) in the Chinese danwei housing estates (and production units) of the 1960s as much as in the monumental apartment blocks of Seoul of the same period or the average housing allotment in Vietnam, regardless the period. Intensive urban forestry resurfaced as a key element in the nation building projects as in India, Singapore, Vietnam, and China, where it is presently rearticulated in light of the project for an ecological civilization. Urban context or not, settling with and within forests has occurred for millennia in Asia. Indigenous forest-dwelling communities are part of a larger set of nature-culture worldviews and narratives, all which are deeply intertwined with socio-ecologically-articulated settlement practices. Although there are very different settlement patterns across Asia, with a variety of tissue components, they are more often than not systematically planted with trees. In the era of global warming, it is key to rearticulate this age-old tradition and exploit the acquired expertise, to face the consequences of the climate crisis, while simultaneously creating healthier settlements.
After the “imported” urban forms, which originated from foreign cultures, were transplanted into Chinese cities, they generate brand-new urbanscape but suffer from a lack of cultural roots and a disconnection with the mainstream of contemporary urban planning. Thus, their current value and potential in urban renewal are questioned. The study takes the circular–radial space from the Baroque cities as an example to clarify the motivation of its import from the west to northeast China. It further clarifies their adaptive changes in form and function in the local urban context, through a case study on Dalian City.
The study finds that different geometric patterns of existing circular–radial space were influenced by European, American, and Japanese urban planning theories to varying degrees, but with equal emphasis on symbolism and functionality. Their implementation in Dalian has a continuity in time and space. But due to the changes in topography, traffic, and planning concepts, their forms and functions tend to be independent, their connection weakens, and their importance recedes after the street network. The circular–radial space in Dalian led to distinctive urbanscape. But during their inheritance and transformation, the rationality of new forms and functions, as well as the necessity of continuing the initial ones need to be dialectically considered, so as to avoid dogmatic revival and antique reproduction.
Finally, the study reconsiders the concept of “localization” of “imported” urban form, and constructs a general research pattern to provide a new perspective for understanding the transformation of similar types of urban forms.
As the core concept of forest urbanism, urban forest is of great importance for a city’s sustainable development. It is a vital subsystem of urban compound ecosystem and evolve synergistically with other subsystems, as well as a significant landscape component to push forward realizing carbon peaking and carbon neutrality. This article proposes three approaches to improving the compound structures and functions of urban forests. First, enrich types and extend structures of urban forests to build forest cities. Second, move from constructing forests in the city towards integrating forests into the city to enhance compound ecological functions. Third, shift focus from forest ecosystems to urban ecosystems by a synergic construction of the urban forest and other types of ecosystems.
Ashley Scott Kelly and Xiaoxuan Lu’s recent publication Critical Landscape Planning During the Belt and Road Initiative emerges from their Landscape Architecture course on ecological planning at the University of Hong Kong lasted for several years. The book studies the landscape transformation along the China-Laos Railway, one of the earliest Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure projects. Targeted towards the audience of planners and allied professionals working in regional and transnational projects, the authors provide a comprehensive discussion on histories, planning pedagogies, and conceptual frameworks of global developments. Demonstrated through a series of studio proposals, the book can be seen as a provocative and ambitious experiment, in which Kelly and Lu challenge conventional epistemologies and protocols in landscape architecture research and professional practices. The review focuses on the authors’ conceptual and methodological frameworks to explore “critical landscape planning” as both pedagogical and practical practices. Additionally, this review invites critical reflections on the positionality of the landscape architecture discipline.
In high-density cities, relatively large area of buildings may accommodate increasing volumes of vertical greening, which will effectively help alleviate global climate change. This article emphasizes that landscape architects and constructors should refresh their understanding of urban forests and realize the role of vertical greening as its vital component. Although current practices of vertical greening are restricted by climatic environment, advances of technology and innovation of materials will provide new opportunities for the development of urban forests. For example, by utilizing a novel type of substrate, “base soil,” we can get rid of conventional vertical greening technologies that usually rely on pot-planting and frequent replacement, while enjoying more ecological benefits. This article also suggests employing prefabricated greening technologies to meet the ever-increasing demands of urban forests; establishing a systematic cost-benefit assessment system on vertical greening to measure the ecological, social, and economic values; and encouraging citizens to take a more active part in vertical greening practices by making them aware of environmental and social benefits brought by urban forests.
Walking physical activities can improve people’s health, for which exploring the influence mechanisms of green infrastructure on walking physical activities is important to the creation of healthy urban environment. This paper focuses on the relationship between green infrastructure in Changsha–Zhuzhou–Xiangtan urban agglomeration of China and the frequency and intensity of walking physical activities. The research first identified the elements of green infrastructure (i.e. hubs, links, and sites) and studied the spatial distribution of walking trajectories, then constructed the indicator system from perspectives of the internal environment, external environment, and landscape pattern of green infrastructure in the urban agglomeration, and employ the multiple linear regression model to analyze the influence mechanisms of green infrastructure on the frequency and intensity of walking physical activities. The results suggest that the walking physical activities mostly overlapped with the links and sites, and the indicators impact residents’ walking physical activities differently. Housing density, housing price, public toilet density, urban plaza density, bus stop density, percentage of green spaces, large patch index, and aggregation index all have significant correlations with both the frequency and intensity; land use mix, average daily temperature, and percentage of water body area only have significant correlations with intensity; and, path density only has a significant correlation with frequency. Based on the findings, this paper proposed suggestions for urban construction and renovation in aspects of internal environment, external environment, and landscape pattern, respectively, aiming to improve the cities’ walking environment, and boost the social and ecological values of green infrastructures in the urban agglomeration.
The Canadian landscape has typically captured a global imaginary of a pristine wild, but how might its urban designed landscapes be distinctly understood? Foregrounded by the landscape transformations accelerated by climate change, the book Innate Terrain: Canadian Landscape Architecture, edited by Professor Alissa North from the University of Toronto, highlights landscape architecture projects situated on the unique Canadian terrain. Providing further provocation on Canadian landscape architecture, Innate Terrain seeks to fill the literary gap on contemporary landscape perspectives, distinguishing Canadian landscape architecture from global practice, and particularly, its well-documented American counterpart.
Landscape architecture in the Canadian context has evolved and established its own distinct identity, one imbued with national and local sensitivities. Informed by diverse environmental and cultural contexts, Canadian-designed landscapes reflect and refer to the prevailing ecosystems of Canada’s innate terrain. Contrary to the preceding International Style, landscape architecture projects in Canada have adopted the ethos of Critical Regionalism in the second half of the 20th century. Contemporary Canadian practitioners are designing landscapes that are deeply informed by their surrounding geographical context while emphasizing cultural specificity. Central to this cultural specificity, addressed by a new generation of landscape architects, is the increasing recognition of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge within the discipline. Canadian landscape architects have collaborated with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, including the keepers of this knowledge, to develop land management strategies and design landscape interventions.
Creation of healing environment on university campus can enhance college students’ physical and mental well-being. In recent years, the emotional factors of place attachment have attracted more attention among healing environment research. However, the relationship between the spatial characteristics of different healing spaces and the aroused positive emotions remains unclear. This study investigated the places on the Siping Road Campus of Tongji University that college students most wanted to visit during campus closure and the expected activities and imagined feelings via questionnaires and interviews. Through data analysis with IBM SPSS, this study identified five clusters of positive emotions on university campus—joy, serenity, hope, pride, and interest, mapping them as well as corresponding activities with spatial types and facilities on the campus, and the healing environment spaces were divided into five types: landscape space, sports space, third space, learning space, and living space. Furtherly the interview texts were coded via MAXQNA software, from which representative themes were selected to investigate the differences of positive emotion clusters in each space type. Finally, the study proposes that promoting positive emotions through place-making is an important way to create a healing environment. The findings of this study provide a reference for planning, design, and intervention measures of healing environment on university campus.
The implementation of green infrastructure in retrofit projects to reduce flooding and pollution is a significant challenge in space-constrained and overly developed communities which also have complex underground utility systems. To overcome this challenge, the authors have developed an adaptive green infrastructure toolkit that can be tailored by both on-ground spatial size and underground depth of obstruction. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of this toolkit in mitigating flooding and non-point source pollutants by demonstrating the case of the city of Galena Park, Texas, USA, which has suffered from severe flooding as well as on-ground and underground space constraint issues. We first applied the toolkit to create a master plan for Galena Park and evaluated the effect of the plan by using the Delft3D-FM (Flexible Mesh) flood model alongside the Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment (L-THIA) model. The results demonstrate progressive reductions in stormwater runoff and NPS pollutants across different phases. These findings highlight the toolkit’s effectiveness in improving water management and pollution control, providing valuable empirical evidences for similar communities facing similar challenges.
As global climate continues to change, humans rely on technologies to deal with various challenges and dilemmas. But problems arose as the growing practices of wind, photovoltaic, and hydropower energy have proved that the only focus on carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals could increase tech dystopia risk. When existing technological approaches fail, the Chinese model of nature-based solutions can be an antidote to tech dystopia. It allows nature to do its work and contributes to green and low-carbon development in a holistic and systematic way. China’s time-honored traditional ecological wisdom provides abundant experiences. In practice, the Chinese planning model aims to harmonize the spatial relationship and pattern between human and nature, and the Chinese design and engineering model could boost the efficiency of natural restoration. The Chinese model of nature-based solutions now has gained global recognition. Performance evaluation of such practice cases should be conducted, so as to identify the factors that affect the ecological performance and related regulation mechanisms, thus providing important references for future practices.
In order to investigate the impact of public health emergencies on the “general recreational behaviors” of urban residents, this research takes the COVID-19 outbreak event in Nanjing of China in July 2021 as an example, based on cell phone signaling data, analyzes the spatial distribution and temporal changes of urban residents’ recreational travel behaviors before and after the outbreak, and then explores the impact of the hierarchical control policies on recreational travel behaviors via Difference-in-Differences (DID) method. It has found that after the outbreak, residents’ recreational travel frequency decreased significantly and their average travel distance increased; the frequencies of travel to all four types of recreational destinations decreased after the outbreak; in average travel distance, those to natural attractions and sports/fitness destinations tended to increase, while those to cultural leisure as well as commercial entertainment destinations tended to decrease after the outbreak. Further results indicate that the hierarchical control policies had varying degrees of impact on different types of recreational travel. This research provides an interpretation on the spatio-temporal pattern and mechanism of urban residents’ general recreational behaviors under public health emergencies, which can provide a reference for planning of urban recreational space.
Palm Springs Downtown Park is an inviting 1.5-acre urban oasis for residents and visitors to Palm Springs, a design-forward desert destination nestled along the base of the San Jacinto Mountains along the southwestern boundary of the Coachella Valley in California’s Sonoran Desert of the USA. The site lies in the ancestral homeland of the Agua Caliente band of the Cahuilla people who seasonally migrated between the shady palm groves and meltwater creeks of mountain canyons in summer and the hot springs and temperate climate of the valley floor in winter. The park is also located on the historic site of the Desert Inn, Palm Springs’ first wellness resort. Nellie Coffman, the Desert Inn’s founder, famously promoted the “space, stillness, solitude, and simplicity” of Palm Springs, and the park is imbued with her spirit.
Drawing inspiration from local natural features such as the oases of endemic California fan palms (Washingtonia filifera) in Palm Canyon and the striated geology of nearby Tahquitz Canyon, the park design creates hospitable, comfortable spaces for the community in the extreme heat of the desert. The park features dense palm grove planting with ample shaded areas for seating, two picnicking and event lawns, rock outcrop-like amphitheater seating for community events, shade structures inspired by palm fronds, and a grotto-like interactive water feature for play and cooling. Locally sourced stone, native desert plantings, and creature comforts create a common ground rooted in a hyperlocal use of materials to create a sense of place for the diverse, growing community of Palm Springs and its visitors.
Due to the harsh conditions in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in China, indigenous people have deep compassion on lives. Therefore, animal release has become a traditional activity praying for blessings. However, irrational release behaviors have become increasingly common—they blindly pursue the number and species of animals to be released while ignoring their adaptability to the release habitats, creating a vicious cycle of “release–capture–sell” and raising people’s and human-nature conflicts. This study focuses on the lower Lhasa River valley in south-central Tibet in China and proposed a collaborative life protection plan with respect of local culture. Through in-depth analysis of the needs of different stakeholders, this study established a new cooperative relationship, where the Tibetan Farmers’ and Herdsmen’s Economic Cooperatives would function as the core to standardize the trading process and promote scientific animal release. Based on the habitat suitability evaluation, this study developed release process optimization, habitat planning for released species, and ecological restoration planning to build the landscape structure of “vegetation–sacred place–life release spots” for environmental sustainability. This collaborative life protection plan contributes to establishing a healthier, harmonious, equal, and loving values on life and interpersonal relationships, thereby bringing about more profound social, economic, and environmental benefits.