Many urban areas affected by flood disasters are also becoming increasingly ecologically and socially fragmented due to the accumulation of vacant properties. While redevelopment is often viewed as the primary objective in regenerating vacant properties, they can also potentially provide ecological and hydrological land uses. Rather than chasing developmentbased incentives for regenerating vacant lots in high flood-risk communities, a balance should be sought between new developmental land uses and green infrastructure to help counteract stormwater runoff and flood effects, or “Resilience through Regeneration.” This paper uses landscape performance measures to evaluate the economic and hydrologic performance of green infrastructure regeneration projects for three marginalized neighborhoods in Houston, Texas, USA. Each project site is characterized by excessive vacant lots and flood issues. Results suggest that, when using green infrastructure to regenerate vacant properties, 1) flood risk continually decreases, 2) upfront economic costs increase in the short term (when compared to conventional development), and 3) the long-term economic return on investment is much higher.
The both polycentric governance and Living Labs concepts are based on decentralized participatory planning, co-design, and decisionmaking. While the concept of Living Lab is still emerging, the Isar-Plan (2000 ~ 2011) pioneered the approach for selecting, co-designing, and implementing nature-based solutions along the Isar River in Munich, Germany. Despite multiple governing authorities involved in the decisionmaking process of the Isar-Plan, the polycentric governance that led to the success of the project has to date not been analyzed. This paper presents the results of an ex-post-analysis of the Isar-Plan restoration planning process based on stakeholder interviews and a literature review. The contribution describes the evolution of Isar-Plan governance arrangements and discusses the Living Lab approaches to cooperative governance. The analysis demonstrates how polycentricity facilitated trust, learning, and the co-design of a resilient waterscape. The paper concludes that Living Labs can be a way of applying polycentric governance when autonomous and multi-scale decision-makers are collaboratively involved in the design of policy solutions, and vice-versa.
Most of the pressing challenges in the Anthropocene era are ecological, such as climate change and environmental degradation, all with profound impacts on socio-economics and equity. While ecology and resilience are among the most salient topics in contemporary landscape architecture, their inherent relationship and differences have deep implications on practice. The authors argue that ecology is all-encompassing and has a strong focus on system complexity without biasing or favoring any specific species or parts of the ecosystem. Resilience, when discussed in the context of planning and design, however, embodies a strong human-centric element. Ecocentric vs. anthropocentric perspectives provoke further discussion around an evolving relationship between ecological function and aesthetic forms that have been heavily informed by cultural and societal contexts.
By translating environmental policies and social preferences, landscape architects command tremendous power to connect with the primary users of the built environment — the general public. Collaboration and integrated research are required to make significant progress on the complex environmental challenges the world faces today.
Streets are a focal point of human activities and a major interface of the social interaction between urban dwellers and urban built environment. A better understanding of the urban landscapes along streets is thus important in urban studies. The increasing availability of street-level images provides new opportunities for urban landscape studies to study and analyze streetscapes at a fine level and from a different perspective. In this study, we presented an application of a recently developed Deep Convolutional Neural Network on landscape analysis based on street-level images. Different urban features were identified from street-level images accurately using a trained Deep Convolutional Neural Network model. Based on the image segmentation results, we further measured the spatial distribution of the street greenery and quantitatively analyzed the openness of street canyons in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The proposed combination of Artificial Intelligence and the massively collected street-level images provides a new sight for urban landscape studies for cities around the world.
This paper discusses the possibility and direction of public participation and edible landscape construction in China's high-density metropolitan areas. It is based on the different types of community gardens completed by Shanghai Clover Nature School Teenager Nature Experience Service Center in recent years under the concept of "Urban Permaculture." By endowing rights to the inhabitants of the community, these examples have helped the participants become owners and established cooperation mechanisms between government, enterprises, social organizations, and the public.
Urban green space is attributed a significant role in addressing health challenges associated with urbanization. This is supported by evidence confirming that urban green space may both promote health and well-being and support nature-based treatments. Landscape architects who design to improving health outcomes have an important task; but one which also come with responsibilities. This is also noted by the World Health Organization, which states that it is vital to understand how to design green space so that it actually delivers the intended positive health outcomes. In order to deal with this situation, various tools and design guidelines have been developed by them. However, considered from a designer’s perspective, these tools are seldom expedient enough to apply in the design process, and the guidelines are often not as generalizable as supposed.
In the current article, the authors present a process model for Evidence-Based Health Design in Landscape Architecture (EBHDL) and suggest that it may be useful as a means to deliver on stated health outcomes. The model has been developed over the last 15 years by the research group Nature, Health & Design at the University of Copenhagen. During this period, the model has been constantly enhanced via input evidence from researchers, practitioners, and university students. The EBHDL process model consists of four steps, all of which the landscape architect may be responsible for: Evidence collection, Programming, Designing, and Evaluation.
The model has been applied in the design of the University of Copenhagen’s therapy garden, Nacadia®, and health-promoting forest, Octovia®. Based on encouraging results from research projects, the first step towards a validation of the EBHDL process model have now been made. The benefits of the model include the fact that it is interdisciplinary, systematic, transparent, and dynamic. A weakness of the model is that it is time-consuming, and thereby also costly.
Cities and communities around the world face increasingly difficult challenges in creating efficient transit systems, reducing urban heat island effects, and addressing the ever-rising demand for clean water and air, open space, and wildlife habitat. Green building practices can alleviate many of these pressures through land, energy, and water conserving technologies. What is built on the land profoundly impacts ecological systems as well as the health, safety, and welfare of communities. The Sustainable SITES Initiative® (SITES®) is based on the understanding that landscapes are a crucial element of the built environment and can be designed and maintained to avoid, mitigate, and even reverse the common detrimental impacts of development and climate change. Unlike buildings that typically depreciate over time, sustainable landscapes appreciate in value by continuing to provide multiple benefits such as managing stormwater, conserving resources, reducing pollution, and improving human health and well-being. Whether the site is an urban plaza, city park, university campus, or corporate headquarters, landscapes can be ecologically resilient places better able to withstand and recover from episodic floods, droughts, wildfires, and other catastrophic events. Using an ecosystem services framework, the SITES Rating System is presented as an alternative and more effective approach to conventional site-design practices.
China’s water resources are facing serious problems including uneven supply and demand, frequent droughts and floods, severe water pollution, and water ecosystem degradation. To solve these problems, multi-disciplinary and multi-field research cooperation, as well as multi-professional and multi-departmental collaboration are required. The different disciplines that study water resources should adopt new collaborative models that promote effective communication between professionals, and that focus on interactive integration in theory and methodology to achieve disciplinary exchange. A thorough review of Sponge City programs draws attention to policies, regulations, technical standards, and institutional mechanisms needed for this exchange.
Many articles have appeared in mainstream media and in techoriented venues about Sidewalk Labs’ ideas for a new hightech neighbourhood in Toronto (a project named Sidewalk Toronto). By and large, international commentary has focused on the opportunities and risks of giving over control over many city planning decisions to a private data-oriented corporation, with people lining up for or against “smart city” ideas, in general.
This article will set aside generalities about “smart cities” and technology, and instead pose a few questions about the particulars of Sidewalk Toronto project. The first question concerns the striking lack of transparency of the agreement between Sidewalk Labs (a Google sister company) and Waterfront Toronto, the public authority promoting the project, which is not directly accountable to the city or the citizens. The second question concerns the equally striking ambiguity about which parcel of land is being sought by Sidewalk Labs — an ambiguity that suggests a worrying lack of concern, on the tech company’s part, about both local planning law and local real estate realities. The third set of concerns is about the ownership of the data that appears to be Sidewalk Labs’ real interest. Fourthly, problems in the contract award and procurement mechanisms will be raised. Finally, even though the agreement has not yet been seen even by city council, the process so far and the statements by both parties raise serious concerns about accountability, the fifth point raised in this article.
Hanfeng Lake, an inland lake formed by the seasonal water fluctuations due to the water storage and sluice in the Three Gorges Reservoir, was faced with ecological challenges such as water pollution, aquatic biodiversity loss, and changes in land use pattern. This article takes the wetland ecosystem construction in Furongba Bay, Hanfeng Lake as an example to explore approaches to designing multi-functional wetlands which could adapt to hydro-fluctuation and other environmental changes, by drawing from the ecological wisdoms of water regulation, conservancy, and utilization developed in the agrarian age of China to support a dynamic, multi-layered landscape of mutualism and co-evolution.
The Dong’an Wetland was designated as the site for one of Sanya’s first pilot projects of urban environmental remediation and ecological restoration because of its key position in the regional ecological pattern, especially for urban stormwater management. The project aims at integrating leisure and recreational functions with landscape elements including ponds, forest on water, terraced vegetable garden, and trail loop, while promoting water circulation, improving water quality, and retaining rainwater and regulating water reuse, acting as a resilient urban sponge for rainwater management. The newly built project transforms an ignored grey place into a new home for egrets, an outdoor classroom for children’s nature education, and a destination for citizens to evoke their memories.
As our cities and environments become more complex and face unprecedented challenges, it is no longer sufficient to design for aesthetics alone. Urban design, landscape architecture, and planning now demand going beyond typical design services to support deeper insights via foresight, research, experimentation, and innovative advocacy. SWA is one example of addressing these emerging complexities through two-year-old XL Lab, the firm’s platform for structured research and innovation projects. XL Lab differs and shares attributes with dedicated research teams in firms from allied fields such as architecture and engineering, where research entities that inform practice have been operating for longer than in landscape architecture. This article discusses the need for research in design now, what factors formed distinct research and innovation teams across the industry, their models and approaches, and how firms identify and prioritize research themes or issues taking XL Lab and another two research teams as examples.
Half of humanity now lives in cities and the net inflow of population into cities will continue. Among all challenges faced by cities, the provisioning for water and sanitation is probably the most pressing one. From 2017 to 2018, the city of Cape Town in South Africa frequently made itself media headlines around the world, in many languages, for its severe water shortage due to consecutive years of drought that later resulted in a water crisis. Fortunately, the potential “Day Zero” when the city would run out of water, did not arrive. However, the crisis exposed a lack of resilience in the city’s water supply system in the face of ongoing climate change and a governance gap for climate adaptation. Many cities, especially those in the Global South, can learn from Cape Town’s experience and lessons on how to enhance governance to become more climate-resilient. Mark New and Gina Ziervogel, the interviewees, have been devoting themselves to studying about the Cape Town drought, and working on establishing the Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative. In this article, they analyzed the influence of climate change on Cape Town drought and the water supply system, and suggested effective methods to address and prevent the drought and water shortage. Ziervogel briefly described her adaptive and water-sensitive city framework while both of them revealed the role of Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative in making Cape Town more resilient.
Nature-based solutions can help build resilience in urban landscapes. New governance arrangements have been suggested for assisting local governments in implementing nature-based solutions. A dominant nature-based solution initiative is the activities and policies directed at the increase of the number of trees and treecanopy coverage in a city. This study explores how polycentric governance of urban forests may operate by focusing on how key decision-makers coordinate their priorities and actions in urban forestry decisions. A stakeholder-centered view on polycentric governance is taken, specifically focused on the view of municipal managers, to develop a better understanding of the social systems behind the implementation of naturebased solutions. This was done by using social data elicited from 19 in-depth interviews with urban forest managers working in nine local councils in Greater Melbourne, Australia. The data analyses show that the most important decisions that municipal managers make, and where other stakeholders have the most influence, relate to tree removal for developments, significant tree retention, tree planting for site renewal, and ageing trees removal. The most important stakeholders influencing these decisions include other municipal departmental units, developers, state actors, and residents. Non-governmental greening groups do not play a very important role. Various types of coordination, such as the ones between municipal departments, between nongovernmental stakeholders (especially developers and residents), between state government policies, as well as public consultation, are needed to better mobilize stakeholders’ influence and input. Capitalizing on greening groups that aim to retain trees in urban areas, not just planting more trees, can potentially support the current decisions made by municipal managers, which respond to urbanization pressures.
Governance deficit in Jakarta, Indonesia is often associated to its pressing issues of too much, too little, and too dirty water. Although flood has become an important political issue and the government is pushing a landscape change in the riverbank areas, the public policy in Jakarta has yet to comprehend the complex linkages between the gap in water provisioning and flooding.
Flood is one major issue that has affected Jakarta since as early as 1872. Subsequently, major flood events occurred with the most recent being in 2015. To solve this problem, the government has implemented several policies, with the most recent one named as “Normalisasi.” This policy focuses on increasing the flow capacity of the river to prevent it from overflowing during heavy rain events. Under this policy, the government claims eviction of informal settlements from the riverbank areas; widening rivers and canals; and dredging the river beds. Many scholars have criticized the overly technocratic framing of this policy, its covert agenda for attracting investments in infrastructure development in catchment areas, lack of empathy towards informal settlers, along with lack of vision for an inclusive and resilient socio-hydrological system.
This study uses system dynamics modeling to illustrate the interplay of social and hydrogeomorphological factors leading to Jakarta’s vulnerability to flooding and to evaluate the policy response of Normalisasi against this vulnerability and future risk scenarios. The model is further used to test and compare two categories of policy strategies of increasing dredging efficacy and an integrated waterscape policy. Though the former seemed cost-efficient in short term and less complex in terms of governance, the latter will help in long-term resilience as it considers the Jakarta flooding issue more holistically with future climate risks. However, implementation of such an integrated waterscape policy requires the institutionalization of polycentric governance and also needs a boundary organization to increase participation of diverse actors across governance levels.
The author firstly points out several problems that commonly exist in China’s watersheds and the urgent need for multidisciplinary collaboration in ecological planning. The theories and practices on watershed ecological planning are reviewed respectively from the aspects of waterway planning, natural river and wetland protection, ecological baseflow recovery, nonpoint source pollution reduction, and biodiversity protection. The author suggests that if we could reserve multi-functional ecological zone in the new territorial spatial planning by multidisciplinary collaboration, ecological goals including flood control, water quality improvement, ecological base flow provision, and biodiversity protection could be achieved. In this comprehensive solution, only when water bodies and associated habitats such as the ground and underground, upstream and downstream, and rivers and banks are coordinated as a whole, it will generate multiple ecological benefits. Finally, the author believes that planners and designers have the ability to solve ecological problems. To fulfill this vision, we must call for collaboration between land planning and ecological watershed planning in the process of territorial spatial planning.
Jinan in Shandong Province, China is a city withfavorable location — the Yellow River runs throughthis region from southwest to northeast whilethe notable world heritage Mount Tai is its southbackground. The low reach of the Yellow Riverwhere Jinan is located is a “suspended river,”which is caused by a large amount of sedimentsfrom the upper and middle reaches. Over thepast decades, the levee has ensured the city and villages free from floods. However, it blocks the connection between the north bank area of the Yellow River and the urban town. The problems of ecological imbalance, deterioration of aquatic environment, and fragmented habitats have become more acute. Since 2017, the City Design Practice team of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has collaborated with the Jinan Municipal Government to envision a transformation of the riverfront from ecological, cultural, transportation, and economic aspects and further proposed the idea of building a continuous Yellow River National Wetland Park along the entire Yellow River. The design proposals address the national, watershed, regional, and city scales. From the concept proposed in the plan of the 183 km reach, to the planning strategies of the 30 km core demonstration area, and further to the specific design of the Autumn Colors on the Que and Huabuzhu Mountains Park, SOM has developed step by step from macro-planning to microdesign, to ensure the uniformity and consistency of the entire design at all scales. SOM looks forwards to presenting the Yellow River in Jinan as a proven model for other river cities to follow the construction of the Yellow River National Wetland Park, and providing a practical reference for the planning and design of the Yangtze River Basin and similar watersheds in other countries.
This article focuses on the water-city pattern development in the ShenShan Special Cooperation Zone in China and discusses the watershed-based sponge city construction strategy. Specific to the challenges of the zone, this study attempts to establish the correspondence between watershed spatial construction and the control indicators of sponge city, providing rigid norms for future urban development to ensure the safety and health of the whole watershed. At a practical level, three strategies of water-city pattern construction are proposed in aspects of 1) sponge system layout, to increase the proportion of the ecological resources across the watershed by a high-level ecosystem conservation; 2) urban waterway planning, to protect the zone from floods by increasing the water network density as well as introducing infrastructures for flood storage and discharge; and 3) land development mode, to regulate resources to achieve balanced land development by dividing the zone into many “islands,” taking full advantage of flood plains, reserving the lakes and reservoirs, and introduce more ponds. As the zone is going to start high-speed development, this article studies strategies of the water-city pattern construction and discusses the innovation methods of promoting sustainable development with sponge city construction at the watershed scale.
The multi-functional landscapes for sustainable stormwater management play a significant role in providing various benefits on the environment, aesthetics, education, economy, etc. through the cultural ecosystem services, which have been underestimated by both the professionals and the public, due to the difficulty in their interpretation and quantification. The Importance-Satisfaction Analysis (ISA) makes it easier by evaluating the cultural ecosystem services with human’s perception, and was tested with the multi-functional landscapes for stormwater management in this research. The results show that aesthetic value, recreational / eco-tourism, and sense of place are the most valued cultural ecosystem services. Those cultural ecosystem services with a gap between their perceived importance and the public satisfaction with their delivery are also identified. ISA can discover the public’s perception and expectation of the stormwater management landscapes, which helps the decision-making about their improvement a lot.
At the beginning, the author examines the concepts of natural environment, natural resource, and natural resource asset and the ecological services what natural resources could provide as ecosystems, including supporting services, provisioning services, regulating services, and cultural services. The author stresses that, in China, the survey and assessment of resource assets face many difficulties in defining ownerships and tenures, rights and responsibilities, and valuation, and extensive exploitation and utilization still dominates the country’s natural resource management. He argues that ecological damage and environmental degradation often resulted from overexploitation of resources; on the whole, China’s recent ecological restoration has not seen a substantial improvement, largely resulting from the separate and inconsistent practice, ill enforcement, and the weak public awareness of ecological remediation and restoration in the country. He highlights that China’s new reform of a Super-Ministry System (including the establishments of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment), as well as the implementation of the Integrated Planning policy, has facilitated an integrated management on natural resource conservation. Finally, the author underscores that, in the future, the Chinese government ought to coordinate its land and spatial planning with domestic socio-economic planning, and urban planning professionals are expected to go beyond engineering and technical explorations and realize planning approaches as tools that would truly and efficiently cope with societal challenges and improve the quality of development.
From 1980 to 2010, the Chinese government introduced a set of environmental programs across northwestern China, including Three-North Shelterbelt Program, Suspended Village Migration, 1236 Yellow River Irrigation Program, Natural Forest Protection Program, Sloping Land Conversion Program, and Converting Pastures to Grasslands Program. Focusing on the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, this paper explores the overlaps and frictions between China’s large environmental programs, and reveals some of the limitations of these programs in the eco-modernization framework by studying the graduated interest under agricultural comprehensive development and scenarios in three case studies. Compared with the insights from eco-modernization, the conservation refugee and eco-refugee binary framework could review complex interaction and overlapping histories from these coexisting programs, so that resources could be distributed better and alternative ways of greening work of northwestern china could be explored.
As ecological design gradually goes beyond environmental protection or resource conservation towards an activity of creating and managing complex systems, researchers and designers have been increasingly looking for design methods from complexity science. Currently, complexity theories have been widely applied in generating complex forms and establishing design process models. Some designers have further integrated complexity theories with design culture through metaphors. In such context, this article attempts to explore application of ecological design methods under a perspective of complexity science. This article describes a conceptual design for Hulunbuir nomadic landscape①, which reveals potential relationships between multiple factors and helps define design strategies with a kind of datascape. The design process draws on complex system design methods featuring a bottom-up process through nested hierarchies and tries to apply an alternative selecting framework and a feedback-learning system for a more tangible implementation and management.
Zhu Qingping, the interviewee, is a prominent expert in China’s watershed management. Starting with the modes of China’s watershed management and the changes of water management philosophy, Zhu emphasizes that watershed management often involves various factors, including public resources, infrastructure construction, ecosystems, historical and cultural traditions, and population, all of which shall be taken into consideration as a whole. The interview then goes to the management of the Yellow River Basin, where Zhu explains the impacts between river flows and urban development, suggests a great opportunity for development the cities in the lower reaches of Yellow River Basin have, and proposes an idea of building a national ecological and cultural belt along the river. He further argues that watershed management requires collaborations across industries, disciplines, and administrative regions and divisions. He also believes that public engagement and maintenance plays an important role in watershed management and an intelligent water / watershed management system needs to be established by networking integrated big-data platforms to facilitate a more intelligent and coordinated water resource management while better ensuring water security at varied scales.
In the past 30 years, Sanya has developed into a high-density city with fragmented ecosystems and bottlenecked urban development. In April 2015, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development proposed “Ecological Restoration and Urban Remediation” for Sanya and prioritized the Sanya and Linchun Rivers — two rivers that run through the central city — as core causes. The Fengxinglong Ecological Park project is located at the junction of the two rivers in downtown and its surroudings are occupied for various land uses. Diversified urban interfaces, abundant green space, and numerous ecological contradictions make the site critical for the remediation and restoration of waterways in Sanya. Through a series of resilient landscape design interventions, Fengxinglong Ecological Park catches, stores, and purifies rainwater to reduce river pollution and flooding disasters in addition to offering recreational funtions. As a valuable “urban sponge” and comprehensive resilient ecological park, it has helped restore the historic ecosystem and realized the intensive use of resources.
Uncertainty exists in the current urban development of contemporary cities and is getting diversified and complicated. Identifying and adapting to such uncertainty is partly defining the future development of urban planning and design. The concept of “resilient city” is developed from the current scientific demands in urban planning and design. This article suggests that Complex Adaptive System as a new system theory would help resilient city planning and construction. According to the Complex Adaptive System theory, a resilient city should possess the adaptability of its components, diversity, autonomy, appropriate redundancy, slow-variable management, and identification, in order to improve the ecological, social, and economic resilience and vitality of the city.
In Laos, located in mainland Southeast Asia, shifting cultivation has been one of the important means of livelihood, in terms of food security as well as religious and cultural anchorage, for local communities in a number of areas, especially in upland areas in the country.
In Pakbeng District, Oudomxay Province, northern Laos, due to the implementation of various land and forest management policies and a village relocation and consolidation program, local communities were restricted from access to the forests and faced a shortage of agricultural lands. After facing difficulties in securing sufficient lands, the local farmers used the forests in a destructive manner.
The author of this article was engaged with the Community-based Watershed Management Project, as a program director of an environmental NGO and tackled challenges to achieve a land and forest management system suitable for land use by local communities. The NGO attempted to apply an alternative approach to incorporate swidden farmers’ land use system into official land and forest management institutions.
Community building aims to emphasize and celebrate social, political, and cultural value of neighborhoods. As a major way in the neighborhood conservation in Japan, neighborhood conservation-based community building was generated in the process of historic neighborhood protection developing from static preservation to dynamic conservation. Starting with a review on the history of the protection system of traditional quality in Japan, this paper puts its focus on the evolution of the protected targets — from only single objects to whole communities — and the approaches applied in the neighborhood conservation-based community building. Taking the empowerment and public engagement of neighborhood conservation in Fukushima, Yame as a case study, this paper studies and reveals the significance that provides reference to the development and protection of the historic neighborhoods in China. Finally, the paper argues that encouraging public engagement and motivation of civil organizations in the empowerment is crucial to the physical and cultural conservation and renewal of the historic neighborhood in the current social and political context of China.
Bowden’s new main park is the central and single largest public space located within the Bowden redevelopment in South Australia. It makes a significant step in realizing the vision for Bowden of creating a diverse and exciting new community on the edge of Adelaide’s CBD. Bowden Main Park provides a green oasis in the heart of a 15-hectare urban infill development that will become Adelaide’s most densely populated urban district outside the CBD, and an area projected to house a wide ranging demographic from students to young families, first home owners and retirees. Bowden Main Park is an example of how thoughtful and considered design can connect people, enhance the social and recreational fabric of the city and provide an authentic destination within the new and still establishing community.
This project is to develop a comprehensive master plan incorporating key principles of sustainable urbanism for a business district in Houston, Texas, USA. The main design objectives are to create a livable and sustainable urban business center, to promote economic growth and to implement a streetscape design guideline to promote walkability and bikeability.