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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wilderness is a cultural construct that is deeply rooted in many societies. For landscape architects and their predecessors, wilderness has long been important as a contrast to artificial garden elements, as an inspiration for naturalistic plant designs, or today as a timely contribution to reconciling cities and their inhabitants with the natural world. Since cities and wilderness have traditionally been seen as opposites, new approaches are necessary to better address the opportunities and challenges associated with wilderness in urban regions. From an ecological perspective, urban wilderness can be defined as an area characterized by a high degree of self-regulation in ecosystem processes where direct human impact is negligible. This allows two main types of wilderness to be distinguished: “ancient wilderness” represented by natural remnants in many cities, and “novel wilderness,” which arises in artificial urban-industrial sites. The two types require different approaches in designing and managing green spaces. Ancient wilderness is a traditional object of conservation and restoration, and offers inspiration for naturalistic plantings. In contrast, the emergence of novel wilderness has long been associated with neglect and socio-economic decline. Since the 1980s, however, early pioneer projects in Germany have started to integrate novel urban wilderness into the green infrastructure. The results are unprecedented green spaces that combine novel wilderness with design interventions. These places are attractive to visitors, contribute to biodiversity conservation, and support many ecosystem services. This article aims to illustrate the opportunities and challenges of integrating wilderness components and processes into the urban green infrastructure—a timely way to reconnect cities with nature.
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.
This article reviews the concepts of child rights and Child Friendly City at first and underlines that essentially Child Friendly City construction is to protect and guarantee child rights. By examining China’s reality of the design practice for children, the author points out that to build a Child Friendly City, two challenges must be addressed: interpreting child rights in different societal and cultural contexts, and mitigating interest conflicts between the protection of child rights with the current urban construction. In response, the author emphasizes the importance to build child’s infrastructure that is devised to serve varied scenarios, purposes, and childhoods, as well as the fact that this is not a once-forall investment but requires an evolving planning mechanism. Finally, the article states that children’s participation is the key to Child Friendly City construction and the greatest challenge to local implementation, which asks for long-term capacity building for children’s participation and strong support by a top-down management system.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The study of climate change impacts on cultural landscapes in the Pacific West Region of the National Park System by the University of Oregon’s Cultural Landscape Research Group, assessed how these landscapes might be affected by key climate variables, and developed recommendations for future research toward the agency’s goal of ensuring cultural landscapes’ resilience in light of climate change variables.
Local peasants have created unbelievably magnificent terraced landscapes using simple tools through cultivation, self-sufficiency, water conservation, and awe for the God of Earth. Before large machinery became the standard for industrial civilizations, the landscape had been shaped using only simple tools and had lasted for over thousands of years. This was benefited from simple technologies that maintained a harmonious relationship with the land, even if it was forced to. Industrial civilization, however, has created an antagonistic relationship between humans and land, brought about by consumerism. The excessive use of industrial machinery has also caused irreversible harm to the land. If these conditions are not changed, the landscape — an objective presentation of subjective thinking — will surely move beyond redemption.
As a pilot project of water treatment in Zhejiang Province, the Puyangjiang River Corridor project has remediated the polluted river course into a popular ecological and recreational corridor. The project restored the aquatic ecosystems and improved the water quality by introducing a constructed wetland system which purifies the irrigation water and the tributaries of Puyangjiang River. Under a concept of Sponge City construction and a minimal intervention strategy, the design not only enhances the flood resilience, but also minimizes the disturbance to natural ecosystems of the site. In addition, the existing agricultural, water-conservational, and cultural heritages have been preserved and partly reused as recreational structures and facilities, contributing aesthetic and educational values to the site.
Currently, sea level rise becomes one of the biggest threats to biodiversity conservation in low-lying coastal areas, and coastal conservation areas need to be optimized to the rising sea level. This paper introduces the case of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida, which shows that the key conservation areas adaptive to sea level rise can be identified by modeling with integrated protection planning. Combining the American case’s lessons, the paper further comes up with suggestions on biodiversity protection adaptive to sea level rise for China’s coastal cities and regions.
“2050: An Energetic Odyssey” is a research by design on the possibilities, opportunities, and spatial implications of the realisation of large-scale harvesting, transportation and storage of renewable energy sources on and around the North Sea. This project demonstrates the role the North Sea could play in meeting the globally agreed two-degree target.
Europe has committed to reducing green house gas emissions by 2050 by 80% ~ 95%. Commissioned by the Internationale Architectuur Biennale Rotterdam 2016 (IABR 2016), H+N+S made a plan for the North Sea together with Ecofys and Tungsten Pro, in which renewable energy sources are utilised. This plan outlines how that might look in practical terms and what the effects might be for nature, fishery, harbour development, economies, and recreation.
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.
Right at the center of Brazil, covering almost 22% of its area, lies the world’s most biodiverse savanna, the Cerrado. Despite of the richness and beauty of its flora, Cerrado’s landscapes are not as celebrated as the country’s rainforests, and tend to be neglected in cultural expressions.
Historically, ecological restoration and landscape design projects have considered only the trees of the biome, leaving behind grasses, forbs and shrubs that not only characterize the savanna, but also represent more than 60% of the diversity (close to 7,000 species) of the Cerrado, which hold many fundamental ecological functions.
This situation is now beginning to change. This article presents two interrelated projects, Restaura Cerrado and Jardins de Cerrado, which focus on different plant forms (herbaceous, woody and liana species) in restoration and gardening initiatives. Two experiments are conducted with efforts to explore new possibilities of understanding the Brazilian savanna and of working with it.
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.
In the past decades, Space Syntax offers a series of theories and techniques to study the relationship between urban space and social-economic activities, and has been proved effective in analysis and design practices thanks to the open sources in the big data era. Taking the Chaoyang Square Renewal project in Jilin City, Jilin Province as an example, this article introduces the analyses of traffic volumes and visual integration of the square and the connected streets with modeling tools such as Segment Map and the intelligent multi-agent systems in Visibility Graph Analysis. All these analyses provided a basis for the full design process, from conceptual design to proposal evaluation, in order to activate this site through introducing pedestrian vitality. Prospects on new technologies in Artificial Intelligence, such as machine learning, are also explored to promote the research of Space Syntax and related application in urban design.