Apr 2015, Volume 3 Issue 1

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  • Kongjian YU
    2015, 3(1): 4-7.
  • Christopher WEBSTER, Chinmoy SARKAR, Scott Jennings MELBOURNE, Mathew PRYOR, Dorothy TANG, Nezar KAFAFY
    2015, 3(1): 8-23.

    The doctrine that urban greenery is positively associated with physical and mental health is widely acknowledged in landscape and urban planning, but is not underpinned by specific research findings. This paper examines how the association between “greenery” and health has developed through the history of landscape and urban design, and sets out the need for clear evidence based research as the foundation of credible arguments for the provision of more and better quality greenery in the city. We discuss the many hypothetical causal pathways between increased urban greenery and improving public health, and from a broad literature review we highlight recent research studies that have found associations between them. Directions for future research are suggested.

  • Bin JIANG, Tian ZHANG, William C. SULLIVAN
    2015, 3(1): 24-35.

    The paper presents a summary of critical environmental problems in Chinese cities and serious public health crisis resulting from those environmental problems. The paper explains five theoretical pathways through which urban natural landscape influences human health and wellbeing: promoting physical exercises, relieving stress, reducing mental fatigue, providing ecological products or services, and enhancing social capital. A theoretical framework connecting urban natural landscape with health outcomes is established and a set of important research questions are presented.

  • William C. SULLIVAN
    2015, 3(1): 36-44.

    Our capacity to pay attention — to direct our focus toward one idea or task while excluding from our minds a host of competing stimuli and thoughts — is key to every human achievement. But our ability to pay attention is a limited resource, it fatigues with use. Scientists have recently discovered that having contact with green spaces, even in otherwise dense urban settings, is an effective way to restore our ability to focus. Thus, green spaces in the form of parks, interconnected green corridors, street trees, rain gardens, green roofs and green walls do more than provide ecosystem services. They help people concentrate their attention and in doing so, help us achieve our goals in life. One implication of these findings is that we should re-double our efforts to ensure that we provide nature at every doorstep.

  • Chun-Yen CHANG, I-Chun TANG
    2015, 3(1): 45-53.

    Our cities have been created to isolate humans from the ecological world. However, recent empirical evidence shows that the natural environment is a crucial determinant of human health, especially for urban dwellers. In the current article, we propose a conceptual framework of “healthy urban ecology and healthy people” to advocate the idea that healthy urban ecology can support healthy urban living, and by considering both aspects, we might reach a feasible approach to developing healthy cities. We suggest an evidence-based therapeutic landscape design. Creating a healthy city requires spatial development that considers both the physiological and psychological health and wellbeing of urban dwellers. A healthy city also needs ecological construction that considers a spatial solution, natural patterns and ecological flows, and the culture and socioeconomics of the environment. Moreover, the creation of a healthy city must include the idea of ecological construction with human health to develop an urban environment that includes both features. Although we cannot create a green space that has all of these qualities in both features, actions should be taken to find opportunities to fulfill at least some aspects of these goals in the development of urban environments. We should make every attempt to create a healthy city for humans and the natural world. With the proposed framework, we suggest city planners and landscape architects to use the introduced theories and environmental factors to create healthy cities. Achieving this goal will benefit both individuals and cities.

  • Joe CLANCY, Catie RYAN
    2015, 3(1): 54-61.

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

  • Bin JIANG
    2015, 3(1): 62-69.

    This interview article focuses on discussion of several important issues related to the influence of urban landscape on human health from a perspective of pediatrics. Richard J. Jackson introduced his career in the field and explained how to promote physical, mental, and social health through improvement of urban environment. Bin Jiang, the interviewer, raised a few important questions related to the topic within the social and physical context of Chinese cities. Together, through a fresh perspective, this work would help city managers and design professionals to contribute to solving pressing human health problems by reshaping urban environment and changing citizens’ lifestyles and social norms.

  • Dorothy S. TANG, Julia Kane AFRICA
    2015, 3(1): 70-83.

    The impact of climate change on public health spurs geographically specific and resilient design interventions. Successful landscape architecture, harnesses insights from public health professionals, engineers, and ecologists to synergistically address the complex relationships between the built environment, public health, and climate change. A landscape architecture workshop in Yueqing City, a coastal community in Zhejiang Province, provides an opportunity to explore how urban landscapes might sustainably support human health and well-being. Small-scale interventions are used to test the viability of a tactical approach to design that addresses problems at a global and systemic scale.

  • 2015, 3(1): 84-91.

    ASPECT Studios was commissioned by the City of Whitehorse to create an innovative space with a diverse array of recreation activities and events within the Box Hill Gardens. The final design of the space successfully embodies a bold contemporary aesthetic with layers of history and memory, and the careful integration of landscape and built form elements. This growing community has been delivered a valued and unique public space that adds to the local history of the site.

    2015, 3(1): 92-103.

    Through territorial and simple place-making moves, the project establishes a landscape framework for the growth of Hopley Farms, an informal settlement in Harare, Zimbabwe. The provision of social hubs that informal dwellers usually do not build on their own become the centerpiece infrastructures that complement the future self-built city. A territorial growth pattern, rainwater management and an agroforestry system are linked to create a healthy community by tackling issues that plague Harare and its future growth.

  • 2015, 3(1): 104-113.

    Titled Aeolian fields (a new urban park to cool, produce and play), the competition entry by OFICINAA and TRANSSOLAR for Mannheim’s former US military base, uses air movement as a premise in design. The design proposes a series of large-scale landscape features to sculpt the wind flow and its qualities through the site. While promoting the ventilation of the city and the adjacent neighborhoods and preventing accumulation of heat and air pollution, the proposal sets forth a new park with spatial conditions crafted by air for the community’s use and wellbeing.

  • 2015, 3(1): 114-121.

    The City of Hartford's park system has a rich legacy of park design, and comprises abundant acreage of urban parks, ranging from small pocket parks to large parks that are a regional attraction. Yet this abundance is also a challenge. Sasaki's Capital City Parks Plan aims to renew the park system's legacy, creating a fiscally and environmentally sustainable park system for the 21st century and beyond. Addressing key issues of maintenance and safety, the project identifies opportunities for revenue generation and strategic partnerships with schools, neighborhoods, and businesses, to improve the environmental health of the city's natural assets, the physical and mental health of its residents, and the fiscal health of the park system as a whole.

    2015, 3(1): 122.
    Tyler AUSTIN, Xiaoxuan LU, David ROSS
    2015, 3(1): 123-135.

    Research and development devoted to streamlining our inherently progressive industrial model sacrifices the land with the advancement of agricultural technologies, mono-cultured landscapes and the urban development (Fig. 1). As our population increases, land continues to be developed around our cities. The negative connotations of land development are due to a lack of healthy guidelines and regulation standards. In an effort to combat against food and ecological resource losses, this research Agro-Urbanism① attempts to provide a new healthy city framework for peri-urban (urban perimeter) development in Lincoln, Nebraska, the geographic center of the United States, based on the conservation and preservation of open space networks and prime farmland (Soil Class I-II).

    Loreta Castro REGUERA-MANCERA
    2015, 3(1): 136-143.

    Mexico City was founded in 1325, under the name of Tenochtitlan, in the center of the lake system of an endorheic basin. Its geographical position was fundamental in the conception of its form: a settlement of dredged channels and constructed pieces of land, called chinampas, which determined every aspect of habitability and use. The history of this metropolis has been a conflicting one, profoundly affecting its landscape and urban form. Today, far from having a waterscape, the development of the city has transformed its context into an earth and stone setting with severe effects resulting from this mutation. The 22 million-megalopolis, built upon the unstable ground of a lakebed, continuously floods, has depleted its freshwater sources, and suffers from profound ground subsidence related problems. However, not all traces of the above mentioned city of channels are lost. The southern part of the basin, the former towns of Xochimilco and Tlahuac, still have a lifestyle that relies on the understanding of the benefits that the original landscape provided, economically and socially dependent on the system of chinampas. Despite the fact that it is impossible to recover this type of urban fabric around the basin, these burrows set a paradigm of an urban design fully blended with water. Beyond these examples, several other cities around the world have managed to successfully deal with their waterscapes, making of water an asset instead of a menace. This condition raises an opportunity and an obligation for the design related professionals as it is in their sphere to provide solutions that guarantee the city’s future viability. This article tells the story of an ongoing effort to design for and with water in the apparently dry landscape of Mexico City.