Mar 2016, Volume 4 Issue 1

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  • research-article
    Jack AHERN
    2016, 4(1): 10-21.

    The 21st century is already known for unprecedented and fundamental changes and new trajectories — think climate change, global economics, migration and population growth. The world is now predominantly urban and will become increasingly so until mid-century when global population is expected to stabilize at around 70% urban. The world has entered a new geological era, the Anthropocene, in which the impacts and artifacts of humans are recognized as a geologic force. In this “Century of the City,” for the world to be sustainable and resilient, cities must be an essential part of the solution — and novel urban ecosystems will play a fundamental role. A new conception, definition, and typology of 21st century “novel” urban nature is proposed here as the basis for a novel urban ecosystem strategy to provide essential ecosystem services to support urban sustainability and resilience. This proposed novel nature strategy is informed by landscape and urban ecology and collaborates systematically in “designed experiments” with urban landscape architecture practice. Designed experiments on novel urban ecosystem are necessary to: 1) monitor the performance of innovative designs to provide essential ecosystem services; 2) to mitigate the inescapable ecosystem disservices; and 3) to build public understanding and support for new types and new models of novel urban ecosystems.

  • research-article
    Yongjian HOU
    2016, 4(1): 22-29.

    This paper connects human interventions on the land through three eras: agricultural, industrial, and a new era, which began around 2000. By examining the relationships of humans to nature during each period, the author attempts to improve humannature relationships in the context of the Anthropocene, while bringing productive and healing changes to both. In this paper, the agricultural era begins with the rise of organized agricultural production and lasts until 1769. It is followed by a shorter period of industrialization (1769 ~ 2000) and ends at the start of the new millennium, which the paper proposes as the beginning of a new era of human-nature harmony. Despite dominating planet level changes, human activity is mutually dependent on the natural environment, and humans have long been producers, consumers, and decomposers. With our current reliance on science and technology, we will only enter a new era of human-nature relationships, or a“harmonious” era when the whole society — human and nonhuman — is truly integrated.

  • research-article
    2016, 4(1): 30-41.

    We see a different future…..

    It is projected that by the year 2050, about 9.7 billion people, roughly 66% of humans on our planet, will live in cities. As populations swell and our population urbanizes rapidly, design becomes ever important in providing quality places for people to live, while responsibly leveraging global resources to maintain the health of our people and planet. The resilient cities of the future must be born and supported from the strength of their environment, and in turn if we are to thrive as a species we must respect, enhance and protect the natural systems that support us all. Therefore, we must explore a new city design sensibility that once again subordinates mankind to the power of nature, and compels designers, policy makers and scientists to re-evaluate choices based more on input from the environments that surround us and systems-based thinking rather than our opinion of what is beautiful. The new way to approach city design allows science and ecology to shape its form, rather than allowing form to shape the ecology.

  • research-article
    2016, 4(1): 42-53.

    For the Inuit living in the Canadian Arctic, daily life has been, for millennia, finely tuned to seasonal weather patterns, species migration routes and a keen knowledge of the land and environment. Today, with changing climatic conditions, geopolitical negotiations and the opening up of resource economies, the Canadian North is a dramatically changing ecosystem — environmentally, culturally and economically. This harsh and fragile environment has required calibrated and innovative spatial practices by its inhabitants, who have continued to adapt over centuries, enabling traditional and contemporary ways of life to co-habit. Some of the practices documented in Many Norths: Spatial Practice in a Polar Territory leave permanent physical imprints on the land, others are impermanent; some are indigenous, while others are more recent and engineered; and all are subject to, or product of, seasonal and global forces of transformation. Together, these practices give a sense of the unique innovations, deeply embedded in the local ecosystem, that Northerners have developed to enable life in the region; to provide shelter, facilitate mobility, and harvest resources.

  • research-article
    Chih-Wei G. V. CHANG
    2016, 4(1): 54-67.

    This article describes the difference between wild and cultivated planting communities and argues that novel ecosystems could be more functional as long as they learn from the plant community developed in nature. Using Ningbo Eco-Corridor Phase I as firsthand observation object, the author shares the experiences in building more resilient planting communities, horizontally and vertically. The project also frames and translates planting design in a cultural language that reconnects wilderness and people of Ningbo.

  • research-article
    Sasaki Associates
    2016, 4(1): 80-93.

    In Southern Malaysia, fragile ecologies are threatened by unplanned development and unchecked suburban sprawl. Forest City seeks to create a model for a new global city by establishing a forward-looking approach to the integration of humans and nature through extensive collaboration and public dialogue, comprehensive consideration of ecological, social and economic benefits, and delicate design choreography.

  • research-article
    University of Arkansas Community Design Center
    2016, 4(1): 94-111.

    What kind of infrastructure would a city have to develop if it cultivated its own food? Food City envisions a future based upon resilient and recuperative forms of urbanism in a region with the nation’s highest food insecurity. Food City devises a model agroecological vocabulary for reclaiming a missing middle scale of urban agriculture between that of the individual garden and the industrial farm. This missing middle foodshed functions as an ecological municipal utility featuring green infrastructures, public growscapes, and spaces for food processing and distribution. Beyond current ad hoc production practices, the next stage of urban agriculture includes largescale conservation, accelerated nutrient management, and upcycling of municipal waste. Food City’s transferable set of planning tools not only assists to embed high-quality food production into American urbanism, but shows how urban infrastructure can also deliver important ecosystem services.

  • Thematic practices
    Galen NEWMAN,Grace GUO,Yixun ZHANG,Eric BARDENHAGEN,Jun-Hyun KIM
    2016, 4(1): 112-125.

    This project uses western Galveston Island, Texas, USA to explore design options for integrating a projective storm surge barrier system into the coastal landscape. The design creates a comprehensive master plan by using four target sites on the island, develops design strategies for barrier integration, and suggests principles for successful integration.

    Dane CARLSON
    2016, 4(1): 126-135.

    Nonmodern landscape has been almost entirely neglected as a subject of study within the professional and academic pursuit of landscape architecture. This work intends to reverse this trend through the proposal of methods for observation and documentation of the world’s few extant nonmodern landscapes. Upper Mustang, located in the highest reaches of Nepal’s Kali Gandaki river valley, is presented here as a methodological case study. Observation and documentation on foot lie at the foundations of this methodological exploration: this work confirms that texture, materiality, cultural consciousness, and individual perception equal or surpass the relevance of data gathered through digital, off-site analysis in building a narrative of nonmodern landscape. Representation also plays a critical role in the study of these landscapes neglected by our field: evolution of project representation illustrates movement between scales, points in time during project research, and the interface between tangible materiality and almost imperceptible vastness in a landscape where sacred cairns, painted with vivid earthen hues, rise from the primordial earth.