Sep 2017, Volume 5 Issue 4

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    Kongjian YU
    Xianyao CHEN

    Global climate change has a broad and profound impact on human social and economic development. As one of the most distinguishing observations of climate change, sea level rise exacerbates marine disasters such as storm surge, coastal erosion, and seawater intrusion, which threaten the socio-economic development of coastal areas. As an expert on global climate change, the interviewee noted that ocean plays an absolutely dominant role in global climate system, and further emphasized the non-synchronicity and nonuniformity of global sea level rise. He also pointed out that basic research on global climate change needs to be more extensively applied in climatology, disaster prediction and control, urban planning and design, and other disciplines, in order to provide scientific support on risk assessment and management for urban construction of coastal regions.

    Guosheng LI

    As coastal urbanization, reclamation, aquaculture, shoalreinforcement, and oil exploitation have intensified over the past few decades, China’s natural coastline has shrunk. The man-made coastline now accounts for more than 40% of the total national coastline. Such intensive development has disturbed the natural landscape and ecosystem of the coastal zones. This interview introduces the overall ecological situation of China’s coastal areas including changes in the major delta areas of China. It stresses that development of coastal areas should be coordinated to best balance economic growth and ecological protection. It encourages the establishment of a nation-wide ecological monitoring and assessment mechanism that will help respond to pressing issues including climate change and sea level rise.

    Jeffery CARNEY

    In recent years, challenges of storms, land loss and sea level rise are getting more and more serious in the coastal areas. Since its founding in 2009, the Coastal Sustainability Studio (CSS) of Louisiana State University has been trying to use innovative approaches to foster resilient coastal communities and ecosystems. This interview focuses on CSS’s way of building teams, transdisciplinary collaboration, and their practices on large-scale planning in coastal areas, etc. As is stated by Jeffery Carney, director of CSS, climate change is increasingly recognized as a huge factor in coastal community design and is affecting inland regions as well, which has become a global issue to be seriously concerned. Carney also suggests that it is the duty of landscape architects to put the complexities of the ecosystem into a human context. Only with the application of systems thinking and with collaboration with a diverse team, can we realize design and development in productive and responsible ways.

    Gina FORD, James MINER

    The Gulf State Park Master Plan — a strategic framework for this beloved 6,150-acre park in coastal Alabama —offers a new model for addressing increasingly complex environments. The dynamism of the landscape, its context of emerging adaptive management techniques, and the need to accommodate built-in early action strategies allowed for a new kind of master plan, one where implementation and strategy co-existed and informed one another in real-time. We provide an overview of the master plan vision, examine its early action elements, and explain the value of engaging in planning and design implementation concurrently.

    SCAPE Landscape Architecture DPC

    How can we connect citizens more directly with their immediate environment? How can we anticipate rising sea levels and increasingly intense storms, but also revive waterbodies, and connect people to the shore? Living Breakwaters is an innovative coastal green infrastructure project that was selected as one of the winning projects of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rebuild by Design competition that aims to answer these questions. The project is being implemented by the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery with 60 million USD of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding. Planned for the Raritan Bay and Staten Island, Living Breakwaters links in-water infrastructure with on-shore education and outreach, to help reduce risk, enhance ecosystems and foster stewardship.

    Alexandra MEI

    The format of the guidebook carries potential for landscape architecture as a practice of inclusion, participation and social engagement. Here, the guidebook is a medium for a native American coastal community to challenge the boundary lines placed onto its island by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw tribe on the Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, forced to leave their island for a land-locked parcel farther north because of sea level rise, will eventually lose their island to state property as this mark rises with the sea in the next fifty years. In response, the project uses the guidebook to suggest acts of community resistance against this water mark, obscuring and blurring the boundary so that the tribe will maintain ownership of their land and have a reason to return after they leave. Through conscious choice of representation style and sensitivity to the process of design, the project provoked questions of community, resistance, and “design for the other.” Here, the role of landscape architecture is critical of the boundaries placed onto land, and the uses of the guidebook can help to embrace community engagement and agency.