Apr 2019, Volume 7 Issue 1

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    Kongjian Yu

    The Xisha Islands in the South China Sea have long been rich and beautiful in natural resources. However, after the author’s recent visits to the islands, it was observed that the islands have seen a coral damage and a loss of biodiversity. Meanwhile, the marine life and mineral deposits have been plundered for material gains. Preserving the beauty and landscape services of the islands should be the most important to their future, rather than economic benefits. Nurturing love and the Beautiful China dream on these islands will worth more than developing industries such as fishing and marine ranching.

    Zhifang WANG, Zhenyu YUAN

    Designed ecology refers to a process of active and purposive design interventions that help enhance functional improvement, restoration, or reshaping of ecosystem in human settlements, especially in the areas suffering from severe ecological degradation. Different from ecological design, designed ecology is to creatively intervene and improve human beings’ complicated living environment. Starting from an examination of related concepts, this paper reviews designed ecology from four perspectives: creating natural environment; reintroducing native habitat; enhancing natural regeneration; and tending natural ecosystem. It further defines designed ecology at three levels: 1) ecological functionality, i.e. the design creates a self-maintaining ecosystem; 2) succession efficiency, i.e. the effect of the designed succession surpasses the results of natural regeneration or the design helps promote natural regeneration; and 3) landscape experience, i.e. the design offers aesthetic services to better respond to the needs of human society. The authors argue that an effective promotion of designed ecology relies on both the efforts of design practice and ecological study, including research on regional / local ecosystem, self-succession of ecosystem, and ecosystem capacity, as well as exploration of improving human living experience through design practice.

    Bruno De MEULDER, Kelly SHANNON, Minh Quang NGUYEN

    This article unfolds the notion of “forest urbanism” through a discussion on the intertwined evolution of the Sonian Forest and settlement development in the greater Brussels environs through history. The forest landscape is considered a fundamental structure, both for ecology (delivering numerous ecosystem services) and the urban environment. Forest urbanism is an urbanism that relies on the forest as a structuring device across scales and dimensions (in relation to mobility, settlement, and ecology). The interplay of urbanism with the large forest domain operates at the territorial scale and various forest domains of very different natures. It unravels forest and urbanism interplays within the Brussels region with quite different urban contexts (scale, density, quality, development pressure, etc.) and with quite different forms and modalities (from settlements embedded within the forest to the forest-city as adjacent domains). The Sonian Forest and its surroundings are exceptionally compelling with regards to both their continuous transformation over time, contemporary challenges, and possible future trajectories. The article traces the parallel, intertwined processes and complex relations of deforestation / afforestation and settlement / restructuring of urban environments. As will become evident, the relationship that always iterated between a productive and consumptive one, urgently requires a recalibration where exploitation / consumption is balanced by protection / production.

    Boya WANG, Zhicheng LIU

    Urban green space structure and pattern have been one of the highlights in Landscape Architecture studies, accompanying with urgent demands of promoting ecological spatial structures in urban construction. Focusing on functional connectivity and construction strategies of the structure of green space network in Haidian District of Beijing, this research builds resistance surface and identifies linkages through habitat quality evaluation of the InVEST Model and the simulation with the Least-Cost Model, while adopting functional connectivity index (NL, NC, IIC, PC, and dIIL) to indicate the structural characteristics of green space network at varied distance thresholds. Results reveal that, on the whole, the distance threshold of 2,200 meters is most appropriate for the structure of the existing green space network of Haidian District, when 10 components and 353 linkages are identified and six important nodes and three important linkages that require a protection priority are further determined. Findings also disclose that the forest network of target tree species and that of water network of target water bird species are highly fragmented. Forest network serves in forms of dominant patch structure, local network structure, and fragmented cluster structure in the western mountainous area, the northern plain area, and the southeastern urban area, respectively. Moreover, the research proves that by introducing ten important linkages, the connectivity of forest network can be improved by 1.7 times, completing the overall structure in multiple directions and helping form a stable and resilient structure of the network. Finally, the research puts forward strategies for urban green space construction, including identifying construction objectives and target species, identifying and protecting important nodes and important linkages, and introducing possible important linkages and improving the structure of green space network, to help efficiently improve urban ecological quality.

    Qingjuan YANG, Meredith Frances DOBBIE

    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.

    Jie LIU

    The current rapid urbanization leads to a degeneration in natural ecosystems whose regulating, purification, and production services have been seriously damaged. Landscape architecture focusing more on landscape functions and processes in this context is significant to urban environment improvement, by creating more urban parks and green spaces to provide ecological services as benefits rather than cities' burdens. Therefore, Yu Kongjian defined Designed Ecology as a constructed ecosystem or a system of interactions between living creatures (including human beings) and nature by human design, also ecological processes formed by landscape architecture and planning, and an interdisciplinary, cross-scale, and empirical research in a form of landscape. This research examined the landscape performance of saline-alkali soil amelioration in Qiaoyuan Park designed with the Designed Ecology principles by ecological experiments. The results prove that through micro-topography design, the park's constructed ecosystem significantly drains away salt and alkali to the lower areas of the site, both within the pond and across the whole pond system, achieving its design goal. This case study provides models for similar ecological landscape design of urban parks and green spaces.

    Shuangcheng LI

    Through literature review, this article introduces milestones, current situation and focuses, and trends of the ecosystem service research, which concentrates recently on classification, value evaluation, identification of bundles, balance, synergy, and flow simulation of ecosystem services, and their role in decisionmaking optimization. The research involves several disciplines related to social-ecological interactions, for which the collaboration between different disciplines may facilitate the research by comprehensive considerations on more natural and social factors. In addition, ecosystem service value evaluation provides not only basic information and data for preliminary planning and design, but also a direct evidence for decision-making in social, economic, and management affairs. As a result, more diverse estimation methods should be explored for converting physical amounts into value amounts in ecosystem service value evaluation. Finally, this article proposes that by strengthening research and application of the cascade framework of ecosystem services, landscape architects may play a more important role in ecological construction.

    Zuoji DONG

    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.

    HAMETZ Isaac, DAVIS Brian

    Landscape architecture is in the midst of a renaissance. For the first time, a landscape architect was awarded the McArthur Foundation Fellowship. Large professional service contracts are being tendered to practitioners to reimagine urban parks, waterfronts, and downtown development districts. The scope and scale of these projects are significant, as are the impacts these commissions are having on the social, ecological, and economic fabric of the cities in which they are taking place. However, inasmuch as the client-driven professional service model through which these landscapes take shape is essential to the financial health and prestige of landscape architects, it represents only one model of landscape practice. The Design with Dredge program seeks to expand beyond services and into a model of professional practice that proactively collocates research, design, experimentation, activism, and adaptive management with community and strategic partnerships. The model does not attempt to supplant or undermine the business of landscape architecture. What it does do is to widen the aperture of possibilities and extend the field of action for landscape architects who wish to engage more directly with the medium of landscape and specifically with anthropogenic sediment processes including large- and small-scale dredging operations. This broadened professional nexus creates opportunities for practitioners, community members, academics, regulators, and industry experts to advance shared conceptual frameworks, planning priorities, and applied landscape strategies for resilient dredged material management in the Baltimore-Chesapeake Bay region, providing a precedent for others who may wish to explore new modes of practice and emerging landscape infrastructure issues facing port cities and coastal communities.

    DENIORD Rayna

    This article is broadly about Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California, with a focus on the planning, design, and ongoing construction of the Bayfront Campus. The project is rooted in ecological principles, restoring a post-industrial brownfield site to a biodiverse and resilient landscape. It reaches to merge the functional needs of workplace culture with habitat created by the establishment of natural systems. Two of three new buildings — MPK 20 and MPK 21 — are now completed, fluidly integrating the architecture and landscape. Together, they form a rich and complex campus landscape that brings people close to each other and to nature, reduces and treats stormwater runoff, minimizes head island effects, and maximizes open space. Responding to ongoing site and program needs, the observations and feedback from MPK 20 (completed in 2015) provided valuable insights on the improvement of MPK 21 (completed in 2018). The design provides abundant landscape services, not only enhancing the knowledge of species that define local California native habitats, but also allowing people to learn through osmosis — relaxing the mind, expanding perception, and stimulating imagination.

    RANKIN Chris

    The project is for the design of a new civic space within Lamer Island Battery, a stone defensive structure built on a rocky outcrop in Dunbar Harbour, Scotland. Rankinfraser Landscape Architecture was employed to provide professional design services from early site research to helping secure funding and permit application as the primary leader of coordination among the design team, the client, and the public. Based on a Dieter Rams’ principle that “good design is as little design as possible,” the design prioritises the importance of site along with a detailed and thorough understanding of the components that constitute the character of the place, providing new public art, deeper interpretation of the site’s history, environment education, and attractive places for gathering. Since its completion in 2017 the battery has been very well received, both by the local communities and professionals.

    Xiaoxuan LU
    Chung Yan AU YOUNG

    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.

    HOU Jeffrey, TANG Dorothy

    The installation of “Plant’s-Eye Views of Taipei” is the result of an international workshop that took place in Taipei in summer 2018, organized as part of the 2018 Taipei Biennial. Under the direction of two participating artists, and with the help from ecologists and videographers, university students from the Asia-Pacific region each imagined themselves as a particular plant. Students began by examining the physiology of selected plants to better understand their characteristics and life histories, as well as their adaptive features and ecosystem behaviors. In viewing themselves as plants, students were able to see Taipei through a new lens as a place coproduced by the city’s urban flora and human communities. The installation including scaffolds, sketches, and films was exhibited at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum to explore different ways through which plants view the city, as well as notions of anthropomorphism, phytomorphism, and phototropism.