Jun 2020, Volume 8 Issue 3

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    Kongjian YU

    Conflicts, upon the author’s four experiences, exist between the methods, technologies, and world views of ecological and industrial civilizations. The movement against the channelization of the Shuangyuan Stream in Dali City, Yunnan Province failed to rescue the loss of natural assets that have accumulated for tens of thousands of years. Due to the indifference to the protest from environmentalists and scholars, Beijing’s river channelization projects resulted in severe damages to the city’s ecological resilience. A same conflict occurred over the anti-seepage project of Yuanmingyuan Park in Beijing, which marked a beginning of China’s “nature-based solutions.” Moreover, the heavy storm attacked Beijing on July 21, 2012, urged municipal managers to reflect on urban drainage system design, and promoted the spread of “Green Sponge,” a nature-based solution, to the problem of urban waterlogging nationwide. Only by taking the tough journey to utilize nature-based solutions can China tackle ecological and environmental problems caused by urbanization and industrialization, and contribute to the world. Natural forces, instead of the engineering approaches praised by industrial civilization, may help improve urban resilience in their ingenuity addressing environmental crises and for a greater social advance.

    Chongxian CHEN, Yu XIA, Xiaohao YANG

    It envinces that sea level rise aggravates low-lying terrain inundation, storm surges, beach erosion, and other ecological damages. The developed agricultural system in the Pearl River Delta is at a high risk to floods; and, in light of the tactical significance of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and its high vulnerability to sea level rise and storm surges, it urgently requires to study their impacts on the agricultural areas in this region.

    Taking Nansha District, Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, China as the study area, this study builds a vulnerability evaluation model of agricultural areas with the Source-Pathway-Receptor-Consequence framework using an indicator system upon exposure, sensibility, and adaptation, and quantitatively predicts the inundation risk level, financial loss, and vulnerability patterns of varied scenarios of sea level rise superimposed with storm surges with the ArcGIS. The main findings include 1) the stimulated proportion of inundated areas in minimum-risk and maximum-risk scenarios is 73.38% and 87.96% respectively, and the estimated financial loss in both scenarios is RMB 3,897.3855 million and 7,140.4979 million, respectively; 2) the central Nansha will suffer from a higher inundation risk, and the northern and southern agriculatural parts within the study area have a higher vulnerability to flood disasters. Resilience strategies—through defense, adaptation, or relocation—for each vulnerable zone are then proposed accordingly.

    Yi XIAO, Sizhu DAI, Bing ZHAO

    Cities have suffered from urban heat island (UHI) effect due to rapid urbanization, which can be effectively adjusted by urban green space. Taking the community parks in central area of Nanjing, Jiangsu Province as an example, this paper explored the size and shape of smallscale parks to mitigate the UHI effect. Land surface temperature was retrieved from Landsat 8-OLI remote-sensing image of 2019. The 52 studied community parks were identified with ArcGIS 10.4, and classified by kernel building density. The threshold-size and optimal shape of community parks to mitigate UHI effect were then discussed. The results showed that 1) with the increase of buffer ring distance around the community parks, the cooling intensity decreased and the cooling extent were mostly less than 180 m; 2) the area, shape, and the NDVI of the parks were important factors affecting the cooling intensity; 3) the cooling intensity of community parks under a high kernel building density was better, with a higher threshold-size (0.848 hm2) than that of the low ones (0.384 hm2); and 4) the optimal cooling intensity would occur when the park in a shape of circle or square. In conclusion, it is suggested that small green space should be planned in the areas under a high building density. Through renewal design and refined management measures in the urban green space system planning, giving full play to the ecological benefits of urban green spaces in mitigating the local UHI effect can also be expected.

    Jia YUAN, Lian CHEN, Jiaqi LUO, Guanxiong ZHANG, Fengyi YOU

    Plant communities in mountainous cities play significant roles in revetment protection, sediment interception, water purification, ecological buffer, biodiversity conservation, and landscape quality improvement. Meanwhile, the local complex hydrologic conditions may pose adversity stress to the structure, function, and ecological process of these plant communities. This paper introduces the restoration practices of river revetments in the Jiulong Waitan section of Chongqing employing ecological planting strategies. First, a technical framework was proposed for the re-establishment of riparian herbaceous communities as the multilayered semi-natural meadows that were planted by strips and zones upon hydrologic conditions. Second, principles and modes of these ecological planting practices were elaborated. Third, an evaluation on the communities’ performance indicated that they could adapt to the complex hydrological conditions in mountainous cities, including sharp rise and fall of river level during summer floods, high temperature, and storm runoff. This study may provide a scientific reference for riverfront landscape optimization of the main stream of the Yangtze River, and a paradigm for the ecological conservation and the establishment of ecological barrier for the upper reaches.

    Xuezhu ZHAI, LANGE Eckart

    Natural wetlands play a vital role in maintaining regional water balance, regulating regional climate, and maintaining biodiversity. Due to urban sprawl in China, the loss of natural wetlands has been dramatic. In recent years, nature-based solutions, including wetland parks, have been advocated to compensate for this loss and to reduce vulnerability and disaster risks. As a result, inspired by natural wetlands or building on existing wetland ecosystems, hundreds of wetland parks have been created in China over the last decade. Most research on ecosystem services of wetland parks has to date focused on technical perspectives, with only a few addressing public perception; the public’s perception of wetland parks is not well understood. This research used social media (i.e. Sina Weibo) to access large volumes of data and provide temporal and geographic granularity. A semantic analysis of microblogs was performed to understand how the public perceives the ecosystem services of wetland parks in Guangzhou. This study explored the public’s perceptions and compared these with the ecosystem services as communicated by professional institutions, and probed into the factors that affect these perceptions. The results showed that the top three ecosystem services perceived by both the general public and communicated by institutions are recreation, aesthetics, and refugia / habitat. There is a strong interconnection between the perceptions of recreation and aesthetics services. Flowering plant species and colored-leaf trees are the most important stimuli affecting perceptions of aesthetics services, and birds are key to the perception of refugia / habitat services. These results provide a basis for better aligning management of projects utilizing naturebased solutions, such as wetland parks, with expectations from the public.


    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.

    Li ZHANG, Jielong ZHANG

    Wetland park design seeks to protect and restore the wetland ecosystems of sites through scientific approaches. However, in practice, the relevant ecological principles about wetland restoration are often not effectively understood or applied by landscape designers, resulting in compromised ecological benefits after the restoration, especially in biodiversity and habitat benefits. The authors highlighted the main causal factors in wetland—flooding and fertility—and adopted wetland birds as indicator species to simplify the evaluation method. Based on years of practice, the authors summarized a hydrology-based wetland design method for habitat restoration, aiming to translate ecological principles and research findings into design guidelines that can be easily understood and applied by landscape designers to spatial design. This design method includes 7 steps, namely 1) targeted species selection and goal setting; 2) design of habitat types and spatial arrangement; 3) landform design; 4) water level design; 5) plant community building; 6) landscape design with minimal intervention; and 7) spatial design for natural succession. The article then expanded each step using an illustrative design case, the Qinghua Wetland in Baoshan, Yunnan Province.

    Taro Zheming CAI

    Nature is a cultural construct, and a symbolic form to our cultural landscape. It plays a critical role in the profession of Landscape Architecture, shaping both the practice in the constructed environment as well as the conception of landscape in Pedagogy. This article evaluates contemporary landscape architecture practice in the U.S. through the lens of planting design and ecological design approaches. This retrospect situates selected individuals and their practices in the field of landscape architecture in the past two decades, in parallel with the evolving ecological understanding. These individuals and their works demonstrate the changes in planting design and ecological thinking in the professional practice, and most importantly how these changes contribute to current ecological design methodologies, landscape aesthetics, and public perception of landscape. In addition, the article aims to illustrate a shifting conception of Nature over time and in different cultural context, in which different conceptions of Nature facilitate various approaches to addressing environmental issues. By situating in such context, the article hopes to provide a critical view of contemporary American landscape architecture practice and the current ecological agenda, in order to enable discussions regarding the professional practice in the future.

    Chuhan ZHANG

    Possessing significant ecological and landscape values, river shorelines are regarded as a region’s most important interface to resist natural disasters while they are also extremely dynamic and sensitive. Therefore, it is critical to follow the laws of nature in design and planning of river shorelines to achieve the harmonious coexistence of human and nature free of flood catastrophes.

    This article takes the S River Park on the Living Shoreline of the Rule Lake New Town, Ganjiang New District, Jiangxi Province as an example of nature-based design approach: First, by examining remote sensing maps and water level data in different historical periods of the site, the design team learnt the evolving hydrological characteristics of the river; Second, the relations between the river’s evolution and major human interventions in history are clarified and sorted; Last but not the least, guided by the nature laws of water erosion and sedimentation, a naturebased design solution was approached—Bycatalyzing natural processes with appropriate human interventions, it aims at rehabilitating the damaged sandbar habitats through spontaneous remediation of the river, and creating fascinating riverfront experience out of a rational function zoning of the park based on various natural conditions, thus to make the new town more vibrant and resilient by connecting it with the seasonal waterfront landscape driven by the ebb and flow of the river.

    Michael GROVE, Tao ZHANG

    The evolution of the Yangtze Riverfront Park in Wuhan, China highlights what many waterfront cities around the world are facing with respect to converging forces of urbanism, growth, resiliency, and ecological degradation. This site emphasizes why the public realm is a critical component in addressing all of these often-conflicting issues.

    By re-envisioning the 16-kilometer-longriverfront landscape, Wuhan is creating a new paradigm for its parks by embracing flooding as a regular occurrence and a driving force in the shaping of its public realm. This strategy of working with Nature and not against it allows visitors to understand and appreciate the river’s complex dynamics. The proposed development of the Yangtze Riverfront Park aims to harness the power of natural processes to nurture a rich regional ecology, improve ecosystem services, and enhance public health and recreational amenities.

    Informed by an extensive public engagement process and crowdsourced data, the redesign of the park reinforces Wuhan’s cultural identity by preserving decommissioned industrial infrastructure and other artifacts along the river that symbolize the city’s industrial legacy and urban history. The vision for an updated Yangtze Riverfront Park strives to create a socially inclusive, culturally relevant, and ecologically meaningful waterfront that emphasizes Wuhan’s identity of living authentically with an everchanging river.

    Xiaoxuan LU

    Looking to Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) sites and traditional ecological knowledge-based infrastructures (Lo–TEK), we find nature-based systems that symbiotically work with the environment. This article suggests that by hybridizing Lo–TEK with high-tech systems, the GIAHS sites could offer designers a toolkit towards economically, ecologically, culturally, and technologically innovative systems that can improve productivity and resilience. Whereas urban development results in the erasure of history, identity, culture and nature, this idea explores how urbanization can be an agent for the migration and reapplication of agricultural heritage systems, rather than their greatest threat. Cities can leap-frog the typical Western model of displacing indigenous diversity for homogenous high-tech. Instead, catalyzing localized, agricultural heritage landscapes like those designated as globally important agricultural heritage systems, as scalable, productive and resilient climate change solutions and technologies. It requires a shift in the thinking about traditional agriculture and about the relationship to Nature, from superior to symbiotic.


    Jakarta in Indonesia experiences annual fluvial, pluvial, and coastal flooding. As weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable residents regularly face extreme weather events. While the proliferation of data has been enthusiastically adopted to transform real-time response, data is meaningless without designed platforms of considered assembly. PetaBencana.id (Disaster Map Indonesia) is a free online platform that enables residents and emergency managers to map flooding in real-time. The map is used by the public, government, and business to enhance decision-making in response to flooding. Contrary to the project’s initial aim of collecting empirical information to model flood conditions, the work of mapping, cross-validating, and disseminating flood information for residents and government has become in itself a form of digital metainfrastructure that helps mitigate the impact of flooding. Resident reports are now the defacto ground truth for flood information, and are used to calibrate other sensor-platforms (e.g., satellite imagery). This essay reflects on how the map developed a methodology for collaboratively mapping the dynamic fluctuations of the city from multiple textural perspectives and at multiple scales, thereby diversifying the means and scope of participation in urban infrastructure and its response to extreme events.