Dec 2013, Volume 1 Issue 6

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  • Article
    Frederick STEINER
    2013, 1(6): 44-63.

    Ian McHarg helped build the foundation for geographical information systems (GIS) through his refinement of map overlay methods. McHarg’s use of map overlays in revealing ecological relationships and landscape patterns is arguably the most important representational tool and strategy for design since Filippo Brunelleschi’s refinement of perspective around 1413. In addition to overlays, McHarg employed other representational tools to analyze landscape complexity and to present how planning and design interventions interacted with biophysical processes and geological features. Spatial analytic strategies and representational techniques that focus on landscape complexity can expand the applicability and saliency of geodesign. This expansion could be similar to the influence of overlays to the creation of GIS. The other representational techniques employed by McHarg and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania and Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd (now Wallace Roberts & Todd, WRT) include: maps, transects, diagrams, bird’s eye perspectives, block diagrams, drawings, and photography. Each of these techniques will be introduced as they were used by McHarg then discussed for potential geodesign applications. A more comprehensive exploration will help expand the potential of geodesign and also acknowledge McHarg’s broader contributions beyond map overlays.

  • Article
    Ian BISHOP
    2013, 1(6): 64-75.

    The use of optimization algorithms in landscape decision-making has been seen as the antithesis of a design process. Indeed, Michael F. Goodchild clearly distinguished optimization, small-d design as part of operations research and management science, from big-d Design, which is the province of landscape architecture and planning[1]. This paper argues a case for integration of optimization techniques and geodesign technologies to help shape, but not narrow, the decision space associated with a landscape design or planning situation. Optimization need not, as Goodchild argues, be limited to production of a single point in the solution space. By creative manipulation of objectives and constraints (both spatial and global) a disparate set of possible futures can be generated. The advantage of using optimization is that all these points within the solution space are on a non-dominated surface. When the user is limited to a set of interactive geodesign tools, sketching shapes and editing attributes, many of the generated solutions may be inferior, on all criteria, to another solution. Optimization removes these inferior solutions and makes it easier for the designer, and the stakeholders, to review the options and make decisions. The interactive processes of spatial selection and attribution are still important; the challenge is to build systems that link these capabilities to robust optimization algorithms. The paper reviews these possibilities in the context of forest management and regional landscape planning and explores options for achieving fast response times, which supporting selection among the non-inferior solutions and dealing with uncertainty and conditions that change over time.

  • View and Criticism
    Luqi WANG, Mengxi LI, Xiaojie HAN, Yao YAO, Xu ZHANG, Xianming TU, Tina TIAN, Xia LI
    2013, 1(6): 76-101.

    28th~29th October, 2013, the Geodesign International Conference was held in Peking University. The conference included keynote speeches, lighting talks and conference proceedings, discussing the geodesign's concept, framework, promise and practice around the theme “Geodesign: Maximinzing Beneficial Impacts”. This article collects the important speeches of this conference.

  • View and Criticism
    Matthew PRYOR, Dorothy TANG
    2013, 1(6): 102-111.

    China faces massive environmental and societal challenges, and Landscape Architecture has a vital role to play in helping the community to overcome these. Landscape architects need to be able to engage, understand and analyze authoritatively in topical discourses on environmental, cultural and social issues, and to be able to present rational arguments for meaningful action. This expanding sphere of influence requires that the teaching of landscape architecture reach beyond technical knowledge of landscapes and skills in the manipulation of its forms, materials and technologies, and address the issue of rationale. It needs to give students the intellectual rigor and theoretical framework for their future professional practice and, more broadly, to expand the discipline. After twenty years of Landscape Architecture education at HKU, we have some thoughts regarding the process and value of a design thesis in this regard. Design Thesis should require students to articulate a critical position within the discipline of Landscape Architecture and test the proposition through a design process. The ultimate goal of the thesis process should be to advance the knowledge, methods, and practices of landscape architecture and to prepare students to enter the world of practice and participate actively as future leaders of the discipline, with the capacity for critical self-reflection, innovation, and strong convictions regarding the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of the built environment. This paper presents the approach, and some of the outcomes, of our Master of Landscape Architecture Design Thesis course.

  • View and Criticism
    Yishuang SHE
    2013, 1(6): 112-121.

    Norwegian design is neither the most outstanding or most typical among Nordic countries. Boasting good socio-economic conditions, low population density, and an intimate understanding of human and nature interactions, Norway has been the ideal place to realize harmonious development between nature and human society. Over the past decade, Oslo, the capital of Norway, has witnessed a series of high profile construction projects, including the renovation of Tjuvholmen District, the opening of Ekeberg Park, and the construction of the Oslo Opera House. These projects demonstrate the country’s ambition to locate its own design aesthetic in the context of humans and the environment, traditional and modern. The Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT) responds to this search through a series of exhibitions, lectures, conferences, visits, publications, and seminars. Broadcasting Norwegian design around the world will help to achieve the larger goal of influencing human life through architecture and design.

  • Initiative Practice
    Hong YOU
    2013, 1(6): 122-131.

    This paper demonstrates the practice of the geodesign approach in macro-scale land use planning in Beijing. In this research, a simplified but comprehensive framework is designed to learn the mechanisms of landscape change, formulate and simulate future land use change scenarios, perform evaluations to support development decisions. It also discusses how to utilize hybrid methodologies, such as quantitative and qualitative, top-down mathematical regressions and bottom-up heuristic approaches like neural network and cellular automation, to address the uncertainty and complexity issues mostly confronted by megacities like Beijing. Finally, several lessons about the benefits and restricts of geodesign applications in macro-scale research learned from this case study are highlighted.

  • Initiative Practice
    McGregor Coxall
    2013, 1(6): 132-139.

    The Western Sydney Parklands Trust engaged McGregor Coxall to revitalize and extend the facilities of Lizrard Log Parklands (formerly known as Pimelea). This included an upgrade and extension to the existing toilet blocks, BBQ and picnic facilities, redevelopment of the children’s play area, the development of an events space and an access bridge along with the construction of a significant new car park. A sensitive response to the rural nature of the site, underpinned by a strong sustainable strategy, drove the site’s redesign. Power for the site is generated by solar panels, toilet flushing utilizes dam water, all grey water is reused for irrigation and recycled materials are used where possible. The play area extends this concept by introducing recycled water through a children’s play pump and water course system within a unique play experience that both excites and delights.

  • Initiative Practice
    Kongjian YU, Xiaoxuan LU
    2013, 1(6): 140-143.

    Installed in Chateau Chaumont, this small rain garden, Square and Round (Fang Yuan, 方圆), is a contemporary re-interpretation of Chinese traditional gardens by applying the formal language of curvilinear and square, the spatial experiential strategy of enclosure and making small into big, and through the construction technique of cutting and fill. This project integrates the contemporary concept of stormwater management with the Chinese gardening philosophy about man and nature, and provides an intimate pleasant experience both for viewing for performing.

  • Experiment and Process
    Ashley Scott KELLY, Matthew PRYOR
    2013, 1(6): 144-153.

    We are typically at a loss when designing for places without people. Frontier projects, including eco- and infrastructural tourism and rural development planning, operate where geography is either incredibly large (inter-oceanic highways) or in the very local, immediate work of NGOs. Here, "myths" of conservation discourse (poverty driving deforestation, biodiversity as merely scientific, etc.) frequently decouple the global-regional from the specifics of place. These densely mosaicked and homogenous landscapes present formidable barriers to conservation planning. Run at HKU as part of Harvard’s South America Project, the work seeks a research agenda capable of narrating IIRSA highways' immense yet indirect role in deforestation. GIS serves as the primary tool for these narratives, deeply entrenched in the raw data and instruments of conservation science. This effort is described through speculations on GIS as a creative medium (not simply analysis) in data-poor regions, with precise control over complex, highly articulated surfaces and territories.

  • Experiment and Process
    Kees LOKMAN
    2013, 1(6): 154-161.

    With the realities of ongoing urbanization, food and water scarcity, depleting energy resources and environmental degradation, regionalism is reemerging as a critical framework to study the forces and actors that shape our contemporary landscapes. Within this context, this paper focuses on Reassembling Flows; the winning entry of a recent international design competition entitled “Transiting Cities — Low Carbon Futures (2012)”. The project envisions a dynamic spatial arrangement of interconnected flows of industrial processes, ecological systems, and cultural networks. By visualizing and designing the various overlapping actors, loci and activities on a regional scale, Reassembling Flows capitalizes on currently discarded waste products and transforms them into valuable resources. Here, the emphasis shifts from designing fixed and hard infrastructures to strategic interventions that activate latent potentials of already existing landscape structures.