Andres Duany Uncovers Landscape Urbanist Takeover

"Landscape Urbanism," a school of thought that argues that landscape and natural forms are more capable of shaping cities than architecture, is gaining ground in the U.S. Andrés Duany reports that to his dismay, it's also taking over Harvard.

Duany (the famed architect and one of the founders of New Urbanism) reports that much of the Harvard Graduate School of Design is embracing the concept -- even as they rebrand it "ecological urbanism".

Duany writes, "Last April, upon attending a remarkable conference at the Harvard GSD, I predicted that it would be taken over in a coup. I recognized a classic Latin American-style operation. It was clear that the venerable Urban Design program would be eliminated or replaced by Landscape Urbanism. Today, it is possible to confirm that the coup was completed in September-and that it was a strategic masterpiece."

Full Story: Duany vs Harvard GSD



Concrete vs. Bullshit

One of my favorite things about Suburban Nation is that it is fact based and full of concrete examples. Want to reduce carbon emissions? Create dense, walkable environments with mixed uses and shared resources.

Landscape/ecological urbanism seems to consists mainly of babble: "Ecological Urbanism considers the city with multiple instruments and with a worldview that is fluid in scale and disciplinary focus. Design provides the synthetic key to connect ecology with an urbanism that is not in contradiction with its environment." That sounds to me like they are putting walkable environments on the same plane with flowerpots in windows.

NIMBY's are already using ecology-based arguments to fight additional density in urban areas, despite the fact that the urban lifestyle is sbustantially more sustainable than the suburban alternative. My fear is that ecological urbanism is an invitation to greenwashing and too easily allows for justification of suburban sprawl. There is a difference between looking ecological (e.g., a ranch house on two acrees with solar panels on the roof and hybrids in the garage) and real sustainability (e.g., an apartment near work, retail and mass transit).

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