Urban Fold

On Ecological Urbanism

The American Society of Landscape Architects talks with landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh about "ecological urbanism" and the evolving role of landscape architecture in cities.

"Let's start by talking about the new buzz words of 'ecological urbanism, and 'landscape urbanism,' which can be defined in many nuanced ways, but which are new terms for very old ideas in the field of landscape architecture. These terms are very important to what I like to call the emancipation of landscape architecture. To my mind landscape urbanism is primarily a question of understanding how we go about changing traditional (and formerly architect-directed) urbanism. Ecological urbanism is about city-making that focuses on the landscape elements and their continuity-it's partly about nature-making in the city, but it is also an approach that adds the sensibility and techniques of ecology as a science to the making and remaking of cities. Similarly, landscape urbanism attempts to shift paradigms from object-based urban design to city-making. It seeks innovation within the interactions of urban systems, identifies opportunities in infrastructure, and sees landscape as much an organizing force as it sees it a distinct facet of the city."

Van Valkenburgh argues that the practice of landscape architecture needs to focus more on creating integration between natural and urban systems.

Full Story: Interview with Michael Van Valkenburgh, FASLA

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