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Landscape Architecture Unites Impact and Design

In a field that seems divided between aesthetes and the activists, landscape architects may be closest to reconciling the two trends.
November 10, 2015, 6am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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David Berkowitz

In an op-ed, Matt Shaw praises landscape architecture for successfully delivering on social impact as well as design innovation. The rest of the field, Shaw writes, appears split into two camps. "In one camp is a group of architects who work to build new forms, many of whom are divorced from a particular social or political agenda. [...] In the other camp, a group is far less concerned with form-making, and more with attempting to make the world better through design and architecture-related thinking and practice."

Recent landscape projects have included specific environmental and social objectives. From the article: "Landscapes are no longer simply beautiful complements to buildings or vague public social spaces. Designers and clients are activating landscape design to operate environmentally as flood barriers and water remediation zones, among other goals."

Shaw also praises landscape designers for incorporating the latest digital tools into their process. "While landscapes are growing in size and scale, technology is being implemented successfully to plan and execute bold new landscape forms, such as the green swoops and concrete curves of Brooklyn Bridge Park and the High Line."

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Published on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 in The Architect's Newspaper
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