Tag Archives: Landscape Architecture

Better Urban Planning Needed To Dodge Disasters

A flooded slum in Manila (Aug 2012) Image credit: Jason Gutierrez/IRIN, www.irinnews.org

Check out the article “Better Urban Planning Needed To Dodge Disasters” on IRIN

With the world’s mega-cities growing even larger, policymakers (especially those in developing countries) need urban planning that will help these areas withstand the impacts of natural disasters.

The article highlights:

  • Developing world will have 4 billion in cities by 2030
  • Urban flooding is a top worry
  • “Compact cities” speed emergency response
  • Colombo’s remedy for flash floods: lakes and pumps

In response to the article - What is the role for landscape architects in planning for urban flooding?

IRIN reports that in Colombo, Sri Lanka the government is digging six new lakes around the capital city in effort to boost rainwater storage. It is also setting up pumping stations at key outlets to the sea to more quickly flush out floodwater during storms.

The planning and design of storm water systems is a very common component of landscape architecture. The profession brings its design and ecology lens to storm water projects aiming to provide richer solutions compered to solely engineering options. This is not saying that engineering options are poor. It is suggesting that storm water projects can benefit from design professions such as landscape architecture.

Landscape architecture is a profession with the skills to make a difference in dodging distastes such as urban flooding.

http://www.irinnews.org/Report/97814/Better-urban-planning-needed-to-dodge-disasters?goback=.gmp_4079228.gde_4079228_member_231191329

Click on the Image or one of the links above to read the article on IRIN

Further reading:
www.irinnews.org

Rockaway Call for Ideas – Occupy the Dune, Balmori Associates

In an effort to foster creative debate on urban recovery in New York after Hurricane Sandy, MoMA PS1 and MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design have asked for ideas to create a sustainable waterfront in Rockaway. Ideas were submitted in the format of a short video no longer than three minutes.

The aim was to hear ideas for alternative housing models, creation of social spaces, urban interventions, new uses of public space, the rebuilding of the boardwalk, protection of the shoreline, and actions to engage local communities.

Rockaway – MoMA PS1

Occupy the Dune, Balmori Associates

 

Balmori Associates suggests creating and occupying sand dunes. Ultimately the dunes will help fortify the city from natural disasters such as large storms. The design uses natural processes to build the dunes. Public space is created on the less sensitive land. The public space is programmable and adaptive to different uses.

Further Reading:

www.momaps1.org/news/view/89

www.balmori.com

Miss Emily Lowery – What Does Landscape Architecture Look Like In A Developing Country?

Miss Emily Lowery. Image credit: www.missemilylowery.wordpress.com

INTRODUCTION:

Miss Emily Lowery is a budding landscape architect, graphic artist, nature enthusiast, and a piece-together artist. As part of the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Minnesota, Miss Emily Lowery recently completed a project focused on reforestation and cultural restoration on Mfangano Island, Kenya.

What does landscape architecture look like in a developing country?

I was asking myself this question about half way through 2010. I still am, but I’ve gained a bit more experience and education along the way, so I’ll relay what I’ve learned. If you’re interested in the topic of landscape architecture in humanitarian projects, I’m sure you’ve found that there’s a pretty large gap within international development, which landscape architects should be filling. This is a budding area within the field, but I think we’ll be seeing more of it in the upcoming years.

Is there a need? Can you see the relevance, need or place for Landscape Architects in humanitarian projects?

My own personal involvement with landscape architecture in the developing world began when I was able to attend the 2010 UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico. I was able to listen to a number of natural resource specialists as well as designers and other professionals from the building sector who kept returning to the same subjects: lack of natural resources, poor resource use, growing populations and lack of capital to build infrastructure to accommodate increasing populations. When I began looking at what my capstone (A capstone project is your final project that you work on for an entire school year) project might be, I knew I wanted to hit some of these issues. Over the last 10 months, I’ve been working on a reforestation project with an organization called Organic Health Response based in Kenya. This project looked at the indirect drivers of deforestation, economic and food insecurity, and used a framework of small scale interventions as a means to restore canopy in a way that would provide cultural, ecological and economic benefit to the community. That’s a quick summary of the project.

Essentially, my own personal involvement has come about through research and on-the-ground field work and community engagement in Kenya. At the heart of the project, I was trying to get at the question of: when a community’s livelihood depends upon natural resources that are exhausted, or no longer there, how can/does that community find alternatives to meet their daily needs? Like I said, this is a quick summary and if you want to know more details around my experience, I’d be happy to answer them, just let me know.

Mfangano Island, Kenya – The focus of Miss Emily Lowery’s capstone project exploring afforestation, economics, culture and identity. A project in partnership with the Organic Health Response. Image Credit: www.missemilylowery.wordpress.com

What are the current systems for involving Landscape Architects in the field of humanitarian work?

From what I can see, there really are no systems or centralized agencies that connect LAs to this type of work. There’s definitely a gap here. The work is there, but this line of work is new for LAs and there’s no connective tissue facilitating the growth of the field in this direction.

Do you know any humanitarian based projects, landscape groups, or practices that are focusing on these sorts of projects?

Quite frankly, there really aren’t many landscape architects working on humanitarian projects – though there should be. We’ve traditionally been a rich man’s profession, a service for those who can afford it, yet our skill sets have the ability to resolve a myriad of systemic environmental/cultural issues that are at the heart of development challenges in the developing world. One excellent example of a humanitarian based landscape architecture group is the Kounkuey Design Initiative, they’ve done quite a bit of humanitarian work and are a pioneering LA group dedicated to it.

Kibera Public Space Project 01 (KPSP 01) by Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI). KDI transforms impoverished communities by collaborating with residents to create low-cost, high-impact built environments (Productive Public Spaces) that improve their daily lives. Image credit: www.kounkuey.org

Further reading:

http://www.missemilylowery.com
http://missemilylowery.wordpress.com
http://organichealthresponse.org
http://www.kounkuey.org

Redesigning Design for Positive Social Impact

Redesigning design for positive social impact – Trained as a landscape architect, Lucinda Hartley, spent two years working in slum communities in Vietnam and Cambodia before launching Community Oriented Design — [co]design studio. Selected as a 2010 Youth Action Net Global Fellow, Lucinda has been focusing on how young people can be engaged and mobilized to improve cities and space through community oriented design. Lucinda’s commitment to sustainable design has been recognised by awards from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), Asialink Dunlop Fellowship and the internationally competitive Endeavour Executive Award. Moreover in 2009 she was profiled in FuturARC Magazine as one of the top 30 design sustainability pioneers in Asia-Pacific.

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CoDesign Studio is a social enterprise that works with communities to design and implement neighbourhood improvement projects. They create new types of public spaces – from community gardens and public furniture, to parks, schools, community facilities, housing and broad-scale planning strategies.

They value social outcomes as much as physical outcomes. Working with people of all ages and backgrounds, their process focuses on positivity, shared values, practical action, and meaningful relationships.

CoDesign Studio’s mission is creating inclusive and empowered neighborhoods. They aim to empower communities to become involved in visioning, shaping, owning and implementing projects that improve neighborhoods. CoDesign exists to address social exclusion by revitalizing neighborhoods. Social exclusion affects people in every town and city. Disadvantaged neighborhoods typically have poorer quality public spaces, and people are therefore less safe and less healthy.

Floating Gardens, Cambodia: CoDesign Studio is working with Cambodian organisations Agile Development Group and Rural Friends for Community Development to design floating vegetable gardens for floating villages on Lake Tonle Sap. Village residents do not own land, and therefore cannot grow vegetables. Many families eat vegetables only once per week, with obvious health impacts. Image credit: CoDesign Studio

Their approach moves away from over-reliance on government and service providers as the sole provider of public infrastructure, and instead focuses on people. They specialize in working with ‘hard to reach’ communities: people who face barriers to traditional methods of engagement, and therefore require a different approach. CoDesign focuses on low-cost, high-impact activities and interventions for improving neighborhoods. Outcomes improve both the physical environment, through better parks, accessibility, and safety, while also the social environment, by building social cohesion and giving communities a forum to gain the skills and confidence they need to create change.

Text source: CoDesign Studio
Further reading: http://codesignstudio.com.au/