What is landscape urbanism

Landscape urbanism

New social and economic framework conditions, which manifest themselves in the urban context as dispersity, deregulation, mobility and flexibility as well as in progressive decentralization, require new strategies and modes of action. Building on the meeting since 1997 Landscape Urbanism Conference the Landscape Urbansim Initiative discussion initiated by Charles Waldheim about landscape urbanism a reader has now appeared.

In recent years, landscape, or rather landscape-architectural strategies and modes of action, have increasingly been taken up in urban planning and urban development as starting points in order to counter the dispersed urban developments with a new planning instrument. In architecture, too, the “landscape” has taken on a new role as a conceptual, strategic and imaginary quantity. The number of projects that use “landscape” in their references, be it as an image or as a concept, has increased significantly. And yet the formation of theories in Europe has lagged far behind that in the Anglo-American region. On the one hand, this has to do with a lack of theory formation in landscape architecture, which provides the "new" methods of action and starting points, and on the other hand with a negation of this profession and its field of work on the part of the other disciplines. What can be appropriated as “new” strengthens one's own position in the increasingly diffuse area of ​​planning.

James Corner mentioned in his 1999 book Recovering Landscape underpins the demand for a “new” way of working that describes landscape and landscape architecture as a profession that can describe strategies for projects with an uncertain outcome. In his post Terra fluxus In the present book he lists four preconditions that have updated the landscape in the planning and, above all, urbanistic discourse. On the one hand, the process gains in importance compared to the form. Second, because the attention is focused more on the surface, the context, the differences between the landscape and the building merge. Thirdly, the working methods of landscape architecture expand into other disciplines through their ability to master complex processes, and fourthly, through “landscape”, the imaginary can be taken into the projects as a “speculative condensate of the world of possibilities”.

The “landscape” is therefore used more and more frequently to give projects a site-specific character without having to resort to postmodern strategies of forgetting. It is no coincidence that Kenneth Frampton's critical regionalism is cited several times in the book as a theoretical interface between the landscape and the built. When a reaction to the increasingly blurred boundaries between town and country as well as between professions is required, the “landscape” usually comes into play.

Science-based and process-oriented work is required by all authors in order to take into account the requirements and the changed framework conditions on the part of the planning. The book therefore offers a comprehensive insight into the approaches of the landscape urbanism, known as the “lens through which terrains vagues can be transformed ”(Waldheim), can function. The fact that this form of work can only be successful in an interdisciplinary manner must still be recognized as a finding. For this reason alone, the book is highly recommended to everyone who does not want to see landscape and urbanism as a dichotomy.


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