Given the types of concept introduced by my Site Operations class, I have found an interest in landscape’s ability to “theorize sites” – James Corner – and its application to site design concepts.  Our studio project, for the Holland in Holland studio, aims to place a Civic Center on a largely vacant parking lot site.  My proposal is to create an eco-community, with the Civic Center as the center for urban farming and green education.  Multi-family dwellings become part of this semi-urban landscape, existing on the western fringe of Holland’s downtown.

Landscape Urbanism looks at the ability for landscape to provide ecological function, cultural authority, and brand identity.  What is enticing about conceiving the built environment as a landscape is that “most of us live in environments more suburban than urban, more vegetal than tectonic, and more infrastructural than enclosed” as stated succinctly by  Topos. In regards to many Americans’ lives, this statement hits the nail on the head.  More than mentally conceiving of the built environment differently, landscape urbanism as a practice aims to involve many more members into the design process, a broader cross-disciplinary approach.  A project may incorporate ecologists, scientists, biologists, and hydrologists, among others.

Ecological Urbanism furthers the discussion of landscape urbanism in conceiving of the landscape as an ecosystem, in which the relation between beings and their environment is a priority.  In an extension of this understanding, geomancy or “foresight by the earth” comes into the discussion, illustrating the prioritization of natural processes nad patterns in a project’s development.

Field Operations, a firm whose work contributes greatly to this discussion, conceived of a new biotech park for San Juan, Puerto Rico as a “knowledge corridor.”  Part of the design of the project is the creation of a “structural matrix in which redevelopment projects can be implemented at a variety of scales.”  Similarly to this, my Holland in Holland concept, aims to provide the ability to densify the site overtime, providing for housing to be built in increments, more accurately reflecting not only ecological process, but also the state of the economy and finances today.

Advertisements