Updated Guide: Climate Change and Landscape Architecture (via The Dirt)

Again it is necessary to take cognizance of all interventions and strategies that might assist in dealing with Climate Change, but how these ideas apply in African situations is yet to be seen

Updated Guide: Climate Change and Landscape Architecture A recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” According to the IPCC, average global temperatures are increasing at an alarming rate. In just the past 50 years, northern hemisphere temperatures were higher than during any other 50-year period in the last 500 years, perhaps even the past 1,300 years. The IPCC projects that the Earth’s surface temp … Read More

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The Long Road to Sustainable Cities (via The Dirt)

It seems that even with fragmented and partial approaches to sustainability it is possible for cities to achieve results that might contribute to long term resilience and it is encouraging to get published news of this, culture changes slowly and politicians who control the funds need proof that what is proposed will yield results as well as what not to do.

The Long Road to Sustainable Cities "Sustainability in America’s Cities: Creating the Green Metropolis," edited by Matthew Slavin, founder and Principal of Sustaingrϋp, is a collection of case studies that chart the progress of sustainable urban development in eight cities across the United States. The case studies explain how these cities have applied innovative strategies and invested in climate change mitigation and adaptation, clean energy, green buildings, sustainable transpor … Read More

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Designing a Built Environment Resilient to Climate Change (via The Dirt)

Resilience is rapidly taking over form sustainability as the currency of urban survival and should be the cornerstone of urban and landscape design, yet so much is about the environment and energy and not enough about average peoples contribution:

Designing a Built Environment Resilient to Climate Change Buildings, landscapes, infrastructure, and even entire cities can be designed to be more resilient to climate, environmental, and population changes, argued a high-profile panel at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) D.C.'s Design D.C. conference. Green technologies and practices have come a long way. Smart policymakers and designers are now applying these tools, figuring out ways to leverage existing systems to serve multiple purposes, le … Read More

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Landscape Architects Take the Lead in Remaking Cities (via The Dirt)

Positioning Landscape Architecture at eh forefront of the rebuilding of cities and recognizing the role of more than just parks is needed to actually make a difference to how our cities are constructed and used:

Landscape Architects Take the Lead in Remaking Cities Robert Campbell, architecture critic for The Boston Globe, argues that landscape architecture is no longer just about creating pretty gardens and preserving expanses of forests and rivers anymore, but about reclaiming abandoned urban spaces and transforming them into new public spaces. "Landscape architecture is changing fast. Landscape architects are invading the arenas once dominated by architects and city planners." More and more, landscape ar … Read More

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Interview with Nina-Marie Lister on Ecological Urbanism (via The Dirt)

More from a key academic contributor in the Landscape Urbanism – Landscape Urbanism debate

Interview with Nina-Marie Lister on Ecological Urbanism Nina-Marie Lister, MCIP, RPP, Affiliate ASLA, is Associate Professor of Urban & Regional Planning at Ryerson University, and Visiting Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design (GSD). She is a contributor to "Ecological Urbanism" and co-editor of "The Ecosystem Approach: Complexity, Uncertainty and Managing for Sustainability." Lister recently served as the Professional Advisor to the ARC I … Read More

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How to Design a Bicycle City (via The Dirt)

Can this be done successfully in South African cities – what challenges must we overcome to make this possible?

How to Design a Bicycle City Washington, D.C. has moved from the bottom of the rankings to being a top 10 bicycle-friendly city in just ten years. A group of experts, including Jim Sebastian, Washington, D.C. Department of Transportation, Jennifer Toole, ASLA, Toole Design Group, and Shane Farthing, Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) explained how the city did it at an event at the National Building Museum. The Benefits of Bicycling "Why invest in bicycle infrastru … Read More

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Bolivia Expected to Protect Rights of Nature (via The Dirt)

While it is encouraging to see the intentions and see them enacted in law – will they be able to protect what they enact?

Bolivia Expected to Protect Rights of Nature Bolivia is expected to pass the world's first comprehensive law to protect the rights of nature, granting all nature equal rights to humans. According to The Guardian, the new "Law of Mother Earth" would lead to "radical new conservation and social measures" designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and hem in "mega-projects." Nature would get 11 new rights, including the "right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital c … Read More

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The Brave New World of Ecological Restoration via The Dirt

In an article posted on The Dirt the outlines of a new type of ecological regeneration are laid out indicating that simple recreation of pre-development “nature” according to strict biodiversity guidelines such as enforced on Table Mountain in Cape Town,  is unlikely to be sustainable as the entire system has been altered by the effects of prior interventions , be they agriculture, forestry  or urbanization and overuse, nor is cosmetic renovation with generic planting such as is seen in much of the developments around the Cape, rather a new restoration takes the sites context into account and attempts to remedy the natural processes of the site, taking into account the ecosystem, cultural, social and governance aspects of the site  and  andhopefully leading to amore sustainable restoration:

“At a Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) conference entitled, “Brave New World: Working with Emerging Ecosystems,” Jack Sullivan, FASLA, Professor and coordinator of the new landscape architecture program at the University of Maryland College Park, said ongoing deforestation and urbanization is actually a “war on nature.” Furthermore, any attempt to restore nature that has been taken over by development can’t rely on the “natural history of a site” for guidance. These “post-traumatic” landscapes have been altered too much. Ecological restorationists and landscape architects, who are at the “front lines” of the battle and are the “heroes in this brave new world,” must take better advantage of ecological research in order to restore nature. To date, a restoration approach based in ecological research has often come into conflict with the “big D” design approach to a site. The end goal shouldn’t be a place “that could be anywhere so you don’t know where you are.” A restored landscape must reflect a careful examination of the site and its natural history.

One of the front lines of this war for ecological restoration are “novel ecosystems,” which are “ecosystems that have purposefully emerged because of the presence of people,” said Margaret Palmer, Director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and Professor at University of Maryland. Novel ecosystems beg questions: How do they work ecologically? Should we restore them to a more natural state? Maybe they should be left as is?

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