Landscape Planning for the 21st Century: Paradigms, Practices & Projects

Responding to contemporary ecological pressures and decaying infrastructures, this course brings together a series of influential thinkers and researchers from the design commons across North America to discuss different methods, models and measures of large scale, long range landscape planning for the 21st century. Organized around a sequence of weekly topics and readings, guest presentations focus on the future of \’the region\’ that – with the predominance of landscape ecology and the revival of geography worldwide – are challenging the laissez-faire dogma of neo-liberalist economics, Fordist forms of civil engineering, and Euclidean planning prinicples that marked the past century.From Geddes to Gottmann, Mackaye to Mumford, Olmsted to Odum, the first part of the course re-examines a series of influential plans, projects, and practitioners to trace a cross-section through the history of urbanization in North America and chart the trajectory of an emergent regional paradigm. Foregrounding the nascent reciprocity between ecology, economy and energy, the second part of the course opens a horizon on pressing issues facing cities today to recast the instrumental, operative and geopolitical role of the watershed region as urban infrastructure. Drawing from an array of contemporary planning projects and historic public works, the course concludes with student-led presentations on mapping projects that focus on transboundary watershed regions throughout the world; regions where, according to the United Nations, more than 60% of the world population will be living by the year 2030. Foreshadowing the preeminence of landscape planning for future cities and infrastructures, the motive of the course is to construct a clear and contemporary discourse on the urban region as it becomes the locus of intellectual, ecological and economic change of significance, globally. The course is an advanced offering from the Department of Landscape Architecture and is open to graduate students in the disciplines of landscape architecture, urban design, planning, public policy, architecture and civil engineering.