Landscape Urbanism has a long time track that from 1880s to 1970s, from green urbanism to limited planning, as well as today being as a strong theory that changing private focus to public. Landscape Urbanism for me means the taking public space as the starting point instead architectural massing. In addition, Landscape Urbanism also means the way using landscape to design. Last but not the least, Landscape Urbanism means change traditional planning theory into making public space as the main carrier instead of the spare space that crossing buildings and constructions.
The case I would like to talk about is Lower On Lands project in Toronto. It contains an ambitious plan, a comprehensive urban design development that based on ecology, and designed a landscape framework that including big and small parks, integral connections and wildlife space.
To make the post-industrial site of Lower Don Lands re-blend into the city it needs the determination to face the environmental, social and economical challenge directly. The estuary is the connecting point with two adjacent places, and inspired by this, MVVA design team reconsidered the relationship between city and the environment. So they designed a space with three important sites that makes this theme to be unique.
A large space of wetland park will occupy the core of new neighborhood development, through the change of typography, wide sight, and leisure will be the supplement of the high dense city. The large scale of change will highly improve the function of ecological and water feature. The whole plan improved landscape is the most effective reconciliation for urban ordering system and ecological economic block.
So the whole plan of Lower Don Lands will be developed a series of blocks that formed by river and harbors. This target is aiming to build up a exciting place to live and work, in this place, city, park, harbor and river will be the unique identity. Commercial, cultural and working spaces, public realm, water feature, different scale of parks will form this space.
However, what we need for Landscape Urbanism is making enough space for design. Landscape Urbanism should agree the potential of design, not being blind for ambitious. Also we need to change the arbitrary prejudice that all big projet is planning, all small project is design. So after we changed our mind, we can draw the conclusion that Landscape Urbanism can actually fully contain design and be presented by design. However, I think the important point is that nature also need planning and design, and we can not exclude the countryside and nature of Landscape Urbanism.
Image source: http://www.youthla.org/2012/01/torontos-lower-don-lands/
Reference:Rachel Gleeson. Toronto’s Lower Don Lands. TOPOS, VOL. 73. 2011
Thorbjörn Andersson. Landscape Urbanism Versus Landscape Design. TOPOS, VOL. 71., 2010.