Case Study of Landscape Urbanism


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.
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Reference:Rachel Gleeson. Toronto’s Lower Don Lands. TOPOS, VOL. 73. 2011
Thorbjörn Andersson. Landscape Urbanism Versus Landscape Design. TOPOS, VOL. 71., 2010.

Understanding Landscape Urbanism


James Corner (2006) suggests that there is a need for the development of new ways of thinking and approaching design differently, by no longer seeing the environment and the urban as two separate identities, design should be constructed upon the combination of the two. To achieve a combined understanding of both landscape and urbanism, Corner (2006), suggests that the function of the landscape first needs to be clearly understood. The multi-dimensional nature of the landscape allows for it to be capable of responding to temporal changes, transformation, adaptation and succession. This observation is further supported by Waldheim’s (2006) argument as he suggests by considering the landscape as a form of horizontal infrastructure it can be better understood. Such an acknowledgement of the connection between landscape and urbanism has led to the development of the theory Landscape Urbanism.

Defined as ‘a creative form of practice’, Corner (2006) suggests that there are four provisional themes of Landscape Urbanism; processes over time, the staging of surfaces, the operational/or working method and the imagery. By considering how the processes of urbanism shape urban relationships, spatial form is understood in the context of how it relates to processes that flow through, manifest and sustain it. The understanding of a place means the understanding of what happens there (Kahn, 2005) by giving the process of time consideration landscape should not solely be considered in terms of natural systems but understood in social, political and economic terms.

The example of Corner’s ‘Fresh Kills’ demonstrate how by considering the landscape in the above terms bring benefits for design and the success of implementation in regards to producing a scheme which is able to adapt to future possibilities. By considering the arrangement of different environmental layers, Fresh Kills proposes the creation of vast park lands on an old landfill site. Through the process of naturally cleansing the landscape, the proposal proposes a growth emergence from past and present conditions to create a unique future, in turn changing how people experience reclaimed landscapes.

Reference and Images

Corner, J. (2006), Terra Fluxus, In Waldheim, C., Ed, The Landscape Urbanism Reader. Princeton Architectural Press.

Kahn, A. (2005), Defining Urban Sites, In Burns, C., & Kahn, A. Eds, Site Matters: Design Concepts, Histories, and Strategies.

Psychology Press.

Waldheim, C., (2006), The Landscape Urbanism Reader, Architectural Press, Princeton.

Image Source: Corner, (2007), Fresh Kills, available at:, last accessed: 12/3/2015.

The Landscape urban that comes from Landscape Urbanism


In the past ten years, a new theory about city and urban design – landscape urbanism has been argued and became popular among the students in the north America and European landscape and urban design area. The main focusing point of landscape urbanism is landscape but not architecture that can be more capable to determine the typography and experience of the city. This idea made landscape design to the frontage of urban design, and that can be think as a re-discovery of landscape design. Beside, more interesting point is that it was developed by architects.

City is intensified by the forces of nature in the earth’s surface effect “uplift” and form, which is a concrete manifestation of natural process. Landscape urbanism all existing objects on the earth (natural or artificial) and its status and spatial summation of visual reading for the continuation of the spread of the landscape. This landscape is not only green scenery or natural space, more of a continuous surface structure, a kind of ” Thickened Ground “. As a kind of can exercise the function of the cascading structure, the ground of “thickening” to “sink”, “make up” across dynamic event and process, and can provide maximum contact, interaction, exchange, accumulation and dispersion, the possibility of mixing and into each other.

The case that FOA completed in 2007 of 2007 m2 in Istanbul, Turkey Meydan commercial center, is the a successful case in integrated architecture and field landscape.


The project from a three-dimensional multifaceted perspective, with sufficient emphasis on using the natural topography, such as city form, make the structure of the form no longer abrupt, instead it is the continuation of a city and the surrounding surface associated in the public space. Visitors can pass by not only through the central plaza, conveniently to the underground parking lot, shops and even roof garden on the floor; At the same time, because of the large area of building roof and surrounding streets are linked together, visitors can also be through the roof to the city in all directions. Meydan is no longer the traditional commercial square, because it offers visitors is not only a shopping experience, but a exchange hub. Here ” Thickened Ground ” represents an integrated shopping, entertainment, leisure, even traffic function of multidimensional system composition of landscape field, not only save the land, more fully embodies the “sense of place” and “place spirit”.



Reference: Landscape Urbanism, by Kongjian Yu, Available at

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The Cheonggyecheon River Restoration Project: The Restoration of Environmental, Social & Economic in Seoul

The Cheonggyecheon river is a historic river that divides Seoul into 2 parts. River stretches from north to south with 23 tributaries spread almost all over Seoul. To overcome some of the problems that previously occurred there, one of them is flooding caused by deforestation, Cheonggyecheon Stream finally decided to be covered and made into arterial roads also the elevated highway in 1961.

However, 4 Decades after the construction of this road, seoul experienced severe traffic congestion. In addition, the air quality of Seoul is also bad that due to increased air pollution caused by the increase in the number of vehicles from day to day. It is already very disturbing residents of Seoul. In terms of technique, The Korean Society of Civil Engineering also find some damage on conventional roads and elevated highway that would endanger the user if left but the costs are very high to be fixed.


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Finally, after a long debate and the voting results showed that nearly all citizens of Seoul approves this restoration, the project began. Lee Myung-Bak, Seoul’s mayor at the time was the person in charge of this project. He had promised this restoration in his campaign. Without waiting for a long time, Lee immediately began the project in July 2003 and was completed in October 2005.

Cheonggyecheon River is divided into three parts, namely urban, urban-natural, and natural landscaping. Urban area is the area of the river that is often used for various festivals with 2 main attractions, namely the ‘Spring Tower’ and Candlelight Fountain. While urban-natural is a transition area. And the last one is natural landscaping which is an area for a variety of plants and animals to live. This area is also expected to be a place of interaction between nature and humans. Within this project, two pieces of historical bridges, the Gwanggyo and the Supyogyo also restored.


Cycling and walking is the things promoted by this river. In addition, the government also introduced Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to Seoul community which its facilities and infrastructure had started since March 2003. This bus can be used easily by the people of Seoul by using a card. Naturally, this bus will be also integrated with other transportation like subway. The government also reduced the number of parking places that makes people difficult when they bring their private vehicles to the city center. All of this done by the government to attract people to use public transportation so that the use private vehicles can be reduced in number.

The total length of the restored area is 5.84 km with an area of approximately 1,000 acres. This whole area has been turned into a green belt that very beneficial for all citizens of Seoul in every aspect. Restoration spent over US $ 367 million with the social cost worth $ 1.900 million. But after all the construction complete, seoul expect to get social benefits equivalent to $ 3,500 millions.


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From several sources, it is said that the the restoration of Cheonggyecheon river gave a great effect on environmental aspects, social and economic. In environmental terms, the Cheonggyecheon stream can prevent flooding in Seoul with estimates to 200 years ahead. Increasing biodiversity that had been lost to 639% starting from 2003 when the construction began to 2008 when the construction completed. Plant species increased from 62 to 308, fish species from 4 to 25, aquatic invertebrate species from 5 to 53, and insect species from 15 to 192, Mammals from 2 to 4, and amphibians from 4 to 8. Reduce the heat of the city to 5.9 degrees Celsius and increase the wind velocity in the river corridor to 7.8%. Reduce air pollution by 35% also noise pollution. Restoration also reduces the use of fuel because 170,000 cars had stopped to use every day.

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In social terms, this restoration improve the quality of life for the citizens of Seoul. In the presence of Cheonggyecheon river, Seoul residents have a public space and green space that can be used to socialize among residents. With two historic bridges that were restored, the lantern festival and bridge stepping on Supyogyo Bridge could be held back, of course along with several other festivals conducted around the river. Restoration is also contributing to the increase in the number of bus riders to 15.1% and the subway to 3.3% in the period of 5 years between 2003-2008. Become a new tourist attraction that brings 64,000 visitors daily. Also, Nature, historical sites, and the Cheonggyecheon Museum become a valuable source of knowledge for the citizens of Seoul.


From an economic perspective, the increase in business up to 3.5% within 1.2 km of the Cheonggyecheon corridor. Price of property within 50 meters of the river also increased up to 30-50% which led to single-family house that used to be there has been turned into a high-rise residential, commercial-retail, and mixed units.

However, from the all the remarkable results from the restoration of Cheonggyecheon stream, the criticism is certainly still there. The first criticism comes from their who have impairments in visual and mobility. According to them, the design from the restoration is not thinking about their needs so they are difficult to access this place. Other critics talk about the ecology from the the river which considered fake and costly. This is due to the water in the Cheonggyecheon river water pumped from the rivers and groundwater reserves around so that the river still able to flow throughout the year. With this activity, it can be Seoul will run out of their ground water reserves in the future and imagine the money that  spent to turn the pumps in a long time. On the other hand, local residents will not be able to buy property along the river again because of the increase in the price of property that occurred.

Of all the criticism, there is one criticism that attract my attention. This criticism comes of the merchants who sell around the river in the past. Before of restoration, the area was famous for its retailing shop. However, after the of restoration done, some of the stores must be willing to close due to there shop was on track of restoration. Although their stores were not on track of restoration, after the restoration completed, the merchants was no longer able to pay the rent which was so high after the price of property increase. This project affected approximately 6000 of merchants scattered around the area of the river.


All merchants represented by Cheonggyecheon Merchant’s Commercial Rights Protection Committee (CMRPC) did large protest to Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) which reached 220,000 protesters. Finally, SMG promised to give a solution in the form of providing a place to do business called “Garden Give” and giving a sum of money as compensation. However, in fact, after the Garden Give completed, the venue could only hold 40% of total number of merchants and only 28% of them could buy the place because of the high prices due to the increased of the land price. Of course, the rental price was also high. Therefore, many merchants were not able to rent there while the compensation money given by the government was not in accordance with their needs. Finally, some of merchants decided to move to the other side of the city or quit the business.

Business also did not run as expected for those who could afford to rent in Garden Give. The changes and rearrangements of the city around the area  makes it difficult to reach by car. Thoughts on the number of pedestrians who could be a potential buyer was also not proven. It is because every pedestrian who goes there has a cultural purposes when their visit the area after the restoration, rather than commercial. Cultural promotions conducted by the government succeeded in growing economical Dynamism in the city, but not to the traditional commercial activities which had previously occupied the site. Now. Is it the real economic restoration?

From all of this explanation, we can see that any change will never satisfy all the parties. Certainly there are those who feel the great loss of those changes. Like a happiness on the suffering of others. It all depends of which side we see. Indeed, it is good if a change provide benefits to all the parties without exception. However, if these changes would be detrimental to some, but the positive impact is so great for many people, would we still carry out these changes? What do you think?

Public Space In The Negative Space

Negative space is the remaining space in a city. Typically, these spaces formed due to the construction of infrastructures and buildings. For example, if a city build an elevated road, this space will be formed underneath. Many cities are using this space for variety functions. However, some of them let it abandoned, neglected, dirty and become a place of crime. Basically, this negative space has a lot of form. but, I will  focus on negative spaces that exist under the elevated road.

The issue of limited land is an issue that we often hear today. Basically, every city still needs a lot of land for variety of functions. One of that is public space. No need to be refuted anymore that public space is a basic thing that every city should have. By looking at some potentials of the negative space in their area, some city had managed to transform the space into a public space which is safe and convenient to used by every citizen.


800px-BurnsideSkateParkSource :

Burnside skate park is a place which initiated by some skateboarders in Portland, United State. The need for a skate park at that time made them change an area under the Burnside bridge into a skate park which can be used everyday. Initially, this area was a deserted place. No one dared to go into this area at night. However, some youths tried to change the place even without the permission of the government.

Apparently, this skate park from day to day continues to grow so a community formed. Finally, the government knew about the existence of this skate park and support the changes. Now, burnside has become a famous public space. Not just for skateboarding, some events have also been carried out on the spot.

TFB : https-bandungvariety.files_.wordpress.com201409taman-filem-bdg.jpg

Ridwan Kamil, a mayor of Bandung, a city in Indonesia, determined to reactivate some neglected park. He also plans to build some new parks that one of them is Taman Film Bandung (Bandung Movie Park). The park is located under the  Pasupati bridge in that city.

In the past, this area was a untouched slum area . Site selection is based on the desires of the government of Bandung to maximize some negative spaces in Bandung. Now, the slum area had been turned into a park with an area of 1,300 square meters and can accommodate approximately 600 audience. This park will play various types of movies that can be watched for free by residents of Bandung. No special seating, all the seats are equal. Old, young, poor, rich, all levels of society can come together and watch movies which played.


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The last example is underpasses park in Toronto, Canada. A first park under the elevated road roomates seriously developed there. Initiated by an organization called Waterfront Toronto, the Canadian government spent money of $ 9 million to revitalize an area that is under the overpasses of Adelaide Street, Eastern Avenue, and Richmond Street in the West Don Land neighborhood of Toronto.

At first, this area is the same with other areas under the elevated road. Dark and neglected. Now, it has been transformed into a public space for its citizens. Underpass Park consists of some 5 parts, namely passive wall with seating, children’s playing area, community flex space, basketball court and skate area.

Many people assume that no one wants to stay for a long time under a bridge or elevated road. According to them, the sound produced by vehicle above will never make the users convenient. However, I do not agree with this statement. When talking about the sound, in my opinion, the sound which reach the ears of the listeners has been reduced. Let us imagine the thickness of a elevated road. Does the sound of the vehicle can penetrate the thickness of those road? I don’t think so. It is not fully restrained by the way. But, only a small part that can reach our ears.

While in terms of the convenience, this is related to the design of the place. As long as the place designed appropriately, the convenience can be created. From the selection of materials, form of the seat until adequate lighting if you also want to use the place at night. In fact, by making the public space under the overpass or bridge, residents don’t need to be fear with the rain and heat of sunlight. It is because the road above will serve as the roof of the venue.

By doing this changes, city can get some positive effects. City residents get a lot of public space that can be used in hot and rainy day. Also, the crime rate could be decreased because the place that support that activity has turned into a public space which has many “eyes”. However, whether the citizens of the city will take care of it so that this place can survive for a long time and be useful for everyone?