Landscape vocabulary – does it help or hinder design

The Berkerly Daily Planet reported on the City Council meeting for the Downtown Area Plan for Berkerly. In the meeting a Commissioner raised queries about the language used by the landscape architects and other authors in the Area Plan document. The terms in question were

– ‘to reference Strawberry Creek’ in which a they were referring to a design element such as water that would be used to represent Strawberry Creek.

also the term ‘wayfinding’ devices in relation to directional signage was also confusing to the readers.

and the last term was ‘vocabulary of features’ in relation to streetscape design

Often as built environment professionals we use professional jargon to express our concepts, thoughts and ideas for a design. However, I think we often forget to consider the reader’s education and demographic that when writing a document. 

I am not one to shy away from using a terms/phrases such as ‘interpretation’ in relation to signage or informative/education signage or ‘using the consistent design language’ however I usually try to remember to aim at the level of the design knowledge of the audience and the client to strike a balance between a professional design document and one that the general public can understand.

In the case of the Berkerly Downtown Area Plan, I can understand that with a University’s involvement that the authors felt it necessary to use design language however, I think it is best when writing design statements and documents to be more relaxed and use plain language when the reader’s are from the general community and those who are not in the built environment profession. This often allows residents and participants to understand and feel more apart of the design process.

Read about the Berkerly Downtown Plan @ the Berkerly Daily Planet

 

 

Redcar residents to have say on new look for seafront – Gazette Live

LOVE it or hate it, Redcar seafront is in line for change – and residents can have a say on its possible new look.

Redcar and Cleveland Council is hosting an exhibition so the public can comment on how the seafront might be developed in conjunction with a £12m new sea wall scheme.

RIBA will draw up a shortlist of five schemes for the second stage of the competition, with the authors invited to present proposals to a jury panel.

The competition is open to all practising architects, landscape architects, town planners and urban designers. Subject to gaining the necessary approvals, it’s hoped to start work on a new £12m sea wall in 2010.

SOURCE: Redcar residents to have say on new look for seafront – Gazette Live.

Nissan’s New ESD Building with WSUD landscape

An exceptional feature of Nissan Americas is the 2.5-acre wetlands, now thriving due to Nissan’s investment in its restoration. In an effort to restore natural balance to the area while enhancing biodiversity and natural beauty, Nissan has planted more than 50,000 plants native to Middle Tennessee. The wetlands, located on the property’s southwest corner, are fed by an underground spring and run-off from nearby retention ponds. Water quality will be improved as water passes through the wetlands. The landscape design features carefully planned green spaces and includes a water-runoff system that captures and collects rainwater from the entire site, directing it to one of two water-control systems for irrigation.

SOURCE: Nissan/Infiniti News Room.

London Festival of Architecture – Architecture – Wallpaper*.com – International Design Interiors Fashion Travel

Kiosk 2008 by Lisbon-based landscape architect Sofia Costelo. The bijoux installation in the plaza adjoining Wallpaper* HQ in Southwark looked, for all the world, like the ubiquitous red telephone booth; but on entering the booth, the visitor was treated to a series of three-minute soundscapes inspired by the sea, desert, forest and lavender fields, with the occasional bloom of water mist and lavender scent for the full sensorial experience. Unexpectedly, the soundscapes, played in a random sequence, made for an experience that was both isolating and curiously addictive.

SOURCE: London Festival of Architecture – Architecture – Wallpaper.com

New plan to give middle class cheap home loans

Kenyans who earn at least Sh40, 000 a month, who are also considered to be the majority of the emerging middle class, could soon have the chance to get a loan to buy a house in a decent part of Nairobi.

The Government has over the decades failed to make good housing plans to cater for the majority of the residents, who are middle and low-income earners but several urban renewal projects underway could help reduce the acute housing shortage in Nairobi.

The shortage has been caused by poor urban planning by both the Government and the City Council, which have neglected to maintain houses and develop new ones.

SOURCE: Business Daily Africa – the international window into East African business opportunities – New plan to give middle class cheap home loans.

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