Soils management will be key to food, water and climate security | UNEP

Image Credit: Flickr User Soil Science

UNEP has just released the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Year Book 2012  and it highlights assessments indicating that some kinds of conventional and intensive agriculture are triggering soil erosion rates some 100 times greater than the rates at which nature can form soil in the first place.

There could also be profound implications for climate change. Soils contain huge quantities of carbon in the form of organic matter that in turn binds the nutrients needed for plant growth and allows rainfall to penetrate into underground aquifers. By 2030, without changes in the way land is managed, over 20 per cent of terrestrial habitats such as forests, peatlands and grasslands in developing countries alone could be converted to cropland aggravating losses of vital ecosystem services and biodiversity.

Continue reading Soils management will be key to food, water and climate security | UNEP

Central Delaware Riverfront Master Plan receives 2012 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects

Central Delaware Riverfront Master Plan-OLIN

© Kieran Timblerlake / Brooklyn Digital Foundry

The Central Delaware Riverfront Master Plan has received a 2012 Honor Award in the category of Regional and Urban Design from the American Institute of Architects. OLIN worked in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team including Cooper Robertson & Partners, KieranTimberlake, HR&A Advisors and over thirty stakeholder groups to create the master plan for the riverfront in downtown Philadelphia.
Continue reading Central Delaware Riverfront Master Plan receives 2012 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects

This Week in Landscape | 22 January 2012

This weeks round-up of landscape news and views from around the web

The design at the centre of Tim Waterman discussion: 'Snail and Snake Mound' Garden of Cosmic Speculation (Image Credit: Flickr user yellowbook)

Bad role models for landscape architecture | Tim Waterman | Landscape Institute
In the first of a six part series exploring how bad design concepts can get projects off to a false start, Tim Waterman explores the shortcomings of the ‘Inflexible Abstraction’.

Nature as Infrastructure | Ethel Baraona Pohl | Domus
An architecture report from Haerbin City by Ethel Baraona Pohl about how Turenscape’s founder Kongjian Yu demonstrates how nature can be a cost-free service provider in an urban context. Ecology is a synonym of economy.

Olmsted’s jewels in our midst | Justin Martin | Star Tribune
Few people can claim to know America as deeply as Frederick Law Olmsted did. His intimate knowledge of the American landscape served him superbly in the role for which he is best remembered — the country’s pioneering park maker.

San Francisco’s plan to cut non-native trees sparks environmental clash | Susan Sward | The Sacramento Bee
An intense battle is building over a little-known plan to cut down thousands of eucalyptus and other trees in urban forests here and at a city-owned golf course in Pacifica.

Critics fear loss of green spaces in regional development plan | Monique Beaudin | Montreal Gazette
West Island residents who worry that a new regional development plan will force them to allow construction on green spaces

Image Credit: Flickr user yellowbook

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THE LENS by Michael Maltzan Architecture wins St.Petersburg Pier Design Competition

St.Petersburg Pier Design Competition Finalists©Michael Maltzan Architecture
The Judging Panel has selected “The Lens” design by Michael Maltzan Architecture with Tom Leader Studio. The City Council will hold a workshop to decide if they accept the panel’s decision and to engage the winner in the next stage of developing the design.

The jury evaluating the proposals is comprised of: Stanley Saitowitz, a South African architect and an architecture professor from University of California, Berkeley; James Moore, PhD, a Tampa-based urban designer and former architecture and design professor at USF; Susan Fainstein, PhD, a Harvard University urban design professor; City Council Member Leslie Curran and Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.

The new Pier is not an icon unto itself. It is instead a lens that frames the City’s relationship to the water, changing how St. Petersburg views its present and its future. While the Pier will remain an important attraction for visitors, we believe that the Pier must be first for the people of St. Petersburg, an active, vital part of the City’s life and culture. Operating on multiple scales of renewal—individual, urban, economic, ecological—this new Pier serve as a new kind of fountain of youth for St. Petersburg and its citizens, a symbol of the renewed vitality of the City, a platform for continued growth, and a destination within the City, the region, and our nation.  – Michael Maltzan Architecture (Competition Entry Design Statement)

Public Open Space At Cronton Colliery – Ideas Masterplan Competition

Cronton Colliery - Courtesy of Land Trust

A new ideas competition has been announced to create a masterplan for a new public open space and visitor destination at the former Cronton Colliery site in Merseyside. The competition is open to architects or landscape architects and architect-led multi-disciplinary design teams and is being run by the Land Trust in association with RIBA Competitions.

The  competition will be in two stages, judged anonymously in the first stage. A shortlist will then be invited to enhance and present their designs and potential funding propositions at interview as part  of the second stage.

The Land Trust’s aim is to create a public open space and visitor destination, with a self-sustaining  funding structure, appealing to a range of leisure interests and working in conjunction with local  tourist attractions such as Knowsley Safari Park and Stadt Moers Country Park.

Continue reading Public Open Space At Cronton Colliery – Ideas Masterplan Competition

This Week in Landscape | 8 January 2012

This Week in Landscape – A Weekly roundup of landscape news and stories from around the world.

Mall of America Carpark (c) Google

Paved, but Still Alive(Taking parking lots seriously as public-spaces) | Michael Kimmelman | New York Times
There are millions if not billions of carspaces in the USA and there is an oversupply with many carspaces remaining empty and these public spaces remain hot black asphalt deserts throughout cities across the world. Michael gives us some examples of successful carpark designs. Read More

The Grid at 200: Lines That Shaped Manhattan | Michael Kimmelman | New York Times
A look back at the grid that made New York the city it is today defining architecture, landscape, spaces and the lives on millions over time. Read More…

Waste opportunity – Creative management of landfill and recycling can transform landscape and generate income | Sarah Murray |
What happens to your rubbish? Sarah tales a look at how organisations and people around the world are dealing with landfills and makes reference to the Freshkill Project. Read More

See the building from the Trees | Sarah Williams Goldhagen | New York Times

How can cognitive neuroscience influnce the way that architects, landscape architects, planners and engineers are designing? Why are architects using tree metaphors in their designs for buildings? Sarah looks at tree metaphors and how we look at the built environment. Read More….

Designing Water | Joseph G. Brin | Metropolis Magazine
An interesting article that touches on the various design solutions to Water Management within cities including Rain Gardens, Permeable pavement and others. Read More

Walk-up windows are good urbanism | Dan Malouff  | Greater Greater Washington
Sidewalks(Footpaths) are interesting concrete pedestrians route that connect destinations, often we walk doorway to doorway with the odd cafe spilling out onto the space. Walk-up windows are a way to break the monotony of street life. Dan looks at Georgetown and a couple of its walk-up windows. Read More….

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2012 Land Art Generator Initiative international design competition opens

2012 Land Art Generator Initiative international design competition

Freshkills Park (Flickr: gsz)

Land Art Generator Initiative announces $20,000 in prize money for the competition open until July 1, 2012. The open call asks for large-scale artwork proposals for Freshkills Park that generate utility-scale renewable electricity for New York City.
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