This Week in Landscape | 23 February 2014

A roundup of this weeks landscape related news from around the world.

The Green Team: On Occupying Urban Space | Johanna Phelps | Metropolis Magazine
In urban environments, where square footage comes at a premium, landscapes are frequently designed to satisfy multiple social performance requirements ranging from small group activities to large scale event spaces.

A Lesson for Detroit in Efforts to Aid a New Orleans Devastated by Katrina | Campbell Robertson | NY Times
“If any city can speak about the difficult politics of downsizing, it is New Orleans, where a group of planners and business leaders proposed the idea as the best way to bring back the city after it was devastated by the flooding after Katrina in 2005 ”

Life on Mekong Faces Threats As Major Dams Begin to Rise | Joshua Zaffos | e360 Yale
“River experts say that if the dam-building boom proceeds as planned, it could diminish essential flood pulses and decimate fisheries and riverside gardens that are dependent on variable flows and sediment.”

Where are architecture’s Bravehearts? | Richard J Williams | bdonline.co.uk
Talk of independence omits Scotland’s built environment

Villa Mekrech gardens retain protection, despite building permit | Times of Malta
The Mepa board this afternoon rejected an application to de-schedule the gardens of Villa Mekrech in Ghaxaq.

Continue reading This Week in Landscape | 23 February 2014

VIDEO | Stormwater Management Ecological Services Metrics

Stormwater is important part of any landscape and even more so in cities.  Cities are striving to understand water and stormwater management and implement water sustainable design principles. This 5 minute video recently posted on vimeo by DBA Inc. gives graphic information about a New Orleans water management study that was undertaken by a group of Architects, Landscape Architects, Engineers, and Planners.

Stormwater Management Ecological Services Metrics from DBA Inc. on Vimeo.

New Orleans Urban Farm hits red tape

The Viet Village Urban Farm is an integral part of  the rebuilding the community in New Orleans but has hit red tape. The CDC purchased land for the Urban Farm but the land has been disignated by the Army Corp to be ‘jurisdictional’ wetlands which would require the CDC to purchase over $300,000 in environmental credits. They are now looking at other options for the planned Urban Farm that requires $5-6million for Phase I and II.

Read more about the Viet Village Urban Farm at NOLA.com

Could Detroit become the City of Urban Agriculture?

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The idea of returning Detroit to farm land is an interesting idea that was recently covered in New Geography(DETROIT: URBAN LABORATORY AND THE NEW AMERICAN FRONTIER, Nov. 4) and New York Times(Plowing Detroit Into Farmland blog post Nov. 9 based on New Geography article).

The New Geography article reviews the size and scale of Detroit in comparison to other cities and the extent of urban decay since the 1950′s and that Detroit could become farmland.

In my opinion, Detroit could become a city of urban agriculture; it has the land, water & infrastructure(roads, rail) and lots of deserted industrial space that could be converted to markets and storage/logistics.  However it would require a either a grass roots movement which gets financial backing (after initial results) from investors or a federal incentive as the city of Detroit is shrinking and resources are already stretched.

Urban agriculture could supply the people of Detroit and other cities in region with food. Large areas of housing could be converted to open fields where the blocks are large or rows of green houses where the blocks are narrow. The agricultural areas could also grow crops for ethanol(although resource intensive) to supply raw materials for fuel(refined in Detroit) for the farm machinery and cars.

Urban agriculture combined with alternative energy such as wind and solar could convert Detroit from a city to a urban core with villages (see New Geography for diagram). The city could become self-sufficient and a possible testing ground for urban design that could be used for other North Americans cities going through the same changes in size and urban form.

New Orleans is currently a hot bed for Urban Design experiments for the South, which came about from a natural disaster maybe Detroit can come back as the hot bed of Urban Design for Northern climates.

Detroit has the opportunity and basic resources but does it have the will to change?

Read more information used as background for this post at [New Geography] & [New York Times]

By Damian Holmes

New Orleans Mayor’s plan for Armstrong Park draws criticism

Mayor Ray Nagin’s Armstrong Park statue plan draws criticism – NOLA.com

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s $3 million vision for Armstrong Park is taking shape.

It includes seven large, new sculptures, one of which will be created by renowned artist Elizabeth Catlett, who also did the bronze sculpture of Louis Armstrong now in the park.

Detroit-based[with an office in New Orleans] architectural firm Hamilton Anderson Co. has been hired to help design the project.

SOURCE: NOLA.com – Mayor Ray Nagin’s Armstrong Park statue plan draws criticism

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