We are presenting some compelling concepts from The Plan Journal’s sections on Healthy Urbanism and Landscape Urbanism.
In the first contribution from the Healthy Urbanism section “Imprints of an Invisible Virus: Airborne Diseases Change Cities,” the author Aki Ishida shares that “camping and hiking have surged since the pandemic, and restaurants have limited or closed indoor seating and expanded outdoor dining.” The second contribution from the Healthy Urbanism section “New Urban Paradigms: Healthier Futures,” the authors Emily Moss, Alison Mears and Cristina Handal ask “how design choices both “do no damage,” and “support and improve” human and planetary health”?
The third contribution is an article from the Landscape Urbanism section entitled “Cities as Hydro-Geologic Terrain: Design Research to Transform Urban Surfaces,” written by Mary Pat McGuire. McGuire’s research addresses “imperviousness [which] is a significant design problem for the future of cities” and considers ways in which we can “reduce it, redesign it, transform it.”
Finally, we share some thoughts about Landscape as Urbanism.
In the essay “Imprints of an Invisible Virus: Airborne Diseases Change Cities,” the author Aki Ishida explains that “fearing infection from recirculated or stagnant air, people have come to view the outdoors as a sanctuary.”
Aki Ishida, Toronto restaurant and pubs move their seating to the streets during pandemic. Photograph by © Roozbeh Rokni.
Ishida suggests that:
“Lasting effects on cities are not limited to the physical, but also social and cultural. As diseases such as HIV/AIDS have successfully been treated with drugs combined with the social support of neighbors, COVID-19 must be treated as a physical and social illness. We have yet to see the full impact of the pandemic, and the consequences that are the hardest to predict and prepare for may prove to be the most telling. In order to make cities more livable and equitable, we need to learn from history and ask the right questions as cities move forward with this airborne virus.”
In the article “New Urban Paradigms: Healthier Futures,” the authors Emily Moss, Alison Mears and Cristina Handal explain: “‘Respecting community’ encompasses designing with respect towards one another, towards the site and landscape, towards existing and future ecosystems.”
Then Moss et al. ask:
Can we review architectural work using a new set of metrics, alongside inspections of structural efficacy, occupancy and egress? Can we uplift our cities and everyone in them and thereby ensure the health of the planet? Can development provide education and employment?
Emily Moss, Alison Mears and Cristina Handal, precepts for Healthy Building. Diagram by © Authors.
Moss et al. continue:
“We illustrate the Precepts for Healthy Building with a range of design responses to these objectives. We propose five interrelated criteria … public space, equity/justice, healthy housing and human health.”
In the article “Cities as Hydro-Geologic Terrain: Design Research to Transform Urban Surfaces,” the author Mary Pat McGuire argues:
“to insert hydro-terrain thinking to the paved surfaces of cities, instantiating the concept of ‘rain terrain’ that links hydrologic performance across scales, from the raindrop to the region.”
Mary Pat McGuire, illustrative of dune soil types under impervious and compacted ground in the Bronzeville, Washington Park, Hyde Park and Woodlawn areas. Extent of land surface (impervious and compacted ground) by major category: 1,080 acres [437 ha] of street surface, 800 acres [323 ha] of parking surface and 285 acres [115 ha] of vacant land surface. Courtesy of © the Author.
“Put bluntly, it is not enough to modestly intervene. As designers, we need to question the conditions that create these [urban flooding] issues and to propose systemic change.”
Landscape as Urbanism (2022) written by Charles Waldheim, the John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and director of the Office for Urbanization at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, provides a comprehensive history of landscape urbanism.
Beautifully illustrated with examinations of works from Andrea Branzi to Michael Van Valkenburgh, Walheim’s research underscores the critical role that the field of landscape urbanism plays in the design of future successful urban projects.
Print length: 216 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: March 15, 2022
Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.7 x 9.4 inches
To learn more, check out: Landscape as Urbanism
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The Plan Journal is intended to disseminate and promote innovative, thought-provoking, and relevant research, studies, and criticism related to architecture and urbanism. The journal grew out of an awareness that academia is all too often engaged in research that’s disconnected from the real-world challenges that face different professions, and that research is only possible for a small number of professional organizations, and, even then, with limited platforms for its dissemination. The overarching aim of TPJ is therefore to enrich the dialogue between researchers and professionals so as to foster both pertinent new knowledge and intellectually driven modes of practice.
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