Landscape and urbanism – Given the prevalence of broader forces or flows, a traditional conception of the city as a growth of architectural models as well as metaphors is no longer sustainable. These include deviations to the classic urban form’s architectonic logic carried about by ecological, infrastructural, or economic reform. In other terms, spatial constructs in urban settings ought no longer to be bound to challenging objectives or motivated by isolation; rather, they should integrate into the city’s framework. When planning an urban area, one should be aware of the ecology and environment for our lives and the future to flourish.

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Urban issues solutions _World architecture news

Methodologically, cities should indeed be composed of horizontal field conditions, some of which are interconnected and environment-friendly rich, as contrasted to the configuration of objects and buildings, thus according to landscape urbanism, a theory of urban planning but with the art of landscape. This notion of landscape urbanism hinders not only city planning but also technical management, such as hydrology, infrastructure, and biodiversity, and it advances an inch closer to the pursuit of sustainability. The origin of the term was a response to “architecture and urban design’s incapacity to produce cohesive and convincing descriptions of current urban situations,” theorists tried to “claim landscape as urbanism” as a remedy to the urban issues.

Charles Waldheim, a professor and the chair of landscape architecture at Harvard University who aims to situate landscape urbanism within a broader framework of theoretical, historical, and cultural factors, says

“A general theory for thinking about the city through the medium of landscape.”

‘Urbanism’ And ‘Landscape’ 

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Urban issues solutions_World architecture news

Tradition has it that landscape is inextricably linked to the cultural representation of “Nature,” which is typically portrayed as a gently undulating peaceful scene that is generally regarded as morally righteous, generous, and relieving as well as a moral and socially necessary remedy to the damaging environmental and social aspects of the modern city. The accent on the landscape as a process is not intended to be inclusive of architectural form; rather, it seeks to foster an argumentative understanding of how the landscape pertains to urbanism’s processes.

Broadly, two significant phenomena that influence our physical environment and social, economic, and cultural lives are urbanization and globalization. The sustainability of the environment is arguably the most important worldwide worry spurred on by rapid urbanization, notwithstanding its broad scope of the key challenges to these two processes. On the other hand, contemporary research on the sustainability of urban ecosystems relies mostly on variables like water, air, energy, and transportation, but the urban character is rarely addressed.

Course Of Action | Landscape urbanism

Our conception of the city has become so abstract over the course of the last few centuries of urban design that it is essentially irrelevant to the actual location that designers sought to describe. This is due to the predominance of analytical figure-ground plans that exclude vegetation, topography, and even spaces with public access. Buildings and limits were depicted in the plan view even in academic courses, whilst vegetation appeared in the bird’s eye viewpoint to offer a complete sense of the city.

In terms of the urban management approach, the connection between urbanism and landscape may begin to work on a metaphorical and metonymic domain. The premise that urbanism relies as much on the fabrication of surfaces and voids as it does on the creation of buildings would appear to mandate the use of the landscape as a literal material device. However, because landscape involves an explicit acknowledgement of how the land has altered through time, there may be fruitful interplay between it and urbanization, whose time perception has typically become much more implicit and linear.

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Comparison of the characteristics of the landscape transition zone in cases_©Design Gesture

This study above analyzes the organization of space structure and the balanced interplay between landscape and urban settings in three typical hilly cities with well-known landscape transition areas.

Rome, Italy‘s capital, is known as the “City of Seven Hills.” The Villa Ada is located on Rome’s northwestern outskirts. Its mountain landscape extends into urban space in the form of open parks or green squares, and the roads flowing along the border of green space provide an organic boundary between city and nature, connecting the built environment and the mountain landscape in space. 

San Francisco, located on a steep peninsula on the west coast of the United States, is an important city. The route connects the urban mountain and the urban space, forming a network of twisting mountain roads that follow the contour sustaining the original mountain topography while also providing a fundamental premise for building groupings with a variety of urban space layouts. Moreover, trees bridge the distinction between the area’s multistory and low-rise buildings, harmonizing the inflexible shape of manmade structures. 

Canberra is Australia‘s capital. It is positioned next to the Molonglo River in a low mountainous and mild slope environment. The road construction appears as a circular radial network, cleverly blending mountain, river, land, and diverse urban planning functions. It harmonizes and combines natural and artificial building groups to create an attractive modern city

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Section indicating the_ ©Design Gesture

The shift from image-based planning approaches to the operational methods of landscape urbanism has involved transitioning from architecture’s historical function as the fundamental building block of urban design to surfaces, both natural and manmade, viewed as a basic urban infrastructure that needs to migrate.

Restraining the development of traditional urban infrastructure, evolving under regional social and geographic constraints, and fostering novel inventiveness.

Nature of spaces involving Landscape Urbanism_ ©Urban design lab


Although landscape urbanism is an architectural response to the urban problems of today, it is criticized for being obstinately resistant to transparency in terms of a conventional method or even an emphasis has been put. It is argued that it is still merely theoretical underpinnings that are abstract that use obscurantist post-modern nomenclature with limited actual architectural examples to draw upon.

Despite prolonged periods of negligence on the part of architects and urbanists, the significance of the landscape in the process of urbanization has never been diminished. It is not intended to eliminate architectural form by emphasizing landscape as a system; rather, it seeks to develop a dialectical comprehension of how landscape pertains to urbanism’s processes. The notion of a city as a landscape has progressed, allowing us to visualize the territory as an analogous dialogue between architecture and landscape, which also modifies how we perceive a landscape. Urbanism and landscape can be conceptualized differently, which can further define their respective fields’ boundaries concerning one another. These new definitions could be added to the urbanism methodology’s current stock of material inspirations.

In parallel, while contemplating urbanism in terms of a vast landscape’s network and infrastructure, it is important to take into account both the initiatives’ reflective and enjoyable responsibilities in addition to their utilitarian ones. Landscapes or cities will, in the future, with their temporal and social characteristics, establish the prerequisites for urban prosperity by fostering participation from all inhabitants.


  1. Waldheim, Charles. Landscape Urbanism Reader. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006. [Accessed October 30, 2020]. ProQuest Ebook Central.
  2. Thompson, Ian H. Rethinking Landscape: A Critical Reader. London: Routledge, 2009. [Accessed October 30, 2020].
  3. Lars, M., Meta B.P. (2015) ‘Towards a social-ecological urban morphology: integrating urban form and landscape ecology’, City as organism: new visions for urban life Volume 1,371-378. [Accessed October 30, 2020].
  4. Wu, J. (2004) ‘Effects of changing scale on landscape pattern analysis: scaling relations’, Landscape Ecology 19, 125–138 10.1023/B: [Accessed October 30, 2020].

Varsha Mini Veronica, an architect and urban enthusiast, driven by desire to envision modes of sustainability through design as a tool highlighting architectural writing as the medium to critique, create a demand for better architecture for society. Her strengths include her as a vertical thinker, as she believes in developing platforms that are not just human- centric but to address the livability of the environment.