Landscape architecture is about maintaining the balance between ecology and mankind. To address the deteriorating balance of our relationship with the environment, a need for landscape architecture has become urgent. Its presence in every project has become mandatory.
Landscape Architecture requires a variant approach involving environmental science, art, ecology, and sometimes leads to other results such as restoring endangered wetlands and replenishing the groundwater. With the geographical understanding of a site that helps to make use of resources efficiently, the landscape architect has become more than just a designer who uses roads and parks as the glitter factor over a project which is, otherwise, designed by architects.
Landscape architecture is concerned with landscapes of all typologies- both urban and rural- and at all scales. It makes sure the functionality of the project is not lost while keeping it in tune with the environment and while addressing the needs of the user effectively. The environment cannot be fully controlled but it can be mediated well for our advantage, which is what the landscape architects are trained for.
Historic landscape preservation and restoration is another area where landscape architecture increasingly plays a role. Regions of industrial development often destroy natural resources with high levels of contamination waste. Since land is limited, it needs to be rejuvenated for other uses it is amiable for. Site of a concrete plant from the late 1940s through 1987, the land that is now Concrete Plant Park was acquired by Parks in 2000. The waterfront park, completed in September 2009, contains facilities supporting and linking existing and planned multi-use pedestrian greenways with other off-road, on-road bicycle/pedestrian routes.
Landscape architects play an extended role in the significant opportunities to shape the future of cities. Growing urbanisation is leading to a shift from agriculture land to blocks of grey buildings. Bangkok and other cities in Southeast Asia are the most vulnerable to climate impacts. They were victims of their unchecked urban growth.
Kotchakorn Voraakhom is a landscape architect who works on designing green public spaces that tackle climate change. To help save Bangkok from rising sea levels and climate change, Voraakhom founded the landscape architecture design firm “Landprocess”. She is also the founder of “Porous City Network”, a social enterprise working to solve urban environmental problems and increase urban resilience across Southeast Asia by aiding, engaging and educating climate-vulnerable communities about productive landscape design.
Voraakhom even designed Asia’s largest urban rooftop farm on the Rangsit Campus of Thammasat University, about 25 miles north of central Bangkok. She was inspired by Thailand’s rice-growing terraced structure tradition, i.e. the ancient rammed-earth technique. Biodiversity is restored through the native plants grown on the farm that create a microclimate and attract pollinator bird and insect species. As the plants on the Thammasat University Green Roof breathe, the oxygen and moisture they release help build a stable microclimate for the animals to take refuge.
Lowland Park is part of a larger riverfront revitalization effort that includes the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy by the City of Detroit to lay the groundwork for revival along the urban waterfront. The Detroit RiverWalk was recently named as one of the city’s best walks by the Guardian, another acknowledgment of its amazing design performance. Landscape architects can play a larger role by expanding their design focus and skillsets. The ability to support more equitable community engagement, develop measurable, performance-based solutions, and help forge committed public/private partnerships will play a pivotal role in the design legacy of urban design.
People are looking for ordinary solitude and peace to surround themselves with desired intimacy while not being completely isolated from the world. Landscape architects seek to make an impact through their designs to provide this much-needed escape from the mundane, monotonous urban lifestyle. There is an urgent need to make an impact on human psychology and mental health through the environment.
Landscape architects stand at a unique vantage point to tackle issues. Since population density is increasing in the horizontal urban areas, the scope of green areas is deteriorating. Landscape architecture offers ideas to avert this crisis with rooftop gardening or vertical gardens, or negotiating with the urban fabric to provide a green respite.
In a rapidly forward-moving world, understanding nature is considered a way forward to further advancement, a concept known as “Biomimicry”. This concept aims to imitate and analyse nature in architectural design to solve environmental problems. Landscape architecture is a combination of architecture, engineering, and ecology. Its valid application of this concept leads to better design solutions. An example is how understanding the local vegetation or a nearby forest patch can help solve issues of wind, rainwater run-off by creating a natural habitat for local species while landscaping.
Neglecting the need for a sustainable architecture of a rapidly evolving landscape will lead to an endless concrete jungle and unfit atmosphere without natural landscapes. To avoid an episode of Netflix’s “Black Mirror” T.V show becoming a reality, we have to start being more conscious and give more relevance to the need for landscape architecture
We need to create efficient, sustainable cities.