On landscape urbanism

Authored by: Peggy Tully

The Routledge Companion to Landscape Studies

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415684606
eBook ISBN: 9780203096925
Adobe ISBN: 9781136220609


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Over the past decade, Landscape Urbanism has emerged as a robust alternative to the failures of modernist urban planning. Its followers, a collective of landscape architects, architects, urban designers and others, believe that the medium of landscape, because it necessarily privileges ecology over form, is the most able organizer of a healthy, post-industrial urbanity. Additionally, they hold that the city, the region, indeed the entire world should be understood as a kind of a landscape, not in the nineteenth-century understanding of landscape, i.e. pastoral, picturesque “nature,” but as an organization of complex, discreet, scalable systems that combine to make one unique environment. Furthermore, Landscape Urbanism employs the term “landscape” in several ways: as metaphor; the city is like a landscape: as model; the city will function like a landscape: and as a literal organizer; the design of the city will be driven by landscape as opposed to architecture. The result is a landscape-based urbanism that seeks to radically realign traditional disciplinary boundaries in the design professions while it breaks down the established dualisms between the synthetic and the natural, the urban and the wild. This is different from the ancient concept of rus in urbe, transferring the ‘countryside into the city,’ in that it is not simply erasing the city in favor of the country.

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