Light is not often the first thing that one thinks of when considering the built environment, but in fact, as to the photographer, light is a primary ingredient to the success of any site design. In contrast to other professions that utilize light, the impact of light on the built environment is constantly in flux. In its complexity there are three types of light: continuous, absorptive and emissive. In the science of the light spectrum, the fact is that light behaves like a wave and is defined by its wavelength frequency. Simply put, light of different wavelengths is perceived as different colors.Continue Reading How the Spectrum of Light can be used in Landscape Architecture
When it comes to the biggest trends that will reshape the urban environment in the future, it’s not just the architecture that will change. The next major revolution in urban design will be by landscapers. In fact, in some cities, landscaping — in the form of parks and other green spaces — is already making an appearance.
The positive effects on health, comfort, happiness and even local wildlife are startling. Let’s take a look at some of the major cities around the United States that have put landscaping to work as part of their urban design.Continue Reading Landscape Architecture: Shaping The Urban Future
When we think of a city, we don’t necessarily think about its parks. Instead, the metro areas, shopping opportunities, entertainment venues and other aspects come to mind. However, even though parks and other natural areas are a relatively small component of modern urban areas, the impact that these features have on the urban population is enormous.Continue Reading The Effects Of The Natural Landscape In Urban Environments
A great street has many variables, and occasionally planners and designers are given a chance to have an effect on those variables – when we do, we need to use every available tool to get it right. It is a rare opportunity to tie together the urban environment in a way that can make it irresistible and successful.Continue Reading High performance streets: The new cutting edge of urban design
Urban landscape architects, civil engineers and city planners face a number of sustainability challenges with no single or simple solution. Among the issues common to many metropolitan areas:
- Preparing for climate changes and/or intense precipitation events that cause excess storm water runoff;
- Replacing outdated architectural designs that introduce contaminates into the water system; and,
- Partially or completely losing natural flora and fauna.
In recent years, the concept of green infrastructure (GI) has grown in popularity and importance for sustainable outdoor design, architecture and construction. Continue Reading Add More City Parks For A Sustainable Future
Last time (part 2), we visited a Chicago rooftop during the summer of 2007, where buckwheat sways in the breeze, collard greens with leaves as broad as a chair seat flourish, and tomatoes and peppers ripen, all in view of a passing elevated train. This time, we visit a state-of-the-art Chicago high school where the windows of a special needs classroom once looked out onto a barren, uninspiring landscape.
Last time (part 1), we were introduced to Urban Habitat Chicago, took off our shoes, and stretched our feet on an edible lawn. This time, we visit a Chicago rooftop during the summer of 2007, where buckwheat sways in the breeze, collard greens with leaves as broad as a chair seat flourish, and tomatoes and peppers ripen, all in view of a passing elevated train.
In the fall of 1862, crops were disappearing, mysteriously, from the fields around the tranquil Shaker community at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.
A watch was ordered over several nights to see what was happening when the incident was brought to the attention of the governing Elders and Eldresses. The Battle of Perryville, Kentucky on October 8, 1862, brought the Civil War within seventeen miles of the close-knit, pacifist community’s doorstep. Soldiers from both Union and Confederate armies, it was revealed, were stealing the crops from the fields at night.Continue Reading Urban Habitat Chicago Redux: 10 years of productive urban landscapes (part 1 of 3)
On a short walk in my neighborhood this morning, I must have passed hundreds of poles: Light poles, utility poles, sign poles.
They do their jobs of holding up stuff but I noticed that they can do a lot more.
Here in just a few blocks, some upgrades:
Real walkable neighborhoods[i] are in such demand today that they are creating a real estate frenzy[ii] in older walkable cities like San Francisco, Boston and New York. The reason for the frenzy is simple economics of supply and demand. The demand for Walkable Urbanism[iii] is increasingly outstripping the supply and this situation seems to be getting worse.Continue Reading Desirable Walkable Neighborhoods: How we lost them, why we don’t create new ones, and what we need to do to start.