THE LANDSCAPE IS NOW
We live uncertain times. 2020 will make history as the year where we experience and suffer, all around the world, the costs of climate change and biodiversity lost, and the relationships between urban planning and humans health. During some months, we put our lives in the center and we join strengths to get ahead. We also finally understand the urgency to change the way we interact with the environment. We verified, on the ground, that science was not wrong.
We can see the consequences of the alteration of the air quality, the water cycle and the environments. Everything is connected: the health and the extinct animal species, the hunger in the world and the soil depletion, the migrations and the water war. Meanwhile a part of the world wastes resources, the other part doesn’t have the minimum to live..
The climate emergency forces developed countries to act: for social justice, for environmental ethics, for survival… We must proceed now and do it two directions. On one side, drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, on the other to regenerate forest, soils, seas and biodiversity. Taking care of other species is also taking care of ours there is no trace of doubt, and no time to lose.
Urban, agrarian and rural, coastal and natural landscapes require, today more than ever, adequate protection, planning and management, as stated in the European Landscape Convention in 2000. More recently, the Paris Agreement and the United Nations 2030 Agenda outlined a clear roadmap to curb climate change. Mitigation and adaptation specify measures to reduce greenhouse gases, on the one hand, and to adapt our environment to new climate scenarios, on the other. The next decade will be decisive. The landscape is in the center of all eyes and landscape architects have a lot to contribute.
THE LANDSCAPE IS HERE
According to UN data, cities are home to more than 55% of the world’s population, 70% of carbon emissions are produced and this is where 828 million people live in slums. In 2050 the world population will reach 9.7 billion. All of this poses significant environmental and social challenges, especially in urban settings. In addition, they are closely linked to the abandonment of the rural area, which translates into an enormous loss of natural and cultural heritage. Improving the quality of life of citizens requires creating healthy spaces designed by and for people. Green infrastructure, urban forests, streets and small parks, squares and gardens can meet many of these needs when nature-based solutions are applied. At the same time, the recovery of the rural world is announced as part of the solution to overcome the current eco-social crisis. Working in multidisciplinary teams in the analysis of the geographical, social and identity conditioning factors of a place is the only way to apply the most accurate project measures and decisions for each case.
Landscape architecture, an academic and project discipline with more than 120 years of history, knows well the principles that govern natural, social and cultural processes. Making natural and human dynamics compatible is inherent to the landscape architect´s work. We play with an advantage. Holistically analyze the characteristics and needs of the place, generate spaces of high environmental quality and improve the quality of life of individuals and communities, preserving the local character, are the principles that govern the best landscape architecture projects.
IFLA Europe General Assembly and AEP 1st International Congress of Landscape Architecture
Relevant information and dates
- Congress Landscape Here and Now 20-22 October 2021 (programme attached)
- Web: www.AEPaisajistascongreso.es
- until Jun 30th – early bird registration
- From July 1st to October 15th – Regular registration
Call for papers:
- April 15th 2021: Abstracts submission deadline
- May 15th, 2021: Communication of acceptance / rejection of abstracts
- July 30th, 2021: Papers and poster submission deadline
- December 20th 2021; Revised papers for publication deadline
IFLA EU General Assembly 22-24 October 2021
We cannot say at this time what format will IFLA Europe General Assembly have as we will review Covid-19 sanitary situation on a regular basis.
- Healthy Landscapes
COVID 19 has highlighted the need to have nearby spaces adapted to human needs, among which are environmental comfort, healthy food, and contact with nature that results in improved health.
In this sense, spaces should be designed where good air and water quality is guaranteed, the production of local food products and the presence of vegetation adapted to the cultural bias of the users and the physical conditions of the environment.
In an urban world with a constantly growing population, cities must be redesigned using nature-based solutions. In this sense, the possibilities offered by green infrastructure in any of its elements open a path of project possibilities to offer solutions adapted to local details.
Apart from this, urban solutions must be accompanied by favoring rural development, facing the challenge of depopulation and offering alternatives where technological equity, quality spaces and social, cultural and economic resources are guaranteed.
- Everyday landscapes
Quality of life is not just living, but living well, and all developed and developing societies should aim for this. The mistakes made by the modern societies, and which are so difficult to solve, should serve as an example. The public space is the meeting place between people and collectives. Designing it by and for the people means breaking with old mobility paradigms, working for equity, diversity, and social interaction. Increasingly, the projects of parks, squares and streets are born on the site and return the urban space to the inhabitants, while improving the environment and favoring biodiversity.
We must take a step forward in the development of projects in which criteria beyond aesthetics and pragmatism converge, more creative and intelligent solutions. The European Landscape Convention makes explicit reference to this type of landscapes, day-to-day landscapes where alternatives that include different social uses, technological innovations, adapted to the reality of the site and that allows mixed uses to offer universal access, such as 11 of the SDGs points out.
- Enduring landscapes
Landscape management is increasingly at the center of the debate. As we learned from our teachers, a project’s success is due in one third to design, another third to implementation, and the last third to maintenance. Frederick Law Olmsted already included maintenance weight as a criterion for his designs. However, great projects have been done, with a great aesthetic load, but difficult or impossible to maintain, either because of the associated cost or simply because the maintenance was not aligned with the proposal. The aesthetic-practical functionality dichotomy opens up.
The new look at projects from an eco-social perspective aims to promote the generation of ecosystems. This must be done through a strong commitment to sustainability and a practically independent ecological dynamic.
It is important to note that most landscapes do not have a management plan, and are the result of the evolution of society and its inhabitants. According to the scale, the management and maintenance plans have different dealings, but beyond the coordination of these strategies we must bet on care among all. Consciously involving administrations, companies and civil society. We need enduring landscapes and the collaboration of all agents is necessary, but first outreach and education is essential, starting with the approach to nature from school education centers to the last element in the administration chain, seeking involvement
and commitment of all.