To Care, To Create, To Act
The Nature of post-human landscape design
Greet De Block, Vera Vicenzotti
Nature is loved by everyone in these times of environmental threats and crises. It is increasingly conceptualised as the realm we all belong to, the one-and-only world that hosts us, a world that
encompasses all forms of life, including the human, without any differentiation. Gone are the times in which mankind identified nature as ‘different’, outside themselves. Today the concept of the
Anthropocene synthesises the result: humans have significantly impacted the Earth, its geology and ecosystems, often in deeply troubling ways, generating an environment in which human and
non-human actors are fundamentally entangled. This invokes the call for sustainability, often associated with decentring the human in the human/non-human web, in an effort to make our
relationship with ‘nature’ more balanced and turn the tide. Are we heading towards a ‘post-human’ future? Landscape architects tend to intuitively subscribe to the contemporary nature trend and
the call for sustainability – they offer their expertise in working with natural material and processes to shape sustainable landscapes. They become nature advocates as they turn people’s love
for nature into their design projects.
GREET DE BLOCK is Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Urban History at the University of Antwerp. VERA VICENZOTTI is a senior lecturer in landscape architecture at the Department of
Rural and Urban Development at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.
Design and Democracy
Peter Parker, Nina Vogel, Lisa Diedrich
Landscape architects today love run-down areas, the challenge of temporary projects, hands-on activities, work with people, and the aesthetics of the transitory. They often experience themselves
as part of a particularly democratic process of space production when given the opportunity to address urban redevelopment through temporary interventions, claiming to make a difference to
conventional ways of planning and building. Alternative forms of power, they feel, can be enacted through new forms of professional expertise, with public authorities accepting or fostering these
precarious production modes, and with designers in the role of activists. The much lauded emergence of temporary bottom-up projects in urban redevelopment areas raises the question of their true
democratic potential. Often presented as enabling new forms of democracy and participatory planning, temporary structures also carry the dangers of abusing people’s resources to serve the tacit
interests of societally established power groups, and of derailing into what could be termed ‘people-washing’.
PETER PARKER is a lecturer in urban studies at Malmö University, Sweden; his research concerns inclusion in public space, urban commons and conceptions of property. NINA VOGEL is a
lecturer in urban planning at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Alnarp/ Malmö; she coordinates the research platform SLU Urban Futures and focuses on questions of urban
transition, governance and mobility. LISA DIEDRICH, born 1965 in Minden (Germany), studied architecture and urbanism in Paris, Marseille and Stuttgart and science journalism in Berlin,
becoming a specialist in contemporary European landscape architecture. Since 2006 she has run her own consultancy, working among others as editor-in-chief of the book series Landscape
Architecture Europe and of ’scape, the international magazine for landscape architecture and urbanism. In 2013 she obtained her PhD from the University of Copenhagen and was appointed professor
for landscape architecture at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Alnarp/ Malmö in 2012. She currently directs the university’s research platform SLU Urban
Dirk Sijmons: 'Music can't cure noise pollution'
Last year Dutch landscape architect Dirk Sijmons received the prestigious Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award from the International Federation of Landscape Architects for his exceptional contribution to
the profession. His contributions redefine the profession, its borders, its strategy and its position, said the jury. ‘Dirk Sijmons came to realise that now we are entering the Anthropocene epoch
as the boundaries between nature and society crumble, landscape architecture can play a vital mediating role between the two.’
HARRY HARSEMA, born 1957 in Goor (Netherlands), studied landscape architecture at Wageningen University and graduated in 1985. Since then he has worked as a journalist, editor and graphic
designer in the field of landscape and architecture. He was founder, editor-in-chief and is now publisher of the Dutch magazine Blauwe Kamer and the Dutch Yearbook for landscape architecture and
urban design and is editor-in-chief of ‘scape magazine. In 1994 Harry founded Blauwdruk Publishers, which specialises in books on landscape architecture. He has been the producer of the Landscape
Architecture Europe series since its inception.
In one way or another Dominika Tihanyi’s work always relates to the city and the people living in it. Cities and people change with the challenges they encounter, and especially in today’s
Hungary, Dominika’s country of origin. Here she is constantly in search of new ways of designing for and with urban populations. In 2000, Tihanyi and a group of similarly inspired architects and
landscape architects founded an office together, aptly named Újirány, which means ‘New Directions’.
MARK HENDRIKS, born 1980 in Tilburg (Netherlands), studied spatial planning at Wageningen University. He has worked since 2004 as a journalist, editor and author, covering spatial planning,
urban planning and landscape architecture. He has worked on numerous publications in the field of urban and rural planning and is editor-in-chief of the Dutch magazine Blauwe Kamer. Since 2008 he
has been a guest lecturer at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. Mark has been a member of the editorial board of the Landscape Architecture Europe series since its inception.