New Zealand Design

density map of the invisible city at a new harbour mouth; Ellie Helliwell

Here is a web-log to the summerschool in New Zealand
that was created by students and supervised by me, Mick Abbott, Tenille Pickett and Woody Lee

And this is an abstract of the content:

Landscape architecture has a speculative role in imagining diverse, innovative and environmentally responsive futures. (Weller 2009; Waldheim 2012) We present findings from a collaborative design research studio that seeks to identify ways rapid increases in population can provide significant ecological, social, cultural and economic benefits. We ask how could Canterbury, New Zealand, with its current population of 600,000 people, and being the same area as the Netherlands, flourish with a similar population to the Netherland’s 16 million people.

Concepts of multifunctional landscapes acted as a countering response to a pervading and also limiting paradigm that pervades New World landscapes: that intensively farmed landscapes and landscapes of outstanding natural significance cannot be located in the same site; that places of beauty cannot be places of industry and economic success; and places of high production cannot be ecologically rich.

This research enlisted design to direct its investigations. The article presents the following methods with accompanying graphic outcomes: design and critique cycles; hybridization of landscape form across scales; scenario creation; manifesto manufacture; landscape density development; and game playing approaches applied across terrains so phasing of compatible landscapes can be considered.

Taking inspiration from Calvino’s Invisible Cities (1972) the following re-imagination of urban forms, based on key landscape types found across Canterbury, is examined: irrigation landscape-city, river mouth landscape-city, wetland landscape-city, coastal landscape-city, drylands landscapes city, Forest tree city, harbor landscape-city, aquifer landscape-city, National Park landscape-city, Alpine landscape-city, and oasis landscape-city.

Our goal was to imagine an urban expression in which landscape’s ecological, social and economic benefits increased as density grew. Benefits rather than impacts was sought. Rather than presenting outcomes as exemplary forms, these landscape cities are developed in terms of their catalytic characteristics. Working with a game board environment respective champions took turns to locate their city forms in terms of its relationship to physical site characteristics and also develop ways city forms could synergistically support other emergent city forms and densities.

This research identified ways landscape and landscape architecture can be utilized to not only generate fabric of the environment on which our urban structures are sited but also ways landscape architecture can be a direct generator of urban forms and habitat across a range of environments and densities.

Calvino, Italo. “Invisible Cities. 1972.” Trans. William Weaver. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1974).
Waldheim, Charles, ed. The landscape urbanism reader. Chronicle Books, 2012.
Weller, Richard. “Boomtown 2050.” Scenarios for a rapidly growing city. The University of Western Australia, Perth (2009).