15 September 2012
American University of Beirut,
Jala Makhzoumi is professor of landscape architecture, American University of Beirut, Lebanon. In research and professional practice, she adopts an ecological landscape planning approach that mediates community needs with ecosystem health, biodiversity protection and landscape heritage conservation. She serves as landscape planning consultant to projects that include postwar recovery in Iraq and Lebanon, urban green greening and landscape master plan development for the cities of Damascus, Baghdad and the historic towns of Najaf, Karbala and Erbil. Among her publications is Ecological Landscape Design and Planning: the Mediterranean context, co-author Dr Gloria Pungetti (London, EF & N Spon, 1999) and Horizon 101 (Beirut, Dar Onboz, 2010), aquarelle paintings with reflection on the relationship between 'landscape' and the 'human condition'. Jala is honorary fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Landscape and People, United Kingdom.
Presentation — Urban hinterland as bio-cultural heritage: Application of an ecological landscape framework to greening Middle Eastern cities
The problematic of unregulated urban growth in Middle Eastern cities is often framed with disregard to the rural hinterland. As a result, rural peripheries and the semi-natural landscapes they incorporate are reduced to ‘available’ land that can accommodate the expanding urban footprint. The loss of open/green landscapes deprives the urban inhabitants form encounters with nature, erodes the sense of place and region and adversely impacts the urban environment. Growing demand for housing and infrastructural services, perhaps understandably, takes priority. In this presentation I will argue that the self-centered, exclusive outlook is not only counterproductive but in fact detrimental to the city and its inhabitants. Instead, I propose a shift in urban greening towards an inclusive, holistic framework that prioritizes the synergy between city and its natural and rural peripheries. Rural peripheries, villages and agricultural fields, mountain and desert, embody the co-evolution of culture and nature in the Middle East, a landscape heritage and repository of the ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ wealth that predates the city. The hinterland thus has the potential to inspire urban greening strategies and counterbalance prevailing neoliberal planning of cities in the region. To demonstrate my argument I shall draw on a large scale urban greening project in the city of Erbil, Iraq. The landscape of greater Erbil straddles the Kurdish foothills and the western desert plateau. The hinterland landscape of Erbil includes 23 villages, rain-fed agriculture and pastoral lands and seasonal watercourses. Applying the holistic framework of ecological landscape design, the project vision is broadened beyond the current focus on the city towards protecting the natural environment, agricultural livelihoods and rural heritage while providing an alternative conception amenity and recreation.
University of Washington
Professor Nancy Rottle is a landscape architect teaching in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, USA. Professor Rottle's professional and academic planning and design projects have won numerous awards, including the acclaimed Cedar River Watershed Education Center, and Open Space Seattle 2100, a collaborative project to envision Seattle's green network for the next century. Nancy currently directs the UW's Green Futures Research and Design Lab, which addresses questions related to urban green infrastructure (www.greenfutures.washington.edu). Projects and publications include the use of waterfronts to treat and re-use stormwater; green infrastructure for college campuses; participatory planning and design for an ecological public realm; new pedestrian and cycling environments; demonstration living roofs and walls; and the role of green infrastructure in mitigating and adapting to climate change. She co-edited the 2007 special edition of Places journal on Climate Change and Place, and further researched this topic in New Zealand supported by a Fulbright Fellowship. Professor Rottle recently co-authored a richly illustrated book on ecological design theory and practice, titled Basics Landscape Architecture: Ecological Design.
Presentation — Urban Green Infrastructure for Climate Benefit: Global to Local
Climate change has been called the defining issue of the twenty-first century, with cities seen as both solutions for reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions as well as the places most dramatically and tragically impacted and therefore most critically requiring adaptive practices. Plagued by uncertainty and the diverse expected global and localized impacts of climate change, planners and designers are challenged to find solutions to help prepare for the inevitable impacts that existing atmospheric carbon levels are predicted to cause, while also promoting practices that will minimize those levels and therefore potentially reduce the severity of effects. Taking an ecological approach, how can we negotiate uncertainty, complexity, and the need for flexibility with the goal of achieving resilient, humane, biodiverse regions and metropolises? Urban green infrastructure offers a perspective and a suite of methods that encompass multiple urban systems, with the capacity to simultaneously address climate change issues while also providing multiple benefits related to urban environments, health and quality of life. The presentation will offer a comprehensive definition of green infrastructure and examine the multiple advantages of implementing urban green infrastructure practices, especially related to climate benefit. Highlighting the dual mitigation and adaptation capacities of urban green infrastructure systems, the presentation will illustrate planning and design practices and principles through both imagined futures and existing enacted examples from the US, Asia, New Zealand and Europe.
Munich Technical University
Stephan Pauleit is professor in landscape planning and management at Munich Technical University. He developed a special interest in urban ecology and planning of green infrastructures to provide multiple ecosystem services to human society and adapt cities to climate change. Recent projects include the European FP6 Integrated Project ‘PLUREL’ that aimed to identify strategies and develop tools for sustainable land use in peri-urban areas; EU FP7 CLUVA “Climate Change and Urban Vulnerability in Africa”; and the ERANET project URBES “Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” that aims to develop methods for valuation of ecosystem services in urban areas to support planning of multifunctional green infrastructures.
Presentation — Green infrastructure for Europe's growing and shrinking city regions
Europe is a highly urbanized continent where 70% of the human population is already living in urban areas. This figure is expected to increase to 84% by 2050 (Kabisch and Haase, 2011), leading to the further expansion of urban areas. Interpretation of CORINE land cover data shows, that more than 8000 km2 were converted from farmland and natural areas to artificial surfaces between 1990 and 2000 alone, approximately corresponding to the size of Luxembourg (EEA, 2006). It is a one way process as almost no land was converted back in the same period. Moreover, the density of urban development has dramatically decreased. Between 1950 and 1990, urban areas expanded by 78% while the population grew only by 33% in the same period of time (EEA, 2006). This low density, and often leap frogging development has been termed urban sprawl.
Larisa obtained her education and PhD in architecture from Saint-Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering (SPSUACE). Dr. Kanunnikova was the Associate Professor in the Urban Planning Department SPSUACE where she combined her pedagogical activity with working as a practicing architect. Last decade Larisa is the Main Landscape Architect in St. Petersburg Administration. She is the author of several landscape architecture projects in St. Petersburg such as new pedestrian streets: Malaya Sadovaya, Malaya Konuschennaya Street and Bolschaya Moskovskaya. Larisa is one of the authors of St. Petersburg Green Infrastructure concept.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development, Division of Landscape Architecture
Clas Florgård has been practicing research as well as planning and design in landscape architecture since 1970. He has worked at private landscape architecture companies, at architecture companies, at engineering companies, and at universities. He has held positions as group and division leader, and has also managed a company of his own. He was appointed professor 1994, and is now emeritus. As practicing landscape architect he has been involved in a variety of projects, from small design projects to big landscaping projects and regional planning. His research has included planning and design for sustainability, management of green areas, and urban ecology as a base for planning and design. A focus has been planning for preservation of existing natural vegetation as parts of urban green infrastructure when new urban areas are developed. A field research project which was initiated 1972, and which in parts is still running, has been a backbone for his research.
Presentation — Perspectives of urban blue-green infrastructure
The urban blue-green infrastructure holds many advantages and possibilities: it provides amenity, structure to the city mesh, recreation areas, biological-technical functions such as cleaning city air and improving city climate and hydrology, it provides areas for school’s outdoor education, and improvement of public health leading to less social costs (McDonnell et al. 2009). On the other hand, if poorly planned, designed and managed, the urban blue-green infrastructure can hold many disadvantages and problems: Spaces Left Over in Planning (SLOP), ugliness if unmanaged, areas used as nothing but shelter areas to roads and industries, wear-and-tear, conformity, and costly planning problems. The city of Stockholm can be taken as an example (Florgård, 2007). The nowadays blue-green infrastructure is from many points-of-view a model for a well-developed structure. Blue-green “fingers” go from the surrounding countryside as wedges into the very city centre, providing not only clean air to get into the city, but also ecological corridors. The structure makes the city conceivable, and there is never far to go for any citizen from home to a green area. Is Stockholm unique as example? Yes, and no. It is unique in the way that the natural conditions are favourable. But no, it is not unique in the way that many cities have the chance to make changes in some stage in their development. The blue-green structure of Stockholm did from the beginning emerge by chance. Only the last century it has been developed deliberately. But many cities sometimes have that opportunity. Because of industrial crises, economic crises, changed land-use and so on, often opportunities emerge to change the city structure and develop a blue-green structure. The key factors are three: first, to take the chance when it occurs. For that some sort of preparedness is necessary, at least on the idea level. To be prepared can mean that the idea of a structure is present. Second, the occurrence of committed people in the city administration is vital. A committed person, or better a group of politicians, planners and experts, can do much if they get the chance. Third, the support of the public is crucial. The public is many times very interested in their environment. These factors were at hand when the Stockholm blue-green infrastructure was established. But these factors are international. In many cases such planning strategies can be developed. However, there are threats even to an established structure. An important threat is a combination of irreversible changes and the so called tyranny of small steps (Florgård 2010). If a part of the blue-green infrastructure is built on, even for deserving purposes such as schools and day nurseries, this area usually never is turned back to green area, the change is irreversible. One small change might not have much negative impact. So another development for another deserving purpose might be carried out. At last, with uncoordinated small steps the value of the whole area might be gone.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development, Division of Landscape Architecture
Per G Berg is a professor in landscape planning and practical planner of Sustainable Communities in SLU, Uppsala. He is the director of research in sustainable community development since 1993 and functional densification of cities since 2009. Together with sociologist Tuula Eriksson, cultural geographer Madeleine Granvik and landscape architects Per Hedfors, he has also participated in research about the individual Habitat perspective, intersensory conception of landscapes, micro-comprehensive planning of communities and infrasystems and the integration of urban and rural systems. Together with Professor in landscape architecture Maria Ignatieva, Per G Berg has developed the concept Resilient Citylands and participated in the development of green structure research. He is also the main mentor for university teachers in the Baltic Sea Region for master level education on Sustainable Community Development. Since 1987 Per has been chief planner and developer of the Habitat-inspired model cityland area Hågaby in Uppsala. Since 2011 he is a member of the EU expert panel for evaluation of the green capital award 2014. Per G Berg teaches basic level landscape architecture students about sustainable landscapes and on advanced master level international students on research related landscape planning. PGB has published 4 books and close to 100 scientific and popular scientific articles and is member of two international scientific journal boards.
Presentation — Resilient Citylands
Resilient Citylands is presented during the sixth ICON-LA conference as a new cutting-edge concept describing carbon-neutral, transport- and resources efficient urban-rural integrated human settlements, suggested to be realized in Baltic Sea Region cities within the next four decades. Resilient Citylands feature an appropriate fractal integration of built and green/blue structures in a range of scales from the largest macro-and micro-regional to the intermediary city- to the small local community and fine scale details. Future urban Cityland structures are expected to combine urban form and function with rural properties. Future rural Cityland structures are expected to integrate also urban functions. Shared features for more urban parts and more rural parts comprise primary production, recreation, ecosystem services for green/blue structures of different scales. But they also contain urban-rural interactions about transportation, modern communication, settlement morphology, supplementing cultural landscapes and assets. The co-evolution of future urban and rural areas particularly highlights the boundary zones between the build and green/blue structures as strategic areas for providing the industrial and process combinates for exchanging and refinement of cityland physical and non-physical resources. Good practices of emerging citylands will be shown from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland and China. A practical road-map for the development of the Baltic Sea Region Cityland project will also be displayed in this paper.