CONSEQUENCE GROUND UP: ISSUE 07
GU : ISSUE 07
GROUND UP TEAM
EDITORS-IN-CHIEF David Koo Kate Lenahan Alexa Vaughn
The seventh issue of GROUND UP was made possible by the generous support of: The Beatrix Farrand Fund for Public Education in Landscape Architecture Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley
GRAPHICS LEADS Greta Aalborg-Volper Serena Lousich EDITORIAL LEADS Dana Davidsen Courtney Ferris
TEAM MEMBERS Miriam Arias Molly Butcher Cheyenne Concepcion Zack Dinh Sarah Fitzgerald Josh Gevertz Jiaqi ‘Lucky’ Li Arturo Ortiz Julia Prince
Special thanks to: Jessica Ambriz Karl Kullmann Susan Retta GROUND UP is curated and produced by students of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley. For inquiries, contact email@example.com Visit us online at www.groundupjournal.org Printed in Canada © Copyright 2018, The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
FACULTY ADVISOR KARL KULLMANN Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley
No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form by any means without the prior permission of the publishers. Articles, photography, and image copyrights are retained by their authors or original owners. The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the contributors and staff, and are not endorsed by the Regents of the University of California.
FOREWORD A moment of sublime nothing and then ... The Big Bang and then ... An Ice Age ended and then ... Our ancestors harnessed fire and then ... The euclidean grid and the world is parceled and then ... Perspectival drawing is invented and then ... Rome fell and then ... The allied forces won the war and then ... A nuclear bomb and then ... A man on the moon and then ... A drought and then ... A spring rain and then ... It’s 2018. And then … Where do we locate the beginning of a story? The middle? Can there ever be an end? 5
Ground Up Issue 07 seeks to understand, confront, and retell dominant narratives of consequence. Read in conversation with each other, the featured authors call into question linear understandings of cause and effect, shedding light on the interstitial relationships that shape our natural, built, and psychological environments. Their dialogue traverses scales and time—from an itemized receipt for a park bench to sea level rise, from mud to queer experience. Most articles are earthbound, while others reach out into our solar system. Their mediums and modes of representation, from tapestry to poetry to prose, suggest that the way a story is told, and by whom, is consequential in and of itself. As we grapple with consequences of generations past, we must consider those for which we will be inevitably responsible in the future. Moving forward, we are challenged as designers, artists, policymakers, mothers, scholars, stargazers, optimists, and imperfect humans to find new ways to preserve the agency of landscape—to expand it, to empower it—through our unique voices and untold narratives. Because ultimately, no matter the storyteller, our agency is determined by how we situate ourselves within the arcs of consequence.
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THE HARM OF DOING NOTHING CLAIRE LATANÉ
MY TRUANT I received the phone call so often that just seeing the number on my phone screen made me tense. “This is Eagle Rock High School. Your son, Levi, was tardy or absent for one or more classes today.” The recorded, impersonal voice then read the list of missed classes. Usually all of them. “Why are you skipping school?” I asked him. “It feels like a prison,” he said. “If there wasn’t a fence, I wouldn’t feel like jumping it.”
He was in ninth grade at the time, and a third year
of trees or shrubs from high school classrooms and
of spiraling grades and increased absences.
cafeterias—a cut grass yard or athletic field won’t do it unless it also has garden-like plants or trees—
Levi was not the only one to liken Eagle Rock High
with reduced anxiety, quicker recovery from stress,
School to a detention center. A dear friend and
less criminal behavior, better test scores, and higher
neighbor with elementary school children told me
graduation rates. What better use for this research
she wouldn’t send them to the high school because
than to improve high school environments?
“it looks like a prison.” In a Lyft on my way to a meeting, my driver mentioned he went to Eagle Rock High School.
THE CONSEQUENCE OF RESEARCH Bring up ‘high school’ or ‘teenagers’ in almost any
“Did you like it?” I asked.
conversation, and you’ll get a groan of sympathy or
“No. It felt like a prison,” he replied.
survived parenting two and am midway through
At parent night, I sat in classroom after classroom
continually struck by how hard our young people
trying to listen to Levi’s teachers, but consumed with unease. The rooms were crowded with too many desks. Most had no windows. Those that did had posters or paint or security grates blocking the daylight and life outside. I was depressed after two hours. RESEARCH OF CONSEQUENCE
wagged head. Teen-hood is infamously awful. I’ve guiding my third teenager to adulthood. I’m have it today. In 2017, the Child Mind Institute reported suicide as the leading cause of death worldwide for girls between 15 and 19. Nearly one-third of teenagers will suffer an anxiety disorder, eighty percent untreated. Sixty percent of depressed youth go untreated.
It has been almost five decades since psychologists
After months searching for a high school (or any
Rachel and Stephen Kaplan proposed attention
school) designed for mental health, I called
restoration theory to describe the restful attention
people gain from watching leaves moving in a breeze, the sound and sight of water, a natural view.
“Do you know of any schools or communities
Their work influenced the therapeutic gardens and
designed specifically with mental health in mind?” I
green schoolyards movements, as well as research
on public housing and high school landscapes. “I don’t know of anyone doing this work,” he said Drs. Frances Kuo, William Sullivan, Andrea Faber-
by phone. “If [parents] knew that green views
Taylor, and their doctoral students connected green
were roughly equivalent to a dose of Ritalin, even
views and access to nature with improved attention,
for students without ADHD (Attention Deficit
social cohesion, self-esteem, impulse control,
Hyperactivity Disorder), they would demand that
test scores, and graduation rates while reducing
districts get rid of classrooms without windows and
stress and criminal behavior in public housing and
put in gardens at every school.”
The Woods, popularized the idea of nature-deficit
Instead, too many urban schools remain physical
disorder, or the negative mental and physical
manifestations of fear. In Los Angeles, tall fences
impacts of leaving children inside. In his 2010
made of chain link or steel bars line school
doctoral thesis on Michigan high schools, Rodney
perimeters. Exits are gated and locked during
Matsuoka associated open campuses and views
school hours. The main entry is guarded by cameras
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schools. Richard Louv’s 2005 book, Last Child in
ABOVE Eagle Rock High School, 1927. Image courtesy of Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society. RIGHT Eagle Rock High School student entrance, 2017
or staff. The Los Angeles Unified School District
was built over the old road that once continued
(LAUSD) has its own police force that patrols
around the block.
middle and high school campuses. Students are searched randomly and they are forbidden to leave
campus. The largest green spaces are reserved for
In Los Angeles and across the nation, Black
competitive sports like football, which is getting increasing attention for causing brain injuries with 12
violent side effects. As a journalist, I write about connecting people to nature. In landscape architecture, I design school landscapes. But being a mother is what drives me to use my writing and design to advocate for high school and community environments that support mental and community health.
teenagers fight for their lives against a law enforcement system that is supposed to protect them. Brown students and students of different faiths are afraid of being abandoned by a country that immigrants founded on religious freedom. Women, young and old, rail against misogyny. LGBTQ+ youth and adults are teaching us to recognize them as the individuals they are. Our melting pot has become a pressure cooker. And our teenagers are drowning in it.
A FORGOTTEN LANDSCAPE
High school students experience stress differently
Eagle Rock Junior Senior High School lies against
than the adults in their lives. Dr. Frances E. Jensen
tree-covered hills over an old stream bed. From
writes in The Teenage Brain that stress causes the
1923 through 1969, a long and elegant Spanish
body to release tetrahydropregnanolone (THO),
Mediterranean building fronted the main road with
which modulates anxiety in adults â€Ś but actually
broad steps presenting a collegiate-like campus to
increases anxiety in adolescents.
its community. It was replaced in 1970, a reaction to the 1960s riots, student walkouts, and concern over
Children and adolescents spend the majority
seismic activity, with a Brutalist structure designed
of their waking hours at school. The average
(not surprisingly) by a prison architect. An eight-
American spends 15% of their lifetime in primary
foot-tall chain link fence and the backs of temporary
and secondary school. School shapes how we think
buildings now front the main road between a
of the world, ourselves, and others. In her book
football field and baseball diamonds. The entry is at
Welcome to Your World, Sarah Williams Goldhagen
the far back of a dead-end, where the new building
reports that characteristics of the built environment
account for 25% of a student’s learning progress. She describes touring a private high school with her teenage son and coming across the only space meant for the important purpose of socializing— a corridor stuffed with old couches and deafening noise. “Students participate less and learn less in classrooms outfitted with direct overhead lighting, linoleum floors, and plastic or metal chairs than they do in ‘soft’ classrooms outfitted with curtains, task lighting, and cushioned furniture, all of which convey a quasi-domestic sensibility of relaxed safety and acceptance,” Goldhagen writes. “Windowless rooms of the kind in the high school we visited exacerbate children’s behavioral problems and aggressive tendencies, whereas daylit, naturally ventilated classrooms contribute to social harmony and facilitate good learning practices. And the sort of noise we heard that day detrimentally impacts learning, just as it does children’s sense of wellbeing at home, communicating to inhabitants their lack of control over their surroundings.”
Our melting pot has become a pressure cooker. And our teenagers are drowning in it.
ABOVE Eagle Rock High School, 2017 GU : ISSUE 07
PERCEPTIONS OF SAFETY AT LOS ANGELES UNIFIED HIGH SCHOOLS Source: Los Angeles Unified School District, 2016 School Experience Survey
30% 20% 10%
Van Nuys High School
Roosevelt High School
North Hollywood High School
Marshall High School
Los Angeles High School
Lincoln High School
Jordan High School
Jefferson High School
Hollywood High School
Fremont High School
0 CENTRAL DISTRICT
PROPERTY CRIME (LA Times, Mapping LA) May-Nov 2017 (0 highest, 100 lowest)
Franklin High School
VIOLENT CRIME (LA Times, Mapping LA) May-Nov 2017 (0 highest, 100 lowest)
STUDENTS: How safe do you feel when you are at school? (% Safe, Very safe)
Eagle Rock Jr/Sr High School
STUDENTS: How safe do you feel in the neighborhood around the school? (% Safe, Very safe)
PARENTS: My child is safe on school grounds (% Safe, Very safe)
Dorsey High School
PARENTS: My child is safe in the neighborhood around the school (% Safe, Very safe)
STAFF: I feel safe on school grounds during the day. (% Safe, Very Safe))
Crenshaw High School
STAFF: I feel safe in the neighborhood around my school. (% Agree, Strongly agree)
ABOVE Perceptions of Safety at Los Angeles HighAND Schools. TOP,Unified MIDDLE, BOTTOM CORE RATED HIGH SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT LAUSD Source: Los Angeles Unified School District 2016 school experience survey.
Now apply this same principle to a high school’s
of a loved one, with the latter being more common.
outdoor environments, where students are
There were 1,152 shootings in Los Angeles in 2016.
expected to develop social skills in spaces that are
And 294 homicides. About the same in 2017. But
too often devoid of defined areas, trees, gardens,
those numbers don’t express the experiences our
or seating options. In Los Angeles, students eat
young people and their families go through.
outside, walk outside between classes, and often take physical education outside.
Just as Levi began emerging from school-induced depression last fall, his best friend was shot and
Dr. Jensen writes, “Adolescents are at especially
killed in Watts. Isaiah had gone to a birthday party
high risk for experiencing emotional trauma
with two friends, and gotten into a drunken fight
compared with the rest of the population, and the
with a couple of gang members. Thrown out of the
consequences for their brain development can be
party without a ride, the men came out and beat
devastating.” By the age of sixteen, a quarter of
him until he lay unconscious in the alley. When one
them have experienced a “high-magnitude” or
of the men pulled a gun, his friends ran for their
lives. Shots exploded through the night, and they ran back. He died in their arms as they tried to stop
In 2016, mental health director Pia Escudora
reported that 50% of LAUSD students suffer moderate to severe post-traumatic stress disorder
Isaiah was like a big brother to Levi. He was a sweet
(PTSD). These students might experience
soul. He spent days at a time with us between
homelessness, an incarcerated parent, abuse,
washing dishes at the Mexicatessen just around the
violence in their neighborhood, or a number of
block. The morning we got the news that Isaiah was
these. The American Psychiatric Association reports
dead, Levi crumpled into my arms. His heartbreak
the strongest predictors of PTSD for adolescents
shook his body and mine. My head filled with heat
are exposure to violence and the sudden death
and my eyes ached with tears.
Isaiah’s family, friends, and community are
to carry their concerns about the neighborhood
devastated by his loss. Yet, I cannot muster up
with them into school. High schools are not the
hatred of his killers—how dark their lives must
bubble of safety that we as parents and teachers so
be to do such a thing. We created this situation.
want them to be. Teenagers are desperate for safe,
Fear-based and racist planning, law enforcement,
calm, restorative environments. Keeping students
and banking systems; inequitable resource
in school is a prime objective for districts across
distribution; and lax gun laws sentence our youth
the nation. California funds public schools based
to violence. Adolescents—those often neglected,
on attendance. More than 80,000 LAUSD students
misunderstood, and feared young people—have
missed three weeks last year, costing the district
the most to gain from us rethinking the design of
$20 million in lost funds. Imagine using that money
their everyday environments.
to create warmer, more welcoming high schools.
The LAUSD is piloting efforts to disrupt the school-
DESIGNING WITH LOVE INSTEAD OF FEAR
to-prison pipeline, provide health and wellness
Designing safe spaces means designing with love
services, and strengthen science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) curriculum. But the connection between mental health and campus design is still missing. PERCEPTIONS OF SAFETY
instead of fear. Designing with love means working with the community to first understand the issues you are trying to solve. Social justice planner Monique Lopez helped me break my assumptions of what might make a
LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King, and John
restorative school landscape. She reminded me of
Deasy before her, promise the safety of students
the importance of participatory design.
and staff as the district’s top priority after incidents or threats to schools. Last May, the School Board
“If we have people who are intimately familiar
unanimously passed a Safe Schools Resolution
with the space, how can we honor their expertise
for Immigrant Students and Families to quell the
to shape the built environment to work best for
emotional trauma caused when Immigration and
them?” she asked, and then gave me the answer.
Customs Enforcement (ICE) picked up a father
“Have a shared understanding of the historical and
dropping off his daughter at school. LAUSD joined
social context. Is it a red-lined neighborhood? Has
the ACLU of Southern California, the California
it had a lot of police violence? Because one thing
Schools Are Sanctuaries nonprofit, and the
we don’t want to do is replicate any traumas that
California Charter Schools Association in pledging
have happened in that space.”
to maintain schools as safe places for all students and families.
Beginning twenty years ago, Anne Whiston Spirn and her graduate students from the University of
In LAUSD’s annual School Experience Survey,
Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of
questions about safety on campus and in the
Technology worked in one of Philadelphia’s poorest
surrounding neighborhood are the only questions
communities to nurture understanding of the
addressing the campus environment. The answers,
natural and cultural forces, including racist zoning
when broken down by students, parents, and
and lending practices, that shaped their floodplain
staff, reveal an important difference between
town of Mill Creek. Spirn’s West Philadelphia
how students perceive the safety of their schools
Landscape Project began by building landscape
compared to adults.
literacy with Sulzberger Middle School students and their teachers. LATANÉ
Parents and staff view schools as safe places, even in violent neighborhoods, but students seem GU : ISSUE 07
They are prisoners in training.
Conduct a participatory process Engage the students, school, and the
“Twenty years ago, I thought that the worst effect of landscape illiteracy was to produce environmental injustice in the form of physical hazards to health and safety,” Spirn wrote. “The Sulzberger students showed me that there is an even greater injustice
broader community in planning, designing, and maintaining school gardens and grounds improvements to develop a sense of ownership and community pride.
than inequitable exposure to harsh conditions: the
Plan with the greater community in mind
internalization of shame for one’s neighborhood.
Nearby senior citizens aging in place could
This is a particularly destructive form of injustice.”
be adopted grandparents to the school in return for student mentorship, garden
Spirn saw the power of allowing understanding to
expertise, or simply eyes on the schoolyard
replace shame, and hope to replace resignation.
to improve safety.
“Without an understanding of how the neighborhood came to be, many believed that the
Build landscape literacy
poor conditions were the fault of those who lived
Students who understand the social,
there, a product of either incompetence or lack of
political, environmental, and
care,” she writes. “Learning that there were other
economic forces that shaped their
reasons sparked a sense of relief. Once they had
communities gain insight and hope to
the knowledge and skill to read the landscape’s
change their outcomes.
history, they came to consider the possibility of 16
alternative futures and brimmed with ideas.”
Challenge preconceptions Educate school administrators and
This should be our goal for high school
educators who may not know the research
environments: to give teenagers a sense of
on attention restoration theory, and may
possibility and purpose, a place where they can
not see the opportunities to design with
imagine positive futures and act to create them.
nature (and love) on school grounds.
What would a high school campus look like if every design and programming decision was made out of love for each student and a concern for their mental health and well-being? Months of exploring this topic has led me to a few considerations:
Prioritize mental health Design to alleviate stress, restore attention, and build community to help heal the trauma and mental health disorders that impact physical health and disrupt learning.
Harvest the low-hanging fruit Ask administrators and teachers about removing posters, paint, grates, and security bars from school windows and planting trees and gardens where students can see them from classrooms; take advantage of mandates to manage stormwater on school sites to increase students’ access to nature.
DO NO HARM The common experiences of our young people could and should be filled with life, comfort, and wonder to provide the scaffolding their evolving minds and bodies will need to become healthy and productive humans. Instead, too many of our youth, especially those with the least economic and social resources, determine their self-worth in barren landscapes of learning, fenced in and exposed. They are prisoners in training. We know the consequences of everyday environments on mental health and well-being. High school campus landscapes are consequential to students’ ideas of themselves, their peers, and their community. The way we plan, design, and maintain high school landscapes shapes our teenagers’ self-esteem, self-control, ability to pay attention, and their prospects for the future. What are the bounds of our professional mandate to do no harm? Surely it also extends to undoing existing harm. Once we are aware of a harmful environment, don’t we as landscape architects have
the responsibility to rectify it? If we are to help heal the generational traumas of redlining, environmental injustice, and systemic racism as well as improve the mental health and well-being of our young people, we must leverage our professional knowledge and ‘do no harm’ mandate to advocate for, design for, and nurture the mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellbeing of our constituents. We have the knowledge.
Do we have the heart?
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THE WILD GREG KOCHANOWSKI
“If Los Angeles hangs on long enough, it will cart entirely the mountains away ...” - John McPhee, The Control of Nature “Wildness is not preservation of the world, it is the world.” - Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild
ABOVE Station Fire in Los Angeles, CA,
Los Angeles is a beautifully bizarre and seductive place. Its many
August 2009. The largest fire in Los Angeles
personalities sit in stark juxtaposition to each other, illuminating the
County history, which consumed 160,557 acres. Photo by Dan Finnerty. RIGHT Projected development of public green
rich ecological and cultural diversity that make up this vast territory. The most enduring of these, and the one that is personally most appealing, is the city's relationship to the natural environment.
belts along the historic lines of water and debris flows
It is a city continually shaped and reshaped, not only by its many inhabitants, but also by the many natural ecologies that surround and impact it. The wild spaces of the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains, the vast vistas and extreme temperatures of Death Valley and the Mojave Desert, and the unfathomable depths and swells of the Pacific Ocean, coupled with Los Angeles’ urban, political, and economic framework, all frame the feeling of the city’s impermanence and ad-hoc nature.
as the vast metropolis next to which they reside.
its proximity to wildernessâ€”not wilderness in its
Mountains, thick with vegetal, biological, and
metaphorical sense, but actually wild-ness: places
geologic diversity, transform through cycles of
primarily untouched, or rather uninhabited, by
extreme drought and flood into fluvial territories
human culture. Sometimes mythologized and
that wash through developments, expand the
exaggerated through media for dramatic effect,
hillside, and reclaim areas of the city fabric. The
through the vignettes of earthquakes, fires, floods,
boundaries of oceans and deserts, too, with their
mudslides, drought, sharks, mountain lions, and
combination of rich ecological makeup and shifting
the like. This dramatization is itself rooted into
atmospheric conditions, transform on a continuing
the larger narrative and identity of the city. The
basis and challenge their occupation by human
proximity of the urban fabric to these untamed
settlement. Through a deeper understanding of
environments is real. It has significant impact on
the relationship between these two realms, we can
our city and the manner in which we understand its
develop other urban tactics and strategies that,
overall ecological makeup, and the nature of Los
although specific to Los Angeles, can be applied to
Angeles' public space in particular.
similar conditions across the globe.
Typically seen as â€˜empty,â€™ the territories surrounding
In the 1870s, during the early years of the city,
Los Angeles are in fact dynamic ecosystems
the landscape surrounding Los Angeles was filled
operating at the same scale and complexity
orange with groves, vineyards, farmland,
One of the unusual things about Los Angeles is
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and mountain ranges. Even within the boundaries
to provide adequate facilities in support of this
of the city, an extensive network of privatized
increased density, we need to look for other options
gardens provided relief from the harshness of
to fulfill this need. Such efforts can enhance, and
urban life. As such, there was no perceived need for
build upon, Los Angeles’ history of open space.
public parks or open spaces. As the city developed, becoming more and more dense, city officials
In recent years Los Angeles has exhibited an
realized that publicly owned open space was
extended cycle of drought, fire, and flood. These
required. By then, however, all that remained were
three components of Los Angeles’ extreme
leftover residual spaces, marginal land occupied by
weather cycle create a deadly combination. Fire
unstable hillsides, defunct infrastructure, and soft
clears vegetation from Southern California’s steep
marshes. We can see this today in the character
canyons, leaving them vulnerable to flash floods
of Los Angeles’ public spaces. Our city is not one
and perilous mudslides. For most of the 20th
of singular civic spaces. Rather, the public realm
century, city, state, and federal agencies have
exists in those places where wilderness and people
attempted to control these natural processes as
meet: the beach, Santa Monica Mountains, desert,
communities sprawled deeper and deeper into
and the Los Angeles River. As a consequence,
once-uninhabitable canyons. The infrastructure
our understanding of public space and its future
developed for this purpose has entered its 50-year
incarnations is radically different from that of other
lifespan, leaving a void in the city’s management
major urban centers.
of these systems. By hacking into this network of debris basins and spreading fields, we can begin
As we look toward the future of public open space
not only to provide an updated and ecologically
in Los Angeles, there is a substantial movement to
resilient line of defense against these events, but
adopt models from other cities and cultures. But
offer much needed publicly accessible open space
with increased property values being driven by a
in the process.
development renaissance, the opportunities for large public spaces are becoming limited, if not eliminated, from our dense urban centers. In order
ABOVE Quantities, areas, volume, and ultimate maintenance cost of debris system in Los Angeles.
ABOVE Micro-Basin System. Pre-fabricated, transportable steel structures are deployed across the slopes of burn sites and organized into two configurations: those that slow debris flow,
BELOW Mountain Making. Over time, the basins accumulate debris, making way for vegetation, habitat, campsites, and overall increased resiliency to the hillside.
and those that capture and retain.
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The 2009 Station Fire, which ravaged a 252-square-
mitigating future disasters. In other words, this
mile area of Southern California's La Crescenta
project proposes 'hacking' into the natural
foothills and sparked multiple catastrophic mud
processes of mudslides and wildfires to generate
slides, was the result of severe climatic conditions,
a new 'landform infrastructure' that reuses the
cyclical weather cycles, and an outdated, aging
material these events produce. As debris is
infrastructure. In our SLIDE project (illustrated
redistributed along historic lines of mudflow,
here), we reimagine the existing debris basin
larger urban connections can be created in the form
infrastructure being transformed into a more
of greenbelts, establishing open space networks for
sustainable model that protects residents living
adjacent residential neighborhoods, and serving
at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, while
as a catalyst for increased public space and
simultaneously allowing greater access by the
public. This project attempts to deconstruct both the meteorological disaster and the infrastructure
The project proposes the installation of a network
that failed to contain it in hope of identifying a
of oversize gabion cage structures throughout the
more landscape-driven approach. In particular, the
hillsides. The cage walls, made of varying aperture
project proposes the use of waste management
sizes, slows the slide of debris and traps the rock
systems, landscape interventions, and the
and soil at different rates throughout the year, while
differences between local and regional approaches
allowing water to filter through. After 15-20 years of
to devise a more resilient infrastructure for
extreme weather, this intervention would result in a
communities vulnerable to these natural disasters.
network of micro-basins along the foothills, linking the canyons together in a single, dynamic system of
Currently, following a mudslide, trucks clean out
extreme weather mitigation.
debris basins and then haul away the debris to 22
landfills at a rate of half a million cubic yards per
“Landslides and other ‘ground failures’ cost more
year. This expensive solution carries a huge carbon
lives and money each year than all other disasters
footprint, and is also spatially unsustainable: the
combined, and their incidence appears to be
1,365-acre La Puente Landfill, where so much of
rising. Nevertheless, the government devotes
this debris has been trucked over the years, is now
few resources to their study—and the foolhardy
full. As such, this project utilizes the debris as a
continue to build and live in places likely to be
reusable material, capable of being reorganized
consumed one day by avalanches of mud.”
and redistributed to help stabilize the hillsides,
- Brenda Bell, The Atlantic Monthly
System is appropriated during ‘off season’ by hikers, campers, education groups, wildlife, etc.
This process creates a closed loop system capable
The idea of wilderness speaks toward an unknown
of supporting and generating multiple forms
potentialâ€”a mystery that is both comprehensible
of occupation within close proximity to disaster
and unfathomable, dangerous and comforting,
zones in the wilderness. During periods of clement
remote yet present, in our everyday experiences
weather, this new infrastructure of mud, rock, and
and imaginations. The wilderness that is Los
steel would become the armature for recreation
Angeles expresses all of these through an urban
and habitat, turning weather cycles into an asset for
condition borne of a synthetic relationship among
the local foothill communities. This new geology
people, economies, vegetation, geology, biology,
of mountain-making acts as a hybrid infrastructure
infrastructure, and the environment. As we develop
of both natural and synthetic interactions aimed
new models for publicly accessible open space in
at re-thinking extreme weather and the space it
the city, we need to embrace the latent potential
creates, allowing us to fundamentally re-think the
that exists within these relationships; developing
relationship between the city and the edge of
spaces and scenarios that do not accept old
nature from one of danger and contention to one
models, but rather build upon and reinforce the
of symbiosis and opportunity. By challenging the
unique urban condition of Los Angeles.
nature of mudslide infrastructure, this project also challenges the roles of landscape architects and designers to move beyond the purely aesthetic and engage with the systems and processes that
BELOW Basins are designed to filter and catch specific materials
support urban and natural life.
which can then be utilized and reused across the region
Simulation of system during a natural disaster event.
GU : ISSUE 07
DITCHED CONTEMPL ATING THE CUSP OF RUIN IN THE CADILL AC DESERT NATE KAUFFMAN
ABOVE A desert severely denuded of 24
vegetation by cattle grazing (left) in 1957. At right, it has returned to a scrubland skinned in blue gramma grass after only a decade of managed use. Image at left courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. BELOW A map of the Rio Puerco (left fork) and Rio Grande (right fork)
The ditch must rank quite near the top of inglorious landscape features. Patently unsophisticated, aesthetically uninspired, and even phonetically grating, ‘ditches’ are not, at first blush, fertile ground for deep examination. Yet fertile ground is exactly what the proverbial ditch is all about. In the pantheon of low-tech innovations of Homo sapiens, perhaps none were more fundamentally consequential. Ancient infrastructural systems that redefined entire geographic regions employed the ditch as their common unit, beginning the process of turning deadly-dry dirt into productive land. Indeed, human beings arguably wrenched themselves from their nomadic origin, and established their roots as settlers, by no single act more transformative than the digging of a shallow rill to swamp a field they’d sown. The oldest known human writing is Sumerian cuneiform regarding the rights to, and allocations of, water bled off the mighty Nile by (of course) ditches. And though we marvel at Roman aqueducts, Haussmann’s revolutionary Parisian water network, and stupendously-scaled dams the world over, the ditch was the seed of them all—a revelatory cornerstone upon which civilization itself was founded, and is still today in many places grounded.
In the rift valley of the Rio Grande south of
hijuelas, and carreritas) to flood the desired fields.
Albuquerque, laced through the region’s modern
In keeping with the vascular analogy of human-
city, its rural villages, and iconic pueblos, this
made waterways, the heart powering it all was
modest method is an almost invisibly banal thread
(and remains) the massive, silty, and occasionally
woven through the fabric of the place, omnipresent
impetuous Rio Grande.
yet understated. The ditch is, in fact, the critical stitch holding the whole garment together.
A familiar story unfolded as the Spanish (arriving around 1600) seized upon the ingenuity and
This dimension of the region is not a singular
technical advantages the acequia system provided,
entity, but an extensive network: a system unto
and promptly put the indigenous population to
itself that has major implications for the very way
work in expanding and enhancing it to satisfy their
of life here. Not only is flood irrigation via the
exploits of imperial conquest and regional resource
ditch system the dominant mode of sustaining the
extraction. Extensive, unbridled cattle grazing of
alfalfa, hay crops, and permanent pasture of this
wide swaths of desert destabilized soils throughout
reach of the Rio Grande, but its wide wanderings
the region, and, by exacerbating erosion,
through the landscape have served to preserve
dramatically disrupted the rhythms and natural
some semblance of the area’s natural topography,
processes of Western waterways.
demarcate property boundaries, and define the modern manifestations of its various urban, cultural,
Just as the earliest Mesopotamians conceived of
ecological, and infrastructural layers.
written law to manage land, so too did eminent thinkers in the age of the vagabond American
Pueblo means people, really. Its literal definition
west. John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil
is closer to settlement or civilization, but to
Government, published in 1689, put forth a simple
contemplate a pueblo is simply more intimate.
theorem pertaining to land ‘ownership’ (a concept
Indigenous Tribes (The Isleta, Cochiti, Santa
fundamentally alien to most indigenous North
Domingo, San Philipe, Sandia, and Santa Ana, the
Americans). His exposition asserted that a person
six distinct Southern Pueblos) were farming using
essentially made the land their own by “mixing
gravity-fed ditch systems here in the 10th century.
their labor with it”—the so-called Homestead
Their communal network was composed of shared
Principle. Of course, Locke was mainly aligning his
irrigation ditches, called acequias, which were
rhetoric with the inexorable tide of Europeans and
maintained by the entire community, employing
newly-minted white ‘Americans’ sweeping across
numerous smaller ditches bled off the main vein.
the continent. This particular flood of humanity
was intent on extirpating, interning, and even Indeed, acequia, like Pueblo, is a word for the
exterminating indigenous peoples in the process,
community that uses it as much as the physical
and ‘civilizing’ the land in their ebb. Even today,
feature itself. An intricate system is braided into
on top of all of the other complications layered
the landscape of the broader river valley to weave
upon this place and its namesake lifeblood river,
water into plots and parcels close and low enough
the treaties and water allotments—dictating which
to swamp. A diversion dam (presa) shunts water
indigenous people are due X volume of water—
from the river at the toma into the acequia madre,
is a matter so fraught and contentious that most
which feeds secundarias: smaller ditches. Head
agree its adjudication, if ever resolved, will
gates (regaderas) and laterals (linderos) further
prevent flooding, as water ‘steps down’ into smaller
A particular and somewhat peculiar fever brought
and smaller structures or micro-topographies
settlers to the deserts of the American Southwest in
(brazos, bancales, melgas, ancones, eras, ramos,
the 19th century, and somehow kept them here. GU : ISSUE 07
broaden irrigational reach, and drains (desagues)
Mining, trade routes, and almighty war generated
The desert is a strange place, which anyone who
livelihoods in the least likely of places. Commerce
has spent time in it can attest to. The scale of the
connecting the Gulf of Mexico, the Sea of Cortez,
visible landscape and the seeming emptiness
and the mighty Pacific meandered across the
therein somehow refocuses oneâ€™s attention to
landscape. In the 20th century, the Southwest
vacillate between the massive and the micro. And,
played host to some of manâ€™s most marvelous
because of its extreme nature, the desert displays
and Machiavellian machinations, as stupefying
a dramatic, sometimes dangerous dynamism:
civil engineering projects like the Hoover Dam
the monsoon and its flash-flooding; the haboob;
threatened to blot out the sun and a thermonuclear
electrical storms that rake the plains and scorch the
arsenal was tested in the background.
earth. Routine inconveniences become existential in such an unforgiving place: flat tires, dehydration,
The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District
or simple bad timing can prove lethal turns of fate.
(MRGCD), which today manages irrigation and flood control systems in the area, and the Bureau
Yet the desert is also a terribly alive place, for all
of Reclamation (formed, literally, to reclaim land for
its arid, bleak vastness and potential fatalities. The
the 17 western States) have spent decades testing
intersection of the drama that is the desertâ€™s severe
interventions aimed at taming and directing the
weather and the sere palette that it plays upon
hydrology of an extremely arid place, in a process
becomes apparent when an arroyo is activated
that is, depending on your perspective, awesomely
by storms so intense that the land melts in the
audacious or pathologically misguided. Perhaps it
embrace of its torrent. The parched earth simply
is a bit of both.
cannot soak up the rain fast enough, and nearly
every drop of the ensuing flood races down the valley as quickly as gravity and friction can conspire to shuttle it. Major river and arroyo systems of deserts are such tempestuous agents of the landscape because they focus so much energy so rapidly. If the Rio Grande is the mother of the Chihuahuan Desert, the petulant Rio Puerco is her proverbial problem child. Diving diagonally southeast across New Mexico’s northern scrubland to join the Rio Grande, the Puerco has permanently shuttered at least one town. Its flooding can only be described as biblical. To study fluvial processes is to discover
To look upon it, the Rio Puerco does not appear to be a large river. Much of the year, it doesn’t appear to be a river at all. Its power and occasional fury, however, draws from a sizeable, 7,500-squaremile watershed draining the Nacimiento Range northwest of Albuquerque. In the astonishingly fast melt of New Mexico’s spring thaw, the winter’s cache of snow goes ripping down the valley with a vengeance. True to its name, the Puerco is a tremendously silty waterway. Though puerco translates to ‘pig,’ it is the porcine proclivity towards muddiness that informs the colloquial connotation. The Puerco is legendary for the amount of silt and
that water is only half of the story; rivers are
IMAGES Land use changes in far-off places contributed to the
landform-making machines, and their sediment
flooding and geomorphology evident in these 1950s photos
transport is one of the most active processes
(courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, at left), juxtaposed with
canyons, and valleys we so often associate with riverine systems are emblematic of water’s removal, movement, and commensurate deposition of mindboggling volumes of ‘land.’
photos of current conditions (by author, at right), to illustrate timelapse. A decade later, though native vegetation has crept back into the landscape, the dreaded and famously thirsty Tamarisk (or salt cedar) has established itself along all waterway banks in dense colonies, adding another chapter to the complex saga of western water woes.
continuously shaping the earth. The chasms, voids,
GU : ISSUE 07
mud that it activates, transports, and relocates
But the acequia system employed on a modest
during flood events. In 1957, the Puerco carried
scale was an ingenious, flexible, and sustainable
2.25 million tons of earth downstream in a
system. The scheme deployed and maintained
today by the MRGCD is undeniably inflexible and, given shifting weather patterns and predicted
The command-and-control ethos that drove the
precipitation reduction in the Southwestern deserts,
reclamation of the West sought to harness, utilize,
nearing the verge of irrelevance. It may be that
or altogether ignore the reality of the region that
today’s residents of the Rio Grande Valley are living
waterways like the Puerco embody. The Rio Grande
through the twilight of the region as we know it.
and its tributaries act as barometers, registering
the impacts of distant upstream logging, grazing,
Until quite recently, the management practices
wildfires, and development. Salinization, seepage,
employed by agencies such as the Bureau of
silting, aggrading, erosion, and sedimentation
Reclamation would likely frighten and astonish
of waterways is problematic for the rhythms of
any current civil engineering student. Before
civilization, so an extensive infrastructure was
adopting a view of the sinuosity of a river like the
designed and deployed. This complex network
Rio Grande as an important and dynamic aspect of
includes our ancestral acequia system, as well as
its health, and thus an indicator for its monitoring
canals, diversion dams, pumps, and reservoirs,
and management, Bureau engineers would literally
all of which are collectively managed by regimes
drive a fleet of D9 Caterpillars up the river channel
charged with ensuring the infrastructure maintains a
to straighten it out and maintain bank profiles,
predictable function—in times of extended drought
grades, and channel shapes that conformed
and flash flooding alike.
with grandfathered-in engineering specs. After leaving their bulldozers in the river channel over
It is notable that the acequia, as a hydrologic unit,
the weekend, a particularly unlucky crew returned
could not deviate more from the geomorphology
during an unexpected storm to find one of the
of the area’s natural waterways; acequias are always
machines lost to the torrent. Upon dragging it
wet, devoid of turbulent flow, and thus typically
out of its watery grave-to-be, the local Caterpillar
transport minimal sediment.
distributor disassembled, cleaned, and rebuilt the entire machine, at an undisclosed cost to taxpayers.
TOP ‘Mudballs’ wadded up by raging waters tumble down arroyos underwater; deep scouring and incising on the Puerco
Following the endangered species protections
after a flash flood; Rio Chico washed well over the truck, and
that were enacted for the Rio Grande silvery
swamped it in four feet of silt.
minnow (Hybognathus amarus) in 1994, sweeping
RIGHT Bureau of Reclamation Engineer, sitting on Rio Puerco head cut, 1962. Images courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
changes for the region’s land use and water management began to take effect. In a pattern
becoming all-too familiar, a minuscule, practically
stream of sandhill cranes soars ceaselessly up the
microscopic indicator became understood to
valley. A maze of cottonwoods frames the river,
be of macro-spatial consequence. Many experts
itself invisible from this distance and very low and
fear the endangerment of the minnow may be
slow besides. The ‘bosque,’ a thick, verdant gallery
foreshadowing a slow march to ruination for the
forest snaking north toward Albuquerque and
region’s life and landscape. A gauge for ecosystem
south toward Truth or Consequences, is the only
health, the minnow is not only under severe strain
indication of surface water visible for many miles
to survive, but is also now grappling to adapt to
in any direction. But the water is here, for those
the environmental pressures and extreme events
who know how to look. It’s seeping into acequias
stemming from our shifting climate.
and flooding alfalfa fields. It’s hiding in the drains and ditches that lace through the town of Belen,
I’ve come to the Rio Grande Valley to interview a
where we now sit. It might even be sheltering a
retired Bureau of Reclamation engineer. Sitting
silvery minnow in some silty pool upriver. I ask
on his porch, a four-foot ristra of red Hatch chiles
the engineer what he thinks of the consequence
hangs on the wall as we chat over margaritas.
of all of the Bureau’s meddling with the river, and
Looking across the Rio Grande rift valley at the
the region inextricably wed to it, before they got
Manzano mountains straddling the horizon, the
religion and started reading Leopold. He scoffs
oddness of the desert is on full display. Virga
a bit and shakes his head. “Whatever was there
blurs the southern sky—rain evaporating prior to
when the engineers took over, they broke it beyond
making landfall. It’s hotter than hell. Someone in
fixing,” he says. “Maybe for good.” I don’t ask if,
the neighborhood is burning tires, and an acrid
by ‘good,’ he means ‘permanently’ or ‘for some
blue haze slinks through the palo verde and
benevolent purpose.’ We both take a drink and
creosote peppering the hillside. The indelible polka
watch the cranes fly through the virga.
backbone beat of some distant, vague Norteño
music washes in and out of audible range. A steady
PUBLIC · SEDIMENT PUBLIC SEDIMENT TEAM
The Public Sediment Team is:
The consequences of human action are felt across geography
SCAPE: Pippa Brashear, Gena Morgis, Kate Orff, Sophie Riedel, Nick Shannon, Gena Wirth, Nans Voron
and time. The Bay Area is beginning to viscerally experience the
DREDGE RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE: Brian Davis, Yuanyuan Gao, Rob Holmes, Justine Holzman, Yuzhou Jin, Jingting Li, Brett Milligan UC DAVIS: Victoria Eilish Chau, Beth Ferguson, N. Claire Napawan, Brett Snyder, Sahoko Yui
effects of elevated global greenhouse gas emissions, facing new environmental realities of rising sea levels, unpredictable weather patterns, and increased flood, fire, and erosion events. While global change impacts the region, its response is shaped by the legacies of past decisions—resource management policy, physical infrastructure, and social patterns—that can exacerbate the impacts of climate change at the local level. While the consequences
ARCADIS: Christopher Devick
of some choices, like building in the floodplain, are clear and
ARCHITECTURAL ECOLOGIES LAB: Evan Jones, Margaret Ikeda, Adam Marcus
perceptible to the general public, other actions reveal their
TS STUDIO: Abby Granbery, J. Lee Stickles, Wright Yang
Sediment proposes to investigate the invisible yet considerable
VIDEO: Nabi Agzamov, Huai-Kuan Chung, Guan Min ARTIST: Cy Keener
impacts slowly over time and are invisible to the human eye. Public effects of a material largely out-of-sight and out-of-mind: MUD. Mud is infrastructure, an infrastructure that is slowly eroding, drowning, and subsiding in the Bay Area. The region’s shorelines, beaches, marshes, and mudflats all rely upon a supply of sediment
that is transported downstream from regional waterbodies and
LEFT Manzana Creek photographed by
local tributaries to replenish these ecosystems over time. This slow
Eric Vizents CENTER Hydraulic Mining in Nevada County, California, 1866. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
wash of mud (or more technically, sediment supply) is critical to the sustained ecological and community health of the region. It is literally the substrate for the bay’s shallow water ecosystems, which
RIGHT O’Shaughnessy Dam
stabilize and protect urban neighborhoods with stronger living
photographed by Johnnie Chamberlin
edges, buffer the impacts of sea level rise and extreme flooding,
HIS TORIC SEDIMEN T FLOWS THROUGH TRIBU TARIE S
H Y DR AULIC MINING IN CRE A SED FLOWS
TO DAY DA MS TR AP SEDIMEN T UP S TRE A M
SOUTH BAY: HARD EDGES AMPLIFY TIDAL FORCES
SOUTH BAY: TIDAL BAYLANDS DISSIPATE TIDAL FORCES
and improve social and environmental health
capacity and water storage. In the bay’s greater
through the production of cleaner water, cleaner air,
watershed, land is managed to slow erosion and
and access to living systems. Yet the region faces
reduce sediment flows downstream, for the benefit
a looming scarcity; scientific predictions indicate
of water supply and habitat management. Yet,
that soon there will not be enough sediment to go
muddy water, at the right times and volumes,
around. The trickle of mud that currently moves
is essential to a range of Bay Area ecosystems.
downstream is insufficient to sustain marshes and
Large-grain sediments, like sand and cobbles,
mudflats with aggressive rates of sea level rise.1
provide critical spawning habitat for fish in creeks
Current sediment management practices are not
and channels. Fine-grain sediments nourish bay
adapting at a pace that meets new climate realities.
ecosystems, helping them accrete over time and
Today’s practices were shaped by the 20th century perception of sediment as a nuisance, waste
keep pace with sea level rise. Without sediment, the Bay Area’s marshes will drown.
product, and contaminant. Sediment is treated as
Public Sediment proposes to invest in sediment
an obstruction; huge volumes are annually dredged
infrastructure—the building block of resilience in
from the bay to clear passage for ships. When
the bay. The team aims to design with mud, to
timing and budgets allow, some of this material
connect the region’s uplands with its lowlands,
is beneficially reused for wetland creation, while
and rethink sediment management as part of an
in other scenarios dredged sediment is shipped
engaged and dynamic public realm. PUBLIC SEDIMENT TEAM
off the coast and dumped in offshore disposal sites, outside of the bay system.2 Upstream, in impounded streams and behind dams, sediment flows are decoupled from water flows. Sediment builds up in reservoirs where it limits flood control
GU : ISSUE 07
HOW DO SEDIMENT FLOWS IMPACT THE BAY?
The bay is entering an era of sediment scarcity.3 Historically, the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers provided the majority of its sediment, building historic marshlands and mudflats. During the Gold Rush, hydraulic mining power-washed hillsides and flushed huge volumes of sediment into these rivers. This surplus helped build some of the marshes and mudflats known today. Contemporary dams trap sediment far upstream of the bay, leading to sediment scarcity at a time when it is needed most. Without sediment inputs, shallow habitats will drown, and the bay will flood more intensely.4
BAYLAND CHANGE WITH LOW SEDIMENT
SUB TI DAL
T I DA L BAY L A N DS
Sediment scarcity and wetland drowning are difficult to perceive. There is no clear disaster momentâ€”this catastrophe is slow, rendered in millimeters over years. 32
BAYLAND ECOSYSTEMS TODAY Constructed ponds and diked agricultural areas were built in
MHW M LW
former marshlands, and have subsided deeply over time as their soils were exposed to air. To slow subsidence and restore habitat, a massive effort is underway to return diked ponds to
SUB TI DAL E XPANSI O N
tidal baylands, often requiring large volumes of sediment to raise them to marsh plain elevation.
MARSH DECLINE Given sufficient sediment supply, marshes can accrete up to 6mm a year, potentially keeping pace with rising seas. However,
3F T SLR M HW MLW
faster sea level rise and low sediment supply create conditions where marshes and mudflats cannot keep up. Bay scientists project that many marshes will transition to mudflats in coming
SUB TI DAL E XPANSI O N
decades, reducing the protective benefits of the bayland buffer.
BAYLAND DROWNING As marshes and mudflats convert to subtidal baylands, habitat will shift, floods will intensify, and tides will be amplified. While today this change is slow and imperceptible, it presents serious risks to humans and ecosystems over time.
MAR SH DROWN I NG MUDFL AT M I G R ATI O N
7F T SLR M HW MLW
2100, 2100, 3.5 ft 3.53.5 SLR ftftftSLR 2100, 2100,3.5 SLR SLR ESTIMATE ESTIMATE OF OFOF OF ESTIMATE ESTIMATE OF ESTIMATE ESTIMATE ESTIMATE ESTIMATE OF OF OF POSSIBLE POSSIBLE FUTURE FUTURE POSSIBLE POSSIBLE FUTURE FUTURE POSSIBLE FUTURE POSSIBLE FUTURE POSSIBLE FUTURE POSSIBLE FUTURE BAYLAND BAYLAND BAYLAND BAYLAND BAYLAND BAYLAND BAYLAND BAYLAND SEDIMENT SUPPLY1 SEDIMENT DEMAND2 SEDIMENT SUPPLY1 SEDIMENT DEMAND2 SEDIMENT SEDIMENT SUPPLY1 SUPPLY1 SEDIMENT SEDIMENT DEMAND2 DEMAND2 (assuming (assuming current current (assuming (assuming current current
SUPPLY AND DEMAND: 2100, 3.5 ft SLR The bar chart to the right is based on preliminary analysis by SFEI. A more detailed analysis is being conducted as part of
(assuming (assuming current current average average annual annual load) load) load)
the Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands project (hwrb.sfei.org).
averageaverage annual load) annual 400 400
Sediment mass (million Mt)
Sediment mass (million Mt)
1 Sediment supply was estimated by multiplying the current average annual sediment load values from McKee et al. (in prep) by the number of years between 2017 and 2100.
2 Sediment demand was estimated using a mudflat soil bulk density of 1.5 g sediment/cm soil (Brew and Williams 2010), a tidal marsh soil bulk density of 0.4 g sediment/cm soil (Callaway et al. 2010), and baywide mudflat and marsh area circa 2009 (BAARI v1).
400 Sediment mass (million Mt) Sediment mass (million Mt)
(assuming (assuming current baylands baylands extent) extent) current baylands baylands extent) extent)
TIDAL TIDAL MARSH MARSH
TIDAL MARSH TIDAL MARSH SFSF BAY BAY
SF BAY SFDELTA BAY SAC-SJ SAC-SJ DELTA
1Sediment 1Sediment supply supply waswas estimated estimated by multiplying by multiplying the the current current average average
TRIBUTARIES TRIBUTARIES SAC-SJ DELTA SAC-SJ DELTA annual annual sediment sediment load load values values fromfrom
McKee McKee et al. et(in al. prep) (in prep) by the by the number number of years of years between between 2017 2017 andand 2100. 2100.
the Res pro
Based Based on analysis analysb detailed detaile Basa conducted condu ana thethe Health He detB Resilient Resilie con project projec (h
2Sediment 2Sediment demand demand waswas estimated estimated using using a mudflat a mudflat soil soil bulkbulk density density of of 1.5 1.5 g sediment/cm3 g sediment/cm3 soil soil (Brew (Brew andand Williams Williams 2010), 2010), a tidal a tidal marsh marsh soil soil bulkbulk density density of 0.4 of 0.4 g sediment/cm3 g sediment/cm3 soil soil (Callaway (Callaway et al. et2010), al. 2010), andand baywide baywide mudflat mudflat and and marsh marsh areaarea 2Sediment demand 2Sediment was demand estimated was estimated circaa circa 2009 2009 (BAARI (BAARI v1). density using mudflat using soil av1). mudflat bulk soil bulk of density of
1Sediment supply 1Sediment was supply estimated was estimated by multiplying by multiplying the current the average current average annual sediment annualload sediment values load fromvalues from 1.5 g sediment/cm3 1.5 g sediment/cm3 soil (Brew and soil (Brew and McKee et al.McKee (in prep) et al. by(in theprep) number by the number Williams 2010), Williams a tidal 2010), marsh a tidal soil marsh soil of years between of years 2017 between and 2100. 2017 and 2100. bulk densitybulk of 0.4 density g sediment/cm3 of 0.4 g sediment/cm3 soil (Callaway soilet(Callaway al. 2010),etand al. 2010), and baywide mudflat baywide andmudflat marsh area and marsh area circa 2009 (BAARI circa 2009 v1). (BAARI v1).
THERE IS NOT ENOUGH MUD
D IK ED PON DS FOR R ES TOR ATI ON
If this era of sediment scarcity continues, the amount arriving into the system may be well below the amount needed to sustain today’s tidal baylands.5 Moreover, newly restored wetlands— wetlands whose restoration is already planned BAYLANDS TODAY 2018
and underway—will require additional sediment, exacerbating the deficit. While many unknowns make these projections inexact, like the amount of sediment that might enter the system with
LEVEE B R E ACH FO R TI DAL
increased fires or mudslides and future precipitation
R ES TOR ATI ON
rates, it is clearly urgent to manage sediment differently in the Bay Area—as a valued resource, not waste. HOW WILL THE BAYLANDS CHANGE? MARSH DECLINE WITH 3’ SLR BY 2050
Local tributaries, dams, dredging, construction fill, and biosolids are all possible sources of sediment to feed the baylands. New techniques must be devised to place these materials in ecologically
MAR SH AN D MUDFL AT D ROWN I N G
intelligent and efficient ways. But even with all these sources mobilized, the scale of the potential problem outpaces the supply. There is still not
The drawn scenarios on the following pages depict BAYLAND DROWING WITH 7’ SLR BY 2100
this slow but dramatic drowning of the baylands as sediment needs outpace sediment supply.
GU : ISSUE 07
PUBLIC SEDIMENT TEAM
GU : ISSUE 07
DESIGN WITH MUD Where does that leave the bay? If even mobilizing
To meet rising challenges of sediment scarcity,
all of these sources will be inadequate at some
Public Sediment looks to connect the uplands and
point in the future, what can we do today? Should
the lowlands with a series of sediment actions:
we give up? Abandon wetland restoration? No. The
harvest, retrofit, and remove dams; unlock tributary
Public Sediment team proposes to treat sediment
channels; and test new methods of mud placement
as a public resource, and to DESIGN WITH MUD.
that use currents to move mud in the bay.
The next few decades are a critical period, when
Experimentation is vital to ecological resilience.
designers must test methods that can be scaled
Current practices, like beneficial dredge placement
up in the future to strategically sustain baylands
in contained, non-tidal sites, are positive but are not
for a range of ecosystem services, particularly
being explored at a scale or pace that meets the
flood risk reduction, habitat provision, and carbon
urgency of the problem. Collaborationâ€”between
sequestration. Projections of large-scale change
regulators, engineers, watershed managers, policy
make bayland restoration and creative sediment
makers, and designersâ€”is critical to developing
management more urgent than ever. The team aims
new methods and new implementation pathways
to invest differently with sediment, developing new
for sediment management and sea level rise. The
management regimes for portions of the bay with
team is building these relationships as part of
the greatest capacity for long-term survival.
the design process, working to pilot new ways of managing mud collectively in the bay.
DESIGN WITH MUD / MAKE SEDIMENT PUBLIC 36
MAKE SEDIMENT PUBLIC Simply moving mud is not enough. Public dialogue must change around sediment to understand the material as pilots developed to mitigate climate impacts. The goal is to MAKE SEDIMENT PUBLIC and engage broader communities in monitoring and interpreting their sediment systems. At the neighborhood scale, the team envisions a series of elements that link vulnerable neighborhoods with the bay and engage youth and volunteers to monitor climate change in their backyards. Upland and lowland communities will be connected by pathways and flows of sediment along water bodies. Community sensing stations and mud rooms will reveal the regionâ€™s slow and invisible threats, spurring the long-term stewardship of our public sediment resources. GU : ISSUE 07
PUBLIC SEDIMENT TEAM
a resource, not a contaminant. Likewise, scientific and regulatory dialogue must shift to encourage experimental
UNLOCK SEDIMENT FLOWS
DESIGN FOR FISH
HARVEST THE UPLANDS
MAKE SEDIMENT PUBLIC MUDROOMS AND SENSING STATIONS
TRANSITION IN THE MARSH
RELEASE IN THE BAY
CONNECT TO THE BAY CONNECT THE CHANNEL
FEED IN THE BAY
SPAWN IN THE UPLAND
CONNECT TO SCHOOLS + LIBRARIES
UNLOCK ALAMEDA CREEK
Public Sediment is designing for sediment systems
stewards that physically connect to the bay.
at the scale of a tributary, targeting the sediment
Design efforts focus on unlocking Alameda
flows of the largest local sediment-shed in the Bay
Creek to move sediment downstream and into
Area: Alameda Creek. This waterbody contributes
the bay, where it is needed most. Selectively
more sediment to the South Bay than any other
breaching levees will feed neighboring marshes
tributary. Even so, its potential is far from realized;
with sediment, re-connecting the channel and the
the flood channel was only designed for the flow of
bay. Inland, the team will test the use of upland
water. Sediment is trapped upstream behind dams
sediment sources, dredged materials, treated
and in the channel itself, where it reduces flood
wastewater, and biosolids to support fresh- to
storage capacity and requires expensive dredging.
saltwater transition zones and plan for future marsh
Public use of the creek is limited, and fish passage
migration areas. Along the channel, strategically
is impaired. The team aims to redesign Alameda
altering the flow of sediment will feed distributaries,
Creek to bring sediment to the baylands, reconnect
build erodible tributary sediment pools, and move
steelhead with their historic spawning grounds, and
mud downstream. In the creekâ€™s upper reaches,
organize a tributary-based network of community
sediment must be harvested from behind dams.
ALAMEDA CREEK CRAWL Over 100 people joined the team on February 24, 2018 for a tour of the creek. The tour began at the Niles Canyon Staging Area, where the creek enters the flood control channel at the mouth of Niles Canyon. Photographs by Ramon Estrada.
a system, developing an interconnected suite of projects that generate watershed-wide benefits. PUBLIC SEDIMENT IN ALAMEDA CREEK But this isn’t just about mud. Alameda Creek should be designed for social equity and public benefit as much as sediment. Greater empathy and awareness of the connective landscape systems that define this watershed are crucial for long-term ecological and human health. This #trib connects communities that are diverse in race, ethnicity, age, and income level, linking them with each other and the bay. Community events oriented around natural systems, like the Alameda Creek Crawl, create moments to reveal our inter-connected environment, get our hands and feet muddy, and discuss collective public sediment infrastructure for the future. The larger proposal constructs a network of paths, mud rooms, and community sensing stations along the creek to enable inter-species interactions and empathy, building capacity over time for a new sediment public.
ENDNOTES 1 The changing sediment dynamics of the Bay Area are highlighted by The Costal Conservancy’s Baylands and Climate Change: What We Can Do 2015 report and The San Francisco Estuary Institute’s Changing Channels 2017 report. The Baylands and Climate Change: What We Can Do. Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Science Update 2015. California State Coastal Conservancy: Oakland, CA, 2015.
Dusterhoff, S., Pearce, S., McKee, L. J., Doehring, C., Beagle, J., McKnight, K., Grossinger, R., and Askevold, R.A. Changing Channels: Regional Information for Developing Multi-benefit Flood Control Channels at the Bay Interface. Flood Control 2.0. SFEI Contribution No. 801. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA, 2017. 2 For more information on sediment management, The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) has worked with state, federal, and local partners to develop the Long Term Management Strategy (LTMS) for Placement of Dredged Material in the Bay Region based on USACE research and incorporation of flood protection, habitat restoration, sand mining, and shoreline erosion. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. LTMS Management Plan 2001. San Francisco, CA, 2001.
3 In addition to the San Francisco Estuary Institute’s work in this area, the Dredge Research Collaborative dedicated DredgeFest California 2016 to understanding this era of sediment scarcity. Milligan, B., Holmes, R., Wirth, G., Maly, T., Burkholder, S., and Holzman, J. “DredgeFest California: Key Findings and Recommendations.” Dredge Research Collaborative. 2016. http://dredgeresearchcollaborative.org/works/ dredgefest-california-white-paper/ 4 See Diana Stralberg’s 2011 “Evaluating Tidal Marsh Sustainability in the Face of Sea-Level Rise” and Mark Stacey’s 2014 “Coupling of Sea Level Rise, Tidal Amplification and Inundation” for more information about compounding impacts. Stralberg, D., Brennan, M., Callaway, J., Wood, J., Schile, L., Jongsomjit, D., Kelly, M., Parker, V., and Crooks, S. “Evaluating Tidal Marsh Sustainability in the Face of Sea-Level Rise: A Hybrid Modeling Approach Applied to San Francisco Bay.” PLoS One 6, no. 11 (2011). Holleman, R.C. and M.T. Stacey. “Coupling of Sea Level Rise, Tidal Amplification, and Inundation.” Journal of Physical Oceanography 44 (2014): 1439–1455. 5 SFEI’s projections were shared at San Francisco Estuary Partnership’s 2017 State of the Estuary Conference as part of their presentation “Sediment Supply to San Francisco Bay: Today and Into the Future.” Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge is a year-long collaborative design challenge bringing together local residents, public officials, and local, national, and international experts to develop 10 innovative designs around the Bay Area that will strengthen the region’s resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding, and earthquakes. Please join the Public Sediment Team in developing the proposal for Alameda Creek by visiting www.resilientbayarea.org/alameda-creek/ Find out more at SCAPE’s website: www.scapestudio.com Unless otherwise credited, all images provided by Public Sediment Team / SCAPE
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PUBLIC SEDIMENT TEAM
These actions approach sediment management as
TIL DEATH DO US PART MICHAEL JENKS
“ A PHOTO ESSAY DOCUMENTING THE SYMBIOTIC REL ATIONSHIP BET WEEN THE SALTON SE A AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
I OBSERVED A MARRIAGE INSEPAR ABLE IN THEIR OLD AGE IN LOVE THROUGH PROSPERIT Y
LOYAL THROUGH HARDSHIP
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THE Y WERE BE AUTIFUL, FULL OF LIFE NOW LEF T IN THE WAKE OF UNCERTAINT Y THEIR OUTCOMES SHARED
HAPPINESS DILUTED ONLY BY THE WRINKLES OF TIME HOLDING TIGHT, NE VER TO LET GO LIFE REMAINS IN A FORGOT TEN WORLD JENKS
MARRED BY NEGLEC T, THEIR BE AUT Y DISGUISED IN A WASTEL AND
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THE Y HAVE ACCEPTED THEIR FATE CONTENT TO LIVE OUT THEIR DAYS WITH A SOLEMN DEME ANOR, ALONG THE SLOW ROAD OF DE ATH
TO HAVE & TO HOLD; FROM THIS DAY FORWARD; FOR BET TER, FOR WORSE; FOR RICHER, FOR POORER; IN SICKNESS & IN HE ALTH, TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH ... TIL DE ATH DO US PART.
“ GU : ISSUE 07
“The wall is a spatial device that has been inserted into the landscape, but with complete disregard for the richness, diversity, and complexities of the areas in which it was built and proposed.“ -Ron Rael, Borderwall as Architecture
“The Wall was not really a single object but a system that consisted partly of things that were destroyed on site by the Wall, sections of buildings that were still standing and absorbed or incorporated into the Wall, and additional walls—some really massive and modern, others more ephemeral—all together contributing to an enormous zone.” - Rem Koolhaas on the Berlin Wall
13 MUROS ABSURDOS
BORDERWALL URBANISM STUDIO RON RAEL & STEPHANIE SYJUCO WITH CHEYENNE CONCEPCION AND ARTURO ORTIZ
Ron Rael & Stephanie Syjuco at the Tijuana borderwall
There are 14 major sister cities along the United States-Mexico border whose urban, cultural, and ecological networks have been bifurcated by a borderwall. With 650 miles already constructed, and the population in these urban areas expected to grow to over 20 million inhabitants over the next decade, the long-term effects of the wallâ€™s construction must now be carefully considered. This speculation serves to anticipate the consequences of its incision into a context of rapid growth and massive migratory flows, especially as the current political climate calls for further wall construction. Siting our investigation at the U.S.-Mexico borderwall, the Borderwall Urbanism graduate studio at UC Berkeley traverses the fields of art, BORDERWALL URBANISM STUDIO
architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning to explore the American borderwalled city as an evolving political, societal, historical, and cultural phenomenon. Using experimental methods of analysis, fabrication, and collaboration, students have been challenged with examining the complex conditions of borderwall urbanism, ultimately creating objects and artistic responses to site and space.
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BORDERWALL AS BACKGROUND
BORDERWALL AS SITE
There are more invisible walls than visible ones—
In Tijuana, the studio attempted to ground
especially in the case of the U.S.-Mexico barrier—
theoretical frameworks of the borderwalled city
dividing rivers, farms, Native American lands, public
in on-the-ground site research. This transition
lands, cultural sites, and wildlife preserves. At this
from an academic space to an active-participatory
scale, the invisible walls that exist in parallel to
one unearthed a variety of conflicting responses
the U.S.-Mexico borderwall are unsurmountable.
and questions from students about how this site
The grander the walls, the greater the inability to
should be constituted, as we challenged our roles
discuss, negotiate, and resolve common challenges
and expertise in a highly politicized space. This
or problems. Understanding how the Borderwall
article plays back reflections on our experiences in
manifests a cultural condition that is imposed onto
the U.S.-Mexico Borderwall city. Questions about
the landscape, onto the city, framed the discussion
agency and intention in an unfamiliar, multinational
of the course.
space weighed on us. Questions about identity and interference were vocalized. Questions about our
Several field trips brought students directly to
relationship with the Borderlands emerged. Here
border sites, where they learned from examples
we highlight and confront these questions—from
of local artists, writers, and designers whose work
theories on activism and architecture, to personal
reacts to the wall. This article recounts student
recollections of the ever-evolving borderland.
experiences and reflections as investigators and designers in the borderwalled city, Tijuana. The final project, to be completed after the date of publication, will consist of individual and collaborative works that will be deployed at a site along the border.1
TOP Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman of Estudio Teddy Cruz, UCSD MIDDLE Marcel Sanchez-Prieto of CRO Studio, Woodbury Univ. BOTTOM Marco “Erre” Ramirez, Mexican artist, Tijuana native RIGHT Student photos taken during the borderwall site visit
WALL AS MONUMENT
LAURA BELIK, PhD of Architecture
Posting a photo of the wall on social networks felt weird. Visiting spaces of dispute and making them icons, to be shared as such, reinforced the power of that object, on one hand; and on the other, by sharing it as an absurdity, reinforced the movement in the opposite direction. It reminds me of the relationships we have with holocaust or war memorials, for example—except here the monument is actively serving a need. I might see it as a monument from one perspective, but I cannot deny its purpose as a tool. The ‘monumentalizing’ of it might be one of the aspects this tool brings with it, and the simple act of barricading, another. DESIGNERS IN THE BORDERLAND
ARTURO ORTIZ, Master of Landscape Architecture
How do designers play a role in borderland landscapes, and how can design be used as a form of activism? As a designer, I’m diving into this ‘other’ world—the world that has the ability, the privilege, and the resources to physically and dramatically change our environment. Norma Prieto’s words, “you can design even if you don’t have a transborder experience,” resonated with me; if you have the ability to help, then help. VISITING THE PROTOTYPE
SOPHIA SOBOKO, PhD of Education
It was intense, emotional, and contentious to visit the border
wall prototypes and, later, an informal settlement. I had many informal conversations with classmates during these visits as we grappled with the same questions: what are we doing here? Why is this visit important? What are we learning? Who are we not talking to? Who is this knowledge for? What will we do with it? I don’t have simple answers to propose; rather, I think grappling with the questions is an ongoing part of this work. I was struck when a man drove by us and yelled “fuck the U.S., go back to your country.” I respect his act of resistance, and I think he has an important point: we should look back at ourselves, our country, and share our knowledge with the people in our country who are creating this problem. CROSSING THE BORDER: A NEW(ISH) EXPERIENCE GABRIELA NAVARRO, Master of Urban Planning
Never in my 33 years of crossing this border on foot had I been stopped to fill out paperwork. This act in itself was not much, but the message behind it left me uneasy: we will no longer let you walk freely into our country. That sense of relief BORDERWALL URBANISM STUDIO
that usually accompanies the crossing into Mexico was no longer there! Instead I was met with skeptical attitudes and an unwelcoming feeling.
ENDNOTES 1 Selected works are featured at groundupjournal.org/murosabsurdos
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MY QUEERNESS, MY COMMUNIT Y: STORIES FROM THE L ANDSCAPE OF PERSONAL IDENTIT Y & ITS CONSEQUENCES FOR FUTURE- BUILDING
“A lot of current queer language is new and is strange, right? Because it’s literally creating language where there was no language before,” says Justice Gaines (xe/xem/xyr), a 23 year-old poet and community organizer. Xe works for Rhode Island Jobs with Justice on an initiative to establish community protections against police violence in Providence. Xe laughs as xe describes liking “to force people to think a little more” with xyr pronouns. “I identify as a black trans woman, and I also identify as genderfluid,” Justice says. “The first thing I came out as when I came out as queer was demisexual and asexual … For me, it was a process of learning these labels and being like: one—that’s wild. Then two—wait, that sounds kind of familiar. Huh … That language is actually speaking to an experience that I had literally no way of
Queerness is a landscape unto itself Queerness is a landscape unto itself—an inclusive identity beyond the gender or sexual binary, a political statement, and a word laden with pejorative meaning for many members of the gay community. Queer individuals are navigating their personal identities amidst a LGBTQIA+ movement that is growing—whether judging from numerous surveys of the more-likely-to-be-non-conforming Generation Z, the increasing number of gender and sexuality options listed on sites like OkCupid and Facebook, or the record number of queer characters that are appearing on the television programs shaping our inner narratives, shows like One Mississippi, Transparent, and Orange is the New Black. More people are diving into the open waters of gender and sexual identity and resurfacing under the queer umbrella, with consequences for the futures we plan and the communities we foster within them. This piece weaves together stories from queer artists, educators, XE/XEM/XER are gender-neutral pronouns. Read more about gender-neutral pronouns on
farmers, community organizers, coders, and others to examine their personal landscapes of queer identity. These inner mappings are
the website of the Gender Equity Resource
not uniform. Rather, they embody the grappling, disagreement, and
Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
rebellion inherent to queerness, a practiced comfort with standing
ABOVE Vigil in Providence after the Pulse nightclub shooting. Photo by Ash Trull.
conform, queer individuals have been forced to act as architects of the self, re-casting their own molds, spitting out assumptions, and delivering the consequences of this personal work to the communities they live in. From the Stonewall riots led by trans women of color and gender-non-conforming activists, to intersectional queer feminist activism of the 1980s and 90s, to the Black Lives Matter movement, queerness has had the reputation and consequence of social transformation. The deep and personal journey embedded in queer experience, of norm-toppling and identity-finding, impacts our communities beyond gay-coded spaces. An important look ahead emerges from the perspectives to follow—futures through a queer lens confront business-as-usual practices with a honed skepticism of ‘the ways things are,’ with the boldness to envision more powerfully the way things could be.
PERSPECTIVES FROM THE LANDSCAPE OF QUEERNESS: FINDING THE WORDS
“I felt like I had to make a decision as to what I identified as, I felt really strongly that I had to find the word. And I felt really strongly that I couldn’t,” says MJ Robinson (they/them/theirs). MJ is a 25 year-old artist, community organizer, and a museum educator with the Rhode Island School of Design. They now use the word queer to describe their sexuality and genderqueer or trans to describe their gender. Growing up north of Philadelphia at a time when they knew only a couple other gay people in their high school, they remember feeling a lot of anxiety when coming out. “The most intense wave of panic consumed my body,” they say, describing one night a crush cuddled close to them.“ That was sort of my trigger that I need to figure shit out.” Words map the expanding landscape of queerness. Discovering explanations and labels that subvert dominant narratives about gender and sexual identity and using them to name one’s reality is a formative experience for many queer people. These words can capture an experience outside the box of GU : ISSUE 07
up and standing out. In bucking social pressure to
ABOVE Illustration by M.J. Robinson, mj-robinson.com
heteronormative romance and the confines of the
with distrust in order to name their queerness—a
‘man-or-woman’ gender binary that structures most
story that offers two gender options and tells us
lives from childhood. Some interviewees recognize
how men and women are supposed to dress and
queerness in their earliest memories. Others
behave, what genitals they’re supposed to have,
recount specific experiences and people that
and who they’re supposed to love. Being queer is
helped crystallize their personal identities later in
an act of questioning one or more of these stories.
life. Many describe adopting and then changing the
Queer people must fight to create spaces in a
words they use to explain their gender and sexual
society that continues to privilege straight and cis-
identities. Few personal landscapes remain static.
identities and experiences.
Steph France (she/her/hers) first heard the word in
Toby (he/him/his or they/them/theirs) works
second grade at her all-girls Catholic school, where
in the field of sexual health and sexual violence
she remembers lesbians often getting teased.
prevention on a mid-sized university campus. (Toby
“Mom, I think I’m a lesbi-OWN … I like girls,” Steph
is not his real name). Toby identifies as transgender
recalls saying when she cornered her mom doing
and queer. “I think a lot of queer and trans folks
her hair in the bathroom. “And she’s like: ‘Oh, I
find themselves drawn to information, because so
know that … Of course I know.’”
many of us are not afforded information about our identities,” Toby says. “I remember the first time
Steph France and Rowena Jones (she/her/hers)
I heard the word transgender and transsexual,
are both 29 years old and live together in southern
and I was definitely overwhelmed with my own
Rhode Island. They have been dating for five
transphobia. I really tried to play the game,” Toby
years. Steph works independently as an actor and
says. Then I finally realized the game is rigged ...
together with Rowena to manage a business selling
The truth is that vanilla, straight, cis-gendered-ness
books and other retail through Amazon.
is such a tiny slice. And any time that any one of
us, it could be argued, steps a foot outside one of Steph remembers feeling ‘like a dude’ when she
those boxes, we’re experiencing queerness.”
was growing up in southern Rhode Island. She became comfortable identifying as a woman in her late teens. “Not all women have to be super feminine, not all women have to fit into the stereotypes,” Steph says. “I’m not going to call myself a guy because I’m masculine. I want to put it out there that women can be whatever they want.” Rowena also identifies as a lesbian and remembers some of the judgment she faced when exploring her own identity. “She didn’t think at all that I could possibly not be into guys,” Rowena says of her mom, remembering getting ‘the talk’ from her about sex and relationships. “That affected me. I tried to be with guys until I was in my twenties,” Rowena says. “It really messes you up and confuses
I finally realized the game is rigged … The truth is that vanilla, straight, cis-gendered-ness is such a tiny slice. And any time that any one of us, it could be argued, steps a foot outside one of those boxes, we’re experiencing queerness.
you when people tell you what you are.” There is a loud, societal story about relationships BURR
and gender identity that a person must confront GU : ISSUE 07
“I never hid it,” Luisa says of her lesbian identity, thinking back on coming out to her Catholic and conservative family in Venezuela. “I was brave enough to come out, still at 15, and the first person I told was my mom,” Luisa says. “I was strong in my belief that I needed to be out there, even if they treated me like shit. Because, especially in Venezuela, you don’t see it out there. It’s not like we don’t exist, we are there. We’re just hidden. And it’s not fair.” In her first two relationships, Luisa dated women who were not open about their queer identities. She describes this as a challenge. “I was out and ABOVE Photo by Ash Trull
I felt comfortable and I wanted to hold their hand but they didn’t feel comfortable,” she says. Luisa
There are generational differences in the ways
says that dating someone who was also out was an
queer people choose to identify. In a study
important milestone; bringing a partner home who
comparing Generation Z (age 13-20) to Millennials
was open about their relationship helped her mom
(age 21-34), significantly more of the younger
accept her as a lesbian. “This partner was not afraid
generation reported knowing someone who uses
to hold my hand at my house and be there like ‘I’m
gender-neutral pronouns (56% of Gen Z versus 43%
of Millennials). College campuses are increasingly 54
providing resources for transgender and gender
Lindsey Medeiros (she/her/hers), a 33 year-
non-binary students, and introductions that include
old farmer, grew up in a religious, working class
each person’s preferred pronouns are becoming
household in Massachusetts, with a Catholic father
a new norm on many campuses and in other
from Portugal and a Jewish mother. She became
community spaces. Yet, historically, and presently
comfortable living as queer when she moved to
in many places around the country and around the
New York for college. “I’ve always considered
world, queer-identifying persons have been forced
myself to be a tomboy, even when I was four,” she
to remain ‘closeted’ and hide their gender and
laughs. “I consider myself to be genderqueer, but
sexual identities for fear of violence, discrimination,
I feel not right using the they/them because I feel
or non-acceptance from their families and friends.
it takes away from people who are transitioning and that’s not the space I want to occupy.” Now
“At this moment, I consider myself to be a woman
she uses the words lesbian, dyke, queer, and
and my pronouns are her, she, but I feel like if I
genderqueer when describing her gender and
was born in the 2000s and I was an adolescent at
this time, I would probably be more comfortable calling myself gender-neutral or something like
Even in queer spaces, people grapple with the
that,” says Luisa Piña (she/her/hers), a 32 year-old
validity of their personal experiences and the
Venezuelan filmmaker who lives with her wife in
feeling that there is a standard of queerness to
southern Massachusetts. “I’m very comfortable with
live up to. Many queer people feel confined by
my body, I like my boobs and my vagina. I’m just
norms perpetuated by both the straight and
upset that just because I like my body that puts me
ABOVE From “Reborn,” a film by Luisa Piña inspired by her coming out. Photo by Daniel Oliver.
Ash Trull (they/them/theirs), is a 30 year-old
like I lose that solidarity with femmes or with
community organizer, facilitator, coder, and farmer
women,” Ash says. “AFAB is something that’s really
in Providence, Rhode Island, who identifies as non-
helpful for me in talking about my socialization,
binary, queer, and genderqueer, occasionally using
my upbringing, what gender I was assigned, and
the term AFAB, or ‘assigned-female-at-birth,’ to
then pushed into for a huge chunk of my formative
describe their identity. “I’ve chosen a lot of different
years.” As a queer coder, Ash has gravitated to
words for my gender over the years, and a lot of
communities like ‘She Hacks’ and ‘Lesbians Who
times it’s just like meeting someone whose gender
Tech,’ but notices the ways in which non-binary
I resonate with and then hearing what they say
identities are invisible in the title font of
and being like ‘oh yeah! Non-binary! That’s me,’”
Ash says. “I feel like we’re missing something if we can’t get all people together who suffer from gender
have had to use the term AFAB—assigned-female-
oppression,” Ash says. “There’s complexity to the
at-birth—to gain access to spaces more explicitly
way that you experience privilege and oppression,
marketed to women. “A thing that happens in
but we have to be able to hold that so we can
identifying as non-binary or genderqueer is feeling
support each other.”
Ash explains that, as a non-binary person, they
GU : ISSUE 07
PRIVILEGES AND THREATS
community. In Chechnya in 2017, the round up
Coming out as queer and openly adopting
and torture of gay men—their crime: being gay—
queer-identifying labels is challenging and often dangerous—many individuals in the United States and around the world face enormous pressure to live up to straight and cis-gender cultural norms. In many places, this pressure takes the form of open, violent discrimination. In the United States, as of 2017, people can still be fired by their employers for being gay or transgender in 28 states; the 45th president has attempted to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military; and transgender individuals—especially trans women of color—are murdered at a disproportionately high rate. The second deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history happened at a gay bar, the Pulse nightclub
Lana (she/her/hers)—not her real name—grew up in Siberia and won asylum in the United States to escape Russia’s persecution of the gay community. “I came out at a relatively young age … I wasn’t really thinking about the consequences of being open. It is dangerous because you actually have to be on high alert all the time, because you don’t really know what’s going to happen to you. You can be attacked by your classmates or you can be attacked by your neighbors or people on the street if they know that you’re gay,” Lana says. “And
moreover, nothing is going to happen to them.”
Around the world, there are more than 70 countries
In the United States, the transgender community
with laws that criminalize being queer. In Russia, anti-gay propaganda laws purporting to protect the morality of children have resulted in hate 56
sparked an international outcry.
crimes against gay individuals and allow officials to imprison people for being part of the queer BELOW Photo by Ash Trull
has also been more visible in recent years and there has been a reciprocal backlash. “Queerness is much more widely accepted, trans-ness is so misunderstood,” Justice Gaines says. “We’re at a flashpoint for trans identity where
you’re either going to accept it and try to learn, or
fairer future: one that celebrates free expression,
you’re going to push back hard.”
encourages the creative questioning of what has come before, and drives the construction of
Justice also emphasizes that racial identity and class
communities that uphold the rights and life-giving
privileges significantly impact a person’s experience
ideas of their constituents.
of being queer. The way trans people are portrayed in the media has a sizeable impact on public
CONSEQUENCES FOR FUTURE-BUILDING
perception, and one of the most visible transgender
Queer people are actively shaping communities,
embodies a wealthy and white experience of transness. Transgender people in the United States, especially transgender individuals of color, are at a high risk for extreme poverty. Poverty endangers lives and impacts an individual’s ability to be openly queer—financial resources often dictate whether a trans person can afford identity-affirming healthcare. When queer identity is only celebrated in the context of whiteness, as happens when white people uphold the privileges and power afforded by white identity ahead of grappling with queer oppression, queer people of color are harmed and abandoned by the queer movement. “There’s no way to escape this idea that queerness and whiteness are tied together as long as we have a capitalist system. Because capitalism only benefits when something can be made white. And as long as queerness can be made white and not something more expansive than that, there is no real liberatory aspect to it,” Justice says. “Now that [queerness is] part of the mainstream culture, it also then has to be adapted to whiteness, and that’s why you have ‘Gays for Trump’ and you have all of these movements that can be anything that they want and be queer. With queer people of color, you can’t be a queer person of color and be anything you want.” “The existence of queer people of color is at the crux of so many different levels of oppression, that we recognize that you cannot separate those levels of oppression if you want to solve a problem,” xe says. Lessons from these landscapes of queerness, from those rebelling against the oppressive structures of a tired status quo, can be drawn into envisioning a
taking on diverse forms of engagement in political, artistic, and other social and work spaces to create the futures they seek. Queer individuals have long pushed the boundaries of dominant structures of society and self. But, in the age of the Anthropocene, an era of human-accelerated change for our physical landscape, there is a new urgency to re-envision the practices that have trapped us in a cycle of resource exploitation and environmental degradation. How does the multifaceted landscape of queer identity translate to new visions for our local and global communities? “You have to be able to imagine that it’s possible that it won’t always be this way,” Ash Trull says. “It takes a lot of creation and imagination and vision.
And I think that is really deeply connected to gender liberation for me and sexuality and all forms of identity, that people can imagine themselves in a liberated form.” Steph France describes her work to write screenplays that bring strong, genuine female characters to the screen. She imagines action films in which gayness is present but incidental. “A lot of LGBT movies are about being gay—I want to see a movie where there’s a gay couple and it’s fine,” she says. She is working on scripts with roles for women that break out of Hollywood tropes. “I’ve gotten told twice during auditions, ‘um, can you just be less—powerful?’” Steph says. “In reality, all women are not wimpy and vulnerable and super sensitive.” Rowena Jones adds, “If you just take the main guy character and replace Steph with him, that’s her.” Luisa Piña waves away the idea that being a lesbian has dictated her career choices, but some of her GU : ISSUE 07
women, Kardashian-connected Caitlyn Jenner,
The community organizing work that Justice
Gaines does directly addresses harm experienced by the transgender community. In 2017, RI Jobs with Justice supported a community-wide campaign to pass the Police-Community Relations Act in Providence, an act that includes protections for transgender individuals during police stops among other rights for community members. Now, the campaign is working to ensure the act is implemented to full effect. Justice says xyr trans identity is connected to xyr organizing work. “I think the ultimate benefit I’ve seen from this work and from these ways of pushing is a more holistic understanding of oppression in general,” says Justice Gaines. “So, me as a black trans woman, I can’t separate those two things, which means I ABOVE Photo by Ash Trull
art connects to her identity. “I’ve always known that I like girls, even before I came out when I was 15, 58
it’s so normal to me and so a part of who I am, it’s like me having brown hair. Does me having brown hair influence where I go to school? Not really,” she says. “Me being a lesbian does influence my art, but it doesn’t dictate what I do.” In the last year of her masters program, Luisa made an experimental film called Reborn about her comingout experience. One of her current projects weaves in themes of being gay and working in the healthcare industry. “It hits home for me in so many big ways,” Toby says of the connection between being queer and trans and doing sexual violence prevention work. “A lot of the people who are doing this specifically anti-violence work are usually white, cis-gender, straight women. So I feel super underrepresented. I am very well represented in the client base, in the people who have experienced harm, but I am not well-represented in the service providers,” Toby says. “I wanted to be able to have a say in my own destiny … I wanted to be a decision-maker about my own life.”
also can’t separate sexism from transphobia from racism, which means you can’t either.” “This newfound ability to be like ‘we’re actually going to tow the line, we’re actually going to risk things, we’re actually going to pull down a statue, we’re actually going to climb a flagpole to take down a flag—those are things that I feel like have been activated because of queer people of color,” Justice says. “And, particularly, queer women of color, even, specifically, the Black Lives Matter movement founders.” Justice also hopes that the ways gender is assigned and policed will change in the future: “If I ever have grandchildren, I don’t want there to ever be a point where the doctor decides what gender they are. And, even me, if I never do any medical transitions, I’m still a woman. I don’t want gender to have to be tied to the body you were born in unless you want it to be. For me, even transgender ultimately is a term that should be phased out.” The experience of being out and queer, especially as a member of a queer community that is at risk of persecution, is to learn to rise up against such oppression.
ABOVE Art by Lindsey Medeiros
“I think being gay—especially if you’re persecuted
and is poisoning watersheds, land, and air. Growing
or you’re bullied and you decide to come forward
it where we live and eating that food is just an
and use your own experiences and trauma to
immediate connection to the earth—
change the world for other people—that has
everything to do with the way that you are and the fact that you’re gay,” Lana says.
Lindsey has noticed more queer people joining
the farming community. It might not be a “Sooner or later Russia’s going to get there,” Lana
coincidence. “If you’re used to rebelling against
says, describing a world in which gayness is so
gender stereotypes or gender norms or who you’re
normal and accepted that people have no fear
supposed to love or what you’re supposed to do
of losing their rights, a world in which a stranger
with your body, you’re also open to the idea of
wouldn’t automatically assume that every woman
rebelling against just the basic thing, food in your
must be with a man. “The question is when and
mouth, four times a day, and where that’s coming
how many people will die in between … we’re not
from and who makes it,” she says. “It is kind of
The impacts of queer identity are playing out in
Of what consequence is the queer rebellion, of
physical spaces—from human rights’ rallies to new
purple lipstick against a bearded face, of two
stories for film scripts to the radical act of small-
women locked in an embrace, of naming ourselves
scale, local, holistic farming.
and asking that others call us by our names—of being open to the idea that there is a brighter future ahead for the building? What we have is not
we all grow food everywhere,” Lindsey Medeiros
enough. Every furrowed brow, every questioning
says. “The more that we learn about where our
look, every life-threatening act of being—that is
food actually comes from, the more we learn about
in itself an act of facing down the old guard, of
how unjust it all is, the whole system—from the
fearlessly bucking broken trends and creating the
way that the practices of industrial agriculture is
vessels in which our communities can live
stripping the soil and essentially uses slave labor
“It’s the only reasonable, sustainable future—if
GU : ISSUE 07
LOOKING AT L ANDSCAPE REBECCA PARTRIDGE
What does it mean to look at a landscape? Furthermore, in the multidisciplinary field of contemporary artistic practice, can looking at and painting a landscape be a consequent act? 60
There are two elements to this discussion: landscapeâ€”which is external, and lookingâ€”which is both the lens through which we perceive the landscape and the act through which we engage with it. In my practice as a painter I first go out into the landscape, often walking great distances with my camera. Here I am looking, returning with images which assist me to occupy these landscapes in the space of my own studio.
RIGHT Panel Paintings Forest Blizzard Night Oil on birch ply panel Each 70 x 56cm, 2015 (Right panel, part of a diptych)
GU : ISSUE 07
The landscapes I depict are remote; they are border zones where human narrative is absent, as well as places in which we become more aware of our own perceptions. I see these ambivalent, empty spaces as a place from within from which to explore very basic ontological ideas. Through the observation of landscapes that appear out of reach, there is an attempt to pull apart the difference between ‘landscape’ and ‘nature,’ that which we perceive and that which exists beyond us.
The landscapes I depict are remote;
they are border zones where human narrative is absent ...
DAY PART 1, I
NIGHT PART 1, I
DAY PART 2, I
DAY PART 2, II
NIGHT PART 1, II
NIGHT PART 1, III
THIS SPREAD Notes on the Sea Day and Night Oil on birch ply Each 70 x 56cm, 2014 DAY PART 1, II
DAY PART 1, III
The dialogue that happens through the process of looking and painting is a dialogue about the objective world outside and my subjective responses to it. Both looking at and recording the landscape are consequent acts. I aim to express certain values through actions in the studio. At the root of everything, in making an art work, it is the intention that comes through. Presence
and attention, curiosity and engagement, are all attitudes I aim to embody through physical making. What I hope, then, is that my experience of looking at landscape is carried into the experience of looking at the paintings.
DAY PART 2, III
NIGHT PART 2, I
NIGHT PART 2, II
NIGHT PART 2, III
GU : ISSUE 07
L AND AND THE SEAMS OF COLONIALISM
ABOVE Large-scale infrastructure projects are
CHALLENGING THE COLONIAL UNDERL AY OF L ANDSCAPE DESIGN PROCESS
planned throughout Colombia
All land is land of consequence. While sites that bear the
to reinforce projects of
deleterious impacts of industrial effluents, resource depletion,
modernity and production
and widespread conflict directly express past use and misuse, the systems developed to control and partition land underlay all territories as latent networks of consequence. As designers, it is essential that we commit to unearthing and making visible these systems of control in the work that we do, questioning the boundaries of land and characteristics of landscape that have long been constructed to appear as innate. This process begins with a recognition that almost all of the land on which we operate has been the site of colonization, and most land continues to be organized through colonial patterns of occupation.
LEFT Highly unequal land distribution in the country, coupled with displacement during
conflict, has led to the concentration of land to be used for agroindustry plantations, such as oil palm
The traces of these colonial legacies have often
that defines land in the settler colonial state, these
become the seams of visible contestation,
powerful acts of Indigenous refusal are essential
evidenced by the continued protests over
to making visible the continued logics of colonial
infrastructure development across Indigenous
land control.3 Despite the significant ruptures in
sacred sites in the United States. At Standing
the status quo that these examples provide, there
Rock, Water Protectors have been resisting the
also are many contexts in which the legacies of
construction of a pipeline through land with deep
colonization and continued dispossession are
significance to ecological and human health,
less visible. Instead, the insidious foundations
spiritual practice, and prolonged histories of
of how land and landscape are categorized and
occupation. Indigenous Hawaiians have shut down
commodified often persist largely unchallenged.
on Mauna Kea, contesting the establishment of
In order to spatialize this discourse within a specific
space infrastructure on a culturally and ecologically
site, I turn to the context of Colombiaâ€™s eastern
significant site. Their acts undermine the hegemony
piedmont region to consider the ways in which
of the settler colonial occupation that persists on
landscape typologies have been constructed
their land. As just two examples of the tension
through colonial mapping and natural history
GU : ISSUE 07
the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope
expeditions. The prolonged effects of colonization
endure in Colombia, both through the construction
of the country into regions, and through deeply
narratives can still be
unequal systems of land tenure and property
read in arrangements
ownership. By emphasizing this location specifically,
of land ownership into
I do not intend to suggest that this case is
haciendas and more
representative of all contexts, nor do I consider this
site exceptional in its relation to larger patterns of
hegemonic control. Rather, I turn to an examination
agroforestry and oil
of this region to indicate both the potential and
possible approaches for critical site research within
the design disciplines.
of land and its parceling into
The early scientific and state-building expeditions
unequal systems of
to claim the territory of present day Colombia
ownership for the
employed landscape painting traditions that fixed
production of capital are now
landscape typologies into place, subsequently
fundamental to our understanding of site. As
categorizing Indigenous populations according
designers, the lot lines derived from surveys and
to imagined geographies. While Alexander von
ownership deeds are the starting point for our
Humboldt’s travels—in the land that is now known
drawings. If left unchallenged, the ordering power
as Colombia—are well documented, the most
of the colonial gaze and unequal traditions of land
significant of these projects was the Comisión
accumulation will and do persist in the very base
Corográfica de Nueva Granada. Led by Augustin
map that underlays our designs.
Codazzi, the Commission produced maps, written accounts, and a series of watercolor paintings that
Moving from this specific case to its broader
classified landscapes and divided the country into
significance for lands of consequence, there is
distinctive regions. Images from this expedition
an imperative for design to research, represent,
to the Amazon, painted in what is present day
and challenge the multiple and conflicting
Caquetá, depict lush vegetation in riverside scenes.
histories of site. It is important that we consider
Indigenous people are treated as a part of the
these contested places as more than composed
landscape, coding both bodies and landscapes
of historic overlays through time, and instead
as ‘other.’ Analyzing this archive, historian Nancy
understand that amplifying underprivileged
Appelbaum has suggested that the Commission’s
narratives is necessary to effectively counter the
work in the Eastern Plains and the Amazon
dominant histories of site. While the task is certainly
represented an ‘ethnographic cartography’ that,
a difficult one that stretches into some of the very
while indebted to the local knowledge of people
foundations of our design process, the orientation
that lived in these regions, sought to justify their
and lineage of design disciplines make them adept
subjugation and the control of territory by the newly
at interrogating the status quo and critiquing that
which has been constructed as natural. To move
beyond the colonial perspectives of the sites we While these expeditions produced perspectival
operate on, it is necessary that we challenge the
images of the landscape, they also influenced the
visual archives from which we derive our materials,
establishment of colonial structures of land tenure.
considering alternative locations to find base
Lands in Eastern Colombia were idealized through
information and critically speculating about the
representations as territories suited to cattle
voices that are missing from the site research we
production or verdant landscapes of bounty for
have been doing. Considering the limitations of
ABOVE Highway development through the landscapes of Eastern Colombia seek to materially connect this region to national and international markets, while they also serve as important symbolic constructions that constitute this region as part of the national imaginary.
recognition of our positionality as designers. This positionality must be layered, intersectional, and complex. It will be established not solely by indicating our identities, but also through honesty about the institutions, firms, governments, and interests that we have come to accept, and in turn how this acceptance has shaped the histories and priorities of site design.
ENDNOTES 1 Brave Noisecat, J, and A. Spice. “A History and Future of Resistance.” Jacobin Magazine, 2016. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/09/standingrock-dakota-access-pipeline-protest/ 2 Long, K. K. Hawai’i: Mauna Kea, “Hawaiian Independence and the Politics of Jurisdiction.” The Funambulist Magazine, January/February 2017: 14–19. 3 Nunn, N, and Z. Matson. “Space Infrastructure, Empire, and the Final Frontier: What the Mauna Kea Land Defenders teach use about colonial totality.” Society and Space Online, Investigating Infrastructure Forum, 2017. http://societyandspace.org/2017/10/03/investigating-infrastructures-a-forum/ 4 Codazzi, A, and C.A. Domínguez. Obras completas de la Comisión Corográfica: geografía física y política de la Confederación Granadina. COAMA-Unión Europea, 2002. 5 Appelbaum, N. P. Mapping the Country of Regions: The Chorographic Commission of Nineteenth-Century Colombia. UNC Press Books, 2016.
GU : ISSUE 07
our research ultimately requires a humility and
A POST-NATIVE WORLD MARK WESSELS
Step out of a taxi in Hong Kong. Surface from the London Underground onto High Street. Look down the wide avenues of Buenos Aires, Sydney, or Johannesburg, and you’ll see it: the London plane tree (Platanus x hispanica), with its mottled graywhite bark and arching branches, thrives in large cities around the world, in highly polluted air and compacted soils. It’s prized in Paris for its ability to survive cold winters and in Australia for outlasting hot summers. It’s almost as if it were designed to thrive in the city. So, where does this miracle tree come from? Nowhere. The London plane tree is not native to London, nor anywhere else for that matter. It’s a hybrid—the offspring of an Oriental plane tree (Platanus orientalis) and an American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). It ‘evolved’ in 16th or 17th century Europe in the hands of an enterprising plant breeder. The new species quickly gained popularity as a tough street tree in Europe, and in
European colonies around the world. Native to nowhere, the tree thrived everywhere.
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CITIES AS HARBINGERS OF A POST-NATIVE WORLD
Native plant enthusiasts argue that native plants have evolved for thousands of years to be optimized for their environments. This is based on the assumption that environmental factors like soil type, climate, and ecological communities change very slowly, at the rate of geologic time. The fitness advantage of native plants depends on a relatively static, unchanging environment. Yet cities are anything but static. Urban soils are altered by construction, compaction, and contamination. Impermeable surfaces and water infrastructure change urban hydrology. Urban heat island effect and microclimates affect soil and air temperatures. Cities are defined more by how urban they are than by where on the planet they In preparation for his 2017 book, The Worldâ€™s Urban
are located. A tree adapted to urban environments,
Forests, Professor Joe McBride traveled to 33 cities
for example, is much more likely to flourish in San
selected to represent the worldâ€™s 11 biomes. He
Francisco than one adapted to coastal dunes. In
found the London plane tree in major cities across
short, cities are post-native; they no longer reflect
six of these eleven biomes. Far exceeding the
the environmental conditions for which native
range of either of its parents, the London plane
plants evolved. They are something new.
grows vigorously in urban environments that kill most trees. And, despite the declining populations
Cities are not the only places irreversibly altered
of its parents, the London plane will continue to
by human activity. Human influence ripples out
grow as climate change and urbanization advance.
through resource extraction, food and energy production, and global climate change. Cities are
The idea of the London plane tree (a tree native
already several degrees warmer than their historical
to nowhere) thriving in global cities (a novel
temperatures, and many native plants cannot
ecosystem) invites us to reconsider how we
survive in this altered environment. Climate models
select plant species for urban sites. This article
predict several degrees of warming globally in
argues that ideas of nativeness are rapidly losing
the next 50 years. Native plants face challenges in
relevance to our profession as we enter a world
urban settings today, and 50 years from now they
irreversibly altered by human activity. Further, the
will face challenges everywhere. As the effects of
consequences of clinging to nativeness in a post-
climate change spread beyond cities, landscape
native world are far worse than the consequences
architects will need to move beyond geographic
of embracing global biodiversity in the
provenance to find plants adapted to a post-
LEFT The hybrid London plane tree (Platanus x hispanica) WESSELS
thrives in many biomes. Its potential range includes most of the worldâ€™s major cities. ABOVE A London plane tree in an urban environment GU : ISSUE 07
TEMPERATURE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN URBAN & VEGETATED LAND DUE TO IMPERVIOUS SURFACE AREA
CHANGE IN AVERAGE SURFACE TEMPERATURE (1986-2005 TO 2081-2100)
ABOVE Cities are already irreversibly altered from their natural state. By the time the trees we plant today mature, the world will have
warmed by several degrees. Cities are a harbinger of things to come. Top image source: “Impact of Urbanization on US Surface Climate.”2 Bottom image source: IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers.3
A CASE STUDY IN NATIVE FRAGILITY:
AMERICAN CHESTNUT, ELM, AND ASH Prized for its timber and as a source of food for people and animals, the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) once made up 20% of the trees in the Appalachian forest. Due to the value of its wood, nuts, and shade, it was the most economically and ecologically important tree in much of the eastern United States.4 In 1904, a forester in the Bronx, New York, noticed a large number of chestnuts under his care were dying from an unknown blight. By 1912, all of the chestnut trees in New York City were dead, and over the following three decades, the blight spread to wipe out nearly every American chestnut, leading to an effective extinction of the species.5 The chestnut blight was caused by the fungus, Cryphonectria
parasitica, which was introduced from the planting of non-native Japanese chestnuts (Castanea crenata). In the early 20th century, the chestnut blight was described using the narrative of a foreign invader decimating American trees. In a 1915 article in American Forestry, Samuel Detwiler wrote, “Less than fifteen years ago the chestnut blight was unknown to the scientist or the woodsman. Seven years after the discovery, in 1904, near New York City, of this undesirable alien from Northern China it was conservatively estimated to have done $25,000,000 worth of damage ... It is thought that it will all but exterminate the chestnut in the Northern States ... and may invade the South with like disastrous results.”6
‘Undesirable alien,’ ‘exterminate,’ and ‘invade’
expect to see trees succumbing to foreign invaders,
framed the blight as a human-generated attack
human action, and differences in precipitation at
against nature and an unnatural abomination
an unprecedented rate. No amount of caution and
that had to be prevented at all costs. The U.S.
prudence will protect us from this type of disaster.
government responded by felling thousands of acres of chestnut trees, in the hopes of stopping
Should we keep trying to turn back the clock,
the spread of the disease, and by passing the Plant
prevent change, and restore ecological systems
Quarantine Act in 1912 to prevent a repeat of this
that are no longer suited to an altered
disaster. Additional resources were poured into
environment? Or will we finally embrace and take
plant pathology, development of fungicides, and
responsibility for our role as a disruptive species
monitoring of forest health. The United States
and ecosystem engineers?
did everything in its power to protect the natives against foreign invaders.
DIVERSITY OF APPROACHES VS. SINGLE STRATEGY
Elm Disease swept through the United States, eventually resulting in the loss of 75% of American elms.8 The country was heavily invested in the elm; many American cities had planted long, important streets exclusively with elm trees. When Dutch Elm Disease hit these streets it rapidly decimated the population, leaving main streets entirely devoid of trees and denuding neighborhoods over the course of a few years. Again, the cause of the outbreak was determined to be a fungal pathogen from Asia. Again, the disease was framed as a battle against a foreign invader, and again America lost. In recent years, emerald ash borer, pine pitch beetle, sudden oak death, and many other blights have threatened similar calamities. It has become clear that this is not a one-time threat, but an occurrence that is increasing in frequency. As tree species become more stressed by climate change and urbanization, we can expect additional epidemics. The strategy of trying to prevent and reverse these epidemics has not worked in the past, and is even less likely to work in a volatile future. Yes, these changes are human-caused. But they are not caused by the planting of non-native species; they are the result of much larger, irreversible changes in the movement of goods and levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We cannot address this change by being more cautious. With the rate that our climate is changing, we can
Globalization has irreversibly altered the planet, but it may also hold the key to surviving climate change. Designers today have unprecedented access to plants from around the world. For millennia, plants have been continuously evolving new, more efficient ways to survive in an astounding array of environmental conditions. In a post-native world, we will have to reconsider the idea that each plant is custom-evolved for a particular place on the
earth, and instead think of global biodiversity as a library of adaptation. This library holds the key to successful planting in urban areas today, and hope for an uncertain future. What I’m suggesting is that we embrace global biodiversity while we still have it; that our cities become hotbeds of plant species richness, hybridization, and cross-pollination; that we start a thousand divergent experiments, in small and controlled ways; and that we embrace this moment of globalization to produce an unprecedented explosion of diversity with which we can begin to replant and repopulate this irreversibly altered planet. The resilience of natural systems lies in diversity, redundancy, and flexibility. Individual plants, and even individual species, die off frequently, but there is always another individual or another species to fill the void. Relying on a small set of native trees without embracing the redundancy and diversity of natural systems is a recipe for disaster. GU : ISSUE 07
But then it happened again. In 1928, Dutch
THE CONSEQUENCES OF NATIVE PLANT DOGMA
To fully grasp the consequences of relying on native plantings, imagine for a moment that you are a landscape architect in Northern California. You’re not a native plant purist, but you use native plants in most of your projects because they do well, you know them, and they’re a built-in selling point for your clients. Imagine a recent project where native trees are important to the scheme, and now imagine sudden oak death wipes out every coast live oak on the project. Imagine that all your drought-stressed redwoods die from botryosphaeria. Now, extend this nightmare to the rest of your built projects. Put yourself into this world I’m describing—one where the two native trees that we depend on so heavily are gone. It’s a bleak and apocalyptic place. Add to that the loss of native forests in surrounding areas, and it’s looking like we’ve massively failed at our mission. The biggest danger in using only native plants 72
in the designed landscape is that we are putting
urban ecologies that will carry us through the changes ahead. PLANTING A POST-NATIVE WORLD
Abandon the image of nature. We fetishize native plants, restoration of native ecologies, and the wild. But trying to restore a snapshot of a plant community in a rapidly changing world is futile. It requires massive human intervention and resources. In order to recreate an image of untouched nature, we fight against the forces of nature. Instead, we should harness these forces.
Embrace the forces of nature. Nature fights adversity with diversity and evolution. It tries a million strategies at once, and those that succeed are replicated and iterated, while those that fail are rapidly scrapped. Nature is not conservative; it is brutally honest and highly experimental.
all of our eggs in one basket. In Northern
Become a force of nature.
California, there are a handful of native trees that
As landscape architects, we live in fear. We fear
are commercially available and viable in urban
the consequences of our choices, and that others
environments. The result of this is that many
will see us as incompetent, immoral, or imprudent.
landscapes are limited to the same group of three
But the consequences of our collective timidity far
to five trees.
outweigh the potential consequences of radical action.
The consequences of holding fast to native plant dogma in a rapidly changing world are grave. As the climate changes and we hold plants static, we are pushing the ecosystems on which we depend to mass extinction. Our desire to undo the damage that our species has caused to this planet is causing us to hide our heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away. It’s time we take responsibility for our role and accept the consequences of our actions. There is no going back. However, if we embrace the forces of nature (diversity, evolution, creativity) rather than clinging to the image of nature, we can move into an unpredictable future with hope. If we learn to recruit the tenacity of nature as an ally, rather than framing it as an enemy, we can use its incredible diversity to build robust
ENDNOTES 1 McBride, Joe. The World’s Urban Forests: History, Composition, Design, Function and Management. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2017. 2 L. Bounoua, et al. “Impact of Urbanization on US Surface Climate.” Environmental Research Letters 10, no. 8 (2015): 084010. 3 T.F. Stocker, et.al. “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basics.” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, 2013. 4 Davis, D.E. “Historical significance of American chestnut to Appalachian culture and ecology.” Proceedings of the conference on restoration of American chestnut to forest lands, Steiner, K.C. and J.E. Carlson (eds.), 2005. 5 Freinkel, Susan. American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. 6 Detwiler, Samuel. “The American Chestnut Tree: Identification and Characteristics.” American Forestry 21, no. 362 (1915): 957-959. 7 Waterworth, H. E. and G. A. White. “Plant Introductions and Quarantine: the need for both.” Plant Diseases 66 (1982): 87-90. 8 “New Varieties of Elm Raise Hope of Rebirth For Devastated Tree.” New York Times, Dec. 1989.
URBAN SENSORIUM: PROJECTING A NEAR FUTURE FOR 5 CITIES IN 5 SENSES ON 5 MAPS EMILY SCHLICKMAN & ANYA DOMLESKY
In 2016, we began a study to more systematically explore the future of the built environment in cities. From our perspective as designers heading the innovation lab, XL, at SWA Group, we wanted to gain insight into what the near future might look like for the cities that we design for. Not only were we thinking about the implications for our design of long-life, public realm, urban sites, but also our largescale urban design and planning projects, where changes in land use, infrastructure, and mobility play important roles. We started with cities that, as a firm, we know most intimately, cities that our designers live and work in every day. We narrowed the list to five cities, all with strong economic growth and international influence.1 The group includes two global giants, New York and Los Angeles; two knowledge capitals, San Francisco and Houston; and an Asian anchor, Shanghai. Once we identified these five case studies, we collected the
knowledge of our locally-based colleagues, mapped indicators, and conducted fieldwork. We isolated major drivers of change in each city— sometimes a policy decision, a shift in material or technology, or most often, a change in environment. The goal was to bring into focus larger drivers of change at the municipal level, to make them recognizable. We tied each driver to a small and very specific point—the body, the five senses, and from there to a physical object that produces an experience of sight, smell, touch, sound, or taste. Sections of these stories and scenarios follow here, in order by longitude, east to west from the prime meridian.2 As designers, this foresight study helped us to think toward possible constructions of the built environment and changed economies—not only the ones we know today, but those that are forming, and those we do not yet know. Infrastructure, transit, food systems, ecology, energy, economy, and climate—the things that affect the built environment— are large-scale, require abstract thinking, and planning for the long term in order not to be purely reactive to systemic shocks. Grounding
SCHLICKMAN & DOMLESKY
these issues in the bodily senses, in human experience, and in particular objects, makes the abstract tangible. By grounding speculation in the familiar, we can follow our accustomed things into multiple futures, multiple scenarios—ones we still have agency in shaping. In this way, we can be ‘in touch’ with the near future. GU : ISSUE 07
THE FUTURE OF NEW YORK COULD BE
The New York City
Department of Transportation
operates the most extensive lighting system in the
ABOVE Dark spots indicate areas in New York we project could be bright in the future due to changes in energy use. Base data acquired from NASA’s International Space Station aerial photography archives.
United States, with over 250,000 street lights in its five boroughs.3 Near the end of Mayor Michael
In 2016, a team of researchers from the National
Bloomberg’s administration in 2013, city officials
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the
approved a $76 million project to retrofit these
Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute
luminaires with energy-efficient light-emitting
predicted an increase in worldwide light pollution
diodes (LEDs), in hopes of saving the city millions
if LEDs continue to be adopted globally, given
of dollars in energy and maintenance costs every
that blue wavelengths are more easily scattered by
year. The introduction of LEDs represents a major
the earth’s atmosphere and more easily perceived
shift in illumination technology; the chips last up
by the human eye.5 While this brighter future
to four times longer than traditional light sources,
could result in improved pedestrian security and
produce two to three times more light per watt,
reduced criminal offenses, it could also result in
spread illumination more evenly, and emit a
negative health outcomes. The American Medical
brighter and whiter light with higher temperature
Association recently revealed a link between LED
ratings, measured in degrees Kelvin. NYC’s streets
light and a decrease in melatonin production.6
are staying brighter for longer; residents who have compared the lighting to “a strip mall in outer
Or, the future of New York could be dark. A rise
space” and “a prison yard” already feel the
in dark-sky proponents pushing to reduce light
effects of this illuminated future—cold,
pollution or advancements resulting in lower Kelvin
unflattering, too bright.
LEDs could darken New York’s nights.
Houston, a city defined by sprawl, is experiencing
fragrant, many with a sweet, pleasant odor profile.
increased temperatures and precipitation.
Examples include Japanese honeysuckle with an
According to Climate Central, the average summer
overpowering sugary and lemony perfume, and the
temperature is 13°F higher in the city than in nearby
Kudzu with notes of artificial grape flavoring.
rural areas, and the metropolitan area is seeing a 167% increase in heavy downpours.7 Recently,
Since Houston has no formal land use codes,
ecologists have discovered that non-native, or
the city is a mosaic of residences, warehouses,
so-called invasive plants—often from subtropical
and industrial areas, with vacant lots dispersed
or tropical regions—are better able to respond to
throughout. In the future, many of these
these climatic changes than those endemic to the
abandoned parcels could become overgrown with
region. Many of these spontaneous urban plants
spontaneous, opportunistic vegetation, suffusing
are shifting their flowering schedule, allowing them
the city with a sweet-smelling perfume.
to shade out their competition and giving them access to more water, nutrients, and pollinators.
Or, the future of Houston could be less fragrant.
Recently, a citizen science program, called The
A pilot program aimed at tackling the issue of
Invaders of Texas, has emerged, training volunteers
overgrown lots, managed by the Department of
to identify species in their neighborhoods and
Neighborhoods’ Inspections and Public Service
add them to an online database. A number of
Division, could keep the invasive species, and their
the newly recorded plant species are highly
fragrances, at bay.
BELOW Dark spots indicate areas in Houston we project could be fragrant in the future due to changes in ecology. Base data acquired from Harris County’s vacant parcel information.
THE FUTURE OF HOUSTON COULD BE
SCHLICKMAN & DOMLESKY
GU : ISSUE 07
In recent years, Los Angeles has been among the top cities with the highest car sales, the highest number of hours spent in traffic, the largest municipal street system in the U.S., and the highest number of lanes in an urban highway. And all those cars on the highway make noise. An apartment next
THE FUTURE OF LOS ANGELES COULD BE
to a freeway registers at about 90 decibels, or ‘very loud’—the same range as a gas lawn mower at three feet. In an effort to reduce decibel levels and save scarce highway improvement dollars, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has taken an interest in “quiet pavements” in lieu of noise walls. From 2002-2006, Caltrans built and tested five sections of quiet pavement north of L.A., with the hope of getting the data incorporated into a highway traffic noise prediction model that maps decibel levels at an urban scale.10 Compared to Caltrans’ normal dense graded hot mix asphalt (HMA), opengraded friction courses (OGFC) and rubberized asphalt concrete were better at reducing noise in the tests, according to the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.11 Out of 100 different pavement samples from Caltrans’ 76
pavement noise database, testing in 2005 showed that the loudest pavements and the quietest differed by as much as 16 decibels—the difference in noise level between the inside of a subway car and a live rock concert. In March 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported that between 2005 and 2015, the number of building permits L.A. granted increased sharply within 1,000 feet of freeways. In 2015 alone, the city issued building permits for 4,300 homes near freeways—more than in any year over the last decade.12 Miles of freeway and expressway are already becoming more desirable areas for living and easier to permit. More residential density next to major thoroughfares could create a new urban form—thin linear villages situated in the former buffer areas or odd lots between inaccessible, elevated highways and existing neighborhood grids. With the addition of quiet pavements, existing property values could increase, and reduced noise could mean better health outcomes for those already living nearby.13 Or, the future of L.A. could be loud, regardless of the introduction of quiet pavements. Predictions of population growth for the city are high,14 which could mean more car ownership, higher commute times,
ABOVE Dark spots indicate areas in Los Angeles we project
and additional highway building.
could be quiet in the future due to changes in transit. Base data acquired from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ National Transportation Noise Map.
THE FUTURE OF SAN FR ANCISCO COULD BE
In San Francisco, a typical summer day starts with
A drier, sunnier San Francisco might have broader
a heavy blanket of fog streaming into the bay. It
effects beyond shifting regional ecologies. The fog
dissipates for a few hours, then in late afternoon,
is often seen as an unexpected nuisance by summer
it rolls in again. The iconic fog can be attributed
visitors; miserably cold tourists on open air double
to a dramatic temperature differential between
decker buses are a common sight. A reduction in
the Pacific Ocean and the inland Central Valley.
summer fog could translate to increased tourism for
According to UC Berkeley professor Todd Dawson,
in summer fog due to climate change.15 Warmer
Or, the future of San Francisco could be wet. Even
temperatures along the coast are heating up the
if Bay Area summers shift towards drier, sunnier
surface of the ocean, weakening the upwelling
weather due to climate change, more extreme
effect, and in turn, decreasing the amount of fog
winter storms could be ahead for the state.16
produced. This shift could have a profound impact on Bay Area ecologies. Since the region only receives an average of about 20 inches of rain a year, many plants rely on the absorption of airborne moisture for survival.
ABOVE Dark spots indicate zones in the San Francisco Bay Area we project could be dry in the future due to changes in climate. Base data acquired from a U.S. Geological Survey study of fog belts along the California coast. GU : ISSUE 07
SCHLICKMAN & DOMLESKY
this pattern is beginning to shift, with a reduction
Small-scale agriculture has traditionally dominated
A shift in foodways and eating habits might come
the landscape of outer Shanghai. However, local
with health benefits for the Shanghainese. A 2015
vegetable production has decreased 45% since
study in the BMJ suggests spicy food may have
the 1980s. The municipal government of Shanghai
health benefits ranging from boosting metabolism
has made a renewed effort to safeguard food
to reducing the risk of heart disease.21 If a spicier
self-reliance since 2000 by regulating land use
diet contributes to longevity, Shanghai could
to preserve farmland and launching a number
experience more development pressure as people
of programs to support farming in the city.17
live longer, adding to population increases from
Sometimes referred to as planning for a â€˜green
rural migrants and rising birth rates.
ring,â€™ authorities see agriculture as a way of also preserving green space.18 At the same time, over
Or, the future of Shanghai could be mild. If air
the past five years, eight of the twelve highest
quality declines further, there could be a different
temperatures recorded over the past century in
crop shift; shade-loving plants such as chard and
the city have been set, according to the Shanghai
cabbage might be better adapted to grow in a
Meteorological Bureau. While Shanghai is
classified as having a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons, light rains in the normal
BELOW Dark spots indicate areas in Shanghai we project could
wet season have decreased over the past years.20
be spicy in the future due to changes in food. Base data acquired
Urban farmers may soon have to shift from crops
from the 2020 Plan of Shanghai Central City.
such as green leafy vegetables to heat-adapted crops like hot chili peppers.
THE FUTURE OF SHANGHAI COULD BE
EXHIBITION OPENING Urban Sensorium at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR)
2 For the full scenarios and alternate scenarios, see www.urbansensoriumexhibition.com. 3 “Green Light: Sustainable Street Lighting.” New York City Department of Transportation, September 2009. 4 Chaban, Matt. “LED Streetlights in Brooklyn Are Saving Energy but Exhausting Residents.” New York Times, March 23, 2015.
13 Kihlman, Tor, Kropp, Wolfgang, and William Lang. “Quieter Cities of the Future: Lessening the Severe Health Effects of Traffic Noise in Cities by Emissions Reductions.” International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences, May 2014. 14 Lu, Wei. “Densest Cities in 2025.” Bloomberg, September 12, 2014. 15 Johnstone, James, and Todd Dawson. “Climatic context and ecological implications of summer fog decline in the coast redwood region.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 2010.
5 Panko, Ben. “Nighttime light pollution covers nearly 80% of the globe.” Science Magazine, June 10, 2016.
16 Xiang, Gao, et al. “21st Century Changes in U.S. Regional Heavy Precipitation Frequency Based on Resolved Atmospheric Patterns.” Journal of Climate 30 (2017): 2501-2521.
6 “AMA Adopts Guidance to Reduce Harm from High Intensity Street Lights.” American Medical Association, June 14, 2016.
17 Jacobson, Martin. “Shanghai Urban Farming.” World Wildlife Foundation, March 1, 2012.
7 “Across U.S., Heaviest Downpours on the Rise.” Climate Central, May 27, 2015.
18 Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center. Visited December 17, 2016. http://www.supec.org/
8 Wolkovich, Elizabeth, et al. “Temperature-dependent shifts in phenology contribute to the success of exotic species with climate change.” American Journal of Botany 100, no. 7 (2013): 1-15.
19 “Hottest Day Ever in Shanghai as Heat Wave Bakes China.” Agence France-Presse, July 21, 2017.
9 Peter Del Tredici has worked to re-term invasives as “spontaneous vegetation.” See https://placesjournal.org/article/the-flora-of-the-future/. 10 Rymer, Bruce, and Paul Donavan. “California Tests Show Pavement Selection Influences Noise Levels.” Hot Mix Asphalt Technology (Nov./Dec. 2005): 25-33. 11 Rochat, Judith L. “Volpe Center Updates on Tire/Pavement Noise Studies.” Transportation Research Board ADC40 Summer Meeting, July 2007. 12 Barboza, Tony, and Jon Schleuss. “L.A. Keeps Building Near Freeways, Even Though Living There Makes People Sick.” LA Times, March 2, 2017.
20 Tian, Zhan, Chen, Baode, and Jianguo Tan. “Climate Change in MegaCity Shanghai and its Impacts.” Impacts of Climate Change on Future Societies Workshop. Australia-China Science and Technology Week, August 2010. 21 Lv, Jun, et al. “Consumption of Spicy Foods and Total and Cause Specific Mortality: Population Based Cohort Study.” BMJ, August 4, 2015; 351:h3942. Map data sources: NASA, U.S. Bureau of Transportation, U.S. Geological Survey, Federal Highway Authority, Harris County, Shanghai municipal government.
GU : ISSUE 07
SCHLICKMAN & DOMLESKY
1 Trujillo, Jesus Leal, and Joseph Parilla. “Redefining Global Cities: The Seven Types of Metro Economies.” The Brookings Institution, 2016.
UN-NATUR AL GENER ATION ETHAN MCKNIGHT
Industrial sites are indicative of the compression of time and material scales that define our age. They collect vast amounts of materials from distant and boundless landscapes Daily consumption of Coal 3,500 tons
and process them briefly before dispersing them again to far-flung locations. The materials they transform often have origins millions of years in the past, and their by-products
Annual Consumption of Coal 980,000 tons
and effects project millions of years into the future; they are consequences of millennia past and profoundly consequential to future millennia. They present perhaps the most powerful and tangible opportunity to explore and communicate the
Total Historic Consumption 106,820,000 tons
consequences of the Anthropocene, a world driven by human geologic agency. However, our growing fascination with post-industrial spaces in the design community has been more preoccupied with the aesthetic character and cultural histories of these sites,
rather than the consequences they embody. Driven by historic Fisk Station Area Boundaries 35 Acres
preservation guidelines that prioritize form and architecture, rather than the ramifications of industrial processes and landscapeâ€”not to mention the social and cultural realities of industrial sitesâ€”these adaptive reuse projects too often feature mere facades of former conditions stuffed
with incongruous programming. Yoga studios, coffee shops, and condos are dropped into the empty shells of former industry. These adaptive reuse projects represent a missed opportunity to communicate the repercussions of these sites on social, ecological, and cultural communities, and especially the consequences they drive hundreds of years into the future. The iconic landscapes of post-industrial design fail to fully acknowledge the hidden impacts of their industrial operations. They succeed admirably in providing unique and intense experiences by glorifying the scope of production and capitalizing on the subliminal awe of infrastructure, complexity, and scale. What is missing, crucially, is the impact of these industrial activities. For instance, consider the Kokerie Zollverein, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Essen, Germany, deemed such because of both its unique aesthetic qualities and its importance to the cultural history of the Ruhr Valley. The site design provides a thoughtful combination of preservation and adaptation by highlighting its historical significance through new programming, both temporary and permanent. The museum in particular does a magnificent job of contextualizing the industrial dominion of the Ruhr region within its political, cultural, and natural histories and their intersecting timelines.
ABOVE Zollverein Coal Mine. No outward signs signal the ongoing necessity of dewatering stations to prevent catastrophic results for nearby communities. TOP LEFT Scale comparison of coal volume consumption BOTTOM LEFT A view of the Fisk Station with Downtown
Chicago beyond. Photo by Christopher Tallman.
The iconic landscapes of post-industrial design fail to fully acknowledge the hidden impacts of their industrial operations. The difficulty is engaging visitors with the hidden
While Zollverein’s historical significance is
consequences of industrial activity. If done
unmistakable, the project lacks critical recognition
effectively, these sites could become the genesis
of the future of a place, which exists today solely
of the long-term thinking required to collectively
because billions of tons of organic material were
address our responsibility to future generations.
removed from the ground for industrial purposes. How then, can post-industrial site designs reveal
indication that dewatering pumps in this mineshaft
the impacts of their operation? Can they engage
have operated continuously since the coal mine
the vast networks of time and space within
closed in 1986. If the pumps in Zollverein and the
which they operate? A speculative proposal for
other shuttered mines of the Ruhrgebiet cease to
a decommissioned coal plant in Chicago was
function, over five million people would be subject
conceived with this explicit question in mind.
to flooding, subsidence, and contaminated drinking
The proposed design engages multiple time
water on a catastrophic scale. “Everything ends,”
scales of industrial impact, and leverages
Land is sinking and water is rising. There is no
they say, “except the pumping.” GU : ISSUE 07
Record breaking Power Record breaking power
First manmade object First manmade object to the soundsound barrier to break break barrier Queen Mary Queen Mary visits Visits
Father of Centralized Energy Father of centralized electricty
Decomissioned inDecommissioned 2012 in 2012 Q U I T C O A L
First all steam First all steam power plant power plant
Twenty years of sustained Twenty years ofprotest and action sustained protest
Thomas Edison Thomas Edison
the subliminal scale of the site into a
Station’s historical, cultural, and environmental
projective carbon monument that engages
history, as well as its location in the midst of a
visitors in constructing a future.
dense urban core, make it particularly potent.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FISK GENERATING STATION The Fisk Generating Station, a decommissioned coal plant in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, is an auspicious site in which to explore these ideas. Of course, every post-industrial site presents an 82
opportunity to engage the public in future ramifications of industrialization, but the Fisk
The station opened in 1903 at the dawn of the modern age, smashing records for generating capacity and efficiency, and demonstrating the promises held by centralized power run on fossil fuels. It was described in a 1908 issue of Electrical World as a “great cathedral devoted to the religion of power,” whose gigantic supersonic turbines inspired a feeling of worship and attracted luminaries such as Thomas Edison and Queen Mary to marvel at its scale and efficiency. It is no exaggeration to
TOP Timeline of the station’s history TOP RIGHT Mapping the annual emmissions of pollutants from the Fisk Station, and the health impacts of the Fisk and Crawford Stations BOTTOM Tracking the transportation of coal to the Fisk Station. Yellow numbers indicate annual trips of each transportation mode for the station.
say that our national landscape might not be so defined by the proliferation of power lines and smokestacks if the Fisk Station had failed to set such a high standard. The Fisk Station’s record-breaking power, of course, depended on the accumulation
North Antelope Rochelle Mine Black Thunder Mine
115 Cars - 1.4 Mile Length 13,225 tons/Train 74 Trains/Year to Fisk Station
Environmental Justice Offenders (2010)
Fisk: 374 Megawatts People living within 3 miles: 314,632 Fisk: 374 Megawatts Average Income within 3 miles: $15,076 People Living within 3 Miles: 314,632 Average Income within 3 miles: $15,076 People of Color within 3 miles: 83.1%
1. Crawford Generating Station, Illinois Environmental Justice Offenders (2010) 2. Hudson Generating Station, New Jersey 3. Fisk Generating Station, Illinois 1. Crawford Generating Station, Illinois
2. Hudson Generating Station, New Jersey
Annual Pollutant Output (Tons)
3. Fisk Generating Station, Illinois
Annual Pollutant Output (Tons)
x 4924 x 1178
Annual health effects of Fisk and Crawford Annual Health Effects of Fisk and Crawford
x 230 1937 - Fatal Burn 1938 - Ladder Fall
1974 - Fatal Accident 1976 - Fireﬁghter crushed
1945 - Fatal Burn
People of color within 3 miles: 83.1%
1954 - Two Fatal Burns
Crawford: 597 Megawatts
Crawford: 597 Megawatts People living within 3 miles: 373,690 Average Income within 3 miles: $11,097 People of Color within 3 miles: 83.9%
People Living within 3 Miles: 373,690
Average Income within 3 miles: S11,097 People of color within 3 miles: 83.9%
and compression of organic materials from far
was responsible for 550 ambulance deaths, 2,800
afield over millions of years. Benefitting first from
asthma attacks, and 41 premature deaths annually.
an abundance of coal in Pennsylvania and West
People died as a consequence of this station’s
Virginia, and later the even greater abundance
power. Sure the C-train runs smoothly, but we don’t
of the giant coal pits in the Powder River Basin
really ever get to see the other side of the ledger
of Wyoming, the station irrevocably changed
as clearly, do we? Both local activist groups such
landscapes thousands of miles from its property
as the Pilsen Environmental Right and Reform
line. The volume of coal it consumed, at a rate of
Organization (PERRO) and national groups such
one million tons of coal every year, dwarfed this tiny
as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace targeted the
35-acre site. Communicating these monumental
station for protests year after year until finally, in
scales of time and material is a primary driver of the
2012, the station was shuttered.
new programming in the site’s design. Physically and metaphorically, the Fisk Station The station holds the dubious distinction of
dominated the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago for
being named as the third worst environmental
over a century. Its contaminants and chemicals will
justice offender by the National Association for
linger in the site’s soils for hundreds of years, and
the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in
its emissions will contribute to rising temperatures,
2010. A 2002 study conducted by Harvard’s School
ocean acidification, and all manner of global
of Public Health concluded that the Fisk Station,
chemical imbalances for thousands of years.
in conjunction with its contemporary in the west
This speculative design for the Fisk Station
side of Chicago, the Crawford Generating Station,
Des Plaines River
Chicago 16 Miles from Fisk
NRG Will County Power Station Coal Storage & Transfer Station Rail to Barge
374 Megawatt Generator (1959)
Annual emissions (2003-2006) 230 lbs of mercury 17,765 tons of sulfur 260,000 lbs of soot 1,784,715 tons of Carbon Dioxide 4,924 tons of Sulfur Dioxide 1,178 tons of Nitrous Oxide
980,000 tons of coal consumed annually 3,000 - 4,000 tons consumed daily 41 Premature deaths annually from pollution associated with Fisk Station
North Antelope Rochelle Mine
1500 Tons/Barge Trip 2-3 Trips/Day GU : ISSUE 07
Mining SiteSurfaces Surfaces Mining Site
Exploting Toxic Exploiting Toxic Soils Soils
Creating a Carbon Monument
Creating a Carbon Monument
Creating a Carbon Monument
Exploiting Toxic Soils Extract hardscape slabs from available location on site
Concrete + Asphalt Surfaces
Concrete Surfaces + Grid Structure
Reorganizing Surfaces Removed Slabs (540)
Placed Slabs (165)
Creating a Carbon Monument
4 4 14 13
Museum of Un-Natural History
10. Gas Plant Wetlands
Remediation / Carbon Gardens
11. Sunken Garden
12. Elevated River Walk
13. Canal Steps
Water Taxi Stop
14. Carbon Monument
TOP Diagrams of the primary programmatic and spatial drivers for the new site design MIDDLE Diagram of the processes and the locations of removal and deposition ABOVE Axon of proposed site design from the south
proposes a public amenity that both serves its
ephemeral consequences of site operation found
community and engages the public in the grand
in the proliferation of impervious surface, and
scales of material and time enlisted by such
reorganizes the ground plane into a legible and
sites. In it, invisible volumes of industrial actions
meaningful framework within the industrial chaos.
are revealed and made explicit, as a method of
The second engages the toxic soils of the site as
educating the public in the consequences of our
programmatic and spatial drivers that reveal the
industrial practices. By undertaking to sequester
scale of damage and impact that will last decades.
carbon, however futile it might seem, we can
These toxic soils also function as the growing
generate in visitors a desire to understand and
medium for the third programmatic driver: carbon
affect the future in a positive manner.
storage. By converting the central structures of the station into an ongoing carbon sink, visitors will
ENGAGING THE CONSEQUENCES OF COAL To address the lasting repercussions of the Fisk Generating Station, and the multiple time scales in which they manifest, the site design simultaneously pays homage to its importance as a cultural relic and engages its responsibility as an ecological villain. But, of course, green space and economic
be confronted with the disparity between scales of consumption and regeneration. Over 600 years, the massive structures of the station will be filled with the carbon equivalent of only 42 days of power plant operation. MINING SITE SURFACES
benefits are minor relative to the scale of the
The Fisk Station site is dominated by impervious
industrial consequences discussed earlier. Pilsen is
surface. These site surfaces (and building debris)
one of the most underserved neighborhoods in the
are reorganized to explicitly convey the material
city of Chicago in terms of open green space. On
volumes required to sustain this industrial
the most basic level, there is an opportunity for any
operation, and to provide a framework that gives
design to begin to repay the nearby residents for
clarity while simultaneously registering both historic
its many injustices with river access and open space
and emergent site conditions.
that they sorely lack. The surfaces are used to create a new ‘front lawn’ The economic driver of the site’s development is a
for the site that creates legibility. The horizontal
new museum: the museum of Un-Natural History.
plane of the monumental slab surface accentuates
An update on Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural
the looming and ominous 450-foot-tall smokestack
History, the museum seeks to engage visitors in
and boiler housing around which the site rotates. It
both the historical importance of the Fisk Station
is intentionally reminiscent of memorial landscapes
itself, as well as the broader implications of our
and graveyards on a monumental scale. The spaces
industrial practices. Other portions of the site are
resulting from the material displacement make
dedicated to interpretation activities, designed
room for emergent gardens, gathering nodes,
and emergent gardens, a water taxi stop, wetlands,
and water conveyance.
and public access to the river. These spaces are the
These drivers engage the impacts of coal generation at multiple temporal scales. Site programming and spatial organization are driven by three primary actions of material displacement, aimed at explicitly presenting to visitors the
Over 600 years, the massive structures of the station will be filled with the carbon equivalent of only 42 days of power plant operation.
significance of industrial operations. The first, mining site surfaces, addresses the relatively GU : ISSUE 07
result of three primary programming drivers.
Poplar/Black Locust Poplar/Black Locust Grove Grove
Remove soil Remove soil fromfrom site of site former of gas former plant gas plant
Thermally soils Thermally treattreated soil
Deposit treated Deposit treated soil soil in bunkers in bunkers
PAHs Coal Tar VOCs BTEX Heavy Metals
Existing Bulkhead Existing bulkhead
Property Line Property Line
New water barriers and New water barriers and bulkheads bulkheads
River Channel River Channel
Rhizodegradation Bulkheads planters Bulkhead planter
Remove existing bulkheads, Remove existing bulkheads, tiebacks, and polluted soils tiebacks, and polluted soil
Puncture new bulkheads Puncture new bulkhead
EXPLOITING TOXIC SOILS
THE CARBON MONUMENT
The most toxic soil on site is located in the
Typical carbon sequestration strategies fail to
southwest corner, where a former manufactured gas
contextualize a coal power station’s carbon
plant operated for over a century. Here industrial
expenditure within a human experience.
processes have contaminated almost 50,000 cubic
Wood harvest sequestration is a developing,
yards of soil with petroleum byproducts. As with
inexpensive strategy of storing harvested wood
all of the primary site moves, the goal with the
underground or within structures, preserving
polluted soil is not to cap and hide it but rather to
carbon for thousands of years. This technique
reveal its scale, to give it purpose as a reference
will be used to fill the station’s massive boiler
of the past and a resource for the future. To this
and generator structures with carbon. The
end, the soil is placed in phytoremediation bunkers
projective monument looms over the site and
(petroleum byproducts are some of the most
the city itself, measuring both past and future
suitable for phyto technologies) that frame the site
material accumulation and confronting visitors
along the lines of vanished, historic canals. The slow
with the almost unintelligible temporal and
incline of the bunkers rising above the heads of
material scales of the plant’s impact.
visitors as they enter the site presents a progressive
of phyto-treatment render the soil safe for human
As designers, we should no longer be content to stand idle in the willful obfuscation of industrial landscapes.
contact over years and decades. The soil bunkers
Remediation groves and polluted soil bunkers
also frame the site, buffer from ongoing adjacent
are used to supply carbon sequestration
industrial activity, and eventually provide unique
volumes. The ongoing management of the
elevated views of the neighborhood and the river.
groves contributes to the sense of time
Their most crucial role, however, is to yield the
required to engage the volumes of coal
growing medium for the lengthiest program of the
consumed by the station, and provides an
site design: carbon generation and storage.
evolving set of experiences for residents and
understanding of the polluted soil volumes resulting from a century of the station’s operation. The bunkers will only become accessible as cycles
Siltation in shallow channel channel Siltation in shallow
Carbon + Remediation
Carbon + Lumber + Carbon + Experience Lumber +
Carbon + Remediation
Carbon + Lumber Carbon + Lumber
Poplar Saplings Hybrid PoplarHybrid Saplings Hybrid Poplar Saplings
phytoaccumulate and Poplars Poplars phytoaccumulate degrade pollutants and degrade pollutants Poplars phytoaccumulate and degrade pollutants
Harvest poplar forests Harvest Poplar forests Harvest poplar forests
Poplar and Locust Mix Plantings Poplar and Locust mixed plantings Poplar and Locust Mix Plantings
Harvest poplar and replace with Harvest poplar hardwood species and replace with Harvest poplar and replace with hardwood hardwood species species
Managed mixed hardwood forest Managed mixed hardwood forest Managed mixed hardwood forest
Take station artifacts for museum display and sell interior scrap
Take station artifacts Take station artifacts for for display and sell museum display museum andscrap sell interior interior scrap
visitors over the next six centuries. Throughout this time period, remediation groves will be continuously harvested and piled into the building. Once filled, the central building core will hold about 75,000 cords of wood storage, or 300 million 87
pounds of carbon, equivalent to only 42 days of station operation. Building incisions around the site provide visitors with a sense of scale involved in the carbon sequestration efforts. They place the human body directly in relation to the overwhelming historic carbon volumes to reveal the dramatic contrast between the speed of carbon consumption and
for generations, centuries in the future.
As designers, we should no longer be content to stand idle in the willful obfuscation of
As we grapple with the ramifications of the
Anthropocene it is imperative for us to engage with with our actions. Not every space should become a monument to carbon, of course, nor to the millions affected by contaminated air or poisoned water, but every post-industrial landscape should engage with its cultural and ecological consequences reaching far afield, and deep into the future. Only by confronting and addressing the disparity of
TOP LEFT Process through which the soils are treated and the soil volumes revealed to site visitors TOP RIGHT A diagram of the ongoing processes used to generate the carbon sequestered in the stationâ€™s superstructures ABOVE Carbon Encounters form the central experience of visiting the site. The site progression is structured around perceiving and traversing massive volumes, which, when fully filled with carbon, will equal only an insignificant fraction of the
industrial cause and effect can we undertake the
stationâ€™s carbon consumption. This is an example of the incisions
drastic actions necessary to provide a better world
within the structure that will contextualize these carbon volumes in human scale. GU : ISSUE 07
LAST NAME(S) MCKNIGHT
the vast material and time scales we manipulate
GU : ISSUE 07
THE BL ACK GOLD TAPESTRY SANDRA SAWATZKY
Nine years in the making, Sandra Sawatzkyâ€™s 220-foot handembroidered piece, The Black Gold Tapestry, tells the story of how oil has impacted human civilizations around the world, from bitumen bubbling up in the waterways and marshes of Iraq 5,000 years ago, to the global oil economy of today. Examining how oil and natural gas have fueled human ingenuity, progress, warfare, disaster, prosperity, and commerce across the globe, The Black Gold Tapestry highlights fascinating vignettes from the past and the present that will surprise and even delight viewers of this truly epic piece of art.
GU : ISSUE 07
BET WEEN MEMORY AND OBLIVION ROUTES OF MOURNING MARIA KARATSIOMPANI, NINA TSONIDI, & KONSTANTINA LOLA
On October 28, 2015, a tragic shipwreck claimed the lives of nearly 100 refugees en route to the island of Lesvos. The bodies were buried in an olive grove near the village of Kato Tritos in a harried and haphazard manner. We have proposed redesigning the burial ground to honor those lost and create dignified places of rest for the newly deceased. On one hand, the original site is preserved to respect collective memory and to function as an operative monument. On the other, the new burial grounds constitute the shards of the collective memoryâ€”that is, private memory. The threshold to the cemetery traverses the middle ground between the old and new burial sites, like a fracture in the landscape. This space is charged with routes, routes of bereavement between memory and oblivion.
LESVOS: LAND OF DISPLACED POPULATIONS The sea has always been the realm of the displaced, and Lesvos a staging ground to the European Peninsula. The distance from the eastern edge of Lesvos to the coast of Asia Minor is less than five miles, which explains the historical presence of a Muslim population on the island, as well as Lesvosâ€™ involvement in numerous population exchanges throughout history. In 1923, for example, 1,500,000 Christian refugees fled from Asia Minor and 500,000 Muslims left Greece.
There are three sea routes to the island, each with a different price tag, depending on their riskiness ... Class often defines the odds of survival.
Throughout the current refugee crisis, the island of Lesvos has been one of the main points of entry for refugees and immigrants. The construction of
the Evros wall in 2011 (on the northeastern border between Greece and Turkey) increased the refugee flow by sea, a considerably more dangerous route compared to the land passage. At the same time, the establishment of the European Frontex program made it increasingly difficult for immigrants to evacuate the Greek islands and reach the peninsula, transforming islands into prisons of enclaved immigrants. There are three sea routes to the island of Lesvos, each with a different price tag depending on their riskiness, whether the trip takes place by day or night, or under good or poor weather conditions; class often defines the odds of survival. Upon arrival, KARATSIOMPANI, TSONIDI, & LOLA
refugees must cross the entire island to reach the Moria, where they can file asylum requests. They are then transferred to one of three operational refugee camps on the island, as shown on the map at right.
RIGHT Map of Lesvos showing common sea routes and refugee camp locations. Source: UNHCR. GU : ISSUE 07
TOP Graphic analysis of the current conditions ABOVE Photographs of the immigrant graves in the cemetery of Mytilene, Lesvos
THE OCTOBER SHIPWRECK
The accumulation of nearly 15,000 immigrants in
We visited the island in March 2016. With the
Lesvos created various management problems,
kind contributions of the Deputy Mayor and the
most notably what to do with the bodies of the
volunteer who carried out the burials, we surveyed
deceased. A large number of immigrants were
the informal burial site in the olive grove and
buried in the cemetery of Mytilene, the capital of
photographed individual graves. The olive trees
Lesvos, in a disordered manner that ignored the
were uprooted in order to make room for the
orientation of bodies, as specified by the Islamic
graves, in the middle of a field very close to the sea.
religion. To make matters worse, the volume of the
A large number of the victims, infants, children, and
burials in the cemetery brought it close to capacity.
entire families buried here are of unknown identity.
So, when in October 2015 a major shipwreck took place in which nearly 100 people drowned, including a great number of children, the bodies had to be kept in a refrigerated container for about half a month. The situation was resolved by a volunteer who started searching for a suitable place. The burials were made informally in an olive field belonging to the municipality, about 20 minutes away from the city of Lesvos.
“That is the actual reason that forced me to create this cemetery. As soon as I entered, I saw an eight meter by three meter container, and within this container were 46 bodies. For 20 days in this space ... It was a situation that really nobody could have imagined. I do not know the proper expression, neither in Greek nor in Arabic, to describe what I saw.” Excerpt from an interview with the volunteer that carried out the burials
“I wasn’t aware of the size of the problem. When I found out about it, it became my problem. Finding a place was a decision that I had to make. I was involved now.”
KARATSIOMPANI, TSONIDI, & LOLA
Excerpt from an interview with the Deputy Mayor of Mytilene, Lesvos
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65 atypical burials
ABOVE The list of 65 atypical burials and photographs of the site RIGHT A comparison of prescribed burial pratices in Christianity and Islam
memories of the diseased, there would be neither
It was imperative to research the burial practices
bereavement nor loss.
specific to the religions of the refugee populations. This work brought us face-to-face with the notion of death, a topic of oppositesâ€”familiar yet unknowable, contemplative yet fearful. The notion of death can be considered the causa causans of
Our design for the burial site emphasizes natural elements interlaced with the burial procedure: ground, water, and light. Through their
spaces to contain bereavement, where one may
In an effort to better understand this complex
reality, we asked ourselves: What happens in between life and death? How are they separated
manipulation, we attempt to create appropriate pivot between memory, the present, and what
FROM CONCEPTUAL TO SPATIAL:
and how do they communicate? What is the
transition from one to the other?
Our design attempts to spatially materialize the differentiate between the individual and the
served as the physical boundary between the two
collective memory, as the former constitutes a very
worlds of life and death. Once in Hades, the dead
personal matter. Collective memory,1 on the other
would drink of the water of oblivion in order to
hand, is the sum of all individual memories and
forget their loved ones and their previous lives.
contains those concerning historical events rather
Their relatives were left behind to come to terms
than personal ones.
with their loss. As for the site of the informal burials that took place Loss can be interpreted in many different ways:
in November 2015, we conclude that no further
physical loss, existential loss, or even the loss of a
burials should take place, and that the existing site
country. The irreversible nature of such a loss can
be preserved with minimal intervention. Thus, it
desolate a person in bereavement. Memory is the
will serve as a memorial ground to symbolize the
key driver of grief and the core of loss. But for our
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KARATSIOMPANI, TSONIDI, & LOLA
notions of memory, loss, and bereavement. We In ancient Greek mythology, the river Acheron
Where time is frozen, the dead must be
is important to note that this cemetery attempts
commemorated, and the root cause of their deaths
to provide for the needs not only of the refugee
emphasized, in order for the site to retain its power
population, but also of any foreigners living on
and meaning. We strongly believe that visitors
in this place should not be ‘shocked’ by artificial, man-made constructions, but rather, be allowed
In between the memorial and the new burial
to interpret the events through their own personal
grounds there exists what we call a transitional
experience of the site. The informal burial site
space resembling a fissure. Anyone there is in
remains at the highest elevation to illustrate that it
limbo, preparing for what follows. There are two
gave occasion to the whole project.
possible routes; guided by the water or the earth, one can either descend to the burial
Conversely, the new burial sites represent the
grounds or follow a straight line leading to the
shards of the collective memory—the individual
memory itself. They are situated on the south section of the property and sunken into the ground.
We hope that this project draws attention to the
Here, the lower grounds are better suited to
issues surrounding the respectful burial of refugees,
host and contain bereavement. This depression
a problem created by the modern migration crisis
intensifies the sense of enclosure, creating an
and very rarely discussed in the public realm.
indirect interplay with the scenery.
By fusing monument and cemetery, we honor those lost at sea, and create dignified spaces for
We propose three distinct burial grounds: one
mourning, reflection, and final rest.
Muslim, one Christian, and one interfaith. To reach this decision, we were compelled both by the actual ratios of the religions of the dead and by our wish to respect the beliefs, if any, of the deceased. It
ENDNOTES 1 Halbwachs, Maurice.”Les cadres sociaux de la mémoire” (translated: “On Collective Memory”). Les Travaux de L’Année Sociologique. Paris: 1925.
KARATSIOMPANI, TSONIDI, & LOLA
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16 A Walk Down Brigantine Reach W.W. SMITH
I walk b eneath your boughs In your shadow, in the lee Of the shar p Pacific wind I find shelter u nder thee. 100
Hespero! O Hespero! Dear Cupressus, sta nd ing strong In a line, your li m bs defia nt As stalwart sent’nels, a cent’ry long.
On this triu m pha nt coastal terrace Pou nd ing surf does ever car ve The hu ngry waves! A sheltered cave Beco m e thy bra nches, the love you gave.
A n ocea n raging, crashing, star ved For the earth b eneath us! Hallowed grou nd Thy roots defia nt! to the thu nd’rous pou nd.
A nd here I sta nd, on fallen foliage As the ocea n r u m bles on In a m agic wooded haven Welco m e respite of the d aw n.
I step lightly, breathing in The faint aro m a of thy kin Your twisting bra nches tell a story Fro m the past! Now, let’s b egin …
A hu nd red years, a nd m ore, ago A wind swept m eadow, grazéd low By cattle, a m bling to a nd fro The ragged bluff—frigid sea b elow. The hills b eyond were clear-cut! By loggers, gau nt a nd gri m They tore the earth asu nder! Yield ing ti m b er, li m b for li m b. The forests gone, the field s depleted By cows that m ooed, a nd sheep that bleated A la nd far fro m this sacred place O hallowed grou nd! Old Hespero’s e m brace. So —How b eco m eth? Our m ost noble, kind red friend s These hedgerows so define this place W here each m eadow starts a nd end s. I’ll tell you how —‘Twas Walter Frick! W ho bought the acreage to turn a trick— To sell for profit, to a foreig n lot! They defaulted on pay m ents soon after they bought. 101
A nd so, Frick b ega n, Cash in pocket, deed in ha nd To ‘i m prove upon’ his la nd scape A nd reclai m this ravaged la nd.
Hesperocy paris m acrocar pa
Ca m e to define Frick’s ‘ra nchettes’ Used to m a nage his sheep herd s As living barriers, a growing fence. Two dozen ‘roo m s’ Were the Del M ar Ra nch A nd the stern Pacific wind Cast a b end to every bra nch. Of Frick’s you ng Cupressus Monterey cy press, every tree A nd his sheep, they baa h’d a nd bleated In the shelter of the lee.
A line, of cy press after cy press Now agéd a nd full grow n Gia nts rising up a bove m e Their vital shelter have I k now n.
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Before The Sea Ra nch Was ever a thought Frick redefined the la nd scape This m ajesty, he wrought! A nd so, a century has passed — The la nd’s b eco m eth so m ething new For ‘living lightly on the la nd’ A vision Larry Halprin d rew. W hen he first saw this coastal wonder In Frick’s footsteps d id he tread For the la nd scape’s process wa ndered on Ever after Frick was dead. The la nd is process! Our i m print too We live in the lee Of what our forefathers do. Just as you ng Cupressus Tender saplings b egin To replace their dying brethren Frick’s gift their fallen kin. 102
Old Hespero, just like us Lucky to see a hu nd red years A nd in senescence, as like we age Hespero falters, withers, wears.
We must replace the m! We steward s of our age In Halprin’s lee, to pla nt a tree A nd pen history’s next page. A final call, a challenge —listen! As I walk dow n Briga ntine Reach Co m e with m e — q uiet— ca n you hear it? The wind, it whispers, lessons to teach. As the bra nches of old Hespero Play their song of the northwesterly Telling the tale, of the wind s that prevail As we walk, safe here in the lee. Re m e m b er, my friend! M r. Frick a nd his sheep For the legacy of Sea Ra nch Of his m e m ory, must we keep.
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DEAFSCAPE APPLYING DE AFSPACE TO L ANDSCAPE ALEXA VAUGHN
DeafSpace sprang from the heart of the Deaf community at Gallaudet University1 in Washington, D.C., in 2005. With the guidance of architect Hansel Bauman—who is hearing, but uses American Sign Language (ASL)—the Deaf community at Gallaudet came together through courses and workshops to create radical, bilingual, and highly collaborative discourse on designing more effective campus buildings and public spaces for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH).2 The resulting product is Gallaudet University's DeafSpace Design Guidelines (DSDG), an ever-evolving publication designed for use by architects, planners, and administration. 104
Defined by the DSDG, DeafSpace is a space “in which Deaf culture, in all its diverse dimensions, can thrive through full access to communication and the unique cognitive, cultural and creative dimensions of the Deaf experience are encouraged.”3 Within a predominantly hearing world, the built environment poses many real, physical barriers to people who are Deaf, as well as people with disabilities. These barriers range widely from the absence of visual signage on public transportation to the lack of space to communicate with sign language while walking on public sidewalks. Deaf people have spent their lives adapting to the built
... a space “in which Deaf culture, in all its diverse dimensions, can thrive through full access to communication and the unique cognitive, cultural and creative dimensions of the Deaf experience are encouraged.”
environment. Those who deviate from the 'norm' are expected to make adjustments to fit themselves seamlessly into society— regardless of ability—particularly in public space. As a result, the built environment is viewed as static rather than flexible. While people with disabilities have been guaranteed rights to public space through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) since 1990, these regulations are not exhaustive, and historically have given less attention to those who are Deaf and HoH.4 With recent challenges to the ADA as we know it under H.R. 620,5 designers must use their power to design beautiful and accessible public spaces for all. DeafSpace, and other principles of Universal Design, have the power to take the ADA a step further—celebrating
the beauty of form as well as function, bringing to
tree planting, and design of other outdoor rooms
light the unique identities of those who are Deaf or
and shelters (e.g., parklets). Derrick Behm, a Deaf
disabled. DeafSpace asserts that the environment
graduate student in urban planning at Georgetown
can be changed to create better public space for
University, explains that he generally prefers action
individuals that deviate from the hearing 'norm.'
to happen in front of him, "with a wall or tree
However, in applying DeafSpace to landscape, not
behind to feel subconsciously safe" and to be able
only the Deaf community—but all people—serve to
to better control what goes on behind him.
reap the benefits of more accessible public space.
COLLECTIVE AND CONNECTIVE SPACE
Spatially, people in the Deaf community require
Social interaction is fundamental to Deaf culture.
enough space between individuals to sign and 360°
Placing collective spaces next to high-activity areas
sensory reach, dependent upon visual and tactile
promotes activation of these spaces by forming
senses. The DSDG attempts to create a better built
both physical and visual connection. Nodes
environment for the Deaf community through five
are central connecting points and intersections
units: "Space and Proximity," "Sensory Reach,"
along main areas of circulation, which promote
"Mobility and Proximity," "Light and Color," and
spontaneous social interaction as people move
"Acoustics and Electromagnetic Interference." It
from place to place. Eddies are located along the
must be noted that these guidelines focus upon
edges of major pathways and can provide space for
applications for the American Deaf community.
conversation and people-watching; an eddy can be
Although many guidelines were found to be
scaled for different uses and serves as a degree of
cross-cultural, Deaf cultures are extremely diverse.
enclosure in public space. Both nodes and eddies
Currently, there are over 200 sign languages in use
can be applied to busy city sidewalks to provide
around the world.
space off of the main path for conversation, limiting obstructive incidents and allowing for space to sign.
As a Deaf graduate student in landscape architecture, new to the Deaf community and
MOBILITY AND PROXIMITY
ASL, I wondered how I could apply DeafSpace
Critical to DeafSpace is the provision of freedom
to the larger scales of landscape and urban
of movement for communication, with minimal
design. Although most of the guidelines are
hazards. Wider pathways can accommodate for
specifically for architectural interiors, much can
signers to converse while walking. Dependent on
be applied to the broader, exterior scales of the
place, pathways should allow for enough room
urban landscape. Here, I attempt to dissect the
for two or more people to sign; typically, smaller
DSDG (excluding "Acoustics and Electromagnetic
corridors should be a minimum of seven to eight
Interference," best suited for interior design), by
feet wide to accommodate two signers, while
selecting the guidelines that my Deaf colleagues
public sidewalks should be a minimum of ten feet
and I have found critical for urban space. To the
wide to accommodate for several groups of signers
Deaf community, the landscape is a rich sensory
(and others) to pass through easily. 'Shoulder
experience; in the absence of sound, the visual,
Zones' act as dedicated buffer zones parallel to
tactile, and even the olfactory senses are amplified.
busy urban sidewalks and streets; they should include areas for eddies as well as street signage,
DEGREES OF ENCLOSURE: PUBLIC SPACE
lighting, and plantings. The pedestrian pathway
A comfortable degree of enclosure would provide
should be kept clear of barriers and should always
seen. One is able to feel secure from behind, with a view opening outward toward public activity. This can be achieved through the design of alcoves,
be designed with visual dominance and safety lighting, particularly at busy vehicular intersections. Matthew Sampson, also a Deaf graduate student in urban planning at Georgetown University, describes GU : ISSUE 07
a safe, semi-private space for people to see and be
TEXTURED TRANSITION to provide cues between sidewalk, planting areas, and the street 'SHOULDER ZONE' to create a buffer zone between the sidewalk and the street
DEGREE OF ENCLOSURE to create a secure,
semi-private space to see and be seen
NIGHT LIGHTING to create safer, more visible streets after dark
FLEXIBLE SEATING to accommodate small to large groups joining in conversation
WIDER PATHWAY a minimum of 10 feet to
provide space for conversation and circulation
RHYTHM to create visual patterns along sidewalk edges, aiding in spatial understanding
VISUAL CUE to increase awareness and safety,
especially at busy intersections
AN URBAN DEAFSCAPE
Image by author and Courtney Ferris
is a critique of the planning profession itself. Many of these guidelines appear to be standard practice in streetscape design, as per the ADA. However, they are often overlooked or treated as an afterthought. Applying these simple guidelines to streets has the potential to go beyond the ADA in creating space for the Deaf community, increasing safety, improving circulation, and making better urban landscapes for all.
curb bump-outs—or areas where sidewalks bulb
TRANSPARENCY AND REFLECTIVITY
out at busy intersections—as "a way of reclaiming
Transparency is primarily applied to building
pedestrian land, putting pedestrians in the driver's field of view," which can create the visual security required by those who are Deaf as well as security for other pedestrians. Ramps are preferred by many in the Deaf community; they can prevent barriers to conversation and minimize tripping hazards posed by stairs. They should be kept wide as pathways to accommodate for visual conversation. VISUAL AND TACTILE CUES Shared sensory reach is deeply rooted practice in Deaf culture. Visual cues can aid people who are Deaf to safely use and travel through public space. View corridors can visually connect different
interiors and windows, but creating flow between interior and exterior—extending the line of sight outdoors—allows for greater use, understanding, and connection to the surrounding landscape. Reflection can be applied to many landscape and urban materials (e.g., stone, metal, wood) to create subtle clues about surrounding activity. Materials should not be overly reflective to avoid undesirable glare. Natural lighting and night lighting should be maximized to prevent eye strain, but shaded exterior paths are also crucial for glare-free
comfort on sidewalks, which can be achieved with tree canopies and overhangs.
parts of a larger public realm, creating a visible
FIXED AND FLEXIBLE FURNITURE
hierarchy that can be achieved topographically
Furniture, too, plays an important role in the Deaf
and through the planting of trees. Landmarks
community’s use of the public realm. Flexible
and placement of design elements can also aid in
seating that is light, durable, and movable allows
orientation within a larger space. Danielle Koplitz,
for accommodation of small to large groups of
a Deaf graduate student in architecture at the
people joining in signed conversation. Circular or
University of Texas, notes the use of topography
U-shaped tables and chairs allow for a sustained
"to show transition from one space to another"
line of sight. Fixed seating and pedestals (e.g.,
and "indicate important buildings or a change in
low-rise walls and planter edges) at different
the purpose of space" on her campus in Austin.
heights allow for places to set down belongings,
Textured transitions provide subtle cues to
which can be obstructive to signing. Both types of
differentiate between edges of the ground plane
seating encourage mixed social use and can be
and thresholds, as well as safety cues along the
applied in various forms to parks and plazas within
edge of curbs, which are crucial for the DeafBlind
the urban landscape.
community. Easing and eliminating curbs in public more access to people who use wheelchairs or baby strollers. Rhythm can be employed in the landscape to provide continuous, recognizable visual references and alignment for signers. Tree placement (and canopy) is especially important in creating a visible pattern in the urban landscape along sidewalks. According to Sean Maiwald, a Deaf graduate student in public policy at The George Washington University, "immediate visual indicators of space" are crucial and should allow for wayfinding and understanding of use, "especially at a quick glance." Color (e.g., planting, façades, signage) can provide contrast for signing as well as visual orientation for wayfinding in busy urban hubs.
ENDNOTES 1 Gallaudet University is the only university in the world designed for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students and provides bilingual education in English and American Sign Language. Three of my colleagues quoted here (Behm, Maiwald, and Koplitz) are alumni of Gallaudet and contributed to DeafSpace in various forms and stages over the years, from conception to application. 2 Deafness is a spectrum: Deaf with a capital 'D' describes individuals that identify with a central deaf, cultural identity and who primarily use sign language. Hard of Hearing (HoH) describes individuals with some degree of hearing. Hearing impaired is an unacceptable medical term to the Deaf community; it carries a negative connotation, views Deafness as an impediment to well-being, and invalidates Deaf language and culture. Furthermore, DeafBlind describes individuals who are both deaf and blind, with a unique cultural identity of their own. 3 Bauman, Hansel. DeafSpace Design Guidelines, Volume 1. (Working Draft) 2010. 4 The ADA has focused on visual emergency systems (e.g., strobe alarms) in places like hotels and real-time captioning in stadiums for the Deaf and HoH. 5 H.R. 620 (The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017), if passed, will provide amnesty for access violators, allowing businesses to ignore ADA requirements until notified by a person with a disability, indefinitely. The burden is thus shifted to the person experiencing access discrimination, causing loss of civil rights to public space granted by the ADA of 1990. GU : ISSUE 07
spaces can also limit tripping hazards and provide
MAPPING MARS A DYING PL ANET & A DE AD ONE
In 1877, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli drew the first map of Mars. The map was crossed with lines which he identified as ‘canali,’ or channels. When American Astronomer Percival Lowell decided to draw a new version of this map in the 1890s, he mistranslated ‘canali’ to ‘canals.’ This suggested a human-modified landscape; conceptions of Martians and a habitable Mars were born.1 The canals, Lowell reasoned, had been engineered to manage Mars’ limited water resources. The theory was popularly accepted, likely because of concurrent widespread droughts in India, Africa, China, and Brazil. Concerns about Earth were projected onto the distant (yet relatively similar) planet. Though astronomers quickly refuted a Martian civilization, it was “nearly impossible” to erase the canals from popular imagination once a credible astronomer had mapped them.2 111
The droughts on Earth and the imagined effects of droughts on a Mars civilization began a narrative—which still stands—that Earth is ‘dying’ due to environmental stressors, and that Mars offers salvation. Since parallels between Mars and Earth—such as a similar day length—were identified as early as the 1830s, Mars has been mapped as though it were a version of Earth.3 While Lowell’s interpretation of drought on Mars widely disproved society’s vision of the planet as one that could support life, it is society’s vision that persists, even in spite of desolate images taken of Mars’ surface. The focus on the potential that life existed on Mars has also persisted. This possibility has been central in maintaining support for continued exploration of the planet. Thus, the metaphor of ‘dying,’ and its liminal state, suggests that Mars awaits salvation.4 SPACE TODAY The space industry as we know it is transforming. Once, there was only NASA. Today, private-public partnerships are taking the place of government space entities. Dubbed ‘New Space,’ these companies are working to make cheap satellites, mine asteroids, and develop reusable rockets—in effect, bringing space landscapes into the everyday. BUTCHER
LEFT Surface of Mars. Image courtesy of NASA.
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THE LANGUAGE OF MARS “This independence day, it’s the U.S. that invades another planet—Mars.”6 - ABC News, 1997
New Space and space colonization have the potential to radically shape the future. Thus, it is important to be critical of rhetorical devices used to shape this future. A 1975 report from NASA states, “Why build space settlements? Why do weeds grow through cracks in sidewalks? Why did life crawl out of the oceans and colonize land? Because living things want to grow and expand. We have the ability to live in space, therefore we will.”7 SpaceX has named their future Mars-faring spacecraft the Mars Colonial Transporter (or MCT). This language is incredibly inspiring and calls to mind the drama and excitement of American ABOVE Percival Lowell’s sketch of Mars circa 1895, with instructions to the printer. Image courtesy of Lowell Observatory
Westward Expansion. At the same time, it has an unmistakable resemblance to the language
Archive and Dying Planet.
on Manifest Destiny—Mars has no inhabitants
Many of these companies—from SpaceX to Virgin
of colonization. These rhetorical devices should
Galactic—have set their sites on colonizing Mars.5
be considered critically as we move towards any
Others, like Google, are involved in mapping and
future on Mars. Looking back at historical examples
supporting Mars missions.
provides insight into how our current discourse has
to displace, yet we still speak about it in terms
been shaped. A manned trip to Mars is both an emotional fixation, rooted in a narrative dating back to the first maps of Mars, and a practical fixation. Mars is the most likely candidate for extraterrestrial human colonization because it is similar and close to Earth. Robotic exploration of the Martian surface shows it may have once supported life and liquid water
Once, there was only NASA. Today, private-public partnerships are taking the place of government space entities.
oceans. As such, Mars is seen as a viable location for a human colony, offering redundancy against
A Douglas Aircraft ad from 1960 (lower right) shows
the destruction of Earth. Emotionally, Mars has
a lozenge spacecraft hovering above the surface
been a promised destination for humanity since
of the moon, where 1950s-esque, futuristic, space
the space race of the 1960s, at least, and Martians
architecture stands on a craggy, foreign landscape.
have been both endearing and frightening foils to
The viewer, a voyeur, peers around a jagged hill
our human experience in movies, TV, and books.
in the foreground, watching the spacecraft from
Most importantly, we believe that Mars can save
the surface of the Moon. The accompanying text
society. The caveat: Mars can save society, but only
reads, “When only explorers dared cross darkest
if society can save Mars first.
Africa, few foresaw it as a future vacationland. Outer Space now stands in a similar position. What will Lunar vacations cost? When rocket development
is written off and we have nuclear power, a traveler
In Google Earth Mars, users select Mars from a
may go for about the present price of a tiger hunt
dropdown menu—Mars is literally embedded
or African safari!” The ‘Darkest Africa’ he refers to
within Earth—to reveal the planet, around a
was ‘lightened’ by explorers and vacationers who
patchwork of long rectangular photos stitched
normalized a seemingly alien region of the world, a
together from satellite imagery,8 eerily
feat that parallels our goals to make the red planet
reminiscent of lonely, fragile Earth in the famous
familiar—to make it our own.
1972 ‘Blue Marble’ image.
By taking a look at A Trip to the Moon, a silent
Familiar tourist icons (e.g., a camera and hikers)
film created in 1901 by Georges Méliès, one
branded onto the surface of Mars reinforce the
can see the travelers to the moon encounter
possibility of putting humans on the planet. Green
‘moon-natives,’ dressed as African aboriginals—
icons of two hikers with walking sticks dot the map;
an orientalist ‘other’ that lends an exotic but
humans become green Martians. These hikers walk
familiar quality to the foreign, unimaginable, lunar
on the tallest mountain on Mars and in the dried
landscape. Since much of Africa was colonized
river beds. This representation of human bodies on
by 1900, the placement of (a generic ‘African’ or
maps of Mars, without spacesuits, suggests human
‘other’) aboriginal on the moon suggests that
ownership of the landscape, as well as its future
the moon, too, can be conquered. Similar tropes were followed in later films about Mars, including Thomas Edison’s 1910 Trip to Mars and Out of the Inkwell’s 1924 cartoon of the same name. In both films, Mars is human-scaled and the protagonists interact with characters that reference on-Earth 113
realities, from the gas masks of WWI to tattoos that allude to the African colonies of the time. In all of these examples, the creators use the landscapes of Mars and the moon as tabula rasa, projecting their own humanity and experience onto a foreign ‘other.’ GOOGLE EARTH: MARS “We are investing in the future of generations of scientists to come ... and we may be preparing the ground for somebody to go to Mars one day.” - Gerhard Neukum, principal researcher on Google Earth Mars
Google Maps is the most widely used 2D mapping tool in America, with over one billion users each month. Google Earth is its 3D interactive counterpart. Both platforms contain a map of Mars.
RIGHT This Douglas Aircraft ad appeared in Missiles and Rockets on August 1, 1960. A space tourist peers down at BUTCHER
the moon from their spacecraft, which is about to land. The accompanying text compares space tourism to the darkest reaches of Africa. Image courtesy of Another Science Fiction. GU : ISSUE 07
habitability. Gray camera icons denote images taken by rovers. In the Google Earth Mars image to the right, a thick red line dotted with camera icons traces the path of the Mars Opportunity rover at the Victoria crater. The image recalls a brochure at a National Park, with a suggested route for visitors and scenic viewing areas. Google Earth Mars also has a feature where one can overlay antique maps of Mars— such as Schiaparelli’s—onto the globe, effectively
ABOVE A screenshot of Google
placing Google Earth Mars in the history of Mars’
Earth showing the Mars map LEFT Details include the
cartography. Within Google Earth, Mars awaits the
dropdown menu in which Mars is
arrival of humanity.
embedded under Earth (A), hiker icon (B), and camera icon (C). Image courtesy of Google Earth,
Mars offers a utopic alternative to Earth and Earth’s problems.
ESA, DLR, and FU Berlin, 2014.
Furthermore, users can also explore scientific discoveries of Mars, clicking on markers to reveal 114
names of places and descriptions of geologic features. The act of naming, even without indigenous names to ‘uproot,’ can be read as a political exercise of power by NASA and others. Place name origins are also included, such as Tooper, a town in England; Bigbee, a town in Mississippi, USA; and Holdman, an American astronomer. Again, it can be noted that Mars is being mapped as though it were a version of Earth. A FUTURE UTOPIA
ABOVE Screenshot of Google Earth showing the traverse path of Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity in 2006. The rover follows the edge of the Victoria Crater. Camera icons denote photographs of the Martian surface, recalling a map of scenic rest stops in a national park. Image courtesy of Google Earth, ESA, DLR, and FU Berlin, 2015.
“All Utopias require mapping.”9 - Dennis Cosgrove
like a fantasy. The isolation of space—whether the
The hope that began with the errors of Lowell,
enclosure of a spacesuit or the distance of another
now being flamed by New Space, has led us to the
planet—lends itself to utopian visions. Utopias have
utopian idea that if we can save Mars, Mars can
shifted from being spatially isolated, by rivers and
save us. NASA dubbed the first landing site of the
lagoons, to temporally isolated, by the future.10
Viking rover Utopia Planita, reflecting 1970s hopes for Mars. In spite of the inhospitable images we have of Mars, the planet offers a utopic alternative to Earth and Earth’s problems. Mars is both similar enough to Earth to seem like a plausible alternative, and radically different and distant enough to seem
And Mars hovers ... waiting.
ENDNOTES 1 Washam, Erik. “Cosmic Errors: Martians Build Canals!” Smithsonian Magazine, December 2010. 2 Lane, Maria. “Geographers of Mars: Cartographic Inscription and Exploration Narrative in Late Victorian Representations of the Red Planet,” Isis 96, no. 4 (December 2005): 490. Accessed March 5, 2015. http://www.jstor. org/stable/full/10.1086/498590. 3 Dittmer, Jason. “Colonialism and Place Creation in Mars Pathfinder Media Coverage,” Geographical Review 97, no. 1 (January 2007). Accessed April 5, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30034045 4 Markley, Robert. Dying Planet: Mars in Science Fiction and the Imagination. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005. 5 It is worth noting that the major players in New Space and Mars Colonization are predominantly white male billionaires. Most publicly, Space X’s Elon Musk, former PayPal founder; Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon; and Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. In effect, the wild economic disparities of our current time are enabling space exploration in a way that NASA has not been able to with limited federal funding. 6 ABC News. World News This Morning, New York: American Broadcasting Company, July 3, 1997. Cited in Dittmer, “Colonialism and Place Creation,” 126. 7 O’Neill, Gerard K. Space Settlements: A Design Study. Honolulu, HI: University Press of the Pacific, 2004. 8 “Man with a Plan: Interview with Gerhard Neukum,” European Space Agency (blog), December 10, 2003. Accessed March 1, 2015. http://www.esa. int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/People/Man_with_a_plan_An_ interview_with_Gerhard_Neukum 9 Cosgrove, Dennis. “Mapping Meaning.” Mappings. Islington, UK: Reaktion Books, 1999. The full quote reads: “Thus the map excites imagination and graphs desire, its projection is the foundation for and stimulus to projects ... All utopias require mapping, their social order depends upon and generates a spatial order which recognizes and improves on existing models.” 10 Jameson, Frederic. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. London & NY: Verso, 2005.
JUDEE BURR is a queer freelance writer and activist living in Providence, RI. She studied the dual majors of Philosophy and Earth Systems at Stanford University and now works at Freedom Food Farm, serves on the Environmental Council of Rhode Island and the board of Groundwork RI, and organizes with Showing Up for Racial Justice RI (SURJ RI). Her articles on sustainability, science, and culture have been published in Motif Magazine, ecoRI News, Grist, and the journal Occasion.
MOLLY BUTCHER was born and raised in California, and has a deep connection to landscapes with little water. She holds a BA in Art Practice, an MA in Design Research, Writing, and Criticism, and is currently pursuing an MLA at UC Berkeley.
PHIL EVANS began his professional education in 1970 at UC Berkeley in Landscape Architecture. He obtained advanced degrees in agricultural sciences, and went on to develop community college horticulture facilities and curriculum, managed park maintenance for a large municipality, and devoted 25 years to developing the SF State University campus as a model for land use innovation and site design. After retirement, he founded the CityWrights Collaborative, a volunteer civic design and community design engagement network.
0 3 GREG KOCHANOWSKI is a principal at Rios Clementi Hale Studios in Los Angeles, CA. He works to combine the techniques and strategies of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design to create unique, forward-thinking environments that build upon and enhance the specific qualities of place. 13 ETHAN MCKNIGHT is interested in our complex relationships to industrial landscapes. He earned his MLA from the University of Minnesota where he received numerous awards and recognition for his academic work. He is currently a Project Designer at D/O in Minneapolis.
CLAIRE LATANÉ is a mother, writer, and ecological designer. She advocates for public high school environments that support mental health through her fellowship for leadership and innovation with the Landscape Architecture Foundation. She practices landscape architecture as a senior associate at Studio-MLA.
10 ZANNAH MATSON is a PhD Student in Human Geography at the University of Toronto where her research focuses on the construction of territory through highway infrastructure development and counterinsurgency doctrine in Colombia. She teaches urban planning and design at both Ryerson University and the University of Toronto. Matson holds a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
0 6 MICHAEL JENKS Originally from Nashville, TN, Michael Jenks now lives in Southern California studying architecture as well as founding SOVRN skateboards in Los Angeles.
MARIA KARATSIOMPANI, KONSTANTINA LOLA, & NINA TSONIDI are graduate students at the National Technical University of Athens. They share an interest in landscape architecture, and center their work around identities and social aspects of architecture, introducing parameters of interaction between personal and collective memory.
NATE KAUFFMAN is a PhD student in UC Berkeley’s Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning department at the College of Environmental Design. A national award-winning educator, his research focuses on the optimization of material flows through large spatiotemporal fields for climate change adaptation purposes. He founded the Live Edge Adaptation Project (LEAP); the Climate, Infrastructure and Resources Group (CIRG); and is the principal at Biosphere Design Lab, a consulting firm focused on the emergent challenges of a rapidlychanging world. 04
REBECCA PARTRIDGE was born in the UK, and currently lives and works between Berlin and London. Since graduating from the Royal Academy Schools in 2007 she has exhibited internationally. She has been awarded several international scholarships including awards from The Nordic Kunstnasenter Dale, Norway; The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, USA; and The Terra Foundation for American Art Fellowship in Giverny, France. She is currently co-curating “Scaling The Sublime,” an exhibition at Nottingham University, UK, in 2018.
07 BORDERWALL URBANISM STUDIO is a multidisciplinary studio in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley led by Professors Ron Rael and Stephanie Syjuco. 14 SANDRA SAWATZKY is a film writer, producer, and director. Her productions Passing Lane, The Water Cooler, Belly Boat Hustle, Indian Blue, Swing Fling Thing, and feature film The Girl Who Married a Ghost are told through choreographed action and without dialogue.
PUB LIC SEDIMENT TE AM | SC APE is a multidisciplinary design team that views sediment as a core building block of resilience in San Francisco Bay. The team is led by SCAPE Landscape Architecture with Arcadis, the Dredge Research Collaborative, TS Studio, the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Design, the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, and the Architectural Ecologies Lab. Their proposal was developed for the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge, a collaborative research and design project to explore and implement innovative solutions to the issues brought on by climate change.
CHIP SULLIVAN is an artist and professor of Landscape Architecture at the College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley. Chip received the 2016 Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal from the American Society of Landscape Architects, which recognized significant excellence in landscape architecture education. His latest book, Cartooning the Landscape, concerns the metaphysics of drawing and learning how to ‘see.’ The Foundation for Landscape Studies selected Cartooning the Landscape for the 2017 Jon Brinckerhoff Jackson prize for accomplishment in the field of garden history and landscape studies.
17 ALEXA VAUGHN is a Deaf woman studying at UC Berkeley (BA, 2016; MLA, 2018). She specializes in designing landscapes for difference and dis/ability and hopes to remove systemic barriers to the urban landscape in professional practice, teaching, and writing. In 2017, she received a Student Award for her research poster highlighting campus inaccessibility (Crip the Campus Map) at the Berkeley Circus. Recently, she was nominated for the 2018 Landscape Architecture Foundation Olmsted Fellowship.
W.W. SMITH is a nomad by nature, adrift in his vessel on the stream of consciousness, flowing forth from flood to sonder seas of soul’s soliloquy. His poetry and prose contemplate the intertwining relationships of the perceivable universe with and amidst us—the intrepid perceivers! His temple is the forest, his deities the trees; his words will whisper on the wind, in time from he to thee.
12 ANYA DOMLESKY is an urban designer at SWA Group where she co-leads XL: Experiments in Landscape and Urbanism, the firm-wide innovation lab undertaking practice-based research. Her research on the built environment focuses on scales beyond the designed site, both larger and smaller. Anya has taught at Harvard Graduate School of Design and Boston Architectural College. She completed her graduate work in landscape architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design and in architecture at McGill University.
ONLINE ARTICLE: www.groundupjournal.org 0 0 CARLA FISHER SCHWARTZ is a visual artist and educator based in Chicago, IL. Her studio practice investigates the relationship between the mapped image and contemporary notions of exploration, virtuality, and the simulated environment through print media, sculpture, and video installation.
EMILY SCHLICKMAN is a designer and co-lead of XL at SWA Group, where her work intersects urbanism, ecological infrastructure, and immersive design. Prior to joining SWA Group, she was an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Human Ecology at UC Davis. She holds an MLA from Harvard Graduate School of Design and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis.
MARK WESSELS is an arborist, acrobat, and landscape architectural designer based in Oakland, California. He’s obsessed with city streets, hidden creeks, and urban trees.
GU : ISSUE 07
GROUND UP... IS the student journal of the Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. IS an annual print and web publication intended to stimulate thought, discussion, visual exploration, and substantive speculation about emerging landscape issues affecting contemporary praxis. IS an examination of a critical theme arising from the tension between contemporary landscape architecture, ecology, and pressing cultural issues.
WILL be guided by the interests of our readers and collaborators. We operate on an open call with invited entries from academics, practitioners, students, designers, scientists, and activists.
GU : ISSUE 07
IS intended as a discursive platform to explore concepts grounded in local issues with global relevance.
Borderwall Urbanism Studio Judee Burr Molly Butcher Phil Evans Michael Jenks Maria Karatsiompani, Nina Tsonidi, & Konstantina Lola Nate Kauffman Greg Kochanowski Claire LatanĂŠ Zannah Matson Ethan McKnight Rebecca Partridge Public Sediment Team / SCAPE Carla Fisher Schwartz Emily Schlickman & Anya Domlesky Sandra Sawatzky Chip Sullivan Alexa Vaughn W.W. Smith Mark Wessels