Page 1

EDITORIAL DIRECTORS Sara Jensen Carr Michal Kapitulnik EDITORIAL TEAM Chris DeHenzel Whitney Hannah GRAPHICS DIRECTORS Catherine McDonald Richard Crockett GRAPHICS TEAM Steven Lee Junice Uy Tristan Williamson PRODUCTION MANAGERS Molly Mehaffy Sarah Moos EVENTS Johanna Hoffman CREATIVE DIRECTORS Darryl Jones Chris Torres CREATIVE STAFF Daniel Prostak FACULTY ADVISOR Karl Kullmann Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Urban Design, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley ADVISORY COMMITTEE Margaret Crawford Professor of Architecture, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley Walter Hood Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Urban Design, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley John King Urban Design Critic, San Francisco Chronicle

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The first issue of GROUND UP was made possible by generous support of: The Beatrix Farrand Fund for Public Education in Landscape Architecture Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley Jennifer Wolch, Dean of the College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley Jesse Jones, MLA 2011, University of California, Berkeley Monica Way, MLA 2014, University of California, Berkeley

Š Copyright 2012, The Regents of the University of California All rights reserved. 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.

GROUND UP Journal Issue 01 was edited, designed and produced by the graduate students in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley. For inquiries, contact Visit online at Printed in Emeryville, CA

Roofless [Con]temporary Art Gallery Bryan and Jennifer Shields Crater Lake Fumio Hirakawa and Marina Topunova Park(ing) Day Reflections Rebar Spacehacking//Citytactics Nathan John

98 107 96 94 90

Peter Eichberger et al


Bamboo Pavilion


Our Space Alex Schuknecht and Robert Tidmore


Endless Deadlines Chip Sullivan

Ground Swell: Adaptive Land Morphologies + Soft Infrastructure Chris Holzwart Panta Rhei: Everything Flows Kristina Hill Fiction of the Earth Andrew Ruff Terra Incognito David Meyer and Ramsey Silberberg

74 70 64 60

CIVIC (agri)CULTURE Judith Stilgenbauer


A[rch]natomizing Somalia Zain AbuSeir


Migratory Landscapes John Carr and Paul Morel


Below Imperial Richard Crockett and Monika Wozniak



3 Cities Nathan Smith The Landscape of Hydrology, Mobility, and Cultivation in the Garden State Kimberly Garza

46 38

Dichotomy within the City Taru


Unaccepted Streets Sarah Moos


Borderlands: Gas. Food. Lodging. James Santer and Nina Vรถllenbroker


A Conversation with David Fletcher and Marcel Wilson


The Albany Bulb: Informality and the Public Sphere Stacy Farr and Corey Schnobrich


Garden of Resistance: Discovering the Albany Bulb Karl Kullmann



The Counter Practices of Networked Abandoned Land and Urban Niches Benjamin Brace



Draw Here Bobby Glass and Cecil Howell



FORWARD The global uprisings of 2011 were the most extraordinary events of collective action seen in a generation. Preceded by over a decade of cataclysmic economic, environmental, and social upheavals, in the last year we witnessed an awakening of civil society, the declaration of new battles, and the revival of old ones. From this turmoil it has become clear that much is at stake, with the landscape hanging precariously in the balance. Through the medium of a student-initiated and curated journal, we see a unique opportunity to further explore the tension between these societal shifts and the physical landscape that we both inherit and construct. As students at UC Berkeley, we study at an institution that is formed by stone, water, and redwoods, but activated over multiple generations by the words Occupy, Defend, Save, and Now. We envision this project as a continuation of those conversations. The theme of our first issue—Landscapes of Uncertainty—brings together submissions from landscape architects, planners, architects, theorists, policy-makers, artists, and students from all over the world. The widespread response to our call for submissions makes it apparent that we are not the only ones trying to make sense of a clouded future, and that gives us hope. Emerging from this multiplicity of perspectives, three themes guide the structure of the project: Unclaimed Territories presents an argument for oft-overlooked remnant spaces to become valid landscapes. Temporal Environments elucidates the impact of shifting political, environmental, and social forces on design. Pop-Up seeks to capture and describe the design movement—or moment—of temporary landscape installation. The submissions that follow explore a diversity of scales, tactics, and localities, with an overarching sense of optimism, innovation, and experimentation. The essays further our professional and educational discourse, providing frameworks for moving forward. The mappings and diagrams navigate us through otherwise invisible systems. The photography reframes our everyday interactions with our immediate environments. And finally, the design projects—both built and unbuilt—reveal tactical experiments in the public sphere.


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

Design practice and education are often defined by moments when they are forced to radically morph so as to remain relevant. These mutations are not stylistic, but rather wholesale interrogations of the profession. Who and what defines the next move for landscape architecture is deeply contested territory. We aspire to engage this terrain head-on. - GROUND UP Journal Team

Photo credit Monika Wozniak

Nathan Smith Kimberly Garza

46 38 32



Benjamin Brace


Sarah Moos


James Santer and Nina Vรถllenbroker


David Fletcher and Marcel Wilson


Stacy Farr and Corey Schnobrich



Karl Kullmann


As “we live in a world, after all where the rights of

one of dynamic change and ongoing processes of

[…] profit rate trump all other notions of rights,”2 it

decay and renewal. Millions of people are migrating

can be difficult to engender change on abandoned

to cities as a direct result of shifts in how we trade

land with minimal amounts of capital. Interim uses

and with whom, how we access and exploit natural

of derelict land could make these issues visible to

resources, and a skewed distribution of wealth around

the general public and return agency over the space

the globe. Urbanity brings with it feelings of security

to community members from the invisible forces

and financial or societal prospects, but it also has

invariably embedded there. Temporary uses of space,

significant drawbacks that can emerge over time,

although transient by definition, are potent tools to

such as segregation, social exclusion, poverty, and

crystallize alternative visions in the minds of land

inter-relational tension. An issue currently threatening

custodians. These temporary uses can also apply

urban environments is the growing incidence of

pressure to particular governmental spatial policies,

abandoned, underdeveloped land as a direct outcome

such as the integration of green infrastructure into

of the global economic downturn, a situation that

existing communities and the creation of sustainable

encourages the temporary use of space in non-

urban drainage systems. What are the typologies of

traditional ways.

re-imagining that would best serve these tracts of

Four decades of sweeping and unprecedented

abandoned land and the urban people who could

urban transformations within the United Kingdom

make use of them? And can the ubiquitous digital

and Europe have left a lasting and polarizing image

network within urban localities be used as a catalyst

of the city as well as the social, economic, and spatial

for change, and perhaps serve as a window into urban

conditions within it. In certain cities and regions there


is regeneration, but in others vast areas are left to

Bottom up urban processes

ruin. With far-reaching swaths of gentrification and

The temporary reuse of abandoned land brings

privatization, the contemporary city risks losing the fundamental features of urbanity: ease of access,

social, economic, and environmental benefits. They

freedom of choice, and the intermixing of people and

are far-ranging but are generally concerned with

activities. The need to perpetuate financial markets

elements of place-making and the strengthening

has created a shift in thinking; those who control the

of community bonds to locality and context. As

processes of urban regeneration do so in the name

Mara Ferreri noted, “urban spaces are never neutral

of the constituency. As David Harvey observed, the

containers in which social processes unfold, but

“quality of urban life has become a commodity […]

are constantly produced […] by changing social

as has the city itself in a world where consumerism,

arrangements,”3 and this dynamism gives them

tourism, cultural and knowledge-based industries have

greater power than prescriptive conditions that are

become major aspects of urban political economy.”

parachuted in by governing bodies. Abandoned land


How can gentrification occur in a way that

can evolve to become a dynamic element of the

reflects the innate desires of inhabitants, instead

urban fabric through temporary use, a proliferation of

of destroying the very essence of a site’s context?

punctures into the hyper-controlled and increasingly homogenized contemporary city, a direct outcome of


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

personal and/or community expression. The forgotten or unwanted sections of society can be allowed full

leadership. The augmented layers of the city unseen have

control of a space, at minimal cost to society, when

become as—if not more—important than their physical

they are not allowed such freedom in other public

counterparts: “the city is as much a network as a

spaces such as civic squares and shopping centers.

residence, perhaps even more so.”6 The edge of the

Traditional planning procedures are based

contemporary metropolis is no longer defined purely

on ideas of permanence, linearity, and control.

by its physicality, but also through the loss of wireless

The shaping of the city, under these procedures,

internet and mobile phone signal, a condition where

is controlled solely by high capital investments

the inhabitants of the city must become producer or

and governments (both local and central). This

broadcaster as well as consumer. Just as no person is

persistent, top-down approach to urban planning

ever now alone due to digital connectivity, parcels of

and development can exacerbate social exclusion

land in the urban realm are also never truly isolated,

and further increase division within communities;

as they are intimately connected to the context

it is unable to respond and adapt to the volatile

that surrounds them. Vacant sites and abandoned

economies of market driven development. On the

land attract specific users within the community to

other hand, temporary use of abandoned space can

appropriate them just by being there. Such spaces are

be installed at virtually no cost and allow access to

non-prescriptive and lie outside normal official use

financially weak players, giving them “the opportunity

and planning, giving them great flexibility to respond

to grow in a protected but unsubsidized environment

to change. Furthermore, temporary uses of land

[to] become active participants in the shaping of their

are complex networked activities, insomuch as they


are sustained by the synergetic effects of complex

The city as cyborg – networks and urban alternatives There are complex interconnections and networks already at play between inhabitant, visitor, custodian, and overseer of the urban realm, some of them physical and some intangible. Matthew Gandy sees the city as a metaphorical cyborg “most strikingly manifested in the physical infrastructure that links the human body to vast technological networks.”5 This metaphor conjures a vision of networked derelict space collectively crying out for reuse and reintegration into its surrounding community. The use of social media in the recent uprisings in Libya and Egypt and the Occupy movement demonstrates how digital networks now enable disparate members of society to engage in changing political order and

internal networks, between the various users of the site, stakeholders, and resources. Social networks are historically comprised of an ‘offline’ circle of friends and work colleagues who share common viewpoints and periodically meet face-to-face. They do have great lobbying power at critical mass, but following the rise of the internet and mobile digital technology, digital social networks have become even more powerful than traditional offline ones. Digital social networks are not constrained by locality or timeframes; they are dynamic and instantaneous, able to evolve and build momentum rapidly. Activities that fight urban stagnation are often initiated by members of the surrounding community and driven by the potential of the spaces created. They enable a diverse range of uses and contradict

the limited notions of current urban planning

What is certain, throughout all of the above

discourse that perceive binary relationships between

typologies, is that “the uncertainty and openness

public and private space, and between planned

attract and inspire.”8

and non-planned spaces. Abandoned and derelict 14

land can therefore be seen as testing grounds for innovative land use planning, responsive to community or individual needs and to the limitations of the site.

The typologies of temporary space Misselwitz, et al have defined eight main

Conclusion There are a great number of underlying issues entangled within the discourse of abandoned land use, and recent movements suggest that societal change is possible. By using social media and mobile digital technology in the temporary re-imagining of

typologies of temporary use of space based on the

space, we can cut through bureaucratic regimes and

relationship between the temporary and long term

procedures, work outside traditional development


methods, absorb failure, strengthen communities,


Stand in: the temporary use does not have any lasting effect on the space and quickly dissipates.

and instigate and nurture dynamic change.

Impulse: temporary use gives an ‘impulse’ for the future development of the site.

they are too sluggish to respond to the volatility of

Consolidation: the temporary use becomes a permanent fixture.

unacceptable in the face of ever-increasing austerity.

Coexistence: where temporary use continues to exist beside the more permanent use, but within a smaller framework.

engage with the happenings of their local area should

Parasite: temporary use is created in conjunction with existing, more permanent, uses and continues in this vein, feeding off of it.

we should not waste the opportunities exposed to us.

Subversion: where temporary use interrupts existing use as a result of political actions (i.e. squatting) and initiates a change in the space. Pioneer: temporary use becomes the opening for permanent use on the site. Displacement: temporary space becomes the sole direction of an existing more permanent use for a limited time, for the previous use to later return, unchanged.

Each typology can produce different residual effects on the urban fabric. It has been shown that temporary uses are able to subsist within an infinite range of existing uses and typologies of development such as housing, leisure, and industrial. Their very nature engenders ‘light urbanism’ and allows the full

Traditional social networks are unable to address the contemporary pressures of urban dwelling; current times. Urban stagnation and neglect is simply In light of recent global events, allowing people to be high on the political agenda. The age of dynamic change in our socio-political environment is upon us;

Notes 1. Harvey, David. “The Right to the City.” New Left Review 53 Sept. Oct. 2008: 23-40. Print. p. 8. 2. Ibid., p. 1. 3. Ferreri, Mara. “Self-Organised Spatial Practices and Desires in Conflictive Urban Developments.” Critical Cities: Ideas, Knowledge and Agitation from Emerging Urbanists, Volume 1. Eds. Deepa Naik and Trenton Oldfield. London: Myrdle Court Press, 2009. 40-52. Print. 4. Oswalt, P., P. Misselwitz, and K. Overmeyer. “Patterns of the Unplanned.” Eds. Karen A Franck and Quentin Stevens. Loose Space: Possibility and Diversity in Urban Life. London: Routledge, 2007. 271–288. Print. p. 278. 5. Gandy, Matthew. “Cyborg Urbanization: Complexity and Monstrosity in the Contemporary City.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Vol 29.1: 26-49. Print. 6. Pesce, Mark. “The New Toolkit.” The Human Network. n.p. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2011.

borrowing existing frameworks and infrastructures,

7. Misselwitz, P., P. Oswalt, and K. Overmeyer. “Urban Catalyst Research Report.” Urban Catalyst. 2003. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. p. 14.

they enable a bona fide physical showcase of urban

8. Ibid., p. 3.

spectrum of recycling and appropriation avenues. By

alternatives. In defining instances of temporary use, we can successfully employ them within the context of future development and community engagement.


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

Kathputli Village, Delhi, India (Photos by Satish Saklani)


The last decade and the coming few will see a

infrastructures, network flows, ambiguous spaces,

significant transformation in the demographic profile

and other polymorphous spaces that constitute the

of India. By 2047 almost 60% of the country’s

contemporary metropolis.”

population will be living in cities—and yet the cities

Identifying mechanisms of urban transformation

themselves are already bursting at the seams,

as strands of an interwoven tapestry of socio-

unprepared for the imminent surge of almost 300

economic, political, cultural, and environmental

million more people. As urban centers continue to

data could generate the probabilities leading to

grow into economic molehills, massive immigration

various possible urban permutations. But combined

and complete reconfiguration of these territories are

forces of collective apathy, aggressive neoliberal

inevitable. A social shift of this magnitude and the

entrepreneurialism, and the widening socio-economic

accompanying spatial changes cannot be studied

chasm have allowed urban practices to promote

as a form composed of static architecture and its

empty formal paradigms of interconnectivity, space,

continuous morphosis only. Alex Wall argues in

flow, field, and so on. One way or another, the needs

his essay “Programming the Urban Surface” that

of the current mass displacement must be met,

“familiar urban typologies of square, park, district,

and when the formal channels of city planners,

and so on are of less use or significance than are the

administration, and intelligentsia fail to generate the


requisite infrastructure, people find solutions beyond

The dichotomy of the two socio-economic orders

the frameworks provided.

of the city, as emphasized by their different physical

Contemporary urban policies have resulted in

morphologies as well as their conceptions of space,

cities which in their morphologies, spatial behavior,

brings current city planning practices into question.

infrastructural amenities, social orders, and inter-

Landscape and urbanism must evolve in pace with our

connectivity fit two distinctly varying characters.

cities, ideas have to be developed in situ according

Each city wears two different faces: one which has

to the needs of new social orders, and urban

been conceived, formulated, and implemented

interventions need to stay in sync with changing

in accordance with the city master plan or other

spatial needs.

authorized framework, and the other which has developed within the crevices and back alleys of the city to fulfill the needs of an exponentially growing populace. The first has become the playground of entrepreneurs who create gated colonies with manicured landscapes and lush central greens, catering to the desires of their clientele while subsisting in a competitive economic order. Gurgaon, for example, a city located 30 kilometers south of New Delhi, has developed piece by piece and is populated by individuals who reside in seclusion behind various closed gates. This structure fails to create a cogent environment of inclusivity or a sense of community. The other city character grows settlements with high density and little intervention, generated by the needs of cities facing an acute shortage of livable space and carried out by people claiming spaces outside of laws dictating prioritized needs. Kathputli Village, an urban slum in western Delhi, has derived its name from puppets; it is a settlement of craftsmen that has grown exponentially in the last two decades. Each house has a chabutra, a kind of platform, for the craftsman to carve his puppets, and small shops festoon the windows. Roads barely exist since no one owns a vehicle. Like most slums and urban ghettoes, the settlement, while very dense, has been provided with very few infrastructural amenities; it is considered illegal and remained unacknowledged until recently.

Identifying the Third Space – Voids of Uncertainty In time, each space, whether planned or appropriated, develops characteristics as a place within the urban domain, and the rigid geometry of the space becomes super-imposed by a layer of the informal. Trading predictability for personality, this informality seems chaotic, but the order to its chaos lies in a simple understanding of certain social factors: changes in the behavior of a space occur because there is a need—of an individual or of the community—that results in the redefining of that space. And observing such behaviors and resulting spatial changes is easy if you pause and look: a cobbler sits adjacent to a pole on the footpath, instinctively avoiding the streamlined pedestrian flow, creating a niche for himself and his livelihood in a realm that is inherently public. The under-belly of a flyover is occupied by the homeless at night; it is a true no-man’s land and safer than other alternatives because it is in the full view of the road. The back alleys of colonies often double as playgrounds for children who are unlikely to have a park in any kind of proximity. An old man sits on a small ledge by the sidewalk resting his tired legs and is often joined by his counterparts. A vendor selling fresh limewater lingers at an intersection, scouting for potential customers. Most residents with houses


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

at the pedestrianized intersection have converted

that form the in-between, that fulfill unanticipated

portions of their house into tea stalls and snack

needs of the vast sea of humanity, that have not been

points, despite the fact that the colony is meant to

planned and yet have been defined through utilization,

be strictly residential. The alley between two major

form a kind of third realm that has been bypassed

office complexes bears an informal market catering to

by contemporary landscape practices. These spaces

everyday needs including a magazine stall and a food

can no longer be ignored, given the current shifting

trolley. The hollow in the neem tree at the end of the

demographics; they must be understood and

street houses the idol of a god, making it both sacred

enfolded into the strategies, practices, and visions of

and active, visited and maintained by the numerous

urban transformation. The only suitable professional

devotees who live nearby.

approach to this issue is one that demands to

The hawker, the vendor, the homeless, the

understand the significance of this spatial crisis,

children, the old men, the residents—they have

seeks to relieve it by designing spaces with multiple

all appropriated the spaces available to them,

uses, and reclaims the voids that have been

extracting more than the customary uses of those

generated by layers of urban mayhem.

spaces, expanding their three-dimensional potential, and enhancing their significance. Eventually each inconsequential patch of land, ignored by the traditional aspects of planning and design, effectively a void, becomes important because the needs of the people appropriate it and add value. These spaces

References Wall, Alex. “Programming the Urban Surface.” Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture. James Corner. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 233 – 250. Print.

San Francisco is generally regarded as an

“unaccepted streets,” or public rights-of-way not

environmentally performative city.1 Yet, contrary to

accepted by the city for maintenance, that either

this popular perception, the city actually lacks readily

presently or potentially, could act as unofficial

accessible open space, with only 288 acres available

accessible open space. Paper streets are a subset

on average per person. This figure compares poorly

of unimproved streets that are demarcated and

with Portland, Oregon (1,040 acres), Washington,

legislated as public rights-of-way, but often do not

D.C. (553 acres), and Boston, MA (331 acres). Open

exist in reality or are unusable as actual streets. An

space serves as an intermission from the built-up

average unaccepted street equates to .4 acres.

urban condition for a range of public activities and

Cumulatively, the city’s unaccepted streets approach

interactions, as well as flora and fauna inhabitations.

the size of Golden Gate Park in land area. Most

Accessible open space is defined as lying within a

are not built to city standards, lacking sewer, gas,

¼-mile walking distance from all residences in the

and water infrastructure, and remain in unidentified

city; accessibility as well as distribution of these

jurisdictions. With limited city budgets and staffing,

lands has been proven to be an important factor

these unaccepted streets fall by the wayside and exist

in the usability of open space and the physical and

as underutilized fragments within the city fabric. The

psychological health of communities.3

unpleasant roadway conditions that result, including


A GIS analysis correlating existing open space and residential land use in San Francisco reveals that

narrow sidewalks, dark alleyways, and littered spaces, detract from the pedestrian experience of the city.4

six square miles of the city lacks ready accessibility

Unaccepted and paper streets arose as a

to open space. However, San Francisco hosts 2,224

result of the original platting of San Francisco’s grid



GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

New Unaccepted Network

New Day-Lit Creeks Historic Creeks & Marsh

New Urban Forest Growth

system, established in 1839 by Jean-

(2) creating connectivity and access, and

Jacques Vioget in reaction to the city’s

(3) promoting biodiversity and natural

infamous topography. In time, the street

habitat.5 Applied to the unaccepted

grid expanded and matured, responding

streets, these goals question how we use

to the needs of a rapidly growing city.

our public rights-of-way. They suggest

As San Francisco introduced new layers

a transformation from an unimproved

of infrastructure to the urban fabric –

streetscape to a new form of urban

culverting natural creeks, constructing

open space: one that capitalizes on

freeways and rail lines, and infilling for

underutilized fragments and strategically

industrial and residential growth – a

pieces them together into pedestrian-

palimpsestic street grid emerged. Today,

friendly passageways throughout the city.

remnants of erased and abandoned thoroughfares, decommissioned rail lines, and halted Bay-fill developments

The Blue Greenway

Unaccepted Streets Paper Streets

Existing Open Space

Current Improvement Initiatives Previous Patri Projects Community- & City-Led Private Developments


Roadway Infrastructure

Available as a geographic

remain articulated in the urban landscape

informational database, the unaccepted

through the unaccepted streets. A map of

streets can be analyzed and interpreted

these streets reveals the neighborhoods

using digital mapping to identify spatial

impacted by San Francisco’s growing

conditions and strategic networking

pains. Concentrated in seven of San

opportunities.6 A set of 13 spatial

Francisco’s southern and southeastern

attributes critical to achieving each of the

neighborhoods, the unaccepted streets

three main initiatives of San Francisco

have left the public realm of these areas

was overlaid with unaccepted streets

in disrepair. These formerly neglected

(to identify a macro-scale network), and

neighborhoods, once home to industrial

with paper streets (to identify micro-

production, maritime activity, and public

scale sites). A composite density analysis

housing, are now entering the public

identified the most opportune areas within

interest as San Francisco begins to

the city for developing and achieving San

examine opportunities for new open

Francisco’s three main initiatives.

space. Stakeholders throughout San

Transit Stations


When compared to historic maps of San Francisco, a parallel alignment

Francisco are actively envisioning methods

between historic waterways, natural

for improving the public realm of the city,

passageways, and the identified network

specifically focusing on street conditions

becomes visible. The identified network

in the southeastern neighborhoods.

also reflects the inverse of residential

Combined, their visions advocate

land use, suggesting the prospect of

improving the pedestrian experience

connecting residential communities to

of San Francisco through three main

San Francisco’s waterfront, to the Blue

initiatives: (1) establishing open space,

Greenway, and to each other, along a pedestrian-oriented, urban open space


Mission Bay 46 acres


22nd st. Cal Train Station 15.5 acres

Islais Creek 27 acres

Bayview Station 8.4 acres

I-101/280 Interchange 60 acres



4 6 7 8


Beneath Freeway Streets occurring beneath freeway ramps and roadways in the form of vacant lots, easements, and embankments

the Embarcadero


Easement Streets that follow abandoned rail lines, alongside rail lines, are between houses, above sewers, or below power lines.


Existing Open Space Streets within the boundaries of established city open space areas.



crane cove park

Inaccessible Impenetrable streets resulting from infill and freeway construction.



Parking Lot Streets used for parking. warm water cove

Passageway Streets used as connectors in the form of stairways, pedestrian bridges, and alleyways.


bernal heights park

Serviceway Streets used as service roadway for residences, usually dead ends.




Steep Slope Streets that traverse steep hillsides and rock outcroppings.




john mclaren park

candlestick national park



Streets Improved streets that are used as public thoroughfares but not maintained by the city.

Vacant Streets occurring on vacant land, normally fenced, littered, and weedy.

Indi 28

Bayview South 18 acres

Yosemite Slough 59.4 acres

Visitacion Valley Gateway 22.4 acres

COMMUNITIES 518 streets & spaces & GROUPS


+ =





network of unaccepted streets.




ia Basin 8 acres


initiatives to transform unaccepted streets and other parcels owned by DPW into open spaces.7 It will

Through research of existing conditions


throughout the neighborhoods, over five hundred


be crucial to promote and utilize the Streets Parks

Synergy Infrastructure Synergy the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed for the operation of a society or enterprise

Infrastructure Infrastructure Program, asthewell asnature other processes including the streets, 462 underutilized lots, and connectors linking the basic andrecognizes organizational structures and facilities needed for thefor of society or enterprise the basic physical andphysical organizational structures and facilities needed forcity the operation ofoperation athe society or aenterprise Infrastructure Infrastructural work collective of the and allows participation of multiple authors. Infrastructures give direction the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed for the operation of a society or enterprise

city’s Pavement to Parks program, continuing land the fragmented unaccepted streets were included to Infrastructural work the recognizes thenature collective nature of the cityself and allows for the participation of multiple authors. Infrastructures give Infrastructural work improvisation. recognizes collective of the cityaway and allows for the participation of multipleexpression authors. Infrastructures giveenunciation. direction todirection future w tactical Infrastructural work moves from referentiality and individual toward collective Infrastru

Infrastructural work recognizes the collective nature of the city and allows for the participation of multiple authors. Infrastructures give direction

and change. -Stan Allen, Points and Lines endowment, street closures, planning acquisition and form a complete linear network traversable by foot. tactical improvisation. Infrastructural away from self referentiality andexpression individual toward expression towardenunciation. collective enunciation. Infrastru tactical improvisation. Infrastructural work moveswork awaymoves from self referentiality and individual collective Infrastructural system

tactical improvisation. Infrastructural work moves away from self referentiality and individual expression toward collective enunciation. Infrastru

change. -Stan Allen, Points and Lines -Stan Allen, Points and Lines policies, and neighborhood acts of temporary The streets and underutilized lots currently exist and in change.and and change. -Stan Allen, Points and Lines

ten different typologies. The full network covers 388

urbanism to actively pursue and transform each

acres, increasing open space to 300 square feet per

element, organically, yet strategically, bringing the

San Francisco resident.

network to reality.

Results Because the network spans neighborhoods, varies in jurisdiction, and hosts a variety of adjacent land uses, it will require the synergistic participation of all stakeholders on improvement projects for network evolution and full realization. As a strategy to identify the scale of each improvement project possible and the stakeholders crucial for stewardship as well as management of each project, the network can be divided into three infrastructural elements: individual streets and spaces, complexes, and connectors. Communities and local groups would lead the transformation of 518 individual streets and spaces that function at a micro-scale neighborhood level. Local groups, organizations, city agencies, and private affiliates would collaboratively acquire, fund, manage, and steward nine mid-scale complexes (concentrations of the remaining 446 streets and spaces that together, possess footprints greater than that of a single unaccepted street). City agencies

notes 1. San Francisco was ranked first in overall environmental performance by the Green City Index Report: North America, 2011, by Siemens AG, Munich; for more detail the full report is available at: < international/all/en/pdf/report_northamerica_en.pdf.> 2. de Chant, Tim. “Parkland Per Person, within City Limits, in the United States,” Per Square Mile. 27 January 2011. Web. January 2012. <> 3. Gehl, Jan. Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1987. Print. 4. Moudon, Anne Vernez. Built For Change. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986. Print. 5. These overarching goals were determined by consulting guidelines, plans, visions, programs, community efforts, reports, and projects from a broad range of stakeholders as part of larger research conducted by the author in the summer of 2011. 6. GIS data was accessed from the San Francisco GIS Enterprise Program in Summer 2011, available from <http://gispub02.sfgov. org/data.asp> 7. For more information on the Streets Parks Program, visit: <http:// aspx> and <>

would spearhead the improvement of 26 macro-scale connectors that link together the fragmented pieces of the network. Currently, the primary process to transform unaccepted streets in San Francisco is the Streets

Railway Promenades

Urban Trails

Parks Program, a partnership between the San Francisco Parks Alliance (SFPA) and Department of Public Works (DPW) that supports community-led

Streetscape Corridors


production to suburbs and urbanized hydrological

the creation of the U.S. National Highway System in

systems, pressuring state agencies to preserve

the mid-20th century, highways have become the

ecologically sensitive areas and target central

primary arteries in the landscape, linking communities,

Jersey as the primary corridor for ‘smart growth’

towns, cities, states, and regions. This vast network

development.3 However, central New Jersey, also

has informed settlement patterns, generated and

known as the Inner Coastal Plains province and origin

sustained economies, and defined regions. More

of the state’s nickname as the Garden State, is home

significantly, in the latter half of the 20th century,

to the state’s prime agriculture areas as well as a

highways have aided in structuring low-density

vast network of rivers and streams that serves as

urbanism, erasing earlier notions that highways

the primary water source for residents. As the area

disable communities and stunt urban growth.1

continues to urbanize, agricultural production and the

Current highway planning processes propose horizontal and vertical expansion to accommodate

State’s water quality will both suffer. The following aerial photography of the New

increased traffic. One example, the New Jersey

Jersey Turnpike aims to capture the invisible networks

Turnpike, a vital corridor for the Northeast region,

and flows surrounding the New Jersey Turnpike and

is undergoing lane-widening projects that are

by doing so, hopes to influence cultural perceptions

significantly impacting adjacent urban and ecological

of an iconic space known for its congestion and lack

communities. Designers of the Turnpike focused on

of landscape, thus revealing it as a rich and dynamic

efficiency and speed; they intentionally created an

system and catalyzing the rethinking of roadway

anti-aesthetic experience. A driver on the Turnpike

infrastructure in relation to biophysical systems.

can, in fact, get a ticket for hindering traffic flow by slowing down or pulling over on the highway shoulder. Beyond the design of the highway itself, the surrounding landscape was intentionally voided in order to prevent driver distraction. Historian James Fisher wrote: “The highway dominates the landscape so totally that the motorist is unaware of the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers. I usually miss them myself. It’s difficult to obscure major features in the landscape altogether, but the Turnpike manages to do so.”2

The most densely populated state in the U.S., New Jersey is the site of low-density urbanization partially caused by the mid-20th century establishment of the New Jersey Turnpike. The state’s rapid urban development has shifted landuse patterns from forested lands and agricultural

NOTES 1. Segal, Rafi, and Els Verbakel. “Urbanism Without Density.” Architectural Design (London, England). 78.1 (2008): 6-11. Print. 2. Gillespie, Angus K, and Michael A. Rockland. Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1989. Print. 3. Hasse, John, and Richard Lathrop. Changing Landscapes in the Garden State: Urban Growth and Open Space Loss in New Jersey 1986 thru 2007. July 2010. Web. December 2011. GeoLab at Rowan University and Rutgers The State University of New Jersey. <>


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

24 Urbanization Impacts On Hydrological Systems

Turnpike Urbanism


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3 Cities is a photographic project documenting the surface of the urban landscape. This work began in Mexico City in 2005 and evolved into a more systematic way of considering spatial differentiation during sojourns in Oslo, Norway and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The programmatic and spatial orders of cities are principally described at ground level. We pause at curbs and drive automobiles in channels of space defined by little more than fading applications of paint. The universal predominance of the plan and the figure/ground resulting from the bulk of architectural artifacts determine our experience. Strangely, the solidity of the western architectural tradition is met by a drastic thinness of the city’s inscription on the surface of the planet. 3 Cities elaborates the existence of an urban landscape beyond the jigsaw set of delineated territories and discrete activities. At the surface our collective movements are mapped, separated into various systems, and at times extruded into built form. How mutable are these conditions? What forces actually shape the real-time map of the city beneath our feet? Furthermore, what variations arise in different locales? Could one recognize a city by the distinct surface patina that emerges through a repetition of mundane elements?



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BORDERLANDS GAS.FOOD.LODGING JAMES SANTER AND NINA VOLLENBRÖKER These images are part of an investigation during

service areas’ artificial light to override the subtle

which we traveled the entire length of America’s

specificities of season, weather, local context, and

southernmost interstate, I-10, photographically

time. They show the unique spatial vocabulary of

recording each service area from Jacksonville, Florida

these continuously available environments and

to Los Angeles, California. The resulting body of work

their innate bond with the displaced traveler. The

pointedly applies a lens to places that are typically

collection reveals a disconnected quality created by

experienced in a state of distraction; it makes a

uninterrupted, absolute time in the continuum of the

precise record of areas that are often intuitively

Interstate System. The images become a typology that

forgotten: clusters of gas stations, convenience

speaks about the spatial, temporal, and emotional

stores, motels, fast food restaurants, and the residual

dimensions of spaces of mobility.

spaces between them. The project locates these roadside environments between movement and stasis, between wakefulness and sleep, and between more rigorously defined environments. It captures the elements in which the marginal nature of these borderlands become visually apparent and examines the inhabitations that they enable. All photographs are taken between dusk and dawn and use only the light emitted by the road­side environments themselves to portray the landscape. The individual photographs explore the ability of the


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A CONVERSATION WITH DAVID FLETCHER AND MARCEL WILSON We sat down with Marcel Wilson, principal of Bionic and David Fletcher, principal of Fletcher Studio, both based in San Francisco, CA. Both Wilson and Fletcher are highly regarded for approaching the landscape with an expanded, culturally omnivorous palette.

Both of your firms produce striking

MW: You could look at any firm that has speculative work and you could say that the

speculative work. What is the role of this

speculative work is the work they want to do, and the applied work is the work that

work in your practices?

they are doing. It’s the holy grail to make those worlds merge. So, when you’re building a practice, you have the singular opportunity to define what you want to do, and speculative work is a really good way to set that bar. For me, because of the nature of the clients that we attract, we’ve been able to get pretty close from the start. What’s interesting to me is the effect that it’s had: it’s brought more unique clients to approach us about thinking about their projects and sites. DF: For us there’s a very structured research agenda, where we’ll choose a topic and we’ll explore that for a year. We might do three competitions that address different scales of that topic, and the hope is that it gains inertia as something that might be applied. Part of it is, as Marcel suggested, to really establish an identity. For example, putting it out there that we do work that might investigate a very specific topic: one design that we are working on right now is based on Kurt Cobain’s guitars, which he actually started to design himself; or, on a larger scale, the transformation of the San Francisco Bay Bridge to a revenue-generating commercial infrastructure, as a polemic. It’s interesting because people contact us because they love this crazy project that we’ve put forth. What I’ve found is that no matter how ‘out there’ you are there is always an audience.

Have you found that that audience is

MW: It’s international. We’ve gotten a lot of hits from Eastern Europe and China. It’s

in the Bay Area or California, or does it

interesting to see how far it extends. Another way you can tell is by where you get people

come from everywhere?

applying from who are interested in working for you. DF: I would say, fundamentally, projects are about ideas and about concepts. Also stories and narratives—those are universal-and the better idea the broader it gets picked up, and more people get curious about it.

Some of the dominant themes of

DF: Well, in terms of resources, all of our cities are based on oil, that’s obvious. Our

Landscapes of Uncertainty are the

landscapes are also based on archetypes that people have, and that have been

noticeable economic, ecological, and

imported from other places: the lawn, for example. All of these things are hang-ups,

political factors that have affected the

basically. I don’t mean to be Jens Jensen about this, but there’s something wrong

environment in recent times. What

with the fact that we are making landscapes that require life support systems. So the

do you think is the role of landscape

political point is in the role of contemporary landscape architects in shifting world views,

architects in engaging in the highly

and in shifting societal desires. With the exhibition work what we try to do is to be a

political nature of projects? Should

little polemic—the Beta Bridge project was about that. There, we are trying to suggest

landscape architects even be political?


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

alternatives to what they’re trying to do in terms of structural monitoring; to suggest a marijuana farm and a data farm living in symbiosis, and how that might generate revenue to create public benefits elsewhere in California. MW: It depends on the practice. A lot of practices are set up to serve clients, and there are very good reasons for that. But there’s a whole world outside of that box that still needs to be dealt with. Now, people from outside that box have started to look at landscape as a topic and to see the political issues there. Up through the mid-90’s, landscape architecture education was teaching you to put your head in the sand; it was teaching you to fit in. I think a landscape architecture education should teach you not to fit in, because fitting in is the problem. You could find a political angle to pretty much any project, and an environmental or an ethical angle. My professional ethics say you should advocate for those positions. You may not always succeed, but what’s going to set you apart from the accommodating service firm is to come up with a proposal that addresses the profound issues that a project at any scale presents. My favorite topic on this is water. We live in a time where water is basically free, and yet we’re told we are on the verge of crisis every year. We know that the technologies are out there, but merging demand and technologies isn’t happening; the only thing that will really merge those two is an acting crisis. We just haven’t hit that point yet. Every project could have this dimension of water independence, right? Very few of them take it on. The water topic always falls across economic lines unless you get the very enlightened client who understands a bigger picture, otherwise a larger ethic prevails. DF: I agree; landscape architecture schools need to be creating people that are strong, independent thinkers that are rigorous and creative, and that can lead design efforts. Right now, if you go to reviews at landscape architecture schools, people are defending themselves for being human, and the projects are being described by their performative components—not at all for what they are or what they could be. You have students that say ‘my bio-swale is here, my urban farm is there, and my vertical wall is here’…but it hasn’t been designed. You even hear professionals talk about this. So we need to be taught to be really good designers, not just to check off our LEED requirements. Yes, we try to look for habitat functionality. Yes, we try to be good with water. But on top of that we are designers first. Do you agree with that? MW: I generally agree with that. I would like to see the story, sentimentality, poetry, and narrative—all of those modes for approaching a project initially—should come out of more systematic thinking, as by-products, rather than the formative thrust for a project.



Lift Station & Grinder Pumps


Service & Maintenance

Floating Pipeline / Boardwalk

Green House

Street Tree Nursery



Material Storage Wind Power

Tide Power

Fuel Cell

Soil Remediation & Drying

Holding Tanks

Invasive Species Digestion

Lift Station


Power Array

Contamination Containment




Sports Fields

Bionic, Estuary Services Pipeline (ESP)



Portable Treatment Wetlands


Material Storage

Waterfront Proxy Waterfront Proxy


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Fletcher Studio, Beta Bridge Top: Exploded Systems Axon Right: Sectional Perspective Far Right: Composite Diagram

Fletcher Studio, Beta Bridge

42 Bionic, Estuary Services Pipeline (ESP)

In my practice, I was interested in something that wasn’t technophobic, like most of the profession. I think that what is taught is to suppress systematic and engineering thinking. In setting up a practice, I wanted to attract projects with difficult sites, challenging programs, and clients with interesting takes on a project- and for those things to become the formative points of a project, rather than a personal style. The emphasis in schools - especially in architectural schools - is to develop something distinctive so that you can be known for that. You will be distinguishable so that people will then want to call you. That’s architecture culture, and that’s the baggage that landscape architecture inherited. DF: Yes, those things should be fundamental: systematic thinking, context, and everything. MW: If you go to an engineering school the real emphasis is on inventing something, on making something that’s never been done before. In landscape architecture, in practice or in school, you see a lot of the same over and over. Using the same five materials— pulling things off the shelf and plugging them into a project—it can’t be that simple. I’m not saying it’s wrong for every project, but it can’t be that simple. Many people would argue that

MW: To answer that question, you could separate the academy into two piles, ones that

innovation is not in the academy right

are trying and one’s that aren’t. Or ones that are trying and getting there, and one’s that

now. Where do you see innovation in


landscape architecture? DF: I think people need to be taught how to find inspiration, and not necessarily inspired by other people’s inspiration. I think Marcel suggested it before—he didn’t say it, but I thought he was going to say it—is that those people are rare. The ones that can be innovative—I think Michael Van Valkenburg is a good example of that, and George


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

Hargreaves, especially their early work—was well-founded work in terms of systems, ecologies, and water, but on top of it is often very strong design. For me, inspiration for a design comes from being pretty obsessed with design, and thinking about this cool project that you have while listening to music, or NPR, or going to an art museum, or hearing somebody else’s lecture, or reading a magazine. You start to combine things, and some of it comes from things that you’ve seen in the past that you’ve been told are important, while other times it’s just totally unexpected. I think inspiration might be a better discussion; how to teach students how to become people that are sensitive to things on many levels. What’s the single greatest hurdle in

MW: You could say this about the academy, and I think you could say this about the

landscape architecture that you would

practice: it is way too self-referential, and way too concerned with what has been done.

like to see rethought? What’s not

Only looking within a relatively narrow set of answers and professional views of the

happening in the academy that should

world, you begin to understand that things are just more complex. Academia is largely


consumed with repeating things. DF: I would say that we are in an incredible, incredible time for landscape architecture and for the medium. Over the last ten years, it’s been rediscovered by a lot of different disciplines. At one point before 2001, the only thing that people in architecture talked about was Parc de la Villette, OMA’s second-place scheme, that is, and then they talked about the Igualada Cemetery. If you look at the last ten years, there is an unbelievable amount of relevant and cool work, and I think that’s in part because a lot of other people are discovering landscape architecture as a medium, and it’s not just because they like it. It’s because they’re not paying as much money for real-estate development. In addition, technology like GIS and parametric software—as well as new drawing tools, new thinking tools, and the ability through the web just to look at an aerial—increase the level of intelligence of work being produced. I think the limitation in landscape architecture education is it seems to me they’re not really teaching designers how to design, and how to think about design at every scale. It’s somehow still rooted in this notion of stewardship, and it’s not just self-referential, it’s painfully self-righteous and isolated. It’s very, very strange. Landscape architecture has removed itself from something that is already removed. You hear: “We need to move beyond the man-nature divide”…“we need to make the city and nature come together.” You don’t realize that the people that are actually doing research on those issues, the geographers, the ecologists, all these other people have moved beyond that idea a long time ago. I do think that landscape urbanism, as a discourse or not—is a lucky discourse. It just happened to hit at this time when all these other little revolutions were emerging, and I think it’s an amazing time to practice.

44 Fletcher Studio, Cable Car Park

David, in the 2008 article “Proving

DF: Well, the funny thing about that article is that I sent it to two people for review;

Ground: Landscape Urbanism in

one was Marcel and he gave great comments… If you look at the projects that were

California,” you said: “It is clear that

being typically used to illustrate landscape urbanism—West 8’s project or showing the

landscape urbanism is the most

North Delaware Riverfront as an example of a successional or remediation determined

compelling contemporary model for

urbanism emerging over time—I was addressing those larger scales, and it was a soft

practice. What is less clear is that the

critique. For me, in terms of practice, I would be very interested in that kind of an idea—

body politic is prepared to accept the

I think a lot of it happens anyway, but if the question is about landscape-determined

indeterminate and incremental.” For

urbanism, I don’t know what form that is or can ever occur in. Recently, we did a master

both of you, is perhaps one of your

plan for the main street in the Dogpatch Neighborhood in San Francisco, and what’s

goals to make indeterminacy more

fascinating about it is that there is a non-profit that has received grant funding, and

recognizable—or more understandable—

they’ve used it all to support our master plan. We’ve constructed two blocks. We are also

to the public?

working with the SFPUC [ed. note: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission] on the first prototype of using street-based green infrastructure to take roof runoff. It’s being done by private individual landowners on an incremental basis. I am interested in the smaller scale organic implementation parcel by parcel and space by space.

Bionic, Spike

Bionic, Candlestick Park


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

Rather than just a phase one, two, three

DF: Yes actually it’s much more interesting than that, because phase one, two, and three


would be this zone, that zone, this zone. Whereas, this is more about getting a weird phone call from somebody.

Marcel, your competition-winning project

MW: The idea of letting something get out of control is that it presses right up against

“Spike” features a circular sitting area

convention in a way that makes people very uncomfortable. We did that proposal to put

surrounding a planted knoll with one

something subversive right in front of you so you can’t miss it. You get both reactions

half a successional bamboo forest, and

out of something like that, something that’s an experimental project. We’ve done a

the other half manicured turf grass.

900-acre planning project for Hunter’s Point Shipyard, and Candlestick Point, the largest

This project, especially as a temporary

expansion of San Francisco since the Sunset. If you look at that project in its totality,

installation, seems like a good way

and the possibilities for urban systems, infrastructure, and the potential for large-scale

to bring this idea of indeterminacy

urban habitats, there is a strong case for the structure of the urban design plan to have

and uncertainty to a scale people can

a profound ecological basis. Indeterminacy is inherent in this proposition. The plan on

understand, would you agree?

the table has no ecological basis, and it won’t. It is a highly political environment, and it is very difficult to advance indeterminacy on a large scale like that, because you’re pushing up against so many different kinds of interests.

So maybe this indeterminacy is less of

MW: Ten years ago, the concept of indeterminacy actually had a lot of momentum in

a spatial characteristic--less of a thing

academia. At least in landscape architecture departments, people were really interested

you can actually see--and it’s more of a

in it in terms of programming and its ability to accept, reject, and change over time.


Those concepts have just gotten more nuanced now, where those things can start to mean a lot of things. In practice, I find that this subject falls predictably down economic lines. If there is an economic advantage to being indeterminate, then that is a favorable direction to go. If there is a programmatic, experiential, or phenomenological reason to go towards something indeterminate, then people are uncomfortable with it. The loss of control for any developer, and the idea that you could allow some sort of chaotic process to take place makes them very uncomfortable. On the flip side, you have parcelization. We don’t know what these parcels are going to be used for, but we know the envelopes of them, and we know that some kind of code is going to shape them, so we can project a financial outcome off of that. That kind of indeterminacy?—OK. The chaotic, fuzzy, ethereal thing that the landscape is primarily preoccupied with?—That takes a lot to get somebody comfortable with. It takes a sophisticated population or client to accept the fact that you are planning an accident, or a set of possibilities, and not one prescribed outcome. Interview has been condensed and edited.


Projecting a mile into the San Francisco Bay,

of informality at the Bulb with the space’s ability

the Albany Bulb’s thin neck and distended head

to foster and promote an expanded notion of an

give obvious explanation to the name of this oddly-

engaged public sphere, one in which new user groups

shaped, 30-acre landform. No less interesting in

are able to emerge and claim different rights and

function than form, the Bulb, as it is commonly called,

uses in an ongoing dialogue enacted on and through

exists today as a multi-use, multi-jurisdictional public

the landscape.

park—created, used, claimed, and altered throughout

The Albany Bulb area underwent its first

its history by a variety of private corporations,

modifications fifteen hundred years ago by the

governmental agencies, and user groups. As a site of

Ohlone Indians, who harvested tidal shellfish and

discard and abandon as well as in its current condition

created massive shellmounds out of their material

of jurisdictional overlap and neglect, the Albany

remains. After the discovery of gold in 1848, the

Bulb represents a prime example of informal public

area proximate to the site supported two dynamite

space. The Bulb supports multiple and simultaneous

factories and a long barge pier for supply transport.

uses and allows—and occasionally demands—active

Rail eventually replaced barge, and the area emerged

participation and contestation by its users.

as an informal garbage dump. The tidelands at the

In this essay we will discuss several of the current

Bulb’s current location were granted to the City of

user groups at the Bulb—off-leash dog walkers, art-

Albany in 1919 by the State Lands Commission, and

makers and -viewers, a squatter community, public

throughout the first decades of the 20th century the

access advocates, and conservancy advocates—and

area was largely neglected, used much as it is today,

the role they play in shaping the future of the Bulb.

as an unstructured recreational area

Additionally, we will attempt to connect the condition

During construction of the Golden Gate Fields

horse track in the 1930s and concurrent filling of

although the City of Albany is reviewing this policy

the Bay’s marshlands, the portions of the Bulb called

as it prepares for the eventual transfer of the Bulb

“the plateau” and “the neck” began to take shape. In

to state ownership. This potential policy revision has

1961 the City of Albany and the Santa Fe Railway

activated a flurry of activity among the off-leash dog

signed a contract for the city to use the area as an

walking community, including the development of

industrial landfill, and the dump eventually grew to

multiple web sites and large turnout at relevant city

form the bulb from which the whole site derives its

council meetings.

name. Throughout the 1970s illegal dumping of toxic

Art-makers and -viewers come to the Bulb to

materials led to high levels of methane emissions

create or experience a range of creative work—from

and sporadic fires on the Bulb, and in 1984 lawsuits

small, hastily-made graffiti to larger, more complex

ended the active dumping on site. In 1985 a lease

assemblages. Nearly all of the art possesses a

agreement with the State Department of Parks and

fleeting quality based on the understanding that

Recreation established the basis for future transfer of

either the elements of nature or the cycle of painting

the property to the State for recreational purposes.

and re-painting will continue to change the landscape.

Today the Bulb falls under several jurisdictional

Nonetheless, the art-makers and -viewers fear the

boundaries while receiving the kind of supervisorial

Bulb’s time as an evolving canvas may be coming to

neglect that would imply that it falls under none.

an end, as the state has historically removed the so-

The state began purchasing pieces of the land in

called “plop art” from other land incorporated into the

1992, and in 2002 portions of the Bulb—including

Eastshore State Park System.

the plateau, the neck, and the beach—were formally

The residential community on the Albany Bulb

incorporated into the larger Eastshore State Park

began to emerge after the landfill officially closed in

System. The “bulb” portion of the Bulb, however, is still

1984. By 1999 nearly one hundred people lived on

owned by the City of Albany, which is responsible for

the Bulb, leading the city to conduct forced evictions.2

its maintenance until, as described in the Eastshore

However, squatters shortly returned, and today

State Park General Plan, the “shoreline park has been

approximately 50 residents occupy roughly thirty

developed to [the state’s] satisfaction.” The General

encampments. Although not specifically mentioned

Plan also calls for restoration of Albany Beach and

in the Eastshore State Park General Plan, the

dunes, public access improvements, and facilities

residents clearly represent an aspect which will need

including picnic areas, interpretive signage, and

to be “cleaned up” if the Bulb is to be successfully

restrooms. Most importantly for current users, it also

transferred to state ownership. Despite efforts by

dictates that the “plop art” be removed, dogs leashed,

city officials and local social workers to relocate the

and hazardous, exposed construction materials be

residents, the population remains high, with homeless

removed or mitigated. If the City of Albany does not

advocates and the residents themselves working to

complete this clean-up by 2053, the remainder of

prevent another wave of evictions.


the Bulb will be automatically transferred to state ownership. In spite of the plans of the City of Albany and the

Advocates of improved access and environmental conservancy at the Bulb seek an increase in regulatory order, and in doing so often find

state, off-leash dog walkers, art-makers, residents,

themselves in opposition to the off-leash dog walkers,

and conservancy/improved access advocates

artists, and residents. Aligned with organizations like

continue to press for alternative activities on the Bulb.

the Sierra Club and Save the Bay, this user group

On some issues these four prominent user-groups

has broad ideological and financial support from an

coalesce, and on others they conflict, but each has

environmentally interested local population as well as

staked a claim in the battle over the site’s future.

the notable advantage of working in concert with the

Eastshore State Park regulations related to dog walking are not enforced at the Bulb, which

larger goals of the city and state. Journalist Amy Moon called the confluence

remains a popular place to bring dogs. Currently dogs

of all of these user groups at the Albany Bulb

are permitted to run off-leash in the bulb portion,

“a complicated stew of people and competing


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y


interests.”3 Social conditions, including the lack

public sphere have significantly shaped the Albany

of regulatory enforcement, along with spatial

Bulb, both socially and physically. Often acting

conditions, including the site’s fragmentation, make

outside of or in opposition to the state, these groups

this confluence possible. By catering to no one in

have organized and asserted their right to use

particular, the Bulb encourages individuals and groups

the Bulb according to their interests. Though the

to adopt or shape the site for their own use. Scholars

off-leash dog walkers, art-makers, and residents

Karen Franck and Quentin Stevens call this “loose

are organized independently, they often express a

space”, a term that describes urban sites of informality

common sentiment: we want the Bulb to stay the

“characterized by an absence ... of the determinacy

way it is—off-leash, wild, free. The conservancy

which is common in place types with assigned and

and improved access groups desire a change. This

limited functions.”4

change, supported by both the City of Albany and

The Bulb bears many of the characteristics

the state of California, means the end of the Bulb as

of Franck and Steven’s notion of a loose space.

an informal, loose space of contestation. In its stead,

“[Loose] spaces may be oddly shaped or difficult to

the Bulb will become a more structured and regulated

get to, they may lack a name or be a secret; yet they

space of the state. Whether this vision of the Bulb

become places of expression and occupation—often

is enacted in the near future or in 2053, the waning

because of these very characteristics.” The Bulb’s

of the Bulb’s looseness will affect the kind of public

shape and relationship to the city resonate with this

sphere the site can support. In its existing informality,

description, being geographically close but relatively

the Bulb supports an expansive notion of the public

difficult to access without a vehicle. This access issue

sphere and serves as a site of contestation amongst

helps explain why many of the Bulb’s users are from

user groups. In its future form, the formality of the

Berkeley and Oakland, while the population of Albany

Bulb may preclude appropriation and contestation,

itself is unrepresented. And even though the site is

disempowering users from claiming it as their own.

regularly patrolled by police, their presence is easily observed and does little to deter illegal activity. In addition, as a former landfill strewn with industrial waste, the Bulb offers material that can be easily taken and used. Franck and Stevens write, “Elements that are moveable, flexible or malleable can be appropriated.” Art-makers at the Bulb use industrial rubble as a canvas for two-dimensional works and as material for sculptural assemblages. Several residents scavenge for metal, including steel rebar, and sell the material to scrapyards in West Berkeley. Residents even use site materials in combination with purchased items to create structures on-site, including a small library and a highly-visited concrete “castle.” The looseness of the Bulb is further enabled by its programmatic indeterminacy. With the exception of a fenced-off burrowing owl habitat, no part of the landscape is defined by activities. The Bulb offers freedom of choice, in practice if not in rule. On the Bulb, anything goes, or at least the potential exists for anything to go. Since 1985, individuals and groups in the

References 1. Eastshore State Park General Plan. Sacramento [Calif.: California Dept. of Parks and Recreation], 2002. Print. 2. McCabe, Tomas. Bum’s Paradise. S.l.: Tomas McCabe, 2003. 3. Moon, Amy. “Endangered Art: The Controversial Beauty of Albany Bulb.” San Francisco Chronicle 1 August 2005. 4. Franck, Karen A. and Quentin Stevens. Loose Space: Possibility and Diversity in Urban Life. London: Routledge, 2007. Print.


in: “Captain, the GPS tells us where we are but not

that is the Albany Bulb? The landscapes to which we

what this place is!” Existentially unhinged, we decide

are accustomed are comprised of gullies and ridges

the time has come to demystify the Bulb’s vestiges

that harbor branching patterns of water, of rivulets

and disconnections. We set about making our own

that become streams, streams that flow into creeks,

maps. Like scavenger-geologists in a road-cut, we rifle

creeks that merge into rivers, rivers that become

through the detritus where it breaks the surface to form

brackish and eventually estuarine. If we are lost in

outcroppings of tin and wire, in an attempt to decipher

such landscapes, survival experts advise us to follow a

the composition of the substratum. We classify and

molecule of water downhill, eventually to be reunited

map the plants that we encounter according to three

with the civilizations that are inevitably sited along great

categories: (a) plants with edible fruits; (b) plants that

waterways. But the karstic terrain of the Albany Bulb

scratch our skin; and (c) plants that appear small when

is riddled with pores within the ill-compacted strata,

we see them at a distance. We circumnavigate the

so that water quickly finds its way underground and

half-island, conflating the cyborgian shore of cement

forms no creeks. To follow water here is likely to lead

and rebar with concrete knowledge, much as Captain

one further astray into a hollow or even the folds of a

Cook commandeered the world for the empire by

small cave. Instead, we follow the myriad of paths that

surveying every single island coastline he laid eyes on.

entangle the amorphous and illegitimate topography of

As we move along, we give names to features of the

the Bulb. But this is a trap, for the paths were originally

land as we see them. We project our moods into the

forged by people who did not know where they were

landscape and name things after the way we feel at the

headed either. The aimless drift of the Bulb’s Adam

time: the Bluff of Awkward Melancholy; the Gulch of

and Eve became etched into the ground as others

Assertive Disappointment. Occasionally, we consult the

followed, like a predetermined choreography of fate.

indigenes, who frustratingly often give us several names

With each subsequent footfall and each parting of the

for the same topographic feature, stretching the limits

brush, the paths are legitimized as a grand design. But

of our reductive sense of exclusive Cartesian space.

the authority of the path is not as absolute as we like

How can one place have two or more identities, even to

to think: consider the prevalence of trails on the Bulb

the same person? Sometimes we find it easier to just

that diminish in width, where, with each inch that the

choose names that remind us of home.

way narrows, more and more people have harbored

We walk out along the furthest reaches of the

doubts and decided to turn back, compounding the

many rocky protrusions and look back to cross-

gathering narrowness in an endless feedback loop. A

reference internal landmarks which habitually disguise

path’s mandate is to deliver us somewhere, and so to

their identities from new angles. While out amongst

turn around in retreat is to undermine the fundamental

the retreating tide, we identify as mariners and begin

basis of its charter.

to consider J.G. Ballard’s deciphering of Robert

Having lost faith in the paths, and unable to sight

Smithson’s Spiral Jetty on the shores of the Great

any town halls or mountain landmarks with which to

Salt Lake: Ballard triumphantly declared the jetty a

orient, we reach for our Apple Tricorders and triangulate

berth for a strange ship captained by a Minotaur and

off satellites and cell-phone towers. The results come

carrying a clock as cargo. The Bulb is also a labyrinth,


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

50 Traces, Mapping Albany Bulb diagrams by Michal Kapitulnik Cat McDonald Richard Crockett Molly Mehaffy Lauren Stahl Jesse Jones Alyssa Machle Kirsten Dahl Bobby Glass


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

but no one would intentionally dock there, for it has

attribute to such a place. Rather, at the Bulb, many

no safe harbor; a more appropriate outcome would

maps are written onto the ground by actors that make

be shipwreck. Indeed, once a man living on the Bulb

noise in that particular time and that particular place.

tried to escape (or perhaps trade up to a real island

To be sure, the Albany Bulb seems inert from the

like Alcatraz or Angel, both of this same Bay) by

panoptic gaze of a satellite but is absolutely teeming

constructing a ship. But his journey inevitably drew

with variation and complexity on the ground. Richard

him full circle back to the Bulb, where the vessel

Sennett said that rough terrain is the landscape in

floundered on mutant shores; the skeleton of the hull

which expression occurs. We wonder, is this why so

still dominates Shipwreck Cove, so named—we are

many artists have felt compelled to create, to conjure

told—years in advance as it lay patiently in ambush

representation from the flotsam and jetsam of the

so as to fulfill its destiny. If Smithson’s Minotaur


delivered a clock, then the Bulb’s unfortunate return-

Finally, we locate the one civic institution on the

boatman staggered ashore with news of a world in

Bulb, a library with canvas walls that measures no

flux: the Pacific Plate is moving east at 3 inches a

more than six feet by four, sited at the convergence

year, the same speed it is said at which fingernails

of many paths. It is not clear which came first,

grow. Given precise tectonic navigation, the Hawaiian

the convergence or the library; either way it is

Island chain is due on our shores in a little under

an appropriate setting since, as Jaques Derrida

50,000 years. We have work to do. Our maps are

ruminated, thought is like a path. Barely squeezing

already out of date. Tectonic drift will wipe them

in, we consult the books and deliberate: but is the

clean, if rising tides don’t sink them first.

Albany Bulb a garden? Is it cultivated or wild? Who

This reminds us of the blank voids that tourists

is the author? Bernard St-Denis said that the root

often unwittingly create on map signboards at trails

cause of this confusion is the implicit presupposition

and landmarks by reaching out and touching the

that gardens be seen as intentionally designed and

place where they are, such is the need to commune

made—as artifice—for the pleasure of humans. But

map with ground, to say “I am here and not there.”

the Bulb is the work of many, yet the design of none.

The resulting erasure of the map, around the very

It is the assemblage of the waste of many other

area that would be useful to orienting their onward

gardens, and yet the new whole pays no heed to its

journey, is a metaphor for their impact on the land.

constituent parts. Yes, the Bulb is a garden, but not

But the Bulb was not and will not be erased from the

of the paradisiacal kind (the dominant garden lineage

map; it never existed in the first place, a fantastic

that traces history). Rather, it is the other type, the

mirage which some nautical charts still claim as open

type that society has tried to repress but just keeps

water on the Berkeley shore. And anyhow, many of

spontaneously blooming in new locations. The Albany

its tourists decided to stay, fabricating small castles

Bulb is a garden of resistance. Its future, ironically, is

for themselves in the heath. Kevin Lynch said that

uncertain, for well-meaning efforts are underway to

maps must be good enough to get you home, so we

‘preserve’ it. Entropy will do the rest.

assume these indigenous settlers lost either their maps or their homes elsewhere. He also said that cities should have blank spaces where people can extend the map for themselves. But Lynch wasn’t referring to a nihilistic silence that Modernity would

Chris Holzwart

75 74 70

Andrew Ruff


Kristina Hill


Judith Stilgenbauer


Zain AbuSier


John Carr and Paul Morel

David Meyer and Ramsey Silberberg



Richard Crockett and Monika Wozniak

Nature, by its very essence, is at once predictable and mysterious. Traditional gardens tend to employ nature’s predictable side—grooming and perfecting its seasonal colors and textures. Terra Incognito seeks to embrace the mystery and excitement of the unknown. A slot through a broad meadow in the Westonbirt Arboretum will create a void which will begin to fill. Primed with the scattering of remnant seeds from the arboretum greenhouses, time and chance will be the predominant designers as the slot and the surrounding meadow slowly change during the Westonbirt International Festival of Gardens, held in Tetbury England. The line will also call attention to the meadow, embracing its expanse and revealing its delicate beauty.

Submitted for the Westonbirt International Festival Of Gardens


FICTION OF THE EARTH ANDREW RUFF Stories do not dwell in this world. They are incisions into the temporal fabric, pulling apart the strands of space and time to reveal alternate realities, and shadows of truth. These shadows serve as dynamic interpretations of the haptic world, fictions written upon the earth. The ridges, ravines, and summits of the Southern Appalachian Range form the topography of a biosphere unique in its history and diversity. This ancient landscape is composed of myths and fables as tactile as its soil and bark. Despite attempts to conserve and manage this communal plot of earth, exploitation of its resources has ripped the veins from its flesh, exposing bare and vulnerable substrate in pursuit of the fire rock: bituminous coal. In attempts to both remedy these gaping wounds and to rehabilitate the landscape to its former glory, restoration efforts to plant monoculture stands of the American chestnut led to an inversion of the Appalachian Bald: Appalachian Giants, pockets of dense forests occupying terraced summits across historic coal country. Seeded by remote outposts within abandoned minescapes, the allelopathy of these mammoth trees will rewrite the composition of the earth, each stand exerting its tremendous gravity uninterrupted to the forest floor. Over the course of a century, the relationship between man and the forest sheds its symbiotic pretenses: the outposts are not organisms rising alongside the trees, but parasites living among them. Amongst these towers of bark and moss, man carves a new story.


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y


Planting / 2020

Cultivating / 2050

2,200 acres of the former strip mine, each planted with 360 trees, form the tactile landscape of the research effort. The five year cycle of planting will repeat six times, until the final hybrid generation is developed and tested.

In the thirtieth year of operation, the sixth generation chestnut hybrid is capable of thriving in the minescape. The outpost is adapted to satisfy evolving programmatic needs, sustained by the annual chestnut harvest proceeds.


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

Reaping / 2075

Retreating / 2100

With over 3 million pounds of chestnuts produced annually, this crop will cure in tanks of water strewn throughout the forest. In order to preserve the harvest until transport, the raw chestnuts must be dried in the shade and stored between layers of sand in complete darkness, allowing the entire season’s crop to cure simultaneously.

The original research plots are logged, with only the healthiest individual tree in each plot to remain. These living remnants of the research farm will provide the seedlings with which to repopulate the new forest, a forest capable of thriving without the artificial intervention and cultivation of man. With the final harvest completed, the expanded outpost is left to decay into the landscape. This remnant of the industrial research effort recedes into the rapidly emerging forest, an artifact of mechanization that withdraws into the folds of the earth, removing the traces of its imposed fiction.


Descriptions of the present and predictions of the future always contain uncertainty. There is uncertainty from errors of measurement, uncertainty from randomness that is integral to

is a unique contribution few others can make, and will increase our value to public policy makers. An example of this would be the work of the “Dutch

processes like ocean currents and fire frequencies. Uncertainty

Dialogues” workshops, sponsored by the Dutch Embassy

is generated when concepts and categories are defined –

and held in New Orleans to explore engineering and design

what, precisely, do we mean by social vulnerability, for example?

adaptation options in response to lessons learned from Hurricane

Thermal comfort? Health? Recognizing that these uncertainties

Katrina. Scientists and engineers joined designers and planners

exist is not a discovery - it’s a truism. But revealing the ranges

in teams, and the speculation that occurred was grounded in

in predictions that are generated by these combined sources of

an understanding of uncertainties in actual technical models.

uncertainty is essential to finding the right strategies for reducing

Social and political differences could still cause radically different

risks and adapting to the ones we can’t avoid.

proposals to emerge, but their common basis made those

Using design visualization and spatial strategies to reveal

different proposals more powerful in provoking insights, not less.

these ranges of uncertainty and respond to them should be part

The workshops resulted in an international team of professionals

of the core business of landscape architecture. We can speculate

winning the contract to complete an actual Water Management

about the spatial implications of these ranges of uncertainty,

Strategy for New Orleans – the first of its kind.

which exist in models of all kinds – scientific and conceptual. Our

Speculation in design has real value in generating insight.

speculation must be based on the models that are actually being

But the farther it operates from the sources of uncertainty,

used – not on a straw man that has no link to practice and policy.

the less insight is produced. At the same time, there are

Speculation can bring insight in this way. Without putting forward

circumstances under which we should suspect that the

the effort to learn the difficult technical content, our speculations

conceptual and technical models held by our colleagues in other

may be ridiculous - and are likely to leave us farther and farther

professions may be completely wrong – perhaps because they

from the actual policy and budget decisions. If we want to use

contain assumptions that, under changed conditions, are no

design as a speculative approach, let’s roll up our sleeves and

longer valid. I know many of us share an anxiety that this is true in

understand the uncertainties involved through a spatial lens. That

the world of economic models of all kinds, from the expectations

of individual homeowners to the modelers of economic risk at the

some shared experiences, some shared interpretations. Designs

World Bank. It’s difficult to look at the history of booms and busts

of memorials and other public spaces have proven this time and

in capitalist economies and not associate it with an intense and

again, while also leaving open the possibility of humorous or ironic

integral form of social vulnerability. When someone bumps into a

interpretations, satire, and poignancy that the designer may not

pool table, the balls all roll into the best-positioned pockets – no

have anticipated.

matter how good a player you are. Shocks in capitalist economic

Given the magnitude of the changes we now expect

systems seem to produce similar results, making the poor and

in economic stability, the biophysical environment, and the

middle class poorer and producing more opportunities for the

geographic distribution of human populations, I think it’s

rich. Public budgets are smaller, and public space is less likely to

worth arguing that designers should accept the challenge

be designed as it should be – as a shared legacy for people of all

of trying to provoke aesthetic experiences that will make

income and education levels.

us, as human beings, both wiser and more adaptable. As a

In this set of circumstances, which are likely to intensify over

designer, my priorities are simple: to promote a sense of shared

the next several decades as more shocks occur and resources

resourcefulness, and at the same time, to try to develop design

are stretched farther, designers could shift from expecting all of

strategies that can help us expand our compassion to include

their economic value to occur in the capital projects component

caring for the health and safety of people who are different from

of public landscapes. Perhaps there is something to learn from

us in some way. We need to work together across the dividing

sustaining our practices with a maintenance focus. Not by

lines of identity and resources if we wish to adapt with any sense

mowing lawns, but by engaging in partnerships to design, build,

of human justice, indeed with any sense of what it means to be

operate, and maintain public spaces. And perhaps by burning

human in our time.

lawns, as in Michael Van Valkenburg’s design for the General

Art requires an expression of what it means to be human,

Mills headquarters. The spectacle of dynamic processes is

in order to pursue meaning that is broader and deeper than the

something we are fascinated with in design, but which in fact

tastes of a particular time or audience. Artists have produced

can only be allowed to occur through operations. The reason

work that helps us expand our compassion. The Vietnam Veterans

many international firms pursue DBOM (design build operate

Memorial in Washington is an example; we see our own faces

maintain) contracts is that it provides them with constant cash

reflected on the names of people who died in a war, and walk

flow over an agreed-upon period of the maintenance and

along a wall dotted with tributes so personal that it is impossible

operations contract. For private firms and non-profits, just as in

not to feel an overwhelming intimacy with the personal losses

governments, reliable cash flow can be a make-or-break factor

others have sustained. The AIDS Quilt has a similar effect, when

in organizational sustainability. If it also became an opportunity

hundreds of thousands of lovingly decorated panels, each the

to introduce new aesthetic experiences to the public that we

size of a casket, are laid out in a public place. Loss in that case is

believe, in theory, could be transformative – why not do it? It’s a

expressed literally in space. As communities along the entire U.S.

fundamental challenge to the historical hegemony of design over

coast are inundated by flooding and coastal erosion over the next

maintenance, but that’s not a reason to miss the opportunity for

50-100 years, the shock and poignancy of loss will prevent some

design to produce socially transformative forms of spectacle in

from acting wisely. Design can help to change that, by – in the

low-budget public spaces.

best cases - both expanding the compassion of the public, and

What if we did begin to participate to a greater extent in operating and maintaining designed public spaces, as

increasing a sense of shared resourcefulness. I believe that our field - landscape architecture - rightly

a way of opening up new design opportunities that rely on

aspires to be an art as well as a profession. Speculation, as well

experimentation? We might find that we have new vehicles

as experiences of beauty and awe in response to processes

for influencing aesthetic experience. Where would we drive

beyond our control, is a very human response to change and

those vehicles: towards generating spectacle for its own sake,

uncertainty. Let’s speculate in ways that express our humanness,

or towards generating spectacle that we intend to contain

and the unique conditions of our time.

meaningful associations? It’s not necessary for a public audience to have the experience we imagine or try to imbue in a space; like poetry, it’s a situation in which multiple aesthetic experiences layer onto another. But there can always be the opportunity for

* Πάντα ῥεῖ (panta rhei), trans. from Greek as “everything flows,” is a phrase used to characterize Heraclitus’ philosophical position. Heraclitus of Ephesus, c. 535 – c. 475 BCE, was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who is perhaps best known for his statement that a person can never step in the same river twice, because its constant flows continually alter it.


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

GROUND SWELL MORPHOLOGIES + SOFT INFRASTRUCTURES CHRIS HOLZWART The implications of rising tide levels, erosion,

arenas of Grand Isle’s industries are integral in the

and economic fluctuation create dynamic conditions

processes of the morphological management of its

in our coastal environments, breeding landscapes

coastal land masses.

whose boundaries and futures cannot be reasonably speculated. We propose a framework for future land development for Grand Isle, Louisiana’s most

Site History Louisiana’s rapidly deteriorating coastline has

prominent barrier island, over the course of the next

been well documented. This seemingly unstoppable

150+ years. The project negotiates the volatile

reality requires an immense amount of human and

existence of coastal conditions in the Gulf of Mexico

natural resources to even temporarily mitigate its

and utilizes the sediment deposits of the Mississippi

stresses. Grand Isle is not a place that should be

River as a productive agent to challenge the way we

occupied, and yet by virtue of its location it serves as

think about occupation and land management in

a hub between the Gulf of Mexico’s valuable maritime

these continually changing environments. A future is

industries and mainland Louisiana. In order for the

envisioned where the economic, as well as ecological

island to maintain operations, it must continually be


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

managed to prevent the environmental conditions

variety of industries and harbor important coastal

which contest its existence. Dredging, filling,


damming, and other operations instituted by the U.S.

This chain of islands is a product of the

Army Corps of Engineers are a necessary means

depositional sequences from the Mississippi River

to an unknown end. On average, the coast is hit by

delta plain.2 Grand Isle, the only permanently

what can be qualified as a massive tropical storm

inhabited island within the chain, is a constantly

or hurricane roughly every four years with varying

evolving entity. The island’s physical expansion is a

degrees of devastation.1 Re-building, reconstructing

product of the laminar tidal flow of sediment across

levees, and re-routing waterway channels are

the island’s face, which collects sediment over

accepted as facts of coastal life.

time to grow the island’s shape on one coastline;

Grand Isle is the westernmost barrier island off

concurrently, the same force simultaneously

the coast of Louisiana. The barrier islands serve an

strips away the island’s mass on its opposite side.

incredibly important role in protection, the last line of

The Mississippi River Delta distributes over 230

defense between the Gulf and the coastal wetlands,

million tons of suspended sediment into the Gulf

yet they are also the closest points of access to a

and surrounding bays each year.3 This enormous

Inhabitable Unit

Sediment Accretion Layer Hydraulic Columnar Pumps

Synthetic Geotube

Hydro Pressure Source

Pre-cast Concrete Bedding


System Componentry


Deflated Condition


Initial Hydro-Inflation and accretion


Fully Distended System

Residential Condition

Industrial / Transportation Condition

Ecologies / Habitat Restoration

Residential Condition - Low Position

Transportation Conduit - Low Position

Ecological Layer - Low Position

Residential Condition - High Position

Transportation Condition - High Position

Ecological Layer - High Position

Flexible membrane for fluctuating conditions between land and sea

Conduit for infrastructural operations and avenues for expansion

Ecological refuge and habitat restoration device to counter heightened conditions of eco-degradation.

New community of coastal housing units atop of Ground Swell system

Maritime operations utilize swell system as a layer of transportation for goods and operations

Swell System promotes the retainage of erosion prone and exposed coastline to harbor habitats and furtively regenerate decaying conditions.


concentration of suspended sediment can function as currency for strategic land creation, if captured.

Site Futures The future of Grand Isle is predicated upon the

depend on the island.

System Permutations The soft and adaptable infrastructure for the island enables land accumulation through

evolutionary development of its current population:

the hydrostatic inflation of a geo-synthetic tubing

the fishing industry, shipping industry, oil industry,

(a ubiquitous material used in traditional coastal

aquatic ecologies, land developers, and other island

engineering efforts) used to capture sediment

inhabitants. These agents of change will prominently

deposited from the Mississippi River off the Louisiana

fluctuate in the island’s future, and thus, the island


must adapt. As a potentially economically lucrative

Ground Swell’s engineered land-building system

borderland, Grand Isle demands an adaptive system.

is embedded throughout the island, allowing specific

Ground Swell establishes a physical and conceptual

regions to be hydrostatically activated, creating

framework for varying permutations of the island’s

cellular polders, extending the island landscape. This

morphogenesis. These engineering measures allow

new type of constructed system serves not only as a

for the island to continually adapt as a productive

defense mechanism to mitigate the impendence of

or protective landscape for those who reside and

intense environmental implications, but also creates avenues for new forms of inhabitation and operation at the littoral edge.

References 1. Mau, Bruce, and Jennifer Leonard. Massive Change. London: Phaidon, 2004. Print. 2. Milliman, John D, and James P. M. Syvitski. “Geomorphic/tectonic Control of Sediment Discharge to the Ocean: the Importance of Small Mountainous Rivers.” The Journal of Geology. 100.5 (1992): 525-544. Print. 3. FEMA. Hurricane Fact Sheet. City of Victoria, TX, Jan. 2004. Web. Jan 2012. < pdf>


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

Systems permutation diagram

CIVIC (agri)CULTURE JUDITH STILGENBAUER In times of seemingly insurmountable

have also focused intensively on the integration of

environmental challenges, shifting societal values, and

productive landscape components such as systems

limited budgets, the future of public urban landscapes

of local food, resource, and energy production into

as we know them is uncertain. Accordingly, over the

urban landscapes. Public urban agriculture and

past two decades landscape architects have begun to

forestry concepts that make productive processes

rethink their approaches to designing, implementing

experienceable—particularly the idea of integrating

and maintaining under-utilized, input-intensive existing

local food production and distribution into design

urban open spaces, urban leftover spaces, disturbed

concepts and operational strategies for public

sites, and outdated urban infrastructure systems.

parks and urban leftover spaces—are on the rise.

The eras during which environmental designers

However, for more public productive and ornamental

conceived their projects as formally determined

hybrid open spaces to come to fruition, new policy,

and rigid spatial scenarios—resulting in inflexible,

management, and maintenance practices that allow

mono-functional, expensive, and maintenance-

for greater spatial and programmatic flexibility in the

intensive open space solutions—are over. Twenty-first

urban landscape are required.

century urban landscape design professionals widely

Numerous worldwide examples of realized

recognize the importance of a temporal component

private and semi-public open spaces, such as the

in their work. Contemporary landscape architectural

2008 temporary City Hall Victory Garden in San

practice applies concepts of resilience, biodiversity,

Francisco or Turenscape’s Rice Campus at Shenyang

ecosystem performance, and adaptation. At the

Architectural University, successfully integrate

master-planning and site scales in large parts of the

productive landscape components. However, larger-

industrialized world, the integration of performative

scale, truly public, deliberately designed, and multi-

landscape processes in ecological design and

functional productive park landscapes that put natural

infrastructure applications is now required by law.

processes to work, activate space and create a

In addition to the embedding of problem-solving applications, in recent years environmental designers

sense of place and identity for users, are still a rarity. Nonetheless, the planning for several experimental

Figure 1: Schematic rendering of fruit trees in sunken Die Plantage gardens (Image: Figure 2: Schematic rendering of fruit trees in sunken Die Plantage gardens (Image: Rainer Schmidt Landscape Rainer Schmidt Landscape Architecture) Architecture)

GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

hybrid-type projects, e.g. the Beacon Food Forest in

spaces, performance, fruit production, human activity,

Jefferson Park in Seattle, is currently underway.

and place-making are indeed compatible in public landscapes.

creative work on productive urban landscapes: one,

Building on this realized project in Munich as

a realized project located in Munich, Germany, which

well as my subsequent creative and teaching work on

features aspects of food production, followed by a

“Processcapes,” I developed plans for a speculative

more recent, larger-scale, speculative design project

project titled CIVIC (agri)CULTURE for the 2011

for the Capitol Mall corridor in Sacramento, California.

“Catalyst: Capitol Mall Design Competition,” in

During my time as head of the Munich office

collaboration with UC Berkeley graduate students

of Rainer Schmidt Landscape Architects, I was

Richard Crockett and Chris DeHenzel. This design

the project manager and lead designer for a

scenario and operational strategy explore the

public garden—part of the larger Munich-Riem

potential of integrating large-scale urban agriculture

Landschaftspark designed by Gilles Vexlard of

components into design and maintenance concepts

Latitude Nord—on the site of the former Munich

for public urban landscapes (Fig.3).

airport. This sunken garden, named Die Plantage

Our CIVIC (agri)CULTURE project proposes

(the plantation) and designed for the one-year long

the conversion of the Capitol Mall corridor in

Munich 2005 German Federal Garden Exposition

Sacramento into a dynamic and vibrant urban

(BUGA), represents an example of a public landscape

hybrid space. Inspired by the traditional cultural

that incorporates a productive element as an integral

landscape of the California Delta and Sacramento’s

part of the concept (Fig.1).

history as the birthplace of agriculture in the Central

Inspired by the traditional southern German

Valley, productive processes would shape this civic

cultural landscape type of the Streuobstwiese

agriculture laboratory and demonstration site. In the

(meadow orchard), this public park, about 3 acres

proposal, fields and orchards replace traditional input-

in size, was planted with a regular, gridded orchard

intensive ornamental plantings, and a proactive land

of 137 fruit trees, instead of the more expected

stewardship model substitutes for “fruitless” landscape

ornamental shade trees (Fig.2). These trees—all old,

maintenance designed to preserve the status quo.

local apple, pear, and cherry cultivars traditionally

The proposed project’s gestalt transcends

used in the agricultural landscape surrounding

the picturesque. It is designed to perform, adapt,

Munich—were planted in a pervious, multi-purpose

and change over time. The productive nature of the

decomposed granite surface. During the exposition

proposal, which is pivotal to the concept, makes

this area was used to showcase old fruit-bearing plant

processes experienceable, creates a strong sense of

varieties, including shrubs and other trees grown in

place, and activates the Capitol Mall. The resulting

containers for the year-long event.

interactive and memorable civic landscape would

Since BUGA 2005 closed, the fruit orchard,

provide local residents and visitors with first-hand

part of a large urban park, has been accessible to

learning experiences about performative systems

the public. After the event, the decomposed granite

and sustainable agricultural practices. CIVIC (agri)

surface beneath the fruit trees was converted into

CULTURE intends to merge performance/produc-

a lower-maintenance stabilized crushed aggregate

tion on one hand and human activity, identity, and

lawn that can be mowed and leaves possibilities

place-making on the other, into a mutually beneficial

for future programmatic additions. Park visitors and


residents of the abutting new, dense mixed-use

Sacramento’s long growing season allows for

development on the site of the former Munich airport

the cultivation of a wide range of crops, vegetables,

harvest the apples, pears, and cherries as they

fruits, nuts, and herbs. Its environmental conditions

ripen. Die Plantage demonstrates at the most basic

uniquely position the Capitol Mall corridor for a large-

level that if we overcome obstacles and transform

scale, year-round, civic urban agriculture project. A

the ways in which we design and maintain open

new addition to the Sacramento History Museum’s


In the following I will present two examples of my

Proposed residential development


Garden court



Capitol Mall Farm/Park

Kiosk (farm stand)

Crocker Art Museum park


stru c


l spi


Cons truc

ted w etlan


CIVIC (agri)culture Existing condition

Year 1 -- spring

Year 1 -- summer

Year 1 -- fall

Path ways an

d be








Year 1 -- winter

Year 1 -- night


Types of plantings and crop rotations Orchard trees

Warm-season crops

Cool-season crops

Field crops

Perennial crops

Fruit-bearing shrubs

almond, walnut, lemon, apple, cherry, fig, olive, peach, persimmon, pistachio, plum, pomegranate, avocado,…

tomatoes, beans, eggplant, summer squash, corn, melons, peppers, cucumbers, basil,…

lettuces, radishes, winter squash, cabbages, broccoli, and leafy greens,...

alfalfa, sunflowers, oats, wheat, barley, rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes,…

asparagus, artichokes, herbs,…

blackberry, raspberry,… grape, kiwi,…


Cut flowers

Figure 4: Perpetual change of typical Capitol Mall median crop composition (Image: Stilgenbauer/Crockett/DeHenzel)


Tower Bridge

Roosevelt Park (Tuesday market)

Capit ol M

all co



Sac ra


nto Riv er

Capitol Mall Farm/Park

Cesar Chavez Park (Wednesday market

Capitol Mall Market Plaza (Thursday and Saturday market)

Residential Infill


St. Rose of Lima Park (Friday market) Capitol Mall Market Plaza

Light rail


Light rail


ext a

nd p


Capit ol M

all M





n Ga

rden s


Kiosk (lunch)



a run


off c


gard e



Mas ter P l





ets 100ft


se o





f run

tal e

off f


or irr

s an



d cu

Figure 3: CIVIC (agri)CULTURE proposal for the Capitol Mall corridor in Sacramento (Image: Stilgenbauer/Crockett/DeHenzel) t flo




agricultural gallery and the Old Sacramento State

crop compositions would provide seasonal interest

Historic Park, CIVIC (agri)CULTURE would serve as a

and highlight the cycles of agricultural plant life

hands-on, living manifestation and celebration of the

(Fig.4). In addition to their productive and educational

contemporary urban agriculture and food movement.

capacities, these massed food plantings would

The project is designed to position Sacramento

result in unexpected phenomenological experiences.

as a destination for agri-tourism and the first state

The scale, intensity and type of the proposed urban

capital to endorse the large-scale transformation of

agriculture vary from the west end of the project

underutilized public open spaces into productive and

site to the east end of the Capitol Mall. The gradient

beautiful inner-city landscapes.

references the transition between the large-scale

CIVIC (agri)CULTURE’s landscape design for the

industrial agricultural of the Sacramento Valley and

actual Mall corridor integrates productive, dynamic

the vegetable garden scale of the city (fields >

components and flexible programmatic scenarios with

market gardens > ornamental edibles and cut flowers

selected enduring site elements that form a strong

> State Capitol vegetable garden).

and clear spatial framework (Fig.5). The infrastructure

Further, CIVIC (agri)CULTURE proposes to

spine designed to run along the northern edge of

convert an existing surface parking lot along 6th

the new Capitol Mall median would serve as a linear

Street into a multipurpose urban event and market

spatial edge and pathway opening up views of the

square—the Capitol Mall Market Plaza. Its central location and proximity to the Blue and Gold light rail lines would make it the ideal venue for year-round farmers’ markets, community celebrations, food festivals, educational activities, performances, political rallies, and other civic gatherings. A sculptural open-air fabric structure— conceptually, an extension of the infrastructure spine—is designed to provide enclosure, shade, and protection from winter rains. It would accommodate a variety

Figure 5: Custom-designed light tubes, monolithic benches, and a network of paths function as permanent spatial components that contrast the ever-changing patterns and textures of the Capitol Mall Median Gardens (Image: Stilgenbauer/Crockett/DeHenzel)

of structures such as temporary market stalls, farm stands, and food trucks. The event plaza and overhead membrane are intended to maximize programmatic adaptability. Building on Sacramento’s existing food culture, a

Tower Bridge and the Capitol building. Its design

new farm-to-table restaurant is proposed to activate

incorporates seating, lighting, and systems for crop

the northern end of the Market Plaza. Menu items

maintenance. Stormwater—collected on-site, treated

would be based on seasonal produce grown in the

in constructed wetlands within the median, and stored

Capitol Mall Farm and median. This new slow food

in cisterns—would be used for irrigation purposes.

restaurant and farm stands designed to be distributed

In the proposal the linear infrastructure spine

along the mall would provide healthier lunches for

along the northern edge of the median functions as

state and office workers as well as alternative food

an armature designed to enable the perception of

options for residents and visitors. In the proposal,

growth over time. In contrast, the perpetually changing

a combined seating and stage area near the

restaurant is shaded by a productive pear orchard.

like most farm/park design elements, would serve

Mobile outdoor furniture would make the market

both maintenance and important recreational

square inhabitable. Run-off collection and treatment


systems are designed to structure the surface of the

Although at the present time large-scale, truly

Market Plaza and functionally tie it in with the linear

public projects such as CIVIC (agri)CULTURE are

infrastructure spine.

possible only in theory, it is to be hoped that in the

Conceived as a public-private collaboration

near future we will overcome bureaucratic hurdles

between the City of Sacramento and an established

and find design solutions and operational strategies

local non-profit organization such as Soil Born

that allow more cities to convert their input-intensive,

Farms Urban Agriculture & Education Project, CIVIC

underutilized, “fruitless,” ornamental landscapes into

(agri)CULTURE proposes to convert the currently

site-appropriate, performative, productive and at the

underutilized and automobile-dominated areas

same time beautiful and useable public urban places.

between Interstate 5 and 3rd Street into an urban farm demonstration project called Capitol Mall Farm/ Park. The park’s productive landscape systems would require constant maintenance, thus the proposed public-private management model. Education and outreach to the local community would be important components of Capitol Mall Farm’s mission. The proposed farm/park’s production is meant to be diversified, sustainable, and organic. It would showcase a wide array of site-appropriate crops and produce. Production would promote low-input farming, biodiversity and self-contained biological cycles. The proposal foresees plant waste from the Capitol Mall median and surrounding public green spaces to be composted in berms that would form the western edge of the farm and simultaneously function as sound barriers for the freeway noise. The proposed Capitol Mall Farm’s orchards would be composed of old cultivars of almond, walnut, pear, apricot, peach, and cherry that have traditionally been used in the (agri-)cultural landscape surrounding

References Catalyst, Capitol Mall Design Competition. 2011. Web. 2/15/2012. <> Crawford, Margaret. “Productive Urban Environments.” Ecological Urbanism. Ed. Mohsen Mostafavi and Gareth Doherty. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2010. Print. Imbert, Dorothee. “Aux Fermes, Citoyens!” Ecological Urbanism. Ed. Mohsen Mostafavi and Gareth Doherty. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2010. Print. Seattle Parks and Recreation. 2011. Web. 3/23/2012. <http://www.> Soil Born Farms. 2012. Web. 3/22/2012. <https://www.soilborn. org/> Stilgenbauer, Judith. “PROCESSCAPES – Balancing Dynamic Design with Placemaking.” Emergent Urbanism: Making the Next Eco-Cities. Ed. Jeffery Hou, et. al. Cambridge: MIT Press, (forthcoming). Print. Victory Gardens 2008+ Program. 2008. Web. 3/24/2012. <http:// > Viljoen, Andre. Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes. Oxford, Boston: Elsevier Architectural Press, 2005. Print. Waldheim, Charles. “Notes Toward a History of Agrarian Urbanism.” Places. Design Observer. 11/04/10. Web. 4/12/2011. <http:// >

Sacramento. The farm’s fields and orchards are designed to be accessible to the public and function both as a place of production and vibrant public

Yu, Kongjian. “The Big-Foot Revolution.” Ecological Urbanism. Ed. Mohsen Mostafavi and Gareth Doherty. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2010. Print.

open space amenity. Capitol Mall Farm would sell local produce and farm-processed products such as jellies and flower arrangements. Selected fields and fruit orchards would serve as pick-your-own facilities where farm/park visitors and residents could harvest fruit and nuts. Native low-maintenance meadows that withstand light traffic would form the surface beneath the fruit trees. In this proposed productive/ornamental hybrid landscape pathways and other hard surfaces,


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

A|RCH|NATOMIZING SOMALIA ZAIN ABUSEIR Representation has the potential to anatomize

This work explores the shape and agency of

politically charged landscapes. By processing,

information through architectural conventions, modes

filtering, and formatting information, we can explore

of analysis, and conceptual theorization. The line, the

what impacts virtual mapping have on ground-level

image, the text, the map are tools working collectively

realities. Somalia’s liquid political boundaries and

and individually to communicate and reassess existing

complex organizational structure lend it to these

conditions. Representation decodes data, rationalizes

explorations; however, there is a lack of awareness

settings, and reveals what is otherwise hidden. A[rch]

or action regarding the rapid deterioration of the

natomizing the human and political forces at work

situation. As Somalia’s political configurations change,

in Somalia is the first step to a larger conversation

so does the geography of the displaced settlements,

regarding public policy and the humanitarian crisis, so

refugee camps, and pirate territories. These shifts not

that we may begin to project future spatial solutions.

only shape the boundary and landscape of Somalia but shake its internal dynamics and very ecology.

south somalia + great britain

1884 north somalia+italy

century17 sultanates of eastern sanaag + bari + geledi-afgoye + gasar gudde-lugh ganane + mogadishu + the benadir coast

century 17


09:somalian_pirate territory:

somalia + somalian_pirate territory

2009 . 1

ajuuraan sultanate

sultanate of adal + ethiopia


1200-1500 sultanate of Adal 2008 somalia + somalian_pirate territory

islamic state

bkingdom of aksum 2007

2006 . 5 somalia

somalia + somalian_pirate territory

mosylon bandar + opone

century 1 mosylon bandar 2006 somalia_2006

Above: Mappings of Somalia’s unstable boundary over the centuries


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

* *







gy cu

sn pirate attacks are more dense in teh northern waters, where there are less food sources

* gy







mn drought u na



un offices in unsafe areas[clan war areas]

provide idp's with durable+ flexible+ functional+ safe shelters

+ food+ water provide locals with means to take advantage of local resources


idp clusters isolated, little road connection lack of safety for un lack of efficiency for aid longer travel distances for idps


un offices in unsafe areas[clan war areas]

idps create clusters:permanence:town like structures

idps clusters:settle in potential agricultural areas without ability or tools taking advantage of resources or land



pirate attacks 2005-2007 fisheries

sugar cane


06 idp

food crops cotton

07 idp

idp overlap

Study mapping internally displaced people (IDP) camps, natural resources in somalia, and pirate attacks locations. idp reside on and around water and food crop areas, however they don’t have the proper tools and resources to utilize them. the numbers of idp significantly increase every year, and theit camps become more a more permanent part of the landscape. some idp settlements have access to water but lack proper tools and filtration processes to transport and purify the contaminated water.

1 21 2006

1 21 2006 2 8 2006 4 14 2008 4 7 2008

6 21 2006 3 5 2008 3 26 2006

3 7 2006 3 5 2006 4 15 2008 4 8 2008 4 16 2008 2 16 2006 3 15 2005 4 5 2008 1 7 2005 3 29 2008 4 16 2008 4 9 2008 9 29 2007 3 5 2008 1 2 2006 1 7 2006 2 11 2008 3 8 2005 3 8 2005 4 4 2008 12 11 2007 8 3 2005 4 1 2008 12 11 2005 10 29 2007 4 21 2008 2 1 2008 10 29 2008 5 10 2006 2 1 2008 5 10 2008 2006 4 2 20085 10 2006 3 316162008 3 16 2005 3 17 2005 7 29 2005

1 25 2006 8 27 2006


4 17 2006 3 19 2006 10 22 2007 7 9 2006 5 28 2005

7 23 2005 7 20 2007

1 21 2006 2 8 2006 4 14 2008 4 7 2008

6 21 2006 3 5 2008 3 26 2006

4 12 2008

4 16 2006 11 8 2007 1 25 2006 8 27 2006 4 17 2006 7 23 2005 7 20 2007

3 19 2006 10 22 2007 7 9 2006 5 28 2005

3 15 2005 3 31 2008 7 18 2005 7 29 2005 1 27 2006 12 6 2005

12 15 2005

2 27 2007

3 5 2008 3 26 2006

4 22 2008

4 16 2006 11 8 2007 1 25 2006 8 27 2006 4 17 2006 7 23 2005 7 20 2007

3 19 2006 10 22 2007 7 9 2006 5 28 2005

2 12 2008

10 26 2005

10 26 2005

1 20 2006

12 7 2005

12 16 2005

6 13 2007

9 17 2007

2 26 2006 6 6 2006 4 1 2007 3 20 2006 10 17 2007 5 10 2007 5 22 2007 5 3 2007 10 29 2007 10 12 2005 10 30 2007 4 4 2006 3 13 2007

10 20 2005 2 22 2006

4 4 2006

6 1 2007 3 2 2006

5 15 2007 5 15 2007

5 14 2007 5 14 2007

5 18 2007

11 8 2005

2 18 2006

8 23 2007

12 10 2006

4 20 2008

9 26 2005 4 5 2007

7 16 2007

5 18 2007

4 25 2006

3 31 2005 10 21 2007


12 16 2005

6 13 2007 8 3 2007 9 17 2007

5 14 2007 5 14 2007

11 8 2005

3 2 2006

5 15 2007 5 15 2007

3 16 2005

7 29 2007

9 26 2005 4 5 2007


9 17 2007

5 14 2007

8 23 2007

3 31 2005

10 21 2007

4 20 2008

7 16 2007

area : pdisplacement + attack : control


pirate attempt

injury possible:0 goods:0 ransom


internally displaced people

_displacement_ piracy

pirate attack

injury possible:goods possible:ransom possible


pirates captured pirate suspicious


_displacement _piracy

_dispzlacement _piracy




area : pirate territory + internally displaced people

shrinking + expansion

shrinking + expansion

area : pirate territory : control

shrinking + expansion

area : pirate territory + internally displaced people

area : internally displaced people : controlled



_displacement + piracy 08


inland and water


_displacement + piracy

_dispzlacement + piracy




attack result + attack

attack result + attack

attack result + attack

internally displaced people close to pirate control inland risk

2 12 2008

1910 22

16 2005

25 2005

2110 1 21 2006

26 2005


3 5 2008 3 26 2006


7 2005

26 2005

4 4 2006 3 18 2006


4 12 2008

30 2005

2 8 2006 1 2042006 14 2008 4 7 2008 1 13 2007

3 7 2006 3 5 2006 4 15 2008 4 8 2008 4 16 2008 43 15 2005 2 16 2006 4 5 2008 3 29 2008 1 11 2006 147 28 2005 4 16 20084 9 2008 9 29102007 3 5 2008 18 2007 1 2 2006 1 7 2006 10 18 2007 2 11 2008 22 2005 3885 2005 127 21122005 33 3 8 2005 4 4 2008 11 2007 12 2005 10 18 2007 16 87 321 2005 7 21 2005 2008 74 10 2005 4 112 8 27 2006 2912 11 2005 744 1021 2005 10 29 2007 2 1 2008 7 26 2005 5 10 2006 132008 10 29 2008 7 16 2005 2008 5 10 2008 2006 3112 2161 2005 4 2 20085 10 2006 2211 10 5 2005 3 316162008 3 2007 53 168 2005 3 17 2005 157 29 2005 2311 6 2005 2007 43 15 2005 93 17 31 2008 11 157 29 2005 2071018202005 2005 1 27 2006 2712 6 2005 16 2005 10307 2005 2611 2411 7 2005 11

1 26 2007

1 25 2006

4 17 2006


23 2005 7 20 2007

3 19 2006 10 22 2007 7 9 2006 5 28 2005 2 26 2006 6 6 2006 4 1 2007 12 15 2005 30 3 20 2006 10 17 2007 5 10 2007 5 22 2007 5 3 2007 10 29 2007 10 30 2007 1810 12 2005 3 13 2007

99 26 2005 4 5 2007 16 2005

4 4 2006 5 18 2007

4 25 2006 12 10 2006


2 14 2006

1 21 2006

6 21 2006

2 22 2006 4 22 2008 4 2 2008

9 20 2007

6 1 2007

4 21 2008 5 15 2007 5 14 2007 5 15 2007

8 23 2007





4 16 2006 11 8 2007



16 29

6 13 2007


3 2 2006 7 20 2007



15 15 27


16 29




2 25 2007 2 27 2007

5 14 2007


11 5 2005

7 2005








8 2005

2 18 2006

31 2005

10 21 2007

4 20 2008 7 16 2007

7 29 2007









28 9



2610 2 4

2610 24 14 8 12 12 12 7 7 13 22 10 23











17 14

12 12 12 7 7 13 22 10 23 20




3 2 2006

5 15 2007 5 15 2007

5 14 2007

5 18 2007

4 25 2006

6 13 2007

8 3 2007

6 1 2007

2 18 2006

11 8 2005

Bottom: the boundary of somalia expands into the sea to include somali pirate territory 2008 12 10 2006

4 20 2008 7 16 2007

12 16 2005

10 20 2005

2 22 2006

4 4 2006

3 13 2007

2 18 2006

8 23 2007

3 31 2005 10 21 2007

10 18 2007

10 18 2007

11 6 2005

2 26 2006 6 6 2006 4 1 2007 3 20 2006 10 17 2007 5 10 2007 5 22 2007 5 3 2007 10 29 2007 10 12 2005 10 30 2007

6 1 2007

11 5 2005

7 28 2005

5 22 2005 7 21 2005 7 21 2005 7 21 2005 4 10 2005 4 10 2005 7 26 2005 7 16 2005 11 5 2005

10 20 2005 2 22 2006

7 16 2005 11 30 2005 11 7 2005

10 18 2007

10 18 2007

10 18 2007

11 6 2005

9 26 2005 3 16 2005 4 5 2007

7 29 2007

1 26 2007

Below: chronological tracking of pirates points of attack creates a new boundary[3] 1 11 2006

10 18 2007

8 3 2007

11 6 2005

4 4 2006 3 18 2006

7 28 2005

5 22 2005 7 21 2005 7 21 2005 7 21 2005 4 10 2005 4 10 2005 7 26 2005 7 16 2005 11 5 2005

1 13 2007

9 30 2005

6 26 2005

11 5 2005

1 11 2006 10 18 2007

10 18 2007

2 14 2006

1 20 2006

12 7 2005

1 13 2007

1 26 2007 7 16 2005 11 30 2005 11 7 2005

11 5 2005 7 28 2005 10 18 2007

2 26 2006 6 6 2006 4 1 2007 3 20 2006 10 17 2007 5 10 2007 5 22 2007 5 3 2007 10 29 2007 10 12 2005 10 30 2007

10 26 2005

1 20 2006 9 30 2005

6 26 2005

4 4 2006 3 18 2006

7 16 2005 11 30 2005 11 7 2005

1 11 2006

2 14 2006

1 21 2006

12 7 2005

1 13 2007

9 30 2005

4 4 2006 3 18 2006

5 22 2005 7 21 2005 7 21 2005 7 21 2005 4 10 2005 4 10 2005 7 26 2005 7 16 2005 11 5 2005

10 16 2005

2 25 2005

2 14 2006 1 21 2006

6 26 2005 1 26 2007

Left: points of attack of pirates[2] expanded water boundary

10 16 2005 2 25 2005

1 21 2006

3 16 2005

7 20 2007

7 29 2007

unhcr satellite pirate attack locationse data 1/2 2008

time line : pirate attack : years

2 12 2008

10 16 2005 2 25 2005

3 13 2007

2 27 2007

9 20 2007

2 12 2008

4 25 2006

4 21 2008

4 2 2008

7 20 2007

9 20 2007

12 10 2006

11 8 2007

2 25 2007

4 22 2008

2 27 2007

4 16 2006

3 15 2005 3 31 2008 7 18 2005 7 29 2005 1 27 2006 12 6 2005

12 15 2005

2 25 2007

4 21 2008

4 2 2008 9 20 2007

7 20 2007

4 12 2008 3 7 2006 3 5 2006 4 15 2008 4 8 2008 4 16 2008 2 16 2006 3 15 2005 4 5 2008 3 29 2008 4 16 2008 4 9 2008 9 29 2007 3 5 2008 1 2 2006 1 7 2006 2 11 2008 3 8 2005 4 4 2008 12 11 2007 4 1 2008 8 3 2005 12 11 2005 10 29 2007 4 21 2008 2 1 2008 29 2008 5 10 2006 5 10 10 2 1 2008 2006 4 2 20085 10 2006 2008 3 316162008 3 16 2005 3 17 2005 7 29 2005 1 7 2005

3 15 2005 3 31 2008 7 18 2005 7 29 2005 1 27 2006 12 6 2005

12 15 2005

2 25 2007

4 22 2008 4 21 2008

4 2 2008

3 7 2006 3 5 2006 4 15 2008 4 8 2008 4 16 2008 2 16 2006 3 15 2005 4 5 2008 1 7 2005 3 29 2008 4 16 2008 4 9 2008 9 29 2007 3 5 2008 1 2 2006 1 7 2006 2 11 2008 3 8 2005 3 8 2005 4 4 2008 12 11 2007 8 3 2005 4 1 2008 12 11 2005 10 29 2007 4 21 2008 2 1 2008 29 2008 5 10 2006 5 10 10 2 1 2008 2006 4 2 20085 10 2006 2008 3 316162008 3 16 2005 3 17 2005 7 29 2005

2 8 2006 4 14 2008 4 7 2008

6 21 2006

4 12 2008

73 73

GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

falcon falcon super super diesel diesel oil oil

water water

falcon super diesel oil


Opposite, top, middle: Temporally mapping pirate territory and movement in the sea in relation to the internally displaced people movement inland, and the relationship between the overlap, shrinking and growth of both in relation to one another. Opposite bottom: First, points of attack of pirates. Second, expanded water boundary. Third, chronological tracking of pirates’ points of attack creates a new boundary. Fourth, the boundary of Somalia expands into the sea to include Somali pirate territory.

Above: Relationship of and bond between the Somali body and its silhouette transformation due to aid transport.


A time-lapse sequence of sand being blown into a field of inflatables. Note the way the density of appliances has translated into larger sand formations.

A time-lapse sequence of an inflatable emerging from the sand. Air is blowing across it at a 45 degree angle.


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

Lying below the ocean, at the bottom of a continent, is a region full of paradoxes, contradictions, and odd adjacencies. Water imported from the Colorado River is the essence of this intensely constructed place. A massive water infrastructure system carrying this water has generated some of the most prolific agricultural fields in the world—as well as an inland sea— within the hottest stretch of the Sonoran desert. It is a land that is full of unhealthy, yet extremely productive ecologies; a place where a farmer could, if allowed, make more money selling their water than farming with it. Below the Imperial Valley, at the bottom of a terminal basin, lies the Salton Sea. Today, a large water transfer deal with San Diego, and the subsequent failure of the Salton Sea ‘Restoration’ project, has enveloped the region in uncertainty. Many solutions have been proposed. Yet all of these solutions see the Salton Sea and the Imperial Valley as separate entities, despite the fact that 95% of all water in the Sea comes from the fields of Imperial. To begin a new discussion at this ominous moment in the Sea’s


history, we must realize that in every aspect of its existence and


Temporal Environments

its future, the Salton Sea is the Imperial Valley.

Salton Sea photographs by Monika Wozniak

Bryan and Jennifer Shields

98 107 96



Fumio Hirakawa and Marina Topunova


Peter Eichberger et al


Alex Schuknecht and Robert Tidmore


Chip Sullivan

Nathan John



Bobby Glass and Cecil Howell


it is the one in which we find ourselves believing.

time only too well: the perception of a thing can be

These phenomena, of the perfectly encapsulated

as saleable as the thing itself. Designers are famously

and the perfectly justified design, arise from the

hapless as dealmakers; we have accepted this mantra

same desire: it is a lust for certitude that drives them,

of the marketing age and made it an open secret

a near-maniacal societal obsession with knowing

within our studios and offices. No project is complete

that the right thing is being done, being purchased,

without a convincing diagram; few diagrams are

being selected. It is only a meager insight to point out

completed before the projects they are meant to have

that this same desire drove the explosion of “brand-

helped generate.

name” designers in recent years; many have observed

Awash in a flood of information, it has also

that their attraction lies in predictability, the ability

become crucial that we ground our proposals

to purchase (in theory, at least) another Bilbao or

in data. In our academies the phrase a priori,

another High Line. And this only becomes truer in a

incorrectly wielded, has become an accusation, a

poor, or shattered, economic environment; developers

gauntlet to be thrown at the feet of those whose

both public and private, already risk-averse, become

designs insufficiently respond to their analysis. The

even more conservative. Designers are stifled, and

intimation is that a responsible design is a design

no space for experimentation can be found. As the

that satisfies the wants of a site, which have in turn

margin of error in a balance sheet approaches zero,

been impeccably and quantitatively documented; the

the demand for certainty approaches infinity.

design becomes a fait accompli, as demanded by its

Yet in the landscape, in a building, and in our

data. In practice, the idea that a one-off design can

cities, the right thing is elusive. The best-laid plans

be anything but an exercise in educated guesswork

frequently fail; the “right thing” can only truly be known

is no less a fiction than the perfect diagram. And it

after the fact. In truth, no design can ever be fully

is the more dangerous deception of the two, since

understood except that it is understood a posteriori, in

GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

the light of experiencing the thing as it is constructed.

in communication or computer hardware. Hacking is

What is needed, then, is a new way of thinking about

both an act and an ethos. It is an ethos that is catching on: in software,

and programmatic experimentation, one that leaves

independent developers are pioneering several

room for our experiments to fail—as many must if they

important areas of computational design through the

truly address themselves to unanswered questions—a

medium of free plug-ins for existing programs.5 On

new way of working as designers that embraces the

the other side of the real/virtual divide, individuals

unknown, which accepts its own uncertainty.

like Marc Fornes of theverymany are bringing digital

However, by working in the medium of the

fabrication technologies into their practice, designing

temporary installation, the risk associated with

to the limits of what it is possible to realize. At the

experimental designs can be reduced to acceptable

same time, there is a push to literally bridge the gap

levels; by situating these installations in urban public

between the computational and spatial environments

space, they can become performative on a social and

through interactivity, as shown in the work of firms

cultural level, testing our ideas not only about the

such as Studio Roosegaarde in Rotterdam, which has

things we build, but about how those things affect

over the past several years created new paradigms for

those who use and inhabit them.

haptic and responsive environments.

spacehacking – between the virtual and the real Over the last ten years, digital tools have indisputably prompted a sea change in how designers work; some might contend that it has similarly revolutionized the act of design itself.1 What is remarkable about this revolution—a decade on—is not how fully it has been embraced, but how slow the design community has been to begin to pick apart, to remake, to hack the virtual environments in which our conceptual products are taking shape. Hacking is a fraught term: it is widely understood to refer to rogue internet users dedicated to defeating and dismantling security protocols for profit or infamy. Yet the original hackers were far from criminal–-they were the individuals who, coming out of MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, helped birth the Internet. Another application of the term describes hobbyists and tinkerers, like those who in the 1970’s invented modern personal computing in their garages (most famously Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Bill Gates). Both groups are comprised of individuals who, as an early glossary of web subculture defines it, “delight in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system…”.2 What this history suggests is that those willing to experiment with new systems are those best positioned to radically reimagine the ways in which those systems interface with our daily lives. This is no less true in design than it was

It may seem, giving the preceding examples, that the “new” methodology this essay seeks is anything but; this is not the case—the will to experiment has blossomed, it is true, but we are not yet sure how to think about our new tools, or what indeed they are for. One clue to the former question, how to think about hacking in design, is offered by Sanford Kwinter in his work Architectures of Time: Towards a Theory of the Event in Modernist Culture. Early in the book, he draws a crucial distinction between the idea of the design realization of one of a finite number of possibilities and the creation of a virtual: a unique and unlimited conceptual construct. The virtual, for Kwinter, is a sort of possibility space in which multitudes of overlapping Platonic ideals of a design exist and are bridged with the materialized creation of our physical space through a dynamic processin-time. This interaction, between the virtual and the material, is described as a “continuous, positive, and dynamic process of transmission, differentiation, and evolution.”4 Kwinter’s formulation allows us to see the products of the hacking ethos in architecture not as isolated incidents, nor as closed-loop investigations, but as part of a gradient between the virtual and the material; the ephemerality of a temporary construction allows it to come partially into being, testing our ability to execute the translation between the perfectly realized virtual (not to be confused with a mere digital model) and the compromised but tangible material.


design. We require a new methodology for spatial


It remains unclear, however, what these physical and computational experiments are doing, other than testing their own viability. And as their recent proliferation suggests, that viability is no longer in question.5 This essay argues that the answer to this challenge lies in widening our scope of investigation and experimentation beyond the pursuit of novelty, or “pure difference”, as Kwinter calls it.6 Our hacker’s “delight in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system” must move beyond the computer systems on our desks and the fabrication systems in our shops, into the realm of the social and cultural systems within which we live and labor, which are no less amenable to the ethos of the hacker than any other. Here we have the roots of a new genre of hacking, one that is distinctly architectural, which we can call spacehacking.

city tactics – the power of place Even as the projects mentioned above have begun to experiment with form, fabrication, and computation, they have largely (and lamentably) left behind one of the central precepts of architectural and landscape design, not to mention much of art and performance: the notion of the site as the physical and conceptual terrain upon which interventions are enacted. At the same time, a parallel breed of inherently sited temporary interventions has begun to take root in cities around the world, organized around ideas about specific geographic and cultural locations. It is notable that in many cases the progenitors of these contextual installations treat the acts of design and fabrication as casually as the form-driven designers treat the notion of the site. This new category of actors is, nevertheless, deeply embedded in the hacking of the urban environment. Rather than computational, material or architectonic concerns, their work has everything to do with the concept of tactics. Of tactics, Michel de Certeau wrote that:

“The space of a tactic is the space of the other. Thus it must play on and with a terrain imposed on it and organized by the law of a foreign power. operates in isolated actions, blow by blow. It takes advantage of ‘opportunities’ and depends on them... what it wins it cannot keep. ... It can be where it is least expected. It is a guileful ruse.”

In increasingly monitored, controlled, and homogenized cities, this ode to the creation of a space of individual and cultural resistance rings truer now than when it was first written in 1983. This idea of tactics was updated and built upon much more recently by the Austrian urban theorist Peter Arlt, who drew a line between urban tactics and urban strategy, suggesting that while urban hackers suffer from a structural power deficit relative to the forces of permanence in the city, they stand to benefit from a fine-grained knowledge of local context and the support of other local actors.7 Arlt goes on to suggest that “the interim user is never interested in money alone, but in putting his ideas into practice.”8 Testing ideas, crafting experiments in the city, is a primary motivation: these individuals, too, are delighted by their engagement with a system. One compelling example of the power of tactics in negotiating the territory of the city can be found in the work of Les Enfants de Don Quichotte (The Children of Don Quixote), a Parisian group who successfully transformed the conversation around urban homelessness in Paris through the deployment of hundreds of red tents along the Seine that were offered to homeless individuals as free shelters. As the tents became occupied, the presence of the homeless became impossible to deny—as they were decamped and dispersed throughout the city, the geographic reach of the problem was further emphasized. There is also a local example of the persuasive potential of experimental tactics in the city, provided


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by Park(ing) Day and the City of San Francisco’s

Most of our ideas will not benefit from this fate,

recent roll-out of the parklets program. After

but their presence, their critique, will increase the

several years of successful Park(ing) Days, the

intellectual and visual diversity of our cityscapes.

proof-of-concept offered by this annual action

They will expose the plasticity of our environments,

was so persuasive that the City itself decided to

and render the ground more fertile for future

initiate a program under which parking spots that

imaginings. Beyond this, we can’t say what potentials

front businesses around the city could be semi-

such constructions might evidence: they are, after all,

permanently transformed into small parks, or parklets,

experiments. Certainty in hacking arrives only after

by the businesses themselves. This is a small example

the fact.

of a larger phenomenon: the potential for an initial experiment to succeed and blossom into a more complexly material construction, to move, in Kwinter’s conception, one step closer to the fully real.

synthesis – spacehacking in the city A key question remains: what may be gained by the marriage of these two methodologies? Frank Apunkt Schneider and Gunther Friesinger suggest a possible answer in their essay Urban Hacking as a Practical and Theoretical Critique of Public Spaces: “…a poetics of urban space…is, therefore, fully aware of (local) signs’ and symbols’ molecular significance for the whole of the order. The supremacy of this order’s structures can no longer be attacked by a form of (fantasmatic) revolution. At most, they can be challenged by an aesthetic praxis, in a guerilla war of representations.”

That there exists a war of representations in our cities comes as no news to urban hackers and tacticians, who have long sought a way to contend with the forces of capital. What we require is a way of working that combines ingenious form-making with low cost and the capability for rapid deployment, and incisive urban critique with local knowledge and a sense of humor. We must generate these designs, these hacks, rapidly and without fear of failure; a system is only rarely comprehended on the first attempt. If we are lucky we may, like the progenitors of Park(ing) Day, happen upon an idea that blossoms.

NOTES 1. The best work on this subject to date is Antoine Picon’s Digital Culture in Architecture. Birkhauser. 2010. 2. Malkin, G. “Network Working Group: Request for Comments 1392”. Web. 27 Jan 2012. 3. The most spectacular example being David Rutten’s Grasshopper plugin, which has become one of the most widely-used parametric toolsets in the world, and spawned dozens of cutting-edge subprograms of its own. 4. Kwinter, Sanford. Architectures of Time: Towards a Theory of the Event in Modernist Culture. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001, pg. 10. 5. This point is further illustrated by the proliferation of books such as Lisa Iwamoto’s Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques. The Princeton Architectural Press, 2009. 6. Kwinter, Sanford. Architectures of Time: Towards a Theory of the Event in Modernist Culture. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001. 7. Arlt, Peter. “Urban Planning and Interim Use.” Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces. Eds. Florian Haydn and Robert Temel. Basel: Birkhauser, 2006. 39-46. Print. 8. Ibid., p. 43.


PARK(ing) Day (“PD”), and other tactical projects like it, have an interesting relationship

encourages the spread of more tactical

to social media and technology more generally. On the one hand, a core conceptual

and ground-up approaches to landscape

thread of PD is to produce social interactions that are unmediated by technology,

design, like PARK(ing) Day?

commerce or another imperative. Rather, the PD project is about immediate, unscripted, playful social exchange which is in some regard in opposition to social experiences that comprise what Paul Virilio calls the global “technological meta-city” - a set of social and economic encounters that are mediated by technology, de-territorialized and highly scripted or ritualized. On the other hand, PD is temporary, even ephemeral, so documentation and the distribution of its central images and symbols through social media is what generated an annual global holiday out of a two-hour intervention in a single parking space in San Francisco. The project was well-calibrated to become an easily distributable and repeatable social meme through various social media channels.

How do you define open-source design?

The basic framework of a design project like PD is laid out in terms of guidelines, attitude, and approach. For PD specifically, this entails keeping the project imbued with a sense of generosity, play, absurdity, non-commercialism, and engagement with a local unmet social need or condition. Beyond that, participants are free to adapt, adjust, and remix the idea without restriction. So we create the template or - to continue the computer science metaphor - the programming language, and participants are free to write the code as they will.

How important has the idea of open-

Open source design is but one method in Rebar’s broader approach to the process

source design been to your practice?

of production of urban public space, which aims to empower the average urban

How does Rebar use social media to

inhabitant to gain more agency and control over local spatial production. The strategic/

reinforce this ideology?

institutional/top-down process of production generates a circumscribed set of outcomes which are both designed at a privileged distance from life on the ground and result in relatively rigid conditions that are inflexible to changing social conditions. In contrast, tactical or “user-generated” processes of spatial production are characterized by flexibility, adaptability, and resiliency. Within this user-generated framework, opensource design is but one arrow in the quiver. I would hesitate to call this an ideology, though we do distribute information about our work through a number of websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds. PD has its own social network for participants, at


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Specifically regarding PARK(ing) Day,

The mapping is user-generated. We use an open Google map where participants can

how does Rebar use mapping and geo-

locate their installations. We review it occasionally to remove misplaced markers in

tagging technology to document its

the middle of the ocean and whatnot, but the core data is user-generated and crowd-


sourced. We also have a Flickr group where participants can upload images. We ask them to geo-tag, with varying levels of success. However, the global map that shows PARK(ing) Day installations from San Francisco to Sydney, Tehran to Tel Aviv, is a very powerful piece of visual propaganda that helps the project expand every year.

Have these technologies helped grant

These technologies do imbue participants in the project with greater agency, as they

the project greater agency? Who has it

connect with and inspire each other to develop new ideas relative to the creative,

engaged the most?

cultural and social capacity of a parking space. Of course this means you have to have access to and be conversant in those technologies, which limits participation and potentially excludes large populations of people who use public space the most, such people who are homeless or others who spend much of their time in public. The people most engaged in the project are urban designers, artists, public space advocates, and alternative transportation activists. They are people who perceive the structural dominance of the car over urban space as an expression of a set of values that is sorely outdated and unsustainable.

How is Rebar managing the

The documentation is almost entirely user-generated and managed through Flickr and

documentation of PARK(ing) Day? Do

the Google map. We started PARK(ing) Day and continue to guide its development,

you still see PARK(ing) Day as your

but in just about every meaningful way the project belongs to the participants. Through


promoting this project we have changed the way people engage with their public space and generated new institutional frameworks and spatial typologies for the parking lane, e.g. parklets, pop-up cafes, etc. We look forward to the day when PARK(ing) Day is obsolete or irrelevant because the prevailing cultural thinking regards it as self-evident. I don’t think that time is too far off.

Photo credit Kitty Joe Ste-Marie

On Friday September 16th 2011 a group of 30 graduate and undergraduate students from the UC Berkeley Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning found themselves playing twister, enjoying great food and basking in a perfect California sunset. This party was not tucked away in park, but rather in a small 10’ by 20’ patch of asphalt in downtown Berkeley. This annual event, PARK(ing) Day, is a worldwide transformation of metered parking spots into temporary public parks. This tradition is three years strong at UC Berkeley and in 2011 joined 975 other parks created in 162 cities, across 35 countries. The success of PARK(ing) Day, established in 2005, reveals the exponential growth of alternative spatial practices aided by social and new media, changing the scale and scope of how designers approach the landscape. Photo credit Justin Casey Artwork Chris Torres


2005 2006 1 park 47 parks

1 city 13 cities 1 country 3 countries

2007 200 parks

50 cities 9 countries


600 parks 100 cities 13 countries


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king day 2009

800 parks 183 cities 30 countries

2010 975 parks

2011 975 parks

140 cities 21 countries

162 cities 35 countries

5:46 a.m., January 17, 1995: This precise

The venues have gradually expanded outward from

moment is deeply engraved in the minds of people

the city center, most recently to a unique location in

from Kobe, Japan who experienced the Great

Shiosai Park on Port Island.

Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. While the destruction

After recovering from soil liquefaction caused

of the city by natural causes had physically and

by the earthquake, Port Island was no longer a public

psychologically affected many residents, the process

attraction and began to house educational, industrial,

of rebuilding the city established strong social ties

and pharmaceutical facilities. The opening of Shiosai

amongst Kobe citizens, who became a strong and

Park in 2007 marked an effort by the city to bring

tight community while remaining open and hospitable

public attention back to Port Island, taking advantage

to the visitors of the city. Kobe has since established

of the breathtaking view of the Kobe skyline and

many cultural events to revitalize and attract more

mountains from the west end of the island. However,

visitors to the city including the Kobe Biennale, a

the park mainly consists of park benches and

rotating display of art and architecture installations.

identical viewing platforms along an 800 meter fully



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Front and Side Elevation

Structural Plan and Plan View

88 Construction Diagrams

paved narrow axis, and lacks diversity in outdoor

substitution of real with virtual, it is not surprising

facilities despite its superb location.

that the rebuilt Kobe has less public space for social

Crater Lake aims to explore how temporary

engagement than it did prior to the earthquake. As

architectural intervention can revive the park. The

the typical landscapes of the city are gradually taken

design of an undulating wooden landscape that

over by manicured commercial centers, this project’s

provides a variation of open and unconstrained

lifespan highlights the human need for multifunctional

settings for relaxation and contemplation with

grounds of communication and interaction.

panoramic viewing vista; it becomes a community forum that facilitates collective interaction and verbal exchange. The circular form allows visitors to gather within for close communication and also provides a variety of open seating and spatial conditions that are outwardly oriented. Aiming for harmony with its surroundings, the concept was originally a smooth and undulating form. Although wood steaming and bending were initially explored, they ultimately proved too costly. Digital fabrication was the next preferred direction for this project, turned out to be unattainable when we found that small-scale custom fabrication is yet to be widely and affordably available in Japan. Crater Lake’s two-month installation spurs reflection on the post-earthquake landscape of Kobe. In our current time, driven by consumption and


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ROOFLESS [CON]TEMPORARY ART GALLERY BRYAN AND JENNIFER SHIELDS The city is littered with derelict sites. Formerly

We envision this roofless structure as a temporary

active commercial or industrial zones, now void of

arts space, encouraging interaction between local

human occupation, display architectural remains in

artists and residents. The architectural intent is to

various states of atrophy. How can these remnants of

provide partially protected but unconditioned space

the industrial landscape be reactivated with minimal

for episodic art and music events. Recognizing the

intervention, transformed from obsolete artifacts into

rich spatial experience that results from the ambiguity

cultural catalysts?

between exterior and interior, we explored ways to

The Roofless [Con]temporary Art Gallery is a

construct a canopy of found materials that preserves

design/build project conceived to re-inhabit one

the roofless nature of the building. The movable

such artifact, an abandoned dry-cleaning facility

canopy in its horizontal position offers mounting

located along a heavily traveled spine in Charlotte,

surfaces for artwork, lighting, and weather protection

North Carolina. The roofless character of the building,

while providing exterior lighting of event signage

a space defined only by walls as a result of neglect

on the existing building shell. In its vertical position,

and weathering, creates a sort of Turrellian Skyspace:

the canopy creates an illuminated fin, calling the

the boundaries imposed by its urban context

attention of passers-by and announcing the new

emphasize its limitless vertical dimension, which in

life of the building. The project has culminated in

turn presents unique programmatic and experiential

post-installation testing with an arts and music event,

opportunities. Reactivating this artifact, which is

bringing together students, artists, and neighbors—

located along a seam between two underserved

the renaissance of a vestigial urban site from a fallow

urban neighborhoods, is a potential means of

state to habitation.

repopulating the site and engaging in a dialogue with the surrounding communities.


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who attend the school would also live on-site, so

Burmese refugees along the border of Thailand and

spaces for food preparation, recreation, and sleep

Burma are frequently moved around the country

are necessary in addition to the traditional classroom

and rarely own the land on which they live. Bamboo

functions. Size restrictions and portability translate

Pavilion provides a low-cost learning and living space

to a highly flexible space that can be adapted for

that could be quickly assembled and disassembled,

almost any need. Classrooms can be converted

even by otherwise untrained local laborers, while

into sleeping rooms at night, and dividers can be

simultaneously embracing local design vocabulary and

removed completely to expand the communal space

techniques. Levels in each module can be modified to

as necessary. The administration space is contained

adapt to changing topography and are designed for

in one fixed location in the middle of the pavilion,

intuitive, economical, and rapid construction.

allowing school officials to oversee the activities of

Though the pavilion was commissioned as a

the entire building. As a flexible, multi-use space the

school building, the realities of the refugees’ situation

pavilion fulfills the needs of the refugees under one

are such that the pavilion has to function as more


than a simple classroom space. Many of the children


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

| bamboo growth

| play

| rainwater harvesting

| eat

| food | administration | learn preparation

| rainwater harvesting

| restroom

| sleep | learn

| reception

wooden frame & bamboo 4m x 4m module


4m long bamboo 6cm diameter


4m long bamboo 12cm diameter

secondary structure

rammed earth block

main structure


| play

fabric wall in bamboo pole fabric pockets for books

emerged as a response to the disturbing events of the past few days. It was witty, critical, and it was a challenge. Would a tent even float? What would it take to make our wilderness wigwams fly? The vision of our own well-traveled tents bumbling through the air above Sproul Hall was too compelling to let go. The administration and police had told us with their batons that no tent would be erected on university property. But what if we erected them in the air space above? On its own, the idea might have been dismissed as simply cute, so we began sketching out other interventions that would reinforce the message behind our floating tents. A half-hour later we emerged from the charrette with another simple, colorful idea: a really BIG floating tent. But this one would be different. It would also be our protest sign. The sign/tent would be made of a two-ply plastic material and float only by its upper seam, so that at the end of the night, when it was brought back down to earth, its sides could be splayed open to form a simple triangular canopy. The sign would say “OUR


SPACE”: simple and to the point, like a sturdy, twenty-

ALEX SCHUKNECHT AND ROBERT TIDMORE On November 17th 2011, near the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California, Berkeley, thirty-plus dejected, exhausted, and confused

foot middle finger in the sky. It was our space after all; we, the students, who were paying rising tuition for the right to use the University’s resources and to contribute to the ethical legacy of Berkeley. Few of us had any idea that our rights to public

students milled about. Books littered the ground,

space were so limited, but we were there when the

their spines pointed to the sky - a new tent city in

police batons rained down upon the ribs and faces of

the abstract. As the sun began to set on Berkeley,

fellow students who tried to establish the first tents

the leaders of OccupyCal waited to gather their

on campus. We were there when 7,000 students

remaining soldiers for a general assembly when a

gathered at the steps of Sproul Hall for the Occupy

familiar, defiantly happy chant trickled down to the

Movement’s largest general assembly. And we were

plaza: “Whose space? OUR SPACE! Whose space?

there two nights later when the OccupyCal camp

OUR SPACE!” The sound steadily grew; those in the

was violently dismantled by 120 police officers and a

plaza moved to see what was coming. An exuberant,

front-end loader. That night we experienced a collapse

chanting crowd poured into the plaza and a protest

of the belief that Americans truly had the freedom to

sign above them drifted in the air. Trailing the

exercise their First Amendment Rights by protesting

crowd, two tents - suspended in the wind and filled

in public space. Questioning this belief might have

with balloons - emerged from behind a canopy of

been Occupy’s most important contribution to

redwoods. Onlookers craned their necks and smiled,

modern political discourse. As designers, citizens, and

watching them fly to the end of their tethers fifty feet

students fundamentally concerned with public space,

in the air. And the excited chant continued: “Whose

it would have been unconscionable not to react.

space?! OUR SPACE!” We were working in our graduate landscape architecture studio when the idea of floating tents

Occupy Wall Street began as a protest against the inequalities inherent in our current political and economic systems, but the forceful crackdowns on

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protesters across the nation revealed that the right to public space itself is at stake. “Our Space” proclaimed that we fundamentally believe in public space. Not because the right to public space is somehow intrinsic in itself, but because democracy needs space. The struggle for rights between people and government is at the core of our democracy. It is this contestation which defines the scope and limits of all rights. Struggle necessarily requires room in which to trade blows, and often this can only occur in the protected realm of public space. By fighting for our ability to occupy and protest in public space we are fighting, essentially, for the right to fight. We initially supported Occupy Cal for reasons pertaining to economic and social justice, but it soon became clear that the right to public space was requisite to protest. When the need arises for an underrepresented group to “petition the government for a redress of grievances” (US Const., amend. I), protesting with one’s body, in public space, is still often the only option. Occupation of prominent public spaces has long been used to leverage power against an unyielding government: from Tiananmen Square to the Mall in Washington D.C., and more recently, Tahrir Square in Cairo. We might not find every cause worthy of action, but at the very least every group is worthy of a voice, and as designers we are in the unique position to further worthy causes through direct, critical, and physical interrogations of public policy. At OccupyCal our roles were clear. As people we supported the message; as citizens we supported the occupation; as designers we acted accordingly. Within twenty-four hours the floating tents had been seen on news outlets throughout the country. Hundreds of people commented on the idea, expressing both positive and negative opinions, but ultimately proving that the power of the design was in the imagery that it generated. Media is changing. Information transfer is instantaneous, making the power of our own media – the manipulation of space – as provocative when temporary as when built for permanence.


merely for recreational or ecological reasons, and not


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GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y


Zain AbuSeir holds a Master of Architecture from

Peter Eichberger, Jessica Libby, Karen Avila, and

the University of Michigan. Among other honors, she

Andrea Leticia Melgarejo de Berry are students in

is a Wallenberg Award winner for the project “Coded

the Master of Architecture program at University of

Space” published in Dimensions 21, the architectural


journal of the University of Michigan. She is also the 2008 recipient of the Unbuilt Architecture award from

Stacy Farr and Corey Schnobrich are recent

the Boston Society of Architects.

graduates of the Master of Science in Architecture program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Benjamin Brace is a landscape architect based in the United Kingdom who will complete his Master of

David Fletcher is the founding principal of Fletcher

Arts in Landscape Architecture at the Writtle School

Studio, based in San Francisco, CA and Los Angeles,

of Design in September 2012. He has worked in the

CA. The studio is committed to a collaborative and

United Kingdom and Australia. His work investigates

contextual approach to spatial design practice with a

and explores the meaning of the urban condition.

focus on place-specific people, processes, histories,

Currently, he is researching the possibilities of

policies, economies, and ecologies.

technological and environmental systems guided by a framework of networked derelict land in urban

Kimberly Garza holds a Master of Landscape


Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Bachelor of Arts in Landscape

John Carr is an in-house designer for the SAS

Architecture from the University of California,

Institute in Cary, North Carolina. He holds degrees in

Berkeley. Recently, she was a selected winner of the

Architecture, Math, and Industrial Design. Paul Morel

2012 International Garden Festival in Grand-Métis,

is a designer for NBBJ Architects in Los Angeles and

Québec, Canada and was awarded first place in the

has worked on numerous international projects. He

Catalyst competition for the Sacramento Capitol Mall.

has written for Manifold and has served as a guest

She is the co-founder and director of ATLAS, a design

critic for undergraduate reviews at the USC School of

and research laboratory in Cambridge, MA.

Architecture. Cecil Howell is a designer and maker in San Richard Crockett is a recent graduate of the

Francisco. Her work focuses on creating places,

Landscape Architecture and City and Regional

objects, and art that cultivate interaction,

Planning programs at the University of California,

communication, and curiosity. Robert Glass hosts

Berkeley. His thesis, titled “Below Imperial: Drainage

Space Open, a series of bi-weekly drawing and

Infrastructure in a Desert Terminal Basin” seeks to

critique sessions that provoke community creativity

redefine the discussion around the future of the

through collaborative interaction. He works as a

Salton Sea through proposing a flexible, open-ended

landscape designer and planner with Hyphae Design

solution for how drainage infrastructure operates in

Laboratory in Oakland.

the Imperial Valley.



GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

Kristina Hill is an associate professor and former

in terms of form, spatial perception and overall

Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture

orientation, between the extremes of scale from the

at the University of Virginia. Her research studies

garden to the city.

innovations in urban water systems that address climate change adaptations as well as social justice.

David Meyer and Ramsey Silberberg are the

She has addressed these issues in recent studios

founding principals of Meyer + Silberberg – Land

sited in New York City, Baltimore, and New Orleans.

Architects, based in Berkeley, CA. For over a decade,

She will join the Berkeley College of Environmental

their practice has designed and built numerous

Design faculty in July 2012.

landscapes noted for their strength, elegance, and clarity, defined by artistry, technical savvy, and

Fumio Hirakawa and Marina Topunova are the

personal commitment.

principals of 24º Studio in Kobe, Japan and are graduates of the Southern California Institute of

Sarah Moos holds a joint Master of Landscape

Architecture (SCI-Arc). Their multidisciplinary practice

Architecture and City Planning from the University

investigates intersections of architecture, technology,

of California, Berkeley. She received the 2011 Piero

and environment as well as the connections between

N. Patri Fellowship in Urban Design at San Francisco

the body and immediate surroundings.

Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR). Her research focuses on public open spaces that

Chris Holzwart is a recent graduate of the Master of

address the complexity of stakeholder needs and

Architecture program at the University of Michigan’s

goals in the urban context.

Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, where he won the thesis prize for his project “Ground

Matthew Passmore is an artist, urban explorer and

Swell.” He currently resides and works in Denver,

public space advocate, as well as founding principal


at Rebar Group. With a background in philosophy, filmmaking and law, he brings a multidisciplinary

Nathan John is currently pursuing a Master of

approach to creating innovative cultural projects all

Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley.

over the world.

He is a recipient of the 2012 John K. Branner Travelling Fellowship, through which he is investigating

Andrew Ruff is a graduate of the University of

experimental forms and their uses in public spaces

Tennessee and currently works for tvsdesign in

around the world. His ongoing research can be found

Atlanta, GA. His creative research explores the


architectural potential of fiction, chronotopic palimpsests, and the beauty of dreams.

Karl Kullmann is a practitioner and Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Environmental

Bryan and Jennifer Shields are partners in the

Planning, and Urban Design at the University of

architecture and design studio flux, and professors in

California, Berkeley. His research examines underlying

the School of Architecture at the University of North

associations and patterns of the urban landscape

Carolina at Charlotte. In their practice, research,


and teaching, they strive to be agents of change,

Robert Tidmore and Alex Schuknecht are

investigating cultural, spatial, and environmental

designers, activists, and recent graduates of the

characteristics of a site in order to create an interface

Master of Landscape Architecture program at the

between human experience and context.

University of California, Berkeley.

Nathan Smith is a designer and architect based

Nina Vollenbrรถker and James Santer live and

in Louisville, KY. After a nomadic decade of work in

work in London, United Kingdom. They have been

the United States and abroad, Smith formed PART

working together since 1997 and consider their

Studio in 2009. PART is currently working on low-

collaboration a platform for architectural, theoretical

cost housing, interior design, and public art projects.

and photographic exploration of space. Nina is an

Smith has taught architectural design at various

architect and architectural historian. She lectures at

universities and holds a Master of Architecture from

the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College

Rice University.

London, and is currently conducting PhD research into representations of American space. James is

Judith Stilgenbauer is a practitioner and Assistant

an architect and photographer. He is an associate at

Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects in London

of California, Berkeley. Her work in teaching, research,

and carries out independent and commissioned

and practice examines the role of ecology and

photographic work.

process in the designed landscape across spatial and temporal scales.

Marcel Wilson, RLA is the founder of Bionic, based in San Francisco, CA. Wilson is a recognized leader of

Chip Sullivan is an artist, practitioner, and Professor

a new generation of landscape architects. His work

of Landscape Architecture at the University of

combines sharp analysis with social responsibility,

California, Berkeley. He promotes drawing as a

experimentation, and inventive creativity. He

critical tool for visual awareness and maintains

graduated with distinction from the Harvard Graduate

an educational and professional commitment to

School of Design.

exploring the potential of the garden to create sustainable environments.

Monika Wozniak is a recent graduate of the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the University

Taru is a recent graduate of the Architecture program at Jamia Millia Islamia, a Central University in Delhi, India. Taru is enamored with the phenomena and consequences of urban dichotomy, observing how economic changes are accelerating mass displacement to cities due to individuals searching for social and economic security.

of California, Berkeley.


1. draw what you see 2. photograph what you sketch

3. e-mail your image to


GR OUND UP | l a n d s c a p e s o f un c e r t a in t y

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.

IS intended as a discursive platform to explore concepts grounded in local issues with global relevance.

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.