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A change for the better? 21st century challenge: realising the green city. For masterplanner Raymond Unwin, Programmed by Susannah Charlton of the landscape was not just a background to lives lived, it was a weapon of social change, Twentieth Century Society, the lecture series says David Davidson, architectural adviser accompanies the Garden Museum’s From at Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust. Unwin’s Garden City to Green City exhibition. The five vision was the communal landscape, one that speakers agreed to pen a series of essays for promoted social interaction at every turn. In us, so, following a foreword from Christopher Woodward, the director of the Garden Museum, creating the Hampstead Garden Suburb, he realised the democratic landscapes the Garden we dedicate 15 pages to what we can learn from more than a century of urban landscapes. City movement espoused. Davidson was Projects adviser at the Prince’s Regeneration the first speaker in the Landscape Institute’s Trust Roland Jeffery tackles housing autumn lecture series Urban Landscapes in the Twentieth Century. He is landscapes, and the new towns in particular. Their landscapes, also the first of our essayists he says, have still to find in this special edition a comfortable role of Landscape, which that is somewhere takes as its starting in between the point the ideals of private garden the Garden City and the public and pits them against the great highway.


Few structures in Britain have so dominated the skyline or the architectural debate. Red, twisted and 72 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty, the ArcelorMittal Orbit now looms over the Olympic Park as the tallest sculpture in Great Britain. They’ve called the Orbit, the “Eyefull Tower” and “Helter-Skelter,” and have compared it to a “contorted mass of entrails.” Envisioned as a symbol of London looming over the site of this summer’s Olympic Games, the Orbit, which visitors will enter, ascend and explore, is designed as an attraction to rival the London Eye and Big Ben for decades to come. And, at least for now, the sculpture is also serving as a prime target for British Olympic crankiness. London’s normally garrulous Mayor Boris Johnson struggles to describe the $36-million structure. “It is very absorbing to look at,” he says. “It has got that weird enigmatic tubey Fallopian quality about it if I’m being totally blunt.” To its opponents, it has stabbed London in the heart: it is too tall, it destroys the scale of the city, it disrupts historic views, it is in the wrong place, it is a waste of energy – a monument to greed, money, inequality, foreign influence and broken Britain. To its supporters, however, it is a jolt of the modern – the moment London truly joined the 21st century.


Ken Worpole, writer and senior professor at the Cities Institute, suggests that the British still have a problem in thinking about designed landscapes as places of pleasure. He asks whether now is the time for us to rediscover the purpose of our leisure landscapes. “If you leave people to live in a lousy, unhealthy, un-green and depressing environment that indicates that society at large, their local authority and the government don’t care about them, then why should we be surprised when they act without care themselves?” This is Sarah Gaventa writing in the wake of August’s riots as she asks how communities can possibly be expected to interact when they have nowhere decent to commune. And finally, Landscape’s honorary editor Tim Waterman explores our relationship with food and the urban landscape. Are taste and appetite our biggest

With large-scale investment on the backburner for the foreseeable future, the Landscape Institute’s latest publication Local green infrastructure: helping communities make the most of their landscape, seems particularly pertinent. The guide presents eight case studies that show how local people and businesses can make their towns, cities and villages more attractive, healthier and better for wildlife. So why have we put Stefano Boeri’s 27-storey Bosco Verticale on the cover? Billed as the world’s first ‘vertical forest’, each apartment will have a balcony planted with trees, creating a green forest rising above the city. It is the first element in Boeri’s proposed

URBAN PLANNING barriers to realising sustainable design? But just how relevant are the ideas of the Garden City to those nations currently in thrall to urban revolutions of their own? We asked Ruth Olden to get behind the images of verdant green cities and see what’s happening in India, China and Mexico.

BioMilano, in which a green belt is created around the city. This seemingly fantastical concept is actually under construction in Milan and serves, perhaps, as a stark reminder that nothing quite so green and ambitious seems to be going on in the built environment in the UK. Or is there? After all, there is unlikely to be one solution to the green city. Rather, the question is whether our attempts to realise it, in all its manifestations, will be resigned to the drawing board as utopian ideals or will the 21st century see them finally succeed at scale?


ArcelorMittal Orbit Editorial Designed by James Robinson September 2012


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