Beyond Landscape Infrastructure?
[Stained Glass Salt Ponds in San Francisco]
Infrastructure, as a word and concept, gets thrown around a lot here at Penn. The same is for leading design institutions where ideas of service, lines and networks have been prevalent in recent times. This is an ambitious endeavor by proponents of landscape URBANISM; where landscape is the leading and predominant driver in issues relating to urbanity; development, energy production, resource extraction, etc.
In response to this prevalent ideology, ‘Landscape Urbanism and its Discontents’ critiques and argues for the perceived short-comings and dogma found in landscape urbanism (founded mostly on a couple of LU-branded projects, the ‘Landscape Urbanism Reader’, Harvard GSD and PennDesign).
Though intentional or not, most of the landscape architecture studios here at Penn adhere to the ideology of ‘landscape as driver’. This is conveniently problematized by having the studio sequences redefine what ‘landscape’ is.
No complains here but a question I’ve had is:
If Landscape Architecture is to be the driver in contemporary issues of infrastructure, what’s the line of opportunistic engagement of previously unseen opportunities and that of over-stepping our bounds into quasi-science and poor engineering?