Promise

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While the use of environmental language in landscape architecture is prolific, its direct application to professional practice in landscape architecture has created a problem: More often than not, the words are unfulfilled by the work. Creating “harmony between humans and nature,”“providing unity in nature,”“healing the environment,” and “restoring nature to the city” are goals not easily accomplished. In fact, some within the profession believe that it is impossible to fulfill the promise of those words through the individual projects of landscape architecture. And yet those and other similar phrases are frequently used in the practice of landscape architecture.

Additionally, the profession has developed an environmental canon of sorts that includes contrasting, if not conflicting, rhetorical positions. This ambiguous perspective on environ- mentalism reflects a similar ambiguity in society at large. Recent polls indicate that fifty-eight to seventy-three percent of Americans consider themselves environmentalists. The percentage of landscape architects claiming to be environmentalists is likely at least as large given the profession’s traditional interest in nature. Despite landscape architects’ substantial expression of concern for the environment, how they see the profession’s role in dealing with an environmental crisis has engendered considerable disagreement, if not discord.

Daniel Joseph Nadenicek and Catherine M. Hastings, Environmental Rhetoric, Environmental Sophism: The Words and Work of Landscape Architecture (2000)

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Promise

Attitude and Inventions

When we work as landscape architects, despite many explanatory models, design remains an obscure process of trial and error — who will clear up the error? — of ‘attitude’ and ‘intrinsic nature’ of morphology and performance models. C.Th. Sørensen talked about inventions. The results. at least, are on view.

Supposing we understand avant-garde landscape architecture the same way we do with architecture and the other arts as the realization of abstract ideas in this case of nature, ecology and society. Then designing should consequently be understood as the ‘invention’ of information systems or layers that overlap with existing elements. This must precede any thoughts on appearance or expression. Working the other way round can be seen as trite, as patronage, and as predetermining interpretations and even feelings.

Peter Latz, The Idea of Making Time Visible (2000)

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Carl Theodor Sørensen, Geometrical Gardens (1954-1983)

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Attitude and Inventions

Better World

201203070100 Like space and its design, ecology, having been hurried on by prognostics and catastrophes, begins as the vision of a better world. It is an abstract idea of interrelations that are often unclear and must be made concrete and visible. As fit as landscape architecture is concerned, this means neither a scholarly treatise, nor specialised or naive graphics, but the development and invention of appropriate elements and the implementation of their organisation patterns in existing structures.

Peter Latz, The Idea of Making Time Visible (2000)

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Peter Latz, Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord (1991)

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Better World

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Nobody likes it when you mention the unconscious, and nowadays, hardly anybody likes it when you mention the environment. You risk sounding boring or judgmental or hysterical, or a mixture of all these. But there is a deeper reason. Nobody likes it when you mention the unconscious, not because you are pointing out something obscene that should remain hidden—that is at least partly enjoyable. Nobody likes it because when you mention it, it becomes conscious. In the same way, when you mention the environment, you bring it into the foreground. In other words, it stops being the environment. It stops being That Thing Over There that surrounds and sustains us. When you think about where your waste goes, your world starts to shrink. This is the basic message of criticism that speaks up for environmental justice, and it is the basic message of this book.

Timothy Morton. Ecology Without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics. (2000)

 

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