The practical measures of sustainable design make the landscape function more efficiently and reduce the amount of wasted materials and energy; they are conceived to contribute to the overall health of the planet rather than detract. But without an artistic or cultural component to the landscape, we are creating natural places that function like machines. A truly sustainable place works on a more visceral level. We are transforming places so people will love them, will take better care of them, will want them to flourish for their grandchildren and their grandchildren’s grandchildren. If we just look at what are called “best practices,” meaning the technologies that are accepted as most environmentally healthful, we still would not necessarily know how to make a landscape that people will internalize, make their own. Sustainability is about people taking ownership, learning how to sustain, rather than abuse or just consume, the landscape. It is about making clear the connection between human practices and our environment.

The field of landscape architecture can make these connections between humans and our environment.

Margie Ruddick, Wild by Design (2016)


Joao Ferreira Nunes + Proap, Alcantara Wastewater Treatment Plant (2011)



The main objectives of our activity can be described as:

– the contribution for the construction of a better World, in which the different survival logics, often antagonised, could be harmonised;

– the contribution for the collective construction of a common patrimony made of actions and its marks and signs, susceptible of provoking pleasure and astonishment;

– the contribution for keeping primary productivity and site diversity where these actions are taking place, where these signs are being printed;

– the contribution for the eradication of social injustice and the arrogance of power;

– conclusively, the contribuition for the conservation of the colective heritage, made of antropic and natural values and of a mutual understanding between people and sites.

The general methodology can be described in the following sequence:

1 – reading and de-coding signs in the landscape. Identifying relevant processes and actors. Vertical /time reading as far as documents and people’s memory allows. Analysis and de-codification are a two phase process — the immediate, intuitive, emotive and the documental, confirmative;

2 – critical reading of the proposed or envisaged, required transformation program, through the necessary evaluation of the compatibility with the site, namely its charge capacity;

3 – critical evaluation of the compatibility / susceptibility between different actors and system components;

4 – proposing a set of alternative substitution systems and forms of integrating the existing and previewed actors;

5 – evaluation of results (and eventually going back to 3.)









Joao Ferreira Nunes, Valdebebas Urban Park (2009)