Monday, August 30, 2010

Reading List: Topos 71: Landscape Urbanism

The conceptual framework of landscape urbanism has evolved from a heady intellectual brew without. In the most recent issue, Topos 71: Landscape Urbanism the topic is first and foremost in the minds of the editors and authors collected within. Featuring essays from the LU stalwarts including Corner, Waldheim, Mostafavi, and Doherty - the content is rounded out with additions from some other voices such as Susannah Drake, Douglas Spencer, and Adriaan Geuze, global perspectives from Kongjian Yu from China and Thorbjörn Andersson from Sweden - amongst others. The issue also includes a profile of the Topos Landscape Award winner for 2010 - Stoss LU, which gives a hint at what landscape urbanism in action can be when it evolves from theory to practice.

In order to truly investigate this issues - and place the concept of LU in it's proper perspective, I've decided to provide a series of posts for each essay, rather than a collective reading of the entire text. It is my hope that we can look on Topos 71 as a touchstone of where LU has evolved to, and also determine the multivalent ways in which it will evolve. As Richard Schafer mentions in the editorial introduction, even in this context landscape urbanism is considered and 'abstract subject' and an 'ambiguous concept', showing there is still a lack of cohesion. There is also the ongoing debate that LU is merely what we've been practicing as landscape architects, or at least a reframing of the "...static view of things in landscape architectural practice [to] ... rely on open processes and overlapping layers". (p.3)

Obviously this issue isn't the final word and the debate will continue, but it is a great opportunity to reflect on the nature of 'urbanisms' and look forward as to what potential there is, if any, for landscape urbanism in both theory and practice. I encourage readers to weigh in on their thoughts on landscape urbanism, and their reactions to the issue of Topos.

On Landscape, Ecology and other Modifiers to Urbanism
(Charles Waldheim)

In the first essay, we return to the source of the term 'landscape urbanism' to see where Mr. Waldheim sits on the current status of the concept. While reminding us of the emergence of the term as a critique of the shortcomings of modern planning in our global world, Waldheim remarks that as LU reaches a sort of 'middle-age' it has become less avant-garde and perhaps more relevant as it " rapidly being absorbed into the global discourse on cities within urban design and planning." He also brings up the more recent 'adjectival modifier' of ecological urbanism, with the caveat that we have "...ongoing need for re-qualifying urban design as it attempts to describe the environmental, economic, and social conditions of the contemporary city." (p.21)

The preponderance of adjectival modifiers of the word 'urbanism' notwithstanding, the main thrust of landscape urbanism (or these other modified versions) is that we need to continually redefine the discipinary boundaries that still persist in urban planning. While no one modifier completely captures the potential, the root of cross-disciplinary study does continue to drive all of the more compelling ideologies, including ecological and landscape urbanism, as they become a more holistic "...response to the increasingly complete inter- and multi-disciplinary context of professional practice." (p.22)

In the end (perhaps just for myself) the idea of landscape urbanism needs to have some relevance to the practices of planning and landscape architecture and produce tangible products that can be evaluated and deconstructed to learn if they work or not. Waldheim draws out 'New Urbanism' as one of the failings of a modern planning (and don't think the leaders of NU aren't watching) due to a reliance on nostalgia and an overly deterministic approach to form-making.

:: Berkeley's Center Street Plaza by Walter Hood - image via A World of Words

That LU offers a "...culturally leavened, ecologically literate, and economically viable model for contemporary urbanization as an alternative to design's ongoing nostalgia for traditional urban form." (p.24) While the forms of landscape urbanism are less possible to be codified (or possibly because of it), there is a lack of dogmatic reverence to theories of LU that make it much more palatable. That said, the cohesiveness of the NU movement is something to learn from, at least in terms of marketing and legibility.

Waldheim looks more at the evolution of the planning professions instead of landscape architecture as a result of the drive towards landscape urbanism - making it seem less a call to redefine our profession than to expand ourselves into urban design and planning with a strong connection to design - much as it was envisioned by Olmsted 150 years back. The groundbreaking work of McHarg changed the way we envision planning, but also led to a split as the determinism and inherent lack of design made it open to criticism and spawned a long-term art vs. science debate that set our profession back decades. This potential not just to make better planning and landscape architecture, but to reenvision the historical definition the professions as encompassing applied urbanism:

"Incorporating continuity with the aspirations of an ecologically informed planning practice, landscape urbanism has been equally informed by high design culture, contemporary modes of urban development, and the complexity of public-private partnerships." (p.24)
The problem, alas, is how to frame this concept (or for lack of a better term, what the hell do we call it). My initial (and persistent) hope for landscape urbanism wasn't as much figuring out what it was, but rather determining how it would influence the practice of landscape architecture. Ideas of temporality, indeterminacy, flux, and change are sorely missing in the concepts of traditional practice, and are only just becoming part of the vocabulary around sustainable sites. Beyond drip irrigation and native plantings, a true rendering of landscape urbanism in practice would inherently need to be ecological and social, because it is tied into material flows that are impossible to simplify.

:: The High Line by Field Operations - image via Loft Life

This is why the concept of 'ecological urbanism' is so troubling. Mostafavi is quoted "As a critique of the landscape urbanist discourse, ecological urbanism promises to render that decade old discourse more specific to ecological, economic, and social conditions of the contemporary city." (p.24) While much more robust, it sounds like the tired 'three-legged stool' of modern sustainability which has proved unable to address true regenerative site design, and looks to apply it to the scale of the city.

On the other hand, the use of 'ecological' gives a more direct connection to something more tangible and less ambiguous (or culturally loaded) than the term landscape. Simply, people will be able to see a pathway more clearly than the foggy terrain of LU theory, and as mentioned, perhaps the best result will be not a elitist position (landscape urbanist as form maker of cities) to one that breeds cross-disciplinary approaches incorporating science, theory, and design. As Waldheim concludes: "...the challenges of the contemporary city rarely respect traditional disciplinary boundaries." (p.24)

While not specifically responsible for this new emergence of alternative 'urbanisms', the last decade of landscape urbanism theory has helped us to validate and expand the adjectivally modified forms and reanimate discourse about cities, emerging, as Waldheim mentions " the most robust and fully formed critique of urban design over the recent past." This doesn't make landscape or ecological urbanism the answer, but rather give us new ways of thinking and talking about urban issues. More important than what you call it, it is the continuing evolution of dialogue that aids in developing specific and tangible expressions of theory, within a multi-disciplinary processes, and using this to address the real, persistent issues that matter to us all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Elizabeth Caruthers Park

One on the more recent additions to the park inventory in Portland is the neighborhood park for the South Waterfront Area. (see here and here for more on SoWa). The park is named Elizabeth Caruthers Park (after one of the pioneering founders of Portland - on whose original land claim the park now lies) this new addition offers another iteration of the national firm paired with local for park projects. As this site isn't one of those you 'happen to be near and want to swing by', it's been less on the radar than some other visible additions to the Portland landscape, which I will be showing off soon as well.

I did see this a couple of times during construction, but had an opportunity and some sunny weather this weekend to swing by and snap a few images of the completed park.

:: image (c) Jason King - Landscape+Urbanism

The $3.5 million park design was completed by Hargreaves Associates, along with local firm Lango-Hansen and artist Doug Hollis. Finished size is 2 acres, and the design plays off the proximity to the river, high density mixed use buildings, and the potential to be a flexible event space.

:: image via Portland Parks and Recreation

The context of the park is interesting, as the area is now starting to fill up with more buildings, giving some scale to what was previously a flat 2 block area. This makes me think that the scale and design of the park will be much more appropriate given the final build-out of this dense neighborhood. The designers worked a number of elements into the space and I think successfully captured the ability to split the space up into smaller 'rooms' without diminishing the whole. As mentioned on the PP&R website, the park offers a range of uses for this emerging neighborhood. These include:

"Urban Gardens: A community gathering area with movable tables and chairs and a built-in bocce court, a garden retreat area with granite seat walls and a historic marker honoring the site of Portland's first cabin, and an environmental play area with a spray/play stepping stone feature and seating logs.

Naturalized Landscape: Boardwalks, naturalized plantings, undulating topography with stormwater detention, and Song Cycles public art created by Doug Hollis.

Open Lawn: Flexible space, including an 8' tall sloped landform for seating, sunning, and play.

Other Features: A variety of trees and plantings, pathways with benches, park lighting, a festival edge on Bond, electrical infrastructure for events, bicycle racks, a drinking fountain, dog waste bag dispensers, trash receptacles, and streetscape improvements."

The dominant feature of the park is the large open grassy area, which was being used mostly for dog walking. The sculptural mound, obviously is a typical Hargreaves signature, but seems restrained here as a backdrop and tilted plane that could work as amphitheater seating. While maybe 10 feet at it's apex, you don't feel terribly high up due to the flatness of the surrounding landscape. Dare I say the berm needed to be much larger and more dramatic to really have the impact in this sized space.

:: images (c) Jason King - Landscape+Urbanism

The individual rooms contain such features as water play, sculpture, and interpretive elements all bordered by waves of plantings defining the spaces while allowing hints of what lies beyond. The water play was interesting as it was surrounded by rubber playground tiles (the slightly darker brown) for safety - and the individual pieces of the feature itself use two different rock textures for an undulating appearance.

:: images (c) Jason King - Landscape+Urbanism

The waves of plantings give definition to the space, along with the curving pathways. This layering provides an interesting foreshortening of spaces adding to their comfort and intimacy..

:: images (c) Jason King - Landscape+Urbanism

The plantings and pathways also lead to other rooms, for instance this flexible seating area and bocce court. The ability to move furnishings around takes advantage of the user preference for where and in what configuration they sit. These seats surround a simple decomposed granite court (the same d.g. used for secondary pathways) again simply delineated with sparing use of stone.

:: images (c) Jason King - Landscape+Urbanism

The remaining perimeters of the park (to the south and west sides) feature a series of low depressions and raised boardwalks, creating a wet, shade garden with Pacific Northwest species mixed with selected non-native ornamentals including groves of multi-stem birch which are a nice touch. The boardwalks cut through these wet zones, and vary from a sinous curving variety here...

:: images (c) Jason King - Landscape+Urbanism

... to the much more rigid straight boardwalks weaving through the south section. The shade is predominantly from the building directly south, casting a shadow almost completely within this zone - and giving a very different feel from the heat of the open lawn areas - probably even more so in the height of winter.

:: images (c) Jason King - Landscape+Urbanism

The sculptural elements 'Song Cycles' by Doug Hollis are also dotted through this area, making for some visible movement and drawing the eye skyward. I was kind of disappointed with these - essentially an oversized bicycle wheel with some cups to catch the wind and swing them round. From the RACC website, they were "... Inspired by a historic photograph of bicyclists resting at a nearby site, these “Song Cycles” are activated by the wind."

:: images (c) Jason King - Landscape+Urbanism

And a quick video of them in action I took...

'Song Cycles' from Jason King on Vimeo.

These areas are definitely shady at mid-day, offering some relief from the heat. They do suffer from a lack of usable seating, as most of the paths are raised above grade with an occasional seat. Obviously meant to be moved through more than to linger, the shade and coolness makes it a refuge worth hanging around for and I wish there would have been a larger space carved out on this end mirroring the more sunny north side. Perhaps one must make due with just hanging your feet over the ipe decking into the water below?

:: images (c) Jason King - Landscape+Urbanism

It was interesting how little you notice the proximity to the interstate from inside the park - it registering just as a low drone in the background. While the context of the park seems cut off from the riverfront (which will hopefully seem more appealing once it is completed), another contextual element that's fascinating is the constant movement of the Portland Aerial Tram nearby the park. The little pill from pill hill kept drawing my eye upwards in fascination (the thing has been in for a couple of years now, and I seem to never tire of watching it)... another short video:

Aerial Tram from Elizabeth Caruthers Park from Jason King on Vimeo.

As a new neighborhood park (in an emerging neighborhood that some still say hasn't emerged) I was expected to see the park completely devoid of people, even on a sunny Saturday. While not teeming, there was a respectable crowd moving through - either hanging out in the seating areas, lounging on the berm, running dogs in the lawn, and grabbing a quick smoke break from a restaurant across the way. All in all I give the park high marks - and it's going to be interesting to see how this space evolves - influenced by new building in the neighborhood, more people residing and working here (like the LEED Platinum OHSU Center for Health and Healing in the distance), and intentional active programming of the spaces. The designers did a great job of incorporating a lot of activity and flexibility into 2 acres, and I'm looking forward to seeing this park mature and thrive. Now about that berm...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Disaster Imagery

The Gulf oil spill - documented by Photographer Edward Burtynsky, best known for his fabulous work 'Manufactured Landscapes'... capturing the essence of the breadth of disaster and human-wrought destruction. (via Treehugger, more images on the exhibit at the Metivier Gallery).

:: image via Treehugger

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I thought this was pretty funny (and ridiculous) when first heard on NPR, then seen in multiple locations. The story centers on the layouts of these planned Sudanese cities, shaped like indigenous animals and even fruit from the region. This has been all over the place lately in media snippets, with a reaction of surprise, outrage, skepticism but mostly downright amusement. Ideas include the rhinoceros (seen below), as well a giraffe which form the urban outlines for these cities to be filled with a mix of uses fueled by southern Sudan's oil profits.

:: image via New Sudan Vision

:: image via BBC

While the form of the cities are getting the most attention, it's interesting to see how the debate has become one of appropriateness of any large-scale urban endeavor in a country with so much instability. The geo-politics of Sudan come to bear when you consider that the country is on the verge of a split - cleaving the oil-rich south into potentially a new country (and leaving many parts of both the old and new in poverty). Does that mean those less fortunate get the butt-end of these new urban areas? Probably, as these are planning these animal-cracker cities in the rich south, but it means those less fortunate don't get to live in these spots at all.

:: image via Blast magazine

Politics aside, why is it so strange to use formal shapes (ala Dubai's Palm Islands or the more abstract Ciudad Evita) to delineate our spaces, if the alternative is placeless suburban sprawl. While we can debate the appropriate urban form and spatial arrangement, nothing says that can't be a hippo versus a human profile versus a new urbanist community layout. They are all constructs, no? Think of the wayfinding possibilities with living 'near the ass' or 'in left rear legpit'... or in the case of Evita - 'on the outskirts of the nostril'... the street naming could be equally fun.

:: Ciudad Evita - image via Taringa!

As a formal exercise, perhaps there is some merit in the biomimicry or animism (or whatever it is) fueling these proposals, as they potentially offer opportunities for form-making that is based on something biological that could be a basis for sustainable communities. For instance, in one giraffe-shaped proposal, it was noted that ""the sewage treatment plant is appropriately placed under the giraffe's tail" - making it a fine analog for outputs - and potentially a framework for a self-sustaining organism as city? Does food enter the city through the mouth, or is that a bit too literal?

:: image via Buy Cheap Toy

The plans however look more like traditional layouts fitted within the chosen shape, making them more form over function. But, as we seem to debate the gridded versus organic forms of urban areas, we really don't have a clear delineation of a right answer - and it varies widely based on context and culture, among myriad other variables. All urbanism is contrived to a degree either in whole-cloth, through zoning and land use, or through time, accretion and evolution. And for the most part, all of these more or less decontextualized as they are forced upon a topography that is far from flat in both physical and social terms.

Plus, like cloud-spotting, animal forms can be derived from a number of constructed abstractions - or is it just me that sees a distinct elephant in this new urbanist community?

:: Providence Creek - image via Felts and Kilpatrick

Are any of these human-made forms more or less authentic - or can a giraffe-shaped city have all the elements we seek in good urbanity? Is an elephant shaped burb less intriguing or useful than one with more random curvilinear forms of streets and open space?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sodding Bridges

Although I did get stuck waiting for one of the many bridges today, my title for this post is more tongue in cheek than brit-inspired rage. Bridges are part of the fabric of Portland, and give our city much of it's identity while also serving as vital infrastructure connecting east to west (and north to south). While we currently are in the midst of a contentious debate about a future major bridge redo, it is perhaps fitting for us to recognize the essence of bridges, and their importance to our identity, as we debate what will be an expensive and long-lasting symbol of who we are. For these reasons, we endure the occasional bridge lift - and relish in the industrial beauty of our riverine skyline - in this case the 100 year old Hawthorne bridge.

:: image via pdxpipeline

The plans to cover the bridge as part of the Portland Bridge Festival a two-week celebration of our bridges. Of particular interest is the 'Brunch on the Bridge' which included covering the interior lanes with sod and opening the bridge up for a park for the day - to picnic and relax in this temporary linear open space.

:: image via Portland Bridge Festival

I missed the opportunity to make it down to check it out - but a shot to give you a gist - prior to the sod going away for a range of permanent installations around town.

:: image via OregonLive

Goodbye, Landscape Urbanism BS Generator

Sad news... I got an email that the Landscape Urbanism Bullshit Generator (and the entire ruderal site for that matter) is no longer . One of my first posts mentioned what I think is a great, tongue-in-cheek reference for the overly wordy, obfuscatorily verbose - particularly in terms of the word bank of the early landscape urbanism writings (that's you James Corner, along with many others).

It got me thinking about the state of writing (or content) in the landscape and urbanism spheres, and how the factors of 'good points simply written' are often masked as some high-brow pseudo-academic blabber, that's mostly 'no point overly wrought'...

So why do we subject ourselves to this willingly (both as people doing the writing and as those reading it). Is it that we need this jargon and thesaurus-led wordiness to accurately portray the cutting-edge concepts of which we speak? Look at the evolution just in the LU triad from the important yet painful 'Recovering Landscape' (1999) to the heady and engaging 'Landscape Urbanism Reader' (2006) to the pager turning 'Large Parks' (2007) showing an evolution of published LU discussion over time and a shift from the academic to the much more subdued. There's obviously an economic element in play, as I'm sure the latter two books well outsold the first due both to breadth and accessibility.

While simplicity is good, there's definitely different audiences and they must be kept in mind when writing even within the same audience niche. A good example is one of the better books I've read in a while - 'The Fundamentals of Landscape Architecture', by Tim Waterman. A primer on the profession, I liked it not for groundbreaking thoughts, but just for quality content and focus on what the profession is about - augmented with concise text, explanations of terms, and great graphic content. It's a superb book - and honestly I was quite bored by it... mostly because I am not the target audience for the writing. Anyone new to the profession or looking to get involved in landscape architecture should read it though... it's fantastic.

While simple is a good goal, and some ideas can't be over-simplified, the flip side of this is the publication of what can only be described as a 'planning document'... consisting of a laundry list of terms and ideas that have only been loosely categorized. The most recently example of this I've encountered is 'Agricultural Urbanism' by de la Salle & Holland et. al. Experienced in the ins and outs of planning and design for urban agriculture, the book is flat - reading like the results of a brainstorming session with little in terms of synthesis (and dry as hell to boot). It's a great concept with great info but lacks any sort of poetry that makes reading it much fun.

Another parallel example of a new type of book is the 'behind the curtains' look at process. Publication of 'Above the Pavement, the Farm!' by Andraos and Wood - takes a radically different tack in describing the process of idea generation, design and implementation for the very cool Public Farm 1 display in NYC. Rather than over-theorize or plannerized it, they use an ongoing interview format with jump cuts from those involved dropping nuggets of commentary in what can only be described as a shotgun manner throughout the book. The result: take a great project and I'm sure a competent team of designers and builders, and make them all look trite and silly in the context of snippets and quotes rather than exposing anything interesting or useful to the reader. While I love the idea of a mass-market size book for displaying project specific info - more of a mini-monograph, (although $20 is quite a pricetag) - the approach of ongoing narrative thread is just plain awful.

The more challenging ideas have a different, less information driven role than the above examples. I think there's an innate challenge to these works that makes them more alluring - the fact that rather than merely reading and retaining information (i.e. getting it) we have to strain, work, and pain over the writing, concepts, language - in order to appreciate it on a more significant level of understanding. Currently, I'm re-reading some of the writings of my favorite author, David Foster Wallace, who unfortunately offed himself - keeping the rest . and it's interesting to see the parallels in the verbose in literature vs. that in the academic planning and/or design fields. For all of it's entertainment value, DFW's metafiction is often obtuse, overtly dense, and just plan mean (as anyone with the gall to finish Infinite Jest knows)... as a construct unto itself, that's the point.

So maybe some of the writings become analogous to the self-referential metafiction, a sort of 'metaurbanism' that includes the complexities and chaos of the urban condition in describing itself - giving it not just a message but a significance all in it's own right. I think this is fine, if that's acknowledged that this is the case.
The problem I see is when the verbosity is a mask for having little or nothing new/important/relevant to say (which is arguable with anything depending on context)?

Good ideas (or stories), no matter what they are about, can be described in an accessible manner in simple language, right? What compels the need to wrap the ideas in a cloak of intellectual camouflage but the 'utter lack of ideas'? I'm sure we have examples we can think of, but I'll throw out 'Integral Urbanism' by Nan Ellin as my example of a book that promises much but delivers very little in terms of anything resembling new or interesting ideas.... Again with context, another reader may read the same book and be totally blown away with insights. It's just that variable.

Any others folks would like to throw on the proverbial burn pile? Well, I'm not sure how a quick comment about the bullshit generator led to a treatise on some recent books - but well, who cares.
Nonetheless, even with the different media out there (and the loss of the LU BS Generator), we say 'Long live our ability to: 'enable interstitial networks' and the like... I'm sure the concepts and jargon will live on, as the verbosity=intelligence element is still going strong in academic writing, less so in technical books - and particularly (peculiarly?) in pseudo-intellectual blog world where editors are scarce, and the audience is mostly undefin(able)? A range of media still thrives. Words, ideas, concepts, media... both good and bad, frustrating and succinct - I still love it all, whatever the form or density...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Restoring the Garden of Eden

A great feature from Spiegel Online covers the work of Azzam Alwash, a US/Iraqi hydraulic engineer aiming to restore what were once vibrant wetlands flourishing in the cradle of civilization through an organization called Nature Iraq. While most news coming from the region focuses on bricks and mortar rebuilding, it's important to note the power of restoration of ecosystems in rebuilding efforts. The connection between people and land is vital.

:: image via Eden Again

The area was originally marshland fed from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. From the article: "Only 20 years ago, an amazing aquatic world thrived in the area, which is in the middle of the desert. Larger than the Everglades, it extended across the southern end of Iraq, where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers divide into hundreds of channels before they come together again near Basra and flow into the Persian Gulf."

This is especially evident in satellite photos of the region from 1976 and 2002, showing the widespread ecosystematic destruction of the marsh.

:: images via Spiegel Online

From the article, the motivation is clear:

"The official explanation was that the land was being reclaimed for agriculture. The military was sent in to excavate canals and build dikes to conduct the water directly into the Gulf. The despot, proud of his work of destruction, gave the canals names like Saddam River and Loyalty to the Leader Canal.

In truth, Saddam was not interested in the farmers. His real goal was to harm the Madan, also known as the Marsh Arabs. For thousands of years, the marshes had been the homeland of this ethnic group and their cows and water buffalo. They lived in floating huts made of woven reeds and spent much of their time in wooden boats, which they guided with sticks along channels the buffalo had trampled through the reeds. They harvested reeds, hunted birds and caught fish.

When the fishermen backed a Shiite uprising against the dictator, the vindictive Saddam turned their "Garden of Eden" into a hell. He had thousands of the Marsh Arabs murdered and their livestock killed. Any remaining water sources were poisoned and reed huts burned to the ground. Many people fled across the border into Iran to live in refugee camps, while others went to the north and tried to survive as day laborers. By the end of the operation, up to half a million people had been displaced.

Within a few years, the marshland had shrunk to less than 10 percent of its original size. In a place that was once teeming with wildlife -- wild boar, hyenas, foxes, otters, water snakes and even lions -- the former reed beds had been turned into barren salt flats, poisoned and full of land mines. In a 2001 report, the United Nations characterized the destruction of the marshes as one of the world's greatest environmental disasters."

The use of ecosystems as essentially a weapon against people is striking - a much more appropriate usage of the term eco-terrorism (versus it's common parlance) or at the very least eco-despotism... (although a quick google search of that term yields a totally different meaning). A future post at least on the linguistics of that one I imagine :)

The view from 1976 shows what was once a thriving 'human ecosystem' supporting wildlife as well as economies of small reed farmers, fisherman and shrimpers... followed by a representative shot of the area prior to any restoration activities.

:: images via Spiegel Online

The restoration is ongoing, and an amazing story of folks (Alwash and others) risking their lives to restore the ecological and cultural heritage of a vital global region - folding in conservation and humanitarian needs to offer an alternative scenario to 'rebuilding' after devastation occurs. While public works, dams, roads, electrical grids, and schools offer much by way of infrastructure to support a society in transition, the ecological is an important aspect not to be overlooked. There are lessons here that perhaps we can implement in our own disasters (both 'natural' and man-made) and remember the connections between resiliency in the human as well as the ecological systems.

Check out the rest of the article here.