Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waterscape Urbanism

I was struck by a recent mis-use of the term landscape urbanism in this article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on the need for climate change inspired floating homes.  Quoting  Thai landscape architect Danai Thaitakoo on the need for dealing with innundation.

"Climate change will require a radical shift within design practice from the solid-state view of landscape urbanism to the more dynamic, liquid-state view of waterscape urbanism," says Danai, who is involved in several projects based on this principle. "Instead of embodying permanence, solidity and longevity, liquid perception will emphasize change, adaptation."

While amphibious architecture is nothing new, and i agree that it will become more common in the future there are two points.  The first is minor - that of the mis-characterization of landscape urbanism as 'solid-state' and 'embodying permanence, solidity and longevity'.  If there's any flavor of urbanism that emphasizes change and adaptation, it's landscape urbanism - so i think there's a disconnect in that above paragraph.  Just saying.

Second, and more troubling, is the idea that we must react to climate change by building floating structures - rather than address the topic at hand.  It's similar in nature to dealing with semi-urban forest fires by designating fire-safety clearing zones of tinder and brush around houses, rather than looking at not building homes in these areas - or heaven forbid - letting them burn.  Or coming up with vertical farms due to our misguided agricultural subsidies and policies that make it impossible to grow a variety of food on terra firm.   

Its cause.  Not effect.  We spend way too much time on solutions to problems and calling it need-inspired innovation - rather than getting to the real root of the problems themselves.  May not be as press-worthy of sexy, but at least its real.


  1. Huh? Sounds like some whacky conversation in the corner of a coffee shop that is mind-numbing. Good luck with that.

  2. Kind of like anonymous posting on websites saying pointless shit? Good luck with that.

  3. I'm with you Jason. But i still think that floating homes can become great and dynamic solution for country's like the netherlands that face serious water issues.

    there was a great ted talk on this issue, worth checking out:

  4. Definitely not discounting the floating architecture issue - just saying it's one of many ways of discussing options and opportunities - not the solution - for climate change.

    Will check out the TED talk. Thanks!

  5. Well, this might be disturbing to some of the fellow readers but believe me there are places that need such kind of thoughts to get rid of issues they are facing.

    @Erik thanks for sharing the video.

    ~Aansy Stone

  6. This is a really nice post on landscape thanks for publishing it.


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