Adaptive reuse in Latin America in 2023 is a practice that focuses on preserving cultural identity, values, and memory through the renovation and repurposing of historical buildings and structures. This approach aims to maintain a strong connection to the region's rich cultural heritage and traditions while promoting sustainability and economic development. It involves converting old, often neglected buildings into new, functional spaces, such as museums, community centers, or housing, which celebrate and preserve the history and identity of the area. Adaptive reuse is a means of breathing new life into architectural gems, keeping them relevant for future generations, and maintaining a sense of cultural continuity in the rapidly changing urban landscapes of Latin America.
For nearly a century, a new breed of landscape infrastructure megaproject has gone unrecognized, and is now proliferating, according to the organizers of a public symposium at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design set for October 5, 2023. These projects are designed to address biodiversity loss, land degradation, and climate change while improving living conditions for the Earth’s eight billion human inhabitants. Representing trillions of dollars in potential investments, can they deliver the ecological transformation they promise?
MEGA-ECO: A Symposium on Very Large-Scale Landscape Projects brings together designers and land managers for ecological restoration megaprojects in China, Pakistan, Brazil, Africa, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and the US to explore cross-border approaches to connectivity, anti-desertification, watersheds, and metropolitan development. They include representatives of the World Wildlife Fund, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, among others, who will discuss the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project (China); Forest Conservation in the Heart of the Colombian Amazon; Great Green Wall Initiative (Africa); São Paulo Greenbelt and Biosphere Reserve (Brazil); Sponge Cities Initiative (China); Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program (US); Upscaling Green Pakistan; and Yellowstone to Yukon (North America).
The program opens with a keynote talk by author Tony Hiss, co-creator of the half-earth movement (50x50) and visiting scholar at the Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.
The symposium is organized into four sessions, with presentations from each project representative followed by a discussion with expert panelists:
Panel 1: Connectivity
Panel 2: Anti-Desertification
Panel 3: Watersheds
Panel 4: Metropolitan Projects
Concluding remarks will be delivered by Matthijs Bouw, Associate Professor of Practice at the Weitzman School of Design.
MEGA-ECO is presented by The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology and Penn Global, and is organized by Rob Levinthal, PhD candidate in the Department of City & Regional Planning, and Richard Weller, professor of landscape architecture.
MEGA-ECO builds on the 2019 publication Design With Nature Now, a re-assessment of the legacy of Ian McHarg’s landmark 1969 book Design With Nature which was co-edited by Weller along with Penn faculty members Frederick Steiner, dean and Paley Professor; Karen M’Closkey, associate professor of landscape architecture; and Billy Fleming, Wilks Family Director at The McHarg Center.
Link to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mega-eco-project-symposium-tickets-7087385…
This autobiographical reflection traces my work in land suitability analysis and plan-making. The suitability practice has resulted in two rating systems: the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Land Evaluation and Site Assessment System and Green Business Certification Inc.’s SITES Rating System. Plans have been made for US counties, cities, and towns; Italian provinces; regions and watersheds; and university campuses. My practice is grounded in human ecology. I have attempted to address the issues people face with an especial focus on environmental quality and social equity. Examples of work from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, and Texas in the United States as well as Italy and Mexico are noted. I explore how reflection, often with collaborators and students, has informed my practice and how it can help advance the fields of planning and landscape architecture.
This project tests a cost-effective, innovative dredged sediment placement technique targeted to nourish an eroded barrier bar. The dredged sediment was placed in the nearshore in a Cobble Bell, a form designed to allow for efficient dispersal and migration of sediment by natural processes in this location (such as predominant waves and longshore transport) in a desired direction along the bar. We describe the regional and site assessment undertaken, and explain the way design parameters including technical feasibility, assumptions about wave climate, and constructability were accounted for. A monitoring protocol was designed and implemented to measure the vertical and horizontal accretion on the barrier bar. This included survey transects using RTK equipment and surface analysis of beach volume and morphology change via drone images and photogrammetry. Field measurements of the bar indicated that within the first few days, the piled material eroded rapidly, and over the next few months, migrated downshore, widening the previously breached area. This suggests that the cobble bell nature-based feature has the potential to both accelerate and slow down natural processes in ways that enhance the performance and attractiveness of the beach while minimizing costs. In addition to the monitoring results, we describe a monitoring protocol that is both simple and effective which can be adapted by local entities interested in the management of their coastal landscapes.
This article focuses on the use of remotely sensed multispectral imagery for land cover classification, a process that landscape architects may know little about but that underpins many of the maps that they use as the basis for their designs. The relatively arbitrary nature of classification, and the homogenization that occurs when classifying multispectral imagery to create land cover maps, is especially consequential when distinguishing between land and water. Yet ‘finding’ water is a key step in land cover classification. The salt marshes surrounding the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, USA are used as a case study for multispectral analysis that combines satellite imagery with on-site surveying. However, the implications of the digital survey methods extend beyond any particular site and point to broader questions about the role of image interpretation for understanding how landscapes and environments are changing, especially with growing uncertainty about the rate of climate change.
The McHarg Center's Climate Policy Research Group has published Field Notes Towards an International Green New Deal. This three year digital project was produced by RAs Palak Agarwal, Selina Cheah, Yixin (April) Wei, Ian Dillon, Zane Griffin Talley Cooper, A.L. McCullough, and the Wilks Family Director, Billy Fleming. Field Notes ask what it might mean for the rest of the world if the US realizes an eco modernist vision for the energy transition.
A two part recap of the 2022 Grounding the Green New Deal Summit is featured in the ASLA's The Dirt.
“The Green New Deal Superstudio models a collective form of practice. We have a foot in the world now, but can imagine a new future,” said Kate Orff, FASLA, founder of SCAPE..."
In November 2020, the Glasgow Urban Lab at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, the Weitzman School of Design at UPenn, the Landscape Institute, and the Academy of Urbanism came together to celebrate the 100th birthday of one of landscape architecture's and Scotland's pioneers of urban ecology -- Ian McHarg. A symposium was held to look at McHarg's influence, with eyes on the future.
This publication, edited by the Glasgow Urban Lab's Brian Evans and Rachel Howlett, seeks to capture some of the event's essence.
Later this year, the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will meet in China to finalize what is being called a “Paris Agreement for Nature.” The agreement will outline global goals for ecosystem conservation and restoration for the next decade, which may include preserving 30 percent of lands, coastal areas, and oceans by 2030. Goals could also include restoring one-fifth of the world’s degraded ecosystems and cutting billions in subsidies that hurt the environment. What are the top three things planning and design professions can do to help local, state, and national governments worldwide achieve these goals?
The McHarg Center's Richard Weller's answer -- Design, Design, and Design!