Monthly Archives: November 2012

Placemaking for 34 great waterfront urban landscapes

I admire the Public for Public Space and I like this video, even if it is too long. Also, I mostly agree with the criticisms of landscape architects and the other design professions. What I regret about the film is the detachment from design theory.
Fred Kent’s answer to the question ‘What Makes a Great Place?’ is (1) sociability (2) uses and activities (3) comfort and image (4) access & linkage. It is not wrong but it is muddled. Fred Kent should have begun with Vitruvius and had he done this the list might have been re-organized as follows (1) commodity: uses, activities, sociability and comfort (2) FIRMNESS: construction and planting supporting a healthy ecosystem, with access and linkage for humans and other species (3) DELIGHT, or, as Vitruvius put it VENUSTAS – his word extends to all the aesthetic qualities associated with Venus, rather than the marketing-mens’ word ‘image’.
Some acquaintance with design history might also have yielded the fact that Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown described himself as a Place Maker.