Landscape Urbanism vs New Urbanism

Here is a great video from Rob Cowan: he draws as well as he talks – and he talks as well as he operates a camera. Should we be Landscape Urbanists or New Urbanists? Rob’s answer is ‘let’s stop wasting time on theory and get to work on solving problems’. With an equally peace-making message I would say:
New Urbanist to Landscape Urbanist: ‘You’re so right: let’s love each other and work together’
Landscape Urbanist to New Urbanist: ‘You’re so right: let’s love each other and work together’
But then I would say to both of them ‘C’mon you guys. Stop thinking in 2 dimensions: that game’s a’gonna. You guys gotta work in 4 dimensions’.

5 thoughts on “Landscape Urbanism vs New Urbanism

  1. Christine

    Aaargghhh! Was Walter Burley Griffin a landscape urbanist?

    This is really not a sensible distinction. Jane Jacobs did not have a position on climate change or the effect of suburban sprawl on land availability or green belts, unless I am much mistaken.

    It seems to me that many of the theories of new urbanism are adopted because it makes development cheaper and profits higher. (ie less infrastructure provision and more dwellings per hectare). So quite simply much of it is $ in a green dress!

    There are sometimes very good reasons for building in particular ways in particular locations – but please consult the genius of place first and apply any theory with the appropriate level of rigour.

  2. Tom Turner Post author

    To a degree, Walter Burley Griffin could be claimed for Landscape Urbanism – and that degree is his interest in the genius of the place. I have not read too much about New Urbanism but suspect the genius of the place does not lie at its heart. Richard Weller’s inaugural lecture at Penn makes a good case for a Landscape (Sub)Urbanism approach in Australia . The volume drops off part-way through but he also makes the case in this article:

  3. Christine

    I am putting the article on my reading list and will comment soon. In the interim, the work of Tract in re-uniting the professions of landscape architecture and planning is foundational to what landscape architecture could be. The progression needs to continue so that the boundaries of the built form are further eroded. Architects have to become more friendly with Landscape Architects and to play in the sandpit of the city together alot more… [ ]

    1. Tom Turner Post author

      In the UK the relationship between architecture was working out nicely when I was younger. My impression is that when architects lost a chunk of their workload to project managers and other specialist consultants they responded by grabbing work from wherever they could get it and regardless of their experience in the type of work. Other landscape architects, not in the UK, sadly, have done well by winning open competitions (often under the banner of landscape urbanism).


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