A Spiritual Journey of Landscape Ethics — Editorial of the No. 2 Issue for 2013, Landscape Architecture Frontiers
By Kongjian Yu
I had been struggling for nearly a month, and had spent a couple of wakeful nights, over nothing but the Wanmu Orchard, a piece of land that had survived the urban sprawl and metropolis growth of Guangzhou. What concerned me about this project was not that my colleagues and I may not be capable of turning it into a stunning new landscape, or that the local government may not have sufficient funds to support this new urban project. As a designer, I could have easily transformed the orchard into whatever landscape I wanted, just as the client, the Guangzhou government, could have easily advocated for a new landscape. Rather, what bothered me was the fundamental question of how to approach this piece of land — the ethics of landscape.
The historic Wanmu Orchard was famous in the Pearl River Delta as a land of fruit trees. The orchard was crisscrossed by a network of rivers and lakes, and densely covered with regional Lingnan fruits such as lychee, loganberry, and starfruit. Among the many villages, the Xiaozhou Village, located in the heart of the orchard, was especially well known. Here, streets and water alleys intermingled, and older homes were covered with the dense shade of ancient trees. For hundreds of years, the village and groves had breathed with the ebb and flow of the Pearl River. More recently, however, urban sprawl had encroached on the groves. The fruit quality and quantity have been severely affected by air and water pollution, as well as increasing production costs and decreasing fruit prices. As a result, fruit growers gave up maintaining the trees, favoring to lease land and houses to immigrant farmers and workers, in order to earn a better living. In response, the Guangzhou government decided to nationalize the orchard into a “southern lung” of Guangzhou under unified municipal management.
Following public support over the successful nationalization of the orchard, the government is confronted with a stickier problem: How to approach an orchard when the fruit growers are no longer there? How can an agricultural landscape in the heart of the metropolis be managed to meet the demands of urban development and maintain its characteristics as an orchard? What will be the future expectations of this land in the context of ever-expanding cities and the ever-increasing urban population? And most fundamentally, what is the value, be it production, habitat, recreation, aesthetics, or cultural experience, of the Wanmu Orchard if it is completely encircled by the city? To address multiple interpretations of the site, how will we instill new landscape values, while maintaining the old ones?
After agonizing reflection, I found relief through a balance of landscape morals and ethics. I do not have the heart to cut down the lychee trees standing there over decades or even hunderd years, to dig new lakes, pile up hills, or create new waterscapes, all of which have been favored by the public and local leadership. I cannot bear to transform the natural and benign orchard into an exquisite garden, dotted with pavilions, terraces, and towers, or boasting exotic flowers and rare herbs with imported stones and small bridges over flowing streams. These approaches, which the local government is well versed in and fond of, was the approach taken in the first phase of the Wanmu Orchard project. Neither can I stand the sight of interfering and letting the orchard regress without active maintenance, as many preservationists have advocated. Instead, perhaps the orchard site will give birth to an urban wetland system, as called for by conservationists. Yet, this would also be at the expense of an agricultural heritage landscape, or at a recreational experience.
I found relief through the process of this tough choice. At the conjunction of jumble and mist I found my conscience as a landscape architect. Such conscience has often been sacrificed in favor of self-expression, or lost in the course of catering to leaders or commercial interests. Such conscience has too often been impeded by the limitations of designers’ craft and ability. And such conscience has been too often extinguished in favor of temporal success and popularity.
Finally I found relief, and an ethics of landscape pointed a way out. It is now clear to me that the orchard is a representation of the regional cultural landscape and the agricultural heritage landscape of the region. Its current state is the outcome of years of interaction between the local people and the natural process of the Pearl River Delta. The orchard is both a cultural expression of the adaptability of the local people, and an ode to the natural processes and patterns of the Pearl River Delta. Both of which have endowed the city of Guangzhou with its unique character. It has historically, and will continue to, provide economic well-being and cultural identity to the people living on this land generation after generation. The fruit will continue to bear their joy and sorrow, love and hatred.
Relief came from a realization of how to approach this landscape, and how, by designing the management and transformation, I could contribute to the design process of a unique regional and cultural landscape. The authenticity of the agricultural heritage landscape that had survived urban growth would be preserved. The orchard would be adapted to a new nature and environment, and thus create new values that met the requirements of the new era. In the future, the Wanmu Orchard will be a vital and vibrant urban agricultural landscape. The fruits of the orchard will be maintained through grove adoption and production of urban agriculture. By learning from local farmers, a more abundant Lingnan garden of fruits, vegetables, and flowers will take shape through intercropping fruit trees. Mulberry-based fishponds, an agricultural tradition in the Pearl River Delta, will be resumed through basic cut and fill topography. On the bases of the existing fruit trees groves, generous habitat patches will be constructed to form a garden of birds, beasts, and butterflies in the bustling downtown area. An urban recreational system, of bicycle and pedestrian trails, and a clean air corridor will be brought into this new orchard landscape. Through these transformations, the residents of Guangzhou will be fully able to savor the fertility, wholesomeness, and beauty of this new urban ecological and agricultural landscape.
Editorial (by Kongjian YU)
The Ethics of Landscape (by Thomas FISHER)
Framed to Be Open: Exploring the Strategies of Planning University Campuses
in China (by Jason HO, Charles ANDERSON, Khalilah ZAKARIYA)
Views and Criticisms
Technology, Environment and Human Being (by Guosheng WU)
The Utopia of Design (by Bo ZHOU)
Reviving the Soul of Land — Criticism on Ocularism of Urban Landscape (by Xi LI)
A Dialogue on the Impact of Urban Landscape on Human Health (I) (by Bin JIANG, William C. SULLIVAN, Chun-Yen CHANG)
Perspective of Environmental Ethics in Brownfield Regeneration through Comparative Case Studies between China and Abroad (by Ying ZENG, Xiaodi ZHENG)
Informal Vertical Communities: Torre David in Caracas, Venezuela (by Urban-Think Tank)
An Interactive Platform for Shared Design: The Callan Park Master Plan, Australia (by McGregor Coxall)
Draw a Circle in Nature — Landscape Design for High End Ocean Apartment in Xingcheng, Liaoning (by Musheng FANG)
Design of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail along Taihu Lake (Demonstration Part), Suzhou Suzhou (by Z-land Landscape Design & Consulting, Inc.)
Bottière-Chênaie Eco-district in Nantes, France (by Anne-Sylvie BRUEL)
Ecological Protection Landscape Design of Ancient Kilns Park (Huai’an State Guesthouse), Fuzhou (by International Landhoo of Chengdu Landscape Design Co., Ltd.)
Experiments and Processes
Bombs, Wood and Gold: Synchronizing the Processes of Mining and Demining in the Post-war Landscape of Laos (by Xiaoxuan LU)
Borders as Urbanism: Redrawing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea (by Dongsei KIM)
【英文刊名】Landscape Architecture Frontiers • Landscape Ethics
【作者】托马斯•费希尔（Thomas FISHER）、威廉•C•苏利文（William C. SULLIVAN）等
The Ethics of Landscape
作者：托马斯•费希尔 Author: Thomas FISHER
This article explores the ethical implications of how we treat landscapes. It lays out a three-part, temporal and ethical analysis of landscape architecture and concludes that without an analysis of and challenge to our assumed dominance over the natural world, we will never achieve a sustainable relationship to the landscapes that we inhabit and depend upon for our survival as a species.
The three-part analysis aligns different types of landscapes with duty, contract, and consequential ethics. Duty ethics often determines how we treat places that memorialize the past in some way, whether it be where our ancestors are buried or where wildlife are protected from human intrusion. Likewise, contract ethics typically defines how we typically approach contemporary landscapes, with property rights determining who gets to manipulate the land and what activities occur there. Finally, consequentialist ethics often drives our thinking about future landscapes, how we should judge our current behavior in terms of its expected consequences.
All of this leaves us with a dilemma: however ethical we might seem in our manipulation of landscapes, how can we justify our damage of habitat and extinction of other species while we accommodate our own needs? That question leads us to virtue ethics, which puts the emphasis not on our responsibilities in altering landscapes, but instead on changing our own expectations about ourselves and our needs. In other words, we cannot fulfill our responsibility to the natural world without challenging our own beliefs and values.
Key words ...
Ethics; Duty; Contracts; Consequences; Virtue
Framed to Be Open: Exploring the Strategies of Planning University Campuses in China
作者：何志森、查尔斯•安德森、卡里拉•扎卡里亚 Author: Jason HO, Charles ANDERSON, Khalilah ZAKARIYA
In the quest for modernization, China has embarked upon the construction of new university campuses. These new campuses are often planned in a way similar to the ‘Forbidden City’, isolated from the surrounding context. Under this model, most of the university resources are arranged within boundary walls and not allowed to be used by neighboring residents. This type of arrangement reinforces the politics of public-private separations and produces a discriminating urban policy of exclusion. While acknowledging the significance of boundary the paper speculates alternatives to the traditional master plan of university campus, through re-examining the current role of boundary in the bottom-up process and the production of shared resources. Instead of providing one-off design solutions, the alternatives re-examine a real-life condition as an evolving process and dynamic system through a set of strategies by which planners, urban designers, architects and landscape architects can use in redefining the boundary between public and private.
Key words ...
Boundary; Permeability; Shared Resource; Zoning
Technology, Environment and Human Being
作者：吴国盛 Author: Guosheng WU
We used to believe that technologies were passive and neutral tools for people to achieve their goals. But now we start to realize that technologies have certain autonomy and dynamism. Technology has created the dynamic association of humans and the environment. With the progress of technology, neither designers nor inventors would be able to accurately predict the consequences of new technology. That is why technology today is a strong leading force.
Key words ...
Technology; Environment; Human Being; Dynamism; Dynamic Association
The Utopia of Design
作者：周博 Author: Bo ZHOU
The concept of design ethics was first put forward by Victor Papanek in 1960s. It is a rethinking for the commercial design excessively valuing consumption as well as ignoring the environment and users' experience, which has influenced the western design theory deeply. This interview discussed the core content of design ethics, and the relationship between ethical thinking and design practice.
Key words ...
Design Ethics; Victor Papanek; Ethical Thinking; Consumption
Reviving the Soul of Land — Criticism on Ocularism of Urban Landscape
作者：李溪 Author: Xi LI
The word “landscape”, as well as its meaning in the western history of landscape, has something to do with the symbol of power. The word has seemingly countless ties with “nature”, but both the original reference of “landscape” and the landscape garden that rose later has the attentive eye for power hidden inside. By analyzing the development history of the word “landscape,” this paper will highlight the different concepts of "landscape" between the eastern and the western world, and make criticism of "ocularism" in current design of landscape.
Key words ...
Landscape; Ocularism; Nature; Residence
A Dialogue on the Impact of Urban Landscape on Human Health (I)
作者：姜斌、威廉•C•苏利文、张俊彦 Author: Bin JIANG, William C. SULLIVAN, Chun-Yen CHANG
This dialogue emphasized the importance of exploring multiple impacts of urban landscapes on human health. We identified four main aspects of research on this topic: (1) The importance of this issue; (2) Empirical evidence regarding connection between landscape and human health; (3) How urban landscape influences social interactions; (4) The health benefits of contacting with nature. In the end, we discussed how to develop an international education collaboration in this field.
Key words ...
Urban Landscape; Human Health; Empirical Evidence; Social Interaction; Environmental Justice
Perspective of Environmental Ethics in Brownfield Regeneration through Comparative Case Studies between China and Abroad
作者：曾颖、郑晓笛 Author: Ying ZENG, Xiaodi ZHENG
With the continuous development of urbanization in China, excessive exploitation and use of natural resources and extensive industrialization have resulted in land pollution and environmental degradation, and triggered a series of environmental safety issues associated with brownfield regeneration. A considerable amount of practice has been carried out across the world in the field of landscape architecture. Brownfield regeneration urges us to recognize environmental ethics in seeking harmony between human and nature. By comparing and studying the similarities and differences between Chinese and foreign brownfield regeneration projects, this paper aims to provide insights from the perspective of environmental ethics to help us confront with the challenges from current and future brownfield regeneration practice.
Key words ...
Landscape Architecture; Brownfield; Environmental Ethics; Environmental Justice; Regeneration; Comparative Study
Informal Vertical Communities : Torre David in Caracas, Venezuela
作者：U-TT建筑与都市主义实践事务所 Author: Urban-Think Tank
Torre David, the third tallest building in Venezuela, stands at an impressive 45 floors in the heart of Caracas’ former central business district. In the wake of the 1994 Venezuelan banking crisis the developer passed away and the financial group supporting the construction collapsed, leaving the building abandoned and a magnet for squatters. Today it is the improvised, continually revised home for more than 750 families living as a self-organized community in what some have called a vertical slum. The project team designed interventions to improve the residents’ living conditions, reduce energy consumption and render the structure self-sufficient.
Key words ...
Torre David; Vertical Community; Slum; Design Intervention
An Interactive Platform for Shared Design: The Callan Park Master Plan, Australia
作者：McGregor Coxall景观与城市设计事务所 Author: McGregor Coxall
McGregor Coxall景观与城市设计事务所受委托为位于罗泽尔地区的占地面积61hm2的凯兰园区制定总体规划、融资模式及管理计划。这片场地曾是悉尼最具政治敏感性和争议性的公共场地之一。在该项目中，McGregor Coxall运用了澳大利亚最富创新性的社区参与策略，使用了一种世界领先的互联网交互工具：www.callanparkyourplan.com.au。在收集了1 600位用户的90 000页反馈意见，以及经过无数次社区讨论会后，设计团队为一个“健康保护区”制定了总体规划。规划在一种历史景观的背景下，通过教育与研究，提供现代化的身心医疗服务。该规划使得凯兰园区能够成为未来悉尼内西区最具地方代表性的公共财富。
McGregor Coxall was appointed to develop a master plan, financial model and plan of management for the 61 hm2 Callan Park site in Rozelle. It has a history as one of the most politically sensitive and contentious public sites in Sydney. To deliver this project they developed the most innovative community engagement strategy ever undertaken in Australia utilising a world-leading interactive web tool www.callanparkyourplan.com.au. After 90,000 page views of feedback from 1,600 users and numerous community workshops, the team developed a master plan for a Wellness Sanctuary. The plan includes modern mental and physical health services with education and research in an historic landscape setting. The plan secures the future of Callan Park as a regionally significant public asset for Sydney's inner west.
Key words ...
Consultation; Community Engagement; Master Plan; Innovative; Health; Interactive
Draw a Circle in Nature— Landscape Design for High End Ocean Apartment in Xingcheng, Liaoning
作者：房木生 Author: Musheng FANG
The design of this project uses a simple, circular path, which can bring people into the woods. It launches conversations between human and nature, thus the checks and balances between them, the eternal theme of landscape architecture is revisited.
Key words ...
Landscape Architecture; Man-made; Nature; Circle; Intervention
Design of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail along Taihu Lake (Demonstration Part), Suzhou
作者：苏州致朗景观设计顾问有限公司 Author: Z-land Landscape Design & Consulting, Inc.
With an expansive lake view and a vast stretch of green grassland, the site, which is located along the shore of Taihu Lake in Suzhou New District, has attracted residents nearby and visitors from afar. By designing a bicycle and pedestrian route with the minimum impact on the surrounding vegetation and environment, the project tries to feature the geo-landscape with local materials and construction methods, and has managed to come up with a design in perfect harmony with its natural environment.
Key words …
Minimum Impact; Bicycle and Pedestrian; Geo-landscape
Bottière-Chênaie Eco-district in Nantes, France
作者：安妮-西尔维•布乃尔 Author: Anne-Sylvie BRUEL
The Bottière Chênaie Project was rooted in the site's history and geography. Our work looks to express these attributes in order to anchor the project in the site, to position it as a single place. The park and the public spaces are in keeping with the framework of parcels from the past agricultural occupation.
Key words ...
France; Eco-district; Site History; Stormwater Management
Ecological Protection Landscape Design of Ancient Kilns Park (Huai’an State Guesthouse), Fuzhou
作者：成都景虎国际景观设计有限责任公司 Author: International Landhoo of Chengdu Landscape Design Co., Ltd.
During the construction process, the Ancient Kilns Park in Fuzhou faces dual problems of how to protect the site with limited use. In the process of design, landscape architects need both comprehensive professional knowledge and skills to achieve the goal of balancing and harmonizing the two major demands, especially upon the issues related to the protection of underground cultural relics, including site elevation, ancient trees rejuvenation and routes selection. Through efforts on all aspects, the Ancient Kilns Park presents a feature as the combination of ecological conservation and history and culture of the site.
Key words ...
Ecological Conservation; Culture Heritage; Ancient Tree Rejuvenation
Bombs, Wood and Gold: Synchronizing the Processes of Mining and Demining in the Post-war Landscape of Laos
作者：陆小璇 Author: Xiaoxuan LU
The project poses a new linkage between resource extraction and post-war metal cycling economies, strengthening a livelihood that heals a war-scarred landscape. It proposes a strategy of "demining bombs by mining gold". The bomb-soaked landscape of Laos, which has 80 million unexploded bombs left over from the Vietnam War, provides an opportunity to rethink the processes of mining. Simultaneously, mineral exploration and excavation processes become mechanisms of rehabilitating and reconstructing the hazardous ground.
Key words ...
Post-war Landscape; Post-war Metal Cycling; Food Production; Resource Extraction; Deforestation
Borders as Urbanism: Redrawing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea
作者：金东世 Author: Dongsei KIM
Despite the increasing number of borders and tensions in the rapidly globalizing world, designers’ understanding of the agency within the borders’ “construction-operation-deconstruction” process has been limited. Within this context, a brief reflection of how the new conceptual framework of “Border as Urbanism,” one which understands a border as a complex spatial condition that emerge from a series of continuous spatial negotiations is outlined. The origin, intention, and the larger background of the research are described. The evolving representations of borders in urbanism from an “object” to a “process” and current trends and conditions of borders within geopolitics are additionally unfolded. This then leads to how the “four lenses” of “History-Barrier-Flows-Global” are formulated as a result of this interdisciplinary synthesis, and this is applied to one of the most militarized, effective, closed border in the world, the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
Key words ...
Border; Demilitarized Zone (DMZ); Geopolitics; Mapping; Urbanism