Two Rivers in a Distant Place — Editorial of the No. 4 Issue for 2013, Landscape Architecture Frontiers
By Kongjian Yu
Recently I traveled to two previously beautiful rivers, but the result I found was sad and depressing.
The two rivers were the Halaha River and Yimin River in the Inner Mongolian Plateau. The Halaha snakes laboriously among the volcanic rocks of the Arxan Mountains. From time to time she steals into the rock caves without a trace, like a mischievous kid; sometimes she rests in a lake, like a quiet and timid girl; other times she penetrates the hard basalt, running cheerfully among the
rocks and silver birches like an energetic and restless youngster. It was on this part of the Halaha that I saw orange rubber rafts carried by the current and filled with excited people confronting the rapids, many tourists chatted and laughed on shore while walking among silver birches. After passing through the neighboring mountains, amiss a sea of mysterious clouds, fog, and forest, the Halaha River flowed across the Hulun Buir Grassland, into beautiful lakes on the Chinese and Mongolian boarder, and finally into Buir Lake.
The Yimin, by contrast, meanders vast and flat grassland, like a gentle and peaceful mother opening her arms, full of maternal love, and embracing the flow of water from any direction. With infinite tenderness, like a roll of loose ribbon, the Yimin River carves out crescent sandbanks on the Hulun Buir Grassland, a region known as “father” by the local herdsmen. The sandbanks retained in the river become wetlands with lush vegetation. Grassland extends to the water, where flocks of cattle and sheep play and graze. On the banks people fish, receiving generous gifts from the mother river, delightedly and contently.
These two rivers are physically different but offer whatever they could in the same way. If treated nicely, they would continue to offer what ecologists called “ecological services”. Both rivers provide services such as supply (of food and clean water), adjustment (of discharge in flood and drought times, temperature in cold and hot seasons, and water purification), life carrying (of providing habitats and migratory passages for a large amount of living creatures), and culture (such as aesthetic appreciation, intellectual inspiration, physical and mental recovery, and a place to put hopes).
However, these two rivers are threatened in the same way that hundreds of rivers in China are threatened. During my visit, the beaches of the Halaha River were buzzing with construction for a new tourist town. Black peat, which had been buried below the beautiful meadow for thousands of decades, was being dug out, underground streams were being drained, and the lower reach of the river was no longer clean. The natural meandering water had been channelized with cement flood control embankments, transforming the river into a narrow and hardened ditch, all for the purpose of constructing highway embankments. The delightful and fresh Halaha had lost her vitality in a flash, like a charming girl instantly turned into a decomposing, dead body.
Similarly, in Hailar, where the Yimin River passes, I saw her ruefulness. A row of dredging vehicles, connected with long, rusted iron pipes, were sucking sand from the riverbed, like a greedy vampire sucking bone marrow from a beautiful life. Willows and poplars had been cut down and removed from both banks, and the once colorful flowerbeds on the sandbanks were now
filled with quarries, ponding stagnant water, like an ulcer on beautiful skin. A new monumental water conservancy project was forcing the river to be re-channelized. The new flood control embankments will compress the flood plain, forcing the river to flow into a narrow cement river course. Grand buildings are planned in the wetlands and meadows on both sides of the river. Finally, at least three rubber dams will be built on the river to complete the vision of making Hulun Buir a “beautiful water city”. In total, four billion RMB have been invested in this “river beautification project” that will, by the time it is completed, have drastically changed the destiny of Yimin, the mother river.
I was saddened and downhearted by the misfortune experienced by these two remote and beautiful rivers. I felt certain that the devil butchering these rivers has brewed massacres everywhere. But why? Is it ignorance? Or greed? Or corruption? Or lost morals? Or the powerlessness of design? In response to what I have seen firsthand, I would like to once again make an appeal: Please save the Halaha River, please save the Yimin River, and please save every river that has provided gifts to our ancestors and will continue to provide gifts to our future generations. Treat the rivers well, for their fate is tied to ours.
Editorial (by Kongjian YU)
Strategic Approaches to Urban Wetlands: Reconciling Nature Conservation, Engineering
and Landscape Architecture (by Antje STOKMAN, Johannes JÖRG)
Landscape Performance: Quantified Benefits and Lessons Learned from a Treatment Wetland System and Naturalized Landscapes (by Ming-Han LI, Bruce DVORAK, Yi LUO, Matt BAUMGARTEN)
Views and Criticisms
Soil: the Unseen Layer of Water (by Chih-Wei G. V. CHANG)
Ecological Water System Design under Human Intervention Based on Natural Processes (by Xi ZHENG)
People-oriented Design Solutions in Urban Rainwater Landscapes (by Peng SUN, Zhifang WANG, Qianzi JIANG, Huaqing WANG)
Five Questions about Landscape Architecture in China (by Rui YANG)
Ecologies for an Urban River System across Scales: Dianchi Greenways in Kunming (by Kongjian YU, Peng SUN, Jun JIA)
Building an Environmental Friendly Community — Design and Review on Xixi Village in Hangzhou (by Mei SHENG)
Central Park of the Central Commercial and Cultural District, Wuhu (by L&A Design Group)
Wijkeroogpark in Velsen, the Netherlands (by Bureau B+B Urban Design and Landscape Architecture)
Master Plan for Vathorst in Amersfoort, the Netherlands (by West 8 urban design & landscape architecture b.v.)
Water Square Benthemplein in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (by DE URBANISTEN)
Experiments and Processes
Logistics in the Woods: Mapping Walden and its Glocal Resource Relays (by Meg STUDER)
Re-envisioning Bangkok’s Hydro and Agro Network (by Chon SUPAWONGSE)
【英文刊名】Landscape Architecture Frontiers • Ecological Water System Design
【作者】安琪•施托克曼（Antje STOKMAN）、俞孔坚（Kongjian YU）等
Strategic Approaches to Urban Wetlands: Reconciling Nature Conservation, Engineering and Landscape Architecture
作者：安琪•施托克曼、约翰内斯•约尔格 Author: Antje STOKMAN, Johannes JÖRG
Wetlands are at the same time among the most productive and the most threatened ecosystems of the world. One of the major threats for wetlands is urbanization. In the urban context there is a long history of associating wetlands with a number of water-related diseases, floods, pollution and poor living conditions.
Since the end of the 20th century, there has been a paradigm shift in the attitude towards wetlands: the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has promoted the importance of new concepts of wetland management in order to reduce health hazards by highlighting the many positive wetland values from the perspective of nature conservation. At the same time, engineering has broadly introduced the concept of constructed wetlands and biofilters as a way of effectively trapping and removing the pollution from stormwater run-off, wastewater and polluted river water. Linking the ecological and technical dimensions and integrating them with the high aesthetic and recreational value of urban wetland parks, landscape architecture has developed fascinating concepts demonstrating the high potential of an integrated strategic approach to the recovery and creation of wetlands in the urban context. This paper brings together these different perspectives on urban wetlands and argues by discussing different case-studies how wetlands can take a prominent role in urban ecosystems.
Key words ...
Integrated Design; Landscape Infrastructure; Ecosystem Performance; Ecological Engineering; Constructed Wetland; Integrated Water Management
Landscape Performance: Quantified Benefits and Lessons Learned from a Treatment Wetland System and Naturalized Landscapes
作者：李明翰、布鲁斯•德沃夏克、罗毅、马特•鲍姆加登 Author: Ming-Han LI, Bruce DVORAK, Yi LUO, Matt BAUMGARTEN
Landscape performance, as defined by the Landscape Architecture Foundation, is “the measure of efficiency with which landscape solutions fulfill their intended purpose and contribute toward sustainability.” It is becoming a popular research focus in recent years; and its theoretical framework is built upon the sustainability triad: environment, economy and society. Through the quantification of environmental, economic and social benefits of a built landscape, its performance can be determined. This paper presents results from a landscape performance investigation and the lessons learned from a 3,200-acre master planned community that employs a treatment wetland system and naturalized landscapes. The research team identified environmental, economic and social metrics, and then collected data that reveals the performance results of the installed systems. Water quality, soil fertility, and herbaceous plant diversity were investigated. In addition, the research team quantified potential and actual benefits, including sequestration of carbon dioxide, and cost savings through the use of reduced mowing, fertilizer use, and reduction of irrigation with potable water. Environmental, economic and social benefit results are discussed. Lessons learned from management and maintenance issues during and post construction phases are summarized.
Key words ...
Stormwater; Water Quality; Landscape Maintenance; Prairie; Landscape Perception
Soil: The Unseen Layer of Water
作者：张志维 Author: Chih-Wei G. V. CHANG
Healthy soil performs important functions in regulating water volume and controlling water quality. However, overlooking such dynamics between soil and water often leads to design misassumption and water system failure. For instance, the compacted soil and disturbed soil profile result in poor water retaining capacity and increased surface runoff. The organic matter loss decrease soil’s effectiveness at binding and breaking down nutrients and sediments, which further pollute the water system. To incorporate soil sciences in design and construction processes, implementing a soil management plan is suggested. The best soil practices for water system includes 1) Protecting soil structure to conserve hydrological performance; 2) Avoiding and amending soil compaction to increase water retaining capacity; 3) Conserving and restoring soil performance in water cleansing.
Key words ...
Healthy Soil; Soil Compaction; Soil Organic Loss; Stormwater Management; Soil Conservation; Soil Management
Ecological Water System Design under Human Intervention Based on Natural Processes
作者：郑曦 Author: Xi ZHENG
Ecological water system design is an approach to ecological engineering that intervenes natural processes and regulates the living environment through human intervention. This article discusses the scope of ecological water system design and the relationships between water systems at different scales. Citing several built projects, this paper illustrates how to construct ecological water systems, while also analyzing the instructive significance of ancient water management to current methods of ecological water system design.
Key words ...
Water System; Ecological Design; Human Intervention; Ancient Water Management Concept
People-oriented Design Solutions in Urban Rainwater Landscapes
作者：孙鹏、王志芳、姜芊孜、王华清 Author: Peng SUN, Zhifang WANG, Qianzi JIANG, Huaqing WANG
The fundamental purpose of the comprehensive utilization of urban stormwater is to improve the cycle of local hydrology, and respond to local water issues. Most of urban engineering facilities cannot avoid considering human uses and needs, because a city is a concentrated area of human activities. However, this point is often overlooked by the traditional design in engineering. In this paper, two people-oriented design strategies of comprehensive stormwater utilization are proposed: adaptive strategy and protective strategy. Moreover, it summarizes the design solutions for different strategies to further promote the comprehensive stormwater utilization in cities to establish a harmonious relationship between human and water.
Key words ...
Human Activities; Landscape Design; Urban Hydrology; Stormwater Utilization
Five Questions about Landscape Architecture in China
作者：杨锐 Author: Rui YANG
Using the discipline name of “Landscape Architecture” as a framework, this article addresses five questions: Why did “Feng Jing Yuan Lin Xue (风景园林学)” become the Chinese name for the discipline of landscape architecture during the national disciplinary adjustment? What is the concept of “Discipline” and the significance of “Landscape Architecture Academic Community”? What is the future trajectory of landscape architecture in China? What are the key issues that need to be addressed by landscape architecture in China? And what kind of landscape architecture does contemporary China need?
Key words ...
Landscape Architecture; Discipline Development; Name; Landscape Architecture Academic Community; Contemporary China
Ecologies for an Urban River System across Scales: Dianchi Greenways in Kunming
作者：俞孔坚、孙鹏、贾军 Author: Kongjian YU, Peng SUN, Jun JIA
The project launches a systematic planning for the Dianchi Lake pollution treatment. An ecological security pattern is set up and 35 rivers flowing into Dianchi Lake are taken as ecological water purification system and filters. The stormwater collection system, bio-habitant network, cultural heritage and greenways for bicycles and pedestrians are integrated as an ecological infrastructure to solve urban water environment problems in a comprehensive way. It adjusts the land use surrounding the greenway system, and attempts to maximize the benefit of ecology, citizens and economics through river ecological restoration, rain sewage management, improvement of land use efficiency. Finally, Panlong River, the mother river of Kunming, would be revitalized to be peaceful, beautiful, healthy and active.
Key words ...
Ecological Security Pattern; Cross-scale Design; Ecological Restoration; Stormwater Management
Building an Environmental Friendly Community— Design and Review on Xixi Village in Hangzhou
作者：盛梅 Author: Mei SHENG
The design of Xixi Village is a project guided by the Low Impact Development principles. Through collaborations between landscape architects and engineers, an integrated stormwater system has been created within a community’s outdoor space and water features, providing a showcase of environment-friendly development. Through the process of this project, issues of collaboration between architects, landscape architects and engineers were exposed and addressed. Longstanding practices of stormwater management must be challenged to assure sustainable development that would reduce flooding, improve water quality and enhance overall living quality.
Key words ...
Stormwater Management; Sustainable Design; Government Regulations; Green Infrastructure; Inter-disciplinary Collaboration; Professional Education
Central Park of the Central Commercial and Cultural District, Wuhu
作者：奥雅设计集团 Author: L&A Design Group
The recent construction of the Wuhu commercial and cultural district created a dynamic commercial space while also establishing an ecologically functional landscape nestled within a high-density urban area. Using a series of low-cost methods such as stone gabions, bioswales, and native planting, the design successfully turned 3.2 kilometers of undeveloped land with poor soil and consistent flooding into an active and popular urban park, providing a vegetative leisure space for the local community.
Key words ...
Central Park; Theme Park; Ecology; Waterway
Wijkeroogpark in Velsen, the Netherlands
作者：Bureau B+B城市规划与景观设计事务所 Author: Bureau B+B Urban Design and Landscape Architecture
The old brook Scheybeek is made visible in the park. The brook has been staged together with the new pedestrian and bicycle paths in the extended spaces in the park. A game of meeting and disappearing takes place between the visitor and the stream. The stream’s profile is composed from a specially designed concrete element and a natural embankment. The sweet brook water flows out into a pond of brackish North Sea water at the bottom of the dike. The unique salinity originating from this exchange of water is the perfect place for flora and fauna specific to brackish water.
Key words ...
Park; Water; Encounters; Flora; Fauna
Master Plan for Vathorst in Amersfoort, the Netherlands
作者：West 8城市规划与景观设计事务所 Author: West 8 urban design & landscape architecture b.v.
The master plan for Vathorst in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, was developed by Kuiper Compagnons and West 8, highlights that the landscape is not an afterthought or a beautifier to urban development, but is considered a vital entity in itself and an active component of the plan.The master plan was designed in the tradition of old Dutch canal cities, using waterways as organizing elements rather than roadways, allowing Vathorst to be an active water city.
Key words ...
Community; Canal; Water City; Ecological Improvement
Water Square Benthemplein in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
作者：DE URBANISTEN城市研究和设计工作室 Author: DE URBANISTEN
The design of Water Square Benthemplein is an innovative twofold strategy that combines water storage and improves the quality of urban public space. Most of the time the square is dry and used as a recreational space for youth sports and play. When confronted with heavy rainfall, the square changes from its usual appearance and function, becoming a temporary rainwater storage facility. Three basins were designed to collect rainwater: two undeep basins will receive water for the immediate surroundings and one deeper basin will only receive water when it is consistently raining.
Key words ...
Water Square; Participatory Design; Rainwater Storage Facility; Stainless Steel Gutter
Logistics in the Woods: Mapping Walden and its Glocal Resource Relays
作者：梅格•斯杜德 Author: Meg STUDER
Despite recent Landscape Urbanist interest in agrarian utopias and dispersed settlement strategies, Walden, or Life in the Woods, a canonic conservation text, is still often read as an inward-looking, pastoral experiment. My current project, Edge Operations or Logistics in the Woods, ‘runs the numbers’ from Walden. Appropriating Thoreau’s peri-urban position, Edge Operations works outward from Walden Pond — from woodlots to fireplaces, adjacent rails to global markets — re-constructing the (domestic) consumption patterns of antebellum Boston for an alternate history of climate control, industrialization, and its (sub)urban resource systems.
This essay describes the origin of this project and the research used to trace Thoreau’s material encounters. Excerpts from “Re-Surveying Walden”, one chapter of the project, map Thoreau’s descriptions of the ice harvest of 1846. These, with primary and secondary sources — in history of science, statistics, surveying and post-structural architectural theory — are explored for their resonance with quantitative, global mappings and the process diagrams typical of landscape urbanism. As in Keller Easterling’s Tomato World or Pierre Bélange’s contemporary research, Edge Operations or Logistics in the Woods highlights the complex, dynamic, and process-based alliances of (industrializing) agriculture, its lurking contests, socio-economic conflicts, and political culpabilities.
Key words ...
Walden; Globalization; Logistics; Pastoral; Mapping; Urbanism
Re-envisioning Bangkok’s Hydro and Agro Network
作者：川•苏帕旺斯 Author: Chon SUPAWONGSE
As a conjunction of tidal dynamics and rapid urbanization, 340 square kilometers of the derelict aquacultural landscapes on the Chao Phraya Estuary offers a fresh opportunity for a landscape architectural intervention in addressing multiple challenges of urban expansion, decaying ecology, hydrologic fluctuation, freshwater supply, food production and waste. Water is an active agency. Introduction of tidal process is an urban program device that reactivates diverse ecological performances, underpin economics, and drive urban transformation over Bangkok’s intertidal landscape. Creation of levels and hydrologic distributaries aims to engage adaptability to multiple water regimes rather than control or work against it. Bangkok, the city in the monsoon estuary must be soft, absorbent and adaptive. The operative strategies of this project can be applied to the remaining hydro and agro network to build a new landscape infrastructure that performs mixed hydro-ecological functions and responses to environmental shifts in diverse range of times and spatial scales.
Key words ...
Estuary; Dynamics; Fluidity; Level; Operation