I was struck by a recent mis-use of the term landscape urbanism in this article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on the need for climate change inspired floating homes. Quoting Thai landscape architect Danai Thaitakoo on the need for dealing with innundation.
“Climate change will require a radical shift within design practice from the solid-state view of landscape urbanism to the more dynamic, liquid-state view of waterscape urbanism,” says Danai, who is involved in several projects based on this principle. “Instead of embodying permanence, solidity and longevity, liquid perception will emphasize change, adaptation.”
While amphibious architecture is nothing new, and i agree that it will become more common in the future there are two points. The first is minor – that of the mis-characterization of landscape urbanism as ‘solid-state’ and ’embodying permanence, solidity and longevity’. If there’s any flavor of urbanism that emphasizes change and adaptation, it’s landscape urbanism – so i think there’s a disconnect in that above paragraph. Just saying.
Second, and more troubling, is the idea that we must react to climate change by building floating structures – rather than address the topic at hand. It’s similar in nature to dealing with semi-urban forest fires by designating fire-safety clearing zones of tinder and brush around houses, rather than looking at not building homes in these areas – or heaven forbid – letting them burn. Or coming up with vertical farms due to our misguided agricultural subsidies and policies that make it impossible to grow a variety of food on terra firm.
Its cause. Not effect. We spend way too much time on solutions to problems and calling it need-inspired innovation – rather than getting to the real root of the problems themselves. May not be as press-worthy of sexy, but at least its real.