AoU Landscape Urbanism notes & questions

These notes accompany a PowerPoint presentation Fragmented urbanism: the rise of Landscape Urbanism & the threat it poses to the continuously connected city

TS intro
This is a crucial moment for urbanism. In the UK, The Portas Review, highlighting the UK’s threatened high streets. Around the world, cities are growing faster than ever. But cities – as we knew them – are under threat.

First, from the car. Car-dependent urbanism is the principal form of urbanism on the planet. our cities have become so fragmented by road systems in the last century that it is now almost impossible not to be far dependent – not without a major demolition and reconnection programme.

Second, from designers, accepting of the car and intellectualising around this complicity.

The aim of this talk
I have been forming my own views about Landscape Urbanism and am looking to raise a discussion within the Academy of Urbanism and beyond. Do people agree with me? If so, how do we respond? If not, why not?

Summary of the Landscape Urbanism aesthetic
Parcels of grey wrapped by ribbons of green

Landscape Urbanism as anti-ecological
“If you have a culture that is fundamentally automobile-based, then an urban model that is anti-automobile is counterintuitive at best. There’s a strange precept these days that asserts that people will abandon their cars if we simply build cities that don’t accommodate them”.
Charles Waldheim

Island bio-geography.

Scale – JW.


Interim uses eg temporary food production. How can this be coded?

Layouts need to be walkable and workable.

Working with the grain of nature.

GRABS – green and blue spaces.

“It was good to find out about a new academic threat to good sense, and I very much agree with your doubts about the universal value of green space.

London Riots discussion at #lonconf

Darah Singh
Groups of rioters:
1. Motivators – of rioting
2. Aggressors – towards police
3. Late night shoppers

Riots gave people unusual opportunities for power and control. Abnormal empowerment.

David Lammy MP
The risks of social & economic liberalism. Hyper individualism. The selfishness of greed. Poverty, choice, ethics, morality & vulnerability.

A policy idea for London
TS: reconnect London at its grass routes by focusing on disconnected housing estates – spatial exclusion. Work with local communities to educate those who have been given authority to direct their influence towards the right places. Not only the high streets but the catchments of the high streets: the housing estates.

London Policy Conference – don’t turn your back on housing

These notes accompany a PowerPoint presentation.

Good morning.

1. Connectivity is an issue that has come up several times already at this London Policy Conference.

As an architect and town planner, my interest is in the influence of physical connectivity on the behaviour patterns of Londoners. Was connectivity a factor in the London Riots?

London’s street network, illustrated above me, is a connectivity matrix. It is the principal organiser of the movement patterns of pedestrians, cyclists, bus passengers, car drivers and even – if I had time to show you – tube and rail travellers.

These connections provide the routes by which we get to work, go to the shops or navigate our way to see a friend.

London’s street network is a piece of infrastructure. Indeed it is London’s largest piece of infrastructure. I believe it needs investment and management just like any other piece of infrastucture, not least because it is in this network that London’s values are created; it is where Londoners transact their lives, both socially and economically. Continue reading London Policy Conference – don’t turn your back on housing