latest update: 5 November 2013
LAR 501 A | B Landscape Architecture Seminar I
Spring 2014 | Clement
Example of a more thorough content outline, for discussion leadership:
LAR 501 A Content Outline | Discussion Guide March 3, 2011 Jena Biondolilo and Kylie Harper
Theory in Landscape Architecture: A Reader
Gray World, Green Heart (1994) by Robert Thayer
About Robert Thayer:
· 1969 - Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Design from Cornell University
· 1971 - Master's Degree in Urban Design from Stanford University
· 1994 - Thayer received the President's Award of Excellence for his book Gray World, Green Heart: Technology, Nature, and the Sustainable Landscape.
· Formerly a principal partner at the California based planning and landscape architectural firm CoDesign, from 1983-2000
· Currently Emeritus Professor of Landscape Architecture and the founder of the Landscape Architecture Program at the University of California, Davis
· Avid paddle sports enthusiast, rides a solar-charged electric motorcycle, and has an "in your face" approach to sustainable landscapes.
Gray World, Green Heart
· The transition to a sustainable world depends upon ordinary people observing, experiencing, comprehending, and implementing sustainable techniques and technologies in their local landscapes. (p.189, ¶1)
· Thayer's personal house tours in his solar neighborhood
· "Landscapes that create an illusion of a better world while depriving us of the actual means of achieving it are not sustainable." (p. 189, ¶3)
· Imbalance of perceptual function and practical dimensions of technology
· "Air conditioners powered by fossil fuels create the illusion of coolness in one place by making the entire planet hotter through their contribution to global warming."
Can you think of any other ironic examples of perception being incongruent with reality?
o Transparent landscapes reveal incongruities, whereas opaque landscapes hide them.
o " Opacity and fakery in the landscape ultimately only serve to perpetuate the unsustainable status quo..." (p.190, ¶1)
o Visual Ecology: Acquiring feedback from the environment by revealing ecological processes that guide constructive action
o "That which is not seen is often viewed with fear and exaggeration. The first step toward building a sustainable world then is to open up out landscapes to view." (p. 190, ¶1)
o Humans = Symbolic Animals
§ "The feedback we receive from the environment is, of course, laden with symbolic meaning."
(p. 190, ¶1)
Can you give an example of a time when you included a symbolic meaning in a design?
· Encouraging sustainable practices through conspicuous nonconsumption
o Complexity impedes the rate of adoption, whereas observability speeds up the adoption rate.
o "Sustainable technologies and landscape features like natural storm drainage and visible solar collector systems symbolize "conspicuous nonconsumption" and are essential markers along the road to a more sustainable world..." (p. 192, ¶2)
Do you think it is more important for sustainable landscapes to be visually appealing or to keep the sustainable technologies observable?
· Sustainable landscapes to transform culture
o "Ultimately, the goal of sustainable landscapes is the transformation of culture - the taming of technology, the emergence of a new environmental ethic, a measure of life quality, and a substantially broadened sense of community including not only humans, but all life." (p.192, ¶3)
o "We may, quite literally, need to design and build the cultural elements necessary to accompany and actualize new sustainable landscapes as we build the landscapes themselves..." (p. 194, ¶1)
How does this relate to our Denver project?
o The transformation into a sustainable world is a slow process, so there is still much inconsistency.
§ "By and large, landscapes are getting more opaque as society entangles itself further in the veil of technologically aided simulation, avoidance, and fantasy." (p.194, ¶2)
Do you agree with this statement? Are landscapes becoming more opaque or more transparent?
o Environmental guilt: "The sense of dissonance we feel about technology's impact on the land"
(p. 194, ¶2)
Do you have any environmental guilt?
o Nature vs. Technology
§ " The evolution of nature, technology, and their confliction interrelationship demands movement toward resolution...The sustainable landscape is a natural step in the transformation toward resolution; we cannot kill the technological tyrant, only tame it." (p. 194, ¶4)
o Three attitudes toward technology and landscape
§ Topophilia: the love of place
§ Technophilia: the love for technology
§ Technophobia: the fear of technology
How do we tame the technological tyrant? How do we decide which technologies to use and
which to avoid?
o "The conflict between nature and technology ... is a dilemma of love." (p.196, ¶2)
§ "Humans have an immense capacity for love, but as any lover knows, affection and commitment often require painful prioritization." (p.196, ¶2)
Do you agree that the conflict is a dilemma of love?
o "Our infatuation with technology is a brief, distracting affair, but we are wedded to the earth for life."
(p. 196, §3)
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