Landscape Architecture

  • Orongo Station, New Zealand. Nelson, Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects.

The Culture of Cultivation: Designing with Agriculture

Friday, November 17, 2017Saturday, November 18, 2017
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Meyerson Hall, 210 South 34th Street, Philadelphia

The earliest roots of place making have involved a symbiosis of different kinds of natures: a necessary one of production—also called the “other” or “second” nature to distinguish it from the pristine “first”—and a third nature of polite, yet dispensable, aesthetic appreciation, its distinctness articulated in the 16th century. The etymology of the word garden, from the Frankish gardo, in fact, refers to an “enclosed place” that can be cultivated both for pleasure and for consumption. The history of landscape architecture is replete with examples in which the relationship between the beautiful and the productive—with the former often indebted to the latter—is apparent. According to Charles Elliot, speaking in 1891, the design work of a successful landscape architect will elicit beauty “from the happy marriage of the natural and the needful.” Yet today, the needful, or functional, has almost been lost to the discourse, with little attention paid to such problems as soil conservation, the globalization of food production, and the effects that industrial agriculture—the largest landholder and producer of monocultures—has on the environment and its inhabitants.

The objective of this conference is therefore to create a cross-disciplinary forum that will address the relationship between landscape design and the productive or working landscape from a variety of lenses. The latter will include the perspectives of a few emerging and established professionals, whose work has begun to explore the relationship and interaction between design, agriculture and infrastructure; the research of historians who have addressed the relationship between the worlds of second and third nature; the contributions of planners who have studied the challenge of urban food production; and those of scholars who have devoted their attention to the conservation of natural resources, the protection of biodiversity within working landscapes, and the preservation of the latter for their historic, social and cultural values.

Licensed landscape architects may register for CEU credit at the event.


Friday, November 17
10:45am – 11:00am

Fritz Steiner, FASLA, FAAR, RAAR, SITES AP (Dean and Paley Professor, PennDesign)

Introductory comments by Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto
11:00am – 11:20am
11:20am – 4:15pm

Moderator: Domenic Vitiello

From Urban Agriculture to New Urban Commons: The Emergence of Productive Infrastructural Ecologies
Matthew Potteiger, State University of New York, Syracuse
Jacques Abelman, University of Oregon

The Urban Changes Everything about Agriculture
Laura Lawson, Rutgers University
Meredith Taylor, The Office of Agriculture and Urban Programs

Lunch Break 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Spaces, Infrastructures and Systems: From Theories to Strategies for the Productive Urban Landscape}
Joe Nasr, Ryerson University, Toronto
Matthew Potteiger, State University of New York, Syracuse

The Edible Park
June Komisar, Ryerson University, Toronto

Productive Green Community Space: A Challenge for the Contemporary City
Tal Alon-Mozes, Israel Institute of Technology

Speakers Dinner 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Frederick Steiner

Frederick Steiner is dean and Paley Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and co-director of The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology. He served for 15 years as dean of the School of Architecture and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, having taught at Arizona State University, Washington State University, the University of Colorado at Denver, and Tsinghua University. A fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, he has written, edited, or co-edited 18 books, including Making Plans: How to Engage with Landscape, Design, and the Urban Environment (UT Press, 2018).

Saturday, November 18
9:00am - 10:40am

Moderator: Aaron Wunsch

Southern Forest Heritage Museum: Complexities of a Rural Cultural Landscape
William Hartman, Assistant Professor, Louisiana Tech University

Osage Orange and the Making of an American Middle: A Case Study
Prairie Studio

Coffee Break
10:40am - 10:55am
Histories of Productive Landscapes
10:55am - 12:35pm

Moderator: John Dixon Hunt

“L’utile a l’agreable:” Planting the Early Modern French Garden
Elizabeth Hyde, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair, Department of History, Kean University

Nature and Production in Eighteenth-Century Landscapes
Tom Williamson, Professor, University of East Anglia, England

12:35pm - 1:35pm
Contemporary Practices & Conservation, Part 1
1:35pm - 3:15pm

Moderator: Ellen Neises

Productive Conservation for Resilient Urban Regions and Agricultural Hinterlands
Flavio Sciaraffia, Landscape Architect, GeoAdaptive, LLC, Chile

Landscape Design and Agriculture in the Practice of Mario Schjetnan
Mario Schjetnan, Grupo de Diseño Urbano

Coffee Break
3:15pm - 3:30pm
Contemporary Practices & Conservation, Part 2
3:30pm - 5:10pm

Moderator: Ellen Neises

The Dialogue of Beauty, Conservation and Productivity through Design
Thomas L. Woltz, Principal, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects

Beauty and Productivity in Ranches of the Rocky Mountain West
Jody Beck, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Denver

Concluding Remarks
5:10pm - 5:40pm
Closing Reception