Wedged between the edge of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains lies the formidable ruins of Fort Union National Monument. A seemingly endless highway whose sole purpose is to connect the fort to the greater world brings visitors to the site, and long before arrival at the park, the adobe ruins appear on the horizon. At this moment it was easy to picture ourselves as setters arriving at the fort along the Santa Fe Trail. Northern New Mexico is a landscape unlike any other and it is certainly a world apart from the urban hustle and bustle of Philadelphia. This year, graduate students from PennDesign’s landscape architecture and historic preservation programs, enrolled in HSPV 747-401 Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites & Landscapes with faculty Frank Matero (HSPV) and Clark Erickson (ANTH), once again took on the complex and layered site of Fort Union National Monument, the third and last year of a multi-year project.
The Department of Landscape Architecture recently hosted alumnus Alan Berger (MLA’90), the Leventhal Professor of Advanced Urbanism at MIT, for a talk based on his latest book, Infinite Suburbia. At over 800 pages, with 52 essays by 74 authors, the book represents a shot at correcting what Berger sees as an imbalance in the design and planning professions: Leading thinkers and practitioners spend most of their efforts on the cores of cities, while globally, populations are moving en masse to their outskirts.
After a tumultuous year of public debate about monuments and memorials, New York City recently released the findings of its Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers. Among the voices on the Commission was PennDesign alumna Amy Freitag (MLA’94, MSHP’94), who is the executive director of the JM Kaplan Fund. Freitag and the other members of the commission were charged with developing recommendations for how the City of New York should address city-owned monuments and markers on city property, “particularly those that are subject to sustained negative public reaction or may be viewed as inconsistent with the values of New York City”—namely, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In December of 2016, the UN General Assembly voted to endorse a set of aspirational goals meant to guide the sustainable and equitable development of the world’s cities for the next 15 years. The vision of “cities for all,” enshrined in the New Urban Agenda, had been finalized at Habitat III, an international conference convened by the UN in Quito, that October. The agenda is founded on the principles of ending poverty, inclusive urban planning, and environmentally sustainable land use. Next month, the focus shifts to implementation, when a cohort of Penn faculty will present their research at the ninth biennial World Urban Forum, in Kuala Lumpur.
In LA+ RISK, Bernard Spiegal–an author and director of PLAYLINK, a multi-disciplinary practice focused on securing children and teenagers’ freedom to play in variety of settings–writes about the inevitability of risk in play.
Arianna Armelli’s model for Tokyo Landscape Futures, LARP 701 Option Studio with Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Christopher Marcinkoski, imagines a post-WWIII future, after North Korea has destroyed central Tokyo and an underground city has been developed as retreat from future threats.
From Hallie Morrison and Prakul Pottapu, 3rd Year Landscape Architecture Students:
To tourists, the Central American nation of Costa Rica is a patchwork of forests and plantations, but nearly half of the country’s inhabitants live in the capital city of San José. It’s the focus of an ambitious interdisciplinary studio this spring, and PennDesign students just returned from an intensive 10-day stay there with instructors David Gouverneur, Associate Professor of Practice in Landscape Architecture, and Lecturer Maria María Altagracia Villalobos.
David Seiter (MLA‘05), principal and design director at Future Green Studio in Brooklyn, is one of the Emerging Voices of 2018 according to The Architectural League of New York.
PennDesign landscape architecture students are right now putting the finishing touches on their installation at the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture UABB) in Shenzhen, China. Directed by Professor and Chair Richard Weller and Adjunct Professor Valerio Morabito, the students are exhibiting a set of drawings related to the migrant worker’s village of Nantou in which this year’s biennale is being staged.
PennDesign has been named the Top School for Landscape Architecture by AZURE magazine, Canada’s leading design publication.
Eakins Oval, a former parking lot hemmed in on all sides by at least four lanes of traffic, may seem like an unlikely place for a family-friendly public park.