22 September 2008

Alan Berger in the Times

This morning's NYTimes takes a look at the role that landscape architects can play in bringing new life to a damaged landscape. They focus on Alan Berger's stint as a Rome Prize Fellow where he has looked at the Latina marshes:
For places as far gone as this one, however, a new breed of landscape architect is recommending a radical solution: not so much to restore the environment as to redesign it.

“It is so ecologically out of balance that if it goes on this way, it will kill itself,” said Alan Berger, a landscape architecture professor at M.I.T. who was excitedly poking around the smelly canals on a recent day and talking to fishermen like Mr. Assunto.

“You can’t remove the economy and move the people away,” he added. “Ecologically speaking, you can’t restore it; you have to go forward, to set this place on a new path.”

The article makes it sound like his plans are contrary to traditional WWF or TNC approaches, but even they are more appreciative of compromise than this makes it sound. And, while some see this as controversial, it isn't any different that what we have seen Jean Marie Hartman doing in the Meadowlands. Sometimes going back isn't even an option.

1 comment:

Bruce Weiskotten said...

The applied science of this is called Permaculture Design and its core principles can be taught in a simple 72 hour curriculum which should be mandatory 101 studies for anyone going into Environmental Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, Architecture, Land Use Planning, Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture and any number of other disciplines.