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Practice : Winter 2009
NEWSWORThy ] “bIOmES” plant forms, is a f unction of abiotic factors and the bioma ss productivity of the dominant vegetation. In terre strial biomes , species diversity tends to c orrel ate positively with net primary productivity, moisture a vailability, a nd temperature.” Perhaps we might think of our design profes sions a s a diverse community, in the biome of the Northeast U.S .? We could think of our varied structures for design, deliver y and construction, as well a s our spatia l a rrangement and our fluctuating demand. What sort of sequenc e of design succession and interim clima x does the su mmer recon predict? Internation al Federation of La ndscape Architects (IFLA) World Congress 2008 in the Netherlands: Transfor ming with Water, in Apeldoorn, la rgely a congress of 500 landscape architects and assorted other design profes sional s, brought together a wide, cross disciplinary variety of de signers from 43 countries. The theme wa s “ Tran sforming with Water” and focused on large-scale water- related projects in both arid and moist c limates. The range of topical papers wa s lively and global, presented by a wide va riety of disciplines with an integrated tea m philosophy. R ese arch on water level control s to maintain shipping routes on the Rhine River, during both low- a nd high-flow periods were presented by Cornelia R ede cker, a Germa n Ph.D. candidate, architect and researcher at Delft University of Technology. Our keynote the first day, Renske Peters, Dutch Minister of Water, presented a credible, a lready politically vetted, ready for implemen- tation, 40-year master plan for dealing with climate ch ange. The plan included mitigation for rising sea level, increased rainfall and flooding in the Rhine delta , dealing with sa ltwater intrusion into groundwater, ne w dense housing, well ser ved by transit a ssembled around drink ing-water reser voirs. The city of Rotterdam is hiring 75 landscape architects to help reposition the city’s open space to be sustainable and more us er friendly. Phil Loheed toured Rotterdam with 150 others on a tour led by the chief planner of Rotterdam Harbor. We also met the cabinet level Commis- sioner of Landscape Architecture for the whole country of Malaysia, a charming Muslim woman, Rotina Mohd Daik. (She was cold and well-bundled in a coat, in what was to me a warm Apeldoorn su mmer day.) Her country had invested in 16 landscape architects in the National Depa rtment of La ndscape A rchitecture, who were bu sy planning for nat ur al resource preserves and protections, as well as parks to engag e more tourism. Today I find it hard to imagine the U.S . creating a cabinet- level position for any design-focused task. Massachu sett s ha s a coastline, river system, a nd ground water supply that front on the same ocean as the Netherlands. Where is our approved, sus ta inable 40-year pla n? Student work at the IFLA Congress wa s stellar. 326 st udents, from 26 countries submitted work for the st udent competition. Three winners and six jury awardees of the 30 nominees were present and their projects were available to discuss with attendees. These winners and nominees were published in a well-produc ed color publication available for sa le to IFLA attendees. Note: half of the submission s, 179, were from China . Concurrent with the conference was the Apeldoorn Landscape Architecture Triienn ale, which included a plethora of exhibits and installations, all celebrating the landscape and landscape arts of the Netherlands. IFLA ended in a rec eption and dinner at one of these installations at the Netting Factory, a reused industria l c omplex where fishnets were hand woven in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Nearby, new bike trails and re-enlivened industria l c ana ls Massachusetts has a coastline, river system, and ground water supply that front on the same ocean as the Netherlands. Where is our approved, sustainable forty-year plan? pat loheed head, S chool of la ndscape ar chitecture pRacTIcE 11