(January 2010) Urbanism as Ecology. Towards a new landscape architecture. - How Landscape Urbanism revitalises an ecological perspective on urban planning and the contemporary city.

Urbanism as Ecology. Towards a new landscape architecture. - How Landscape Urbanism revitalises an ecological perspective on urban planning and the contemporary city. image

This article investigates why the field of Landscape Urbanism has become a more known phenomenon within theoretical discourses and academic circles of landscape architecture and urban design.


The main questions are a) how Landscape Urbanism historically can be found related to ecological perspectives on the city and its planning, b) how Landscape Urbanism currently can be found related to other developments within the field of urban spatial theory and c) how field of Landscape Urbanisms revitalisation of an ecological urban perspective will have both potentials and implications for future planners: Are we experiencing a new kind of landscape architecture? Is urbanism ecology? Will spatial planners benefit from  a Landscape Urbanism perspective?


Landscape Urbanism, ecological urbanism and regional urbanism

Through a literature study it’s shown how the American landscape architects Charles Waldheim and James Corner have presented Landscape Urbanism in literature, why the field have been found support by other landscape architects and urban theorists, how Landscape Urbanism can be debated in relation to an European landscape architecture tradition and, finally, how these debates can be related to other positions within ecological urbanism and regional urbanism.


Here Lynchs organic city, Oswald and Baccinis Netzstad and Sieverts Zwischenstadt is addressed, while older writes like Olmford, Mumford and Mcharg put forward to understand the conceptual and theoretical heritage of the Americans. Additionally, Harvey, Koolhaas, Colonny and other writes are brought to put the Landscape Urbanism writes ‘project’ in perspective. E.g. Koolhas speaks like a gardener about the role of architects and planners for urbanism, as they are to irrigate space with potentials.


Re-conceptualising the city and the urban landscape.

By doing this, the author’s wishes to document how the idea about re-conceptualising the city with landscape and ecological metaphors is shared among several theoretically-oriented writes. The hope is that the article may reflect a greater need to reactualise relevance of the field of landscape architecture for understanding and planning of the regional city. While, at the same time, it discuss and roll out the more tricky aspects of applying metaphors such as ecosystem, rhizome and landscape on the contemporary city.


In this way perception of space, and especially how Landscape Urbanism imagines planning it, making sustainable, is evaluated through a debate of the field’s conceptual, metaphorical and theoretical foundations.



Connolly, Peter (2004): Essays on Landscape Urbanism. In The MESH Book. Landscape/Infrastructure. Edited by Julian Raxworthy and Jessica Blood. RMIT

Corner, James (2003): Landscape Urbanism. In Landscape Urbanism. A Manual for the Machinic Landscape. AA publications, London.

Koolhaas, Rem (2001): Introduction. In Great Leap Forward. Harvard Design School Project on the City. Edited by Chung, C. J., Inaba, J, Koolhaas, R., and Leong, S. T. Taschen, Cambridge. 

Lynch, David (1971): A theory of good city form. The MIT Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Xaveer de Geyter Architecten (2002): After-sprawl. Research on the contemporary City. Nai Publishers, Rotterdam.