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Landscape Urbanism and its Discontents (PDF)
Dissimulating the Sustainable City
In contemporary Western society, urban development is regarded as an unfortunate blight from which nature provides a much-needed respite. This apparent dichotomy ignores the interdependence between human settlement and the natural world. In fact, one of the most pressing problems facing urban theorists today is determining how to resolve the tension between the built and natural environments, in the process creating truly sustainable cities.
Landscape Urbanism and its Discontents is a collection of essays exploring the debate over urban reform, often polarized around the two competing paradigms of Landscape Urbanism and New Urbanism. Landscape Urbanism is conceived as a more ecologically-based approach, while New Urbanism is more concerned with built form. Well-known and influential urban theorists such as Andres Duany and James Howard Kunstler delve into the impact of the tension between the two perspectives on:
- Smart growth
- Neighborhood design
- Sustainable development
- Creating cities that are in balance with nature.
While there is significant overlap between Landscape Urbanism and New Urbanism, the former has assumed prominence amongst most critical theorists, whereas the latter's proponents are more practically oriented. Given that these two sets of ideas are at the forefront of sustainable urban design, the analysis– and potential reconciliation – offered by Landscape Urbanism and its Discontents is long overdue.
Andrés Duany is a founding principal at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ)-a firm which is widely recognized as a leader of the New Urbanism and has completed designs for close to 300 new towns, regional plans, and community revitalization projects. He has delivered hundreds of lectures and seminars, addressing architects, planning groups, university students, and the general public. Dr. Duany's recent publications include The New Civic Art and Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. He is a founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, which has been characterized by The New York Times as "the most important collective architectural movement in the United States in the past fifty years." He earned a Master's degree in architecture from the Yale School of Architecture, has been awarded several honorary doctorates and many awards for his scholarship in architecture and urban design.
Emily Talen is a Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. She is Co-Editor of the Journal of Urbanism and the author of 4 previous books and many journal articles on urban design and the New Urbanism. Dr. Talen sits on more than a dozen editorial and advisory boards and has received many honors and awards for her work, including being voted one of Planetizen's "Top 100 Urban Thinkers". She holds a a PhD in urban geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara.