A&DS, with the Edinburgh College of Art, recently hosted a seminar on ‘Landscape Urbanism’ at the College of Art, presented by Chris Reed of StoSS design, following his keynote presentation to the Irish Landscape Institute conference in Dublin. Chris is a leading advocate of the idea of landscape urbanism. This a theory that advocates the power of landscape as the organising framework for the city and urban experience, a medium of order for the contemporary city. This practice of urbanism challenges the traditional boundaries of landscape design, urban design and architecture to search for new ways to deal with complex urban projects.
StoSS is an American design studio dedicated to exploring new ways of making the city a place for people. Working with a range of post industrial landscapes and natural systems, the practice tests ideas for different typologies of space and form. This testing seeks to maximise the benefits of both the landscape and urban conditions in all parts of the city.
Scotland, with its diverse urban settlements, and the shifting contexts of brownfield land, urban regions and city periphery conditions, is a place with changing demands on the way in which places are formed and sustained. The historical development of the Scottish urban system, from David the first, through to the planned settlements and the New Towns has always used and shaped landscape to form living spaces for people. Landscape Urbanism as a theory extends this history, and asks how this practice can work in a contemporary context: what are the spaces of today that respond to our landscape conditions, our contexts, our challenges?
Chris presented an outline of landscape urbanism thinking through a range of StoSS projects, and invited discussion on the issues for Scotland. The winning Minneapolis riverside competition encapsulates many of these principles, which are presented here in this short movie:-