June 21-22, 2019, University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design recently opened a new research institute, the McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology. Fifty years after McHarg’s seminal book Design with Nature was published, and as part of a broad effort to take a new look at McHarg’s influence on design, now deep into human induced climate change, the university created the Design with Nature Now conference https://mcharg.upenn.edu/program and created a corresponding set of exhibitions: https://www.design.upenn.edu/landscape-architecture/events/design-nature-now-five-themes-25-projects.
An inspiring presentation was given by Richard Weller, chair of Penn’s Landscape Architecture program and co-director of the McHarg Center. He makes the argument that the Landscape Architecture profession is uniquely positioned to integrate science with design at all scales in service of the built environment. His talk is not online but here is another which covers similar ground https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohe-Hlnlz7w.
There were many other interesting talks, including a presentation by Erle Ellis a landscape ecologist, in which he talked about what is meant by the Anthropocene as a way to describe our current epoch. His talk is not online but here is a good overview for those interested https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RlVnaxTUv4.
The exhibition brought together some of the most ambitious ecological planning projects of the past 20 years. All are worth looking at but these I found especially interesting:
- The National Ecological Security Pattern Plan developed by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection https://www.turenscape.com/news/detail/1186.html
- On sea level rise mitigation for Manhattan:
- The great lakes Health Port Futures project http://glpf.org/funded-projects/healthy-port-futures/
- The controversial Great Green Wall project across the African continent https://www.greatgreenwall.org/.
- Also included was a big screen displaying the NASA GEOS-5 aerosol simulation https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/30017.
- Ben Lewis