Building the Future of Health

June 2 10:00-11:00

WUR Session: Serious Landscaping

Ecological ideals and large scale landscape transformation

During the nineteenth century it was debated whether ‘land’ could be described in terms of beauty or sublime, as these were words related to the experience of nature. It was then generally agreed that landscapes needed ‘that kind of beauty which is agreeable in a picture’. Recently, however, the agenda for an understanding of landscapes has toppled towards more immediately embodied nature and landscape experiences instead through the arts (Carlson, 2014). One of the explanations why the aesthetic character of ‘the sublime’ has become relevant again, is that there is need for a revolt against industrialization and ruthless urbanization combined with an increasing acceptance of ecological ideals. If this is the case, the notion of the sublime can be explained as a critique of the current inadequacy of imagination on how to build cities and manage natural resources. In this session we will first elaborate on this notion and then discuss two examples, made by young landscape architects. A new generation of landscape architects is concerned with large-scale landscape transformations that both heal the physical aspects of these landscapes, as well as their experiential character. We thereby interpret the future of health as both a physical as well as an experiential phenomenon. The combined ecological and experiential character will be explained by use of a framework for six archetypical landscapes that each poses a different challenge for healing. In general, we acknowledge healing as a transformation process of both body and mind.

1. Vibrant Land: Responsive engagement with the fragmented coast
Inge Kersten & Jorrit Noordhuizen

The coast is, worldwide, one of the most popular holiday destinations available. The simplicity or clarity of the 3-unity of the sky, ocean and beach attracts people to the coast. When you are at the beach you are immediately somewhere else, away from your daily life. The coast of North Carolina (USA) is a fine example of a high dynamic landscape in which rapid and dense urbanization has taken place in the last decades. These rigid urban developments clash with the natural dynamics and makes for an antropocene landscape that might be considered ‘unhealthy’. These developments are currently under even more threat, due to the coastal retreat (as a result of rising sea level) and more frequent and heavier storms. This is a landscape of loss and destruction that needs a special type of landscape recovery. We will pledge for a sustainable and landscape based strategy. The attractive aspects of the location as well as this landscape of loss and destruction are a result of natural phenomena. We can use these phenomena to our advantage and gradually built a dynamic community, that moves with and profits from the natural processes. We propose a simple structure that: (1) engages the inhabitants with their surrounding; (2) enlarges buffering landscapes (dunes and marshes); (3) eliminates large paved surfaces; and (4) interacts with seasonal and human flows. This constructs a safer landscape and enriches the daily landscape experience, which ensures the physical and economical existence of the location.

2. The Ems Full Hybrid: Platforms and polders for a productive estuarine landscape
Remco van der Togt & Jonas Papenborg

The Ems Full Hybrid is a growing strategy that uses discarded oil platforms and new tidal polders to offer a solution to the economic and ecological problems of the Ems estuary. Centuries of land reclamations and adjustment to the natural gully system, have lead to dramatic consequences when in 1970, the channel was disproportionately deepened to allow passage for enormous (cruise) ships. This threw the natural system out of balance, resulting in a turbid, lifeless system and exponentially growing dredging costs. The developed growing strategy to restore balance in the Ems consists of two components: (1) Narrowing the channel upstream will cause less sediment to flow in; (2) at the same time, enlarging the tidal area downstream gives sediment room to settle, ensuring a free-breathing estuary. To increase the tidal area new ‘tidal polders’ are introduced in the desolate Rheiderland. The polders are connected to historically obsolete sluices that once connected old fisher towns to the Ems. Dependent on the wishes of the inhabitants, the polders can act as silt traps, nature area or production ground for aquaculture. Powered by passing of cruisers, the now barren Rheiderland turns into a dynamic and thereby healthy polder landscape, invigorating dynamic human involvement.

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