When I was a kid, we thought Lady Bird Johnson not only had a funny name, but maybe she was a bird brain too. Much later, I learned how wrong I was. Lady Bird convened The White House Conference on Natural Beauty in 1966. “Landscape is part of the “good life” Lady Bird Johnson.
This weekend, I attended the Landscape Architecture Foundation Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future at the University of Pennsylvania. In PedchaKucha style, we heard 70 speakers from around the world. Each had 10 minutes to explain themselves. In this context, it pays to be a fast talker.
I thought I would share some of the thoughts of the 70 speakers – no attributions here – no time…it’s PedchaKucha.
100 million people lack access to safe water.
Cities are a celebration of the human condition.
Landscape architecture is a white profession.
Diversity begets innovation.
Build a neighborhood out of the found materials from that neighborhood
We need to redefine nature and create new forms of landscape
Find solutions by working collaboratively
Design for social equity.
Landscape is a way of experiencing cultural difference
The entire landscape of the earth is urban
Urbanization is the result of speculative development
The boundaries between nature and society are crumbling
Build for happiness and well-being
We need urban acupuncture techniques
New problems, new answers.
Change diaster to opportunity.
The community is the design team.
Learn to listen.
Most communities have never been asked what they want in their house.
Build for happiness and well-being.
5 million people are moving to cities a month.
If we want to live better, our neighbors need to live better.
What does it mean to be wild.
Become an online warrior.
Ecological democracy, participatory design and environmental justice.
Land is community.
Without nature’s aesthetic we are lost.
We need to make the world not only beautiful, but just.
To make places that touch people’s hearts.
We need a marshall plan for the earth.
Landscape architecture has the most powerful tools to marry environmental justice, water and food security, and the migration crisis.
Urban ecology as activism.
The US has the highest consumption of natural resources in the world.
Landscape architecture can be be an active generator of social life.
In an age of climate change we are all landscape architects.
The only thing I really care about is looks.
Are aesthetics the most trivial or most powerful?
Aesthetics are the emotional core of landscape design.
We need to begin an era of direct community engagement.
Landscape architecture is becoming less and less relevant as the issues become more and more urgent.
These countries don’t need us to save them. We are the bad guys in this story.
Collective call to action, who will join me?
How do we promote diversity? our profession will become a profession of colonism.
The way to stay relevant get into the mud of politics.
The places we Europeans used to go to vacation; those beaches are now filled with dead bodies.
We need a NASDAQ for the environment
Create places of value that stick with people over a lifetime.
Data does not stir the hearts of people; telling stories move people.
15,000 landscape architects in the US; there 20,000 incorporated cities in the US; 60% of these cities do not have a landscape architect in their community.
It’s time: PENCILS DOWN: let’s do something.
We need to demand excellence for under-served communities. That is environmental justice.
We need a new state of mind.
We need landscape architecture without borders.
We need landscape architecture for humanity.
We need landscape architecture for vulnerable populations.
Results of online polling in real time at the conference:
24% of audience participated in the online poll
1/2 of those attending own a drafting table
over 1/3 have made a career change to be landscape architects
9 out of 10 people have used a passport in the last year
40% speak one than one language
More than 50% have lived in more than one country
54% are female, 46% are male, the rest identify as other
Cver 50% are in private practice
I’ve used up my 10 minutes.