RISK is many things. It can invoke fun, temptation, or danger; it can be laced with uncertainty, fear, or hope. But most importantly for the design professions, risk is the engine of art and innovation. Complicating the risks inherent in every act of environmental design are two now dominant threats to humanity: climate change and social inequality, both of which are expected to make Earth a more volatile, dystopian planet. Risk reduction—under the rubric of resilience—is the new paradigm for landscape architecture and urbanism.
LA+ RISK invited contributors to consider the relationship between design and the evolving landscape of risk; to explore the ways in which risk shapes our behavior and impacts our experiences of designed environments.
In this issue:
- Futurist Andrew Zolli discusses the development of satellite technology that helps make planetary change visible, accessible, and actionable.
- Philosopher Mark Kingwell examines the role that risk plays in geopolitical life.
- Landscape architect Richard Weller unpacks the latest ideas for geoengineering the planet to stabilize climate change.
- Environmental planner Kristina Hill explores strategies for adapting to inevitable sea-level rise in San Francisco Bay.
- Structural engineer Guy Nordenson and landscape architect Catherine Seavitt describe post-storm Sandy resiliency strategies for Jamaica Bay, New York.
- Planner and landscape architect Billy Fleming explores the role of nature and nostalgia in building resilience within one of the globe's most vulnerable and toxic landscapes, Galveston Bay, Texas.
- Architects Stephan Kieran and James Timberlake discuss their work in Dhaka, Bangladesh – the most-densely populated city in the world and one at high risk for floods and earthquakes.
- Through a range of worldwide examples, geologist and planner Robert Olshansky shows that there are benefits to keeping communities in place following a natural disaster.
- Urban geographers Jon Coaffee and Jonathan Clarke discuss resilient urban design in the context of both climate change and security risks.
- New Zealand-based landscape architect Jacky Bowring reflects on the sublime nature of her country’s “extreme landscapes,” from the Christchurch’s devastating earthquakes to Queenstown’s adventure playground.
- Dutch urban designer Matthijs Bouw updates us on New York City’s BIG U and speaks about project risk in the urban design context.
- PLAYLINK’s Bernard Spiegal asks designers to forget conventional, safety-driven playground design and consider the whole urban environment as a playable space.
- Energy researchers Mark Alan Hughes, Cornelia Colijn and Oscar Serpell draw an instructive comparison between the management of watersheds and energy systems in the United States to reduce service-based risk.
- Environmental planner Allison Lassiter explores new technologies in landscape infrastructures that measure and respond to environmental risks.
- Epidemiologist David Waltner-Toews and landscape architect Matthew Waltner-Toews reflect on a landscape and ecosystem approach to combating mosquito-borne disease.
- And, Thomas Oles and Phoebe Lickwar return to LA+ with a provocative take on landscape architecture, asking whether we have seen the end of risk-taking in design education.
Edited by Tatum Hands, Billy Fleming and Richard Weller