Our studio is invested in exploring diverse and emergent landscape typologies which serve both as aesthetic experiences in the cityscape and also function as integral components of a radical green urban infrastructure.
Pratt Institute Graduate Program in Environmental Systems Management: Productive + Performative Landscapes
With all of the available roof space and vacant lots in New York City estimated to equal thirteen Central Parks in area, the potential to transform our cities from grey to green is immense. Our studio is invested in exploring diverse and emergent landscape typologies which not only serve as aesthetic backgrounds to the cityscape, but also function as integral components of a radical green urban infrastructure.
As a lens for understanding how different typologies function, we find particular utility in classification by its performative and/or productive contribution. Performative typologies can be characterized by their capacity to retain (e.g. storage of rainwater for gradual and subsequent release) or to remediate (e.g. decontamination of soil). Productive typologies have the ability to yield consumptive goods (e.g. food) or generate energy (e.g. solar or wind).
This is the principal organizing framework for a course being taught by FGS principal/founder David Seiter this coming spring at Pratt. Through a patchwork of productive and performative landscape typologies – such as the ecological green roof, the street tree orchard, and the urban micro farm – new paradigms are being created for urban public space that are not limited to the prototypical landscapes of the park or garden.
The course draws upon the studio’s own research interests in these areas:
Performative-retain : green roofs, brown roofs, green cloaks, street bioswales, vertical living walls/structures
Performative-remediate : phytoremediation fields, spontaneous urban plants, compost
Productive-yield : urban orchards, rooftop farms, aquaponics, hydroponics
Productive-generate : algae farms, solar canopies, wind farm arrays
This repertoire of design strategies can lend further definition to the concept of sustainability, illuminating specific tools for addressing our myriad of urban challenges.