The series will enhance the skills and knowledge base of the landscape planning professions, inform public policy and land development decisions, and provide material for public education. The result will be the creation of environments with the capacity to restore and promote public welfare and health, as well as to protect and enhance the built and natural environments.
The magnitude of social and environmental problems has increased dramatically during the post-World War Il decades. The economic engine that has driven uncontrolled development has often not been balanced by social, historical, aesthetic, or environmental concerns. Suburban development and new communities have replaced the rural landscape with retail boxes; six-lane roads are lined with parking lots and billboards; and fast-food restaurants sit next to historic buildings. Design and planning can make a difference. In fact the body of evidence in both the natural and built environments suggests that inspired design can make a significant improvement in the lives of people and the life of our planet. From the transformation of the grittiest urban centers to the conservation of the grandest expanse of public lands, Americans have accumulated an unparalleled record of achievement in the creation of landscapes that enrich the human spirit.
The power of planning and design to connect seemingly unrelated systems and resources lies at the heart of our ability to leave a sustainable imprint on the planet. This is a lasting legacy for future generations. From urban centers to national parks, from intercity greenways to neighborhood playgrounds, landscape planning and design is one of the most effective, economical, and valuable methods of holistically addressing such topical issues as clean water, transportation patterns, open space protection, and community planning.
In order to solve these increasingly complex challenges, professionals and their clients need timely information on emerging issues and on innovative projects that show how and why certain approaches and schemes have been successful, as well as offer helpful criticism about their more problematic aspects. Information of this type is vital to the goals of protecting natural resources and landscapes, reclaiming disturbed lands, and creating sustainable communities that foster health and safety. Such critical and multifaceted analysis and design, taking into account the land, history, society, economics, and land use regulations, can prevent many environmental, social, and health problems. It can also restore or improve degraded land and communities. Yet this requires planning and design of the highest quality. At the same time, high-quality design has become more difficult to achieve. Forces such as population migration and growth, and rapid urbanization, require landscape planners to assess each situation anew and bring fresh thinking, rather than old formulas, to the design of our living landscapes.
The Landscape Architecture Foundation is developing the Land and Community Design Case Study Series to meet this critical need.
Mark Francis. Village Homes. Landscape Architecture Foundation, 2003
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