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Editor’s picks: 2018 International Festival of Landscape Architecture

The 2018 International Festival of Landscape Architecture, will take place on the Gold Coast from 11 to 14 October. Curated by Melbourne and Adelaide-based practice TCL (Taylor Cullity Lethlean) this year’s festival aims to expand the boundaries of landscape practice through an exploration of new and progressive ideas and ways of working from related fields.

Read on for Landscape Australia’s pick of highlights from the programme.

Martin Rein-Cano/Topotek 1 (Session: Navigating Political Terrain)

Conflict and harmony in the public space
As modern human migration patterns intensify, landscapes of habitation and their associated communities are in constant transition, evolution and reinvention. As the meeting ground of this modern nascent culture, public space has the potential to be the essential connective tissue within this massive migratory landscape. Tracing back to one of landscape architecture’s most fundamental and venerable of typologies, insight to address the complex contemporary issue of migration can be drawn from what is perhaps an unlikely source – the garden tradition; for it is in the garden that foreignness is natural and sought, new identities are born and innovative ideologies are demonstrated. The appropriation, reinvention and update of the garden tradition present possibilities for tactical modes of public space design intervention for modern societies of mixed and evolving cultural identity. This lecture will trace the history of identity and foreignness in the garden, and demonstrates the contemporary appropriation and reinterpretation of garden-inspired tactics through the Topotek 1 project, Superkilen, in Copenhagen.

Rachel Armstrong (Session: Synergizing Technologies)

Living technology and the expanded field of nature
This talk will examine the design implications of an expanded portfolio of technologies on the augmentation of landscape, which enable us to imagine and design with the natural world at scales and to a degree of understanding that have not previously been accessible. In an age of advanced biotechnologies and the transitioning of biological ideas towards the concept of metabolism, our relationship with design is blurring the boundaries between artificial and natural andscapes in new ways. Drawing together the traditional technology of the humble brick with metabolic design, the “living brick” will be explored as a case study. The first prototype of the EU-funded Living Architecture project, the “living brick” mediates between interior and exterior landscapes to process the side-effects and wastes of our daily acts of living. The technical and material configurations of such a simple instrument are brought into the twenty-first century in the Living Architecture project through a series of designs and installations. With the capacity to transform substances and possessing an inner life, these units of design have the capability of not only altering our environmental impacts through our domestic choices but also developing new relationships between humans and non-humans. Landscapes may not only be augmented as programmable, functional spaces capable of developing new languages and poetics for the portfolio of human inhabitation, but also start new kinds of conversations between people, the material realm and nature.

Maria Trovato (Session: Expanding Territories)

Humanitarian design in the face of forced displacement
A new network of displaced people has formed between the areas north and south of the Mediterranean Sea. New political, social and physical geographies are built everyday before the eyes of powerless governments who are unable to handle this influx. This paper examines the condition of displaced Syrian people in Lebanon, focusing on their spatial marginalization and segregation in the urban, peri-urban and rural context. It explores the coping mechanisms used to develop sustainable livelihood strategies. This study is part of ongoing research on the topic of landscape and migratory conditions that focuses on the displaced Syrian population in Lebanon and bordering countries. The objective is to define liminal paths between humanitarian design, the right to shared landscapes and the wellbeing of communities.

Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry (Session: Synergizing Technologies)

The aesthetics of renewable energy: Designing a post-carbon culture
The great energy transition will have an impact on our built environment and our visual landscapes like no other technical shift since the automobile. Rather than ask the public to sacrifice the aesthetics of our cities to a new monoculture of solar panels and wind turbines, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) presents new energy infrastructures that are cultural icons for important sites. LAGI artworks offer policy makers and city planners net-positive energy installations that are placemaking tools, economic development drivers, and cultural/educational venues that inspire the public about the future while they help to power the grid today.

Charles Massey (Session: Expanding Territories)

Regenerative agriculture and landscape design: An important synergy
Regenerative agriculture is an old, yet new way of farming that enables natural systems and their functions to not simply be renewed but also be enabled to do the renewing – to self-organize back to healthy functioning. It can be applied to both small and large acreages and to any region and climate. A key challenge in design (both farming and architecture) is how, through human agency, we might restore natural function and enable agency in the landscape itself. This talk will address this question, with a view to how we might create efficient, functional, beautiful and regenerative landscapes.

For additional information on speakers and the full festival programme, go here.

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