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WWL: Landscape Manifesto
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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As we enter a massive "green building" boom, it might be wise to stop and really assess what "green buildings" are


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39:53 minutes (19.15 MB)
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As we enter a massive “green building” boom, it might be wise to stop and really assess what “green buildings” are.

For instance, are these buildings meant to merely meet some basic governmental requirement for “sustainability?” Or, should they be designed to be essentially organic, and changeable, like nature itself?

It’s a perfect time for the ideas of landscape architect Diana Balmori, who “explores the line between landscape and architecture, and between nature and culture.” She’ll help us revisit one of our key themes on Where We Live, the idea of “livable cities.” Later this year, she’ll release a new book called “A Landscape Manifesto,” which will discuss urban ecology and environmental conservation and building techniques.

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landscape are us

i agree that vague theoretical statements based on what we need, should, must do are frustrating, especially for professionals looking for concrete practice guidelines and specific specifications. However as a culture we are still in the early stages of changing our minds about what is needed to live more sustainable. Most people are unaware of the landscape around them or the role it plays in their lives... and maybe that is as it should be. But someone needs to talk in these vague ways to get our attention and to inspire others to apply the theory to practice and life. Thank you Ms Balmori for your life work in helping us to understand and appreciate our place in Nature.     

Listener Email from Nick

I found the Ms. Balmori's commentary disappointing. Every intelligent person I know would love to have a 'natural' lawn; the problem is process and cost. It is the job of experts like Ms. Balmori to provide detailed instructions on how to establish and maintain appropriate low-maintenance ground cover that is reliable and affordable. Instead all too often these experts phrase the analysis in pseudo-moral terms - for example, that we need to accept and surrender to nature. In one sense, we all surrender to nature constantly - mortality, illness, our environment; in another, 'surrender' makes no sense at all - we eat, breathe and struggle every day. What the world needs is concrete and specific suggestions on landscape, energy and the other pressing problems of the day, not vague invocations of duty and ideology.