Landscape Urbanism @ MOCA

by hhf3

The nifty thing about a blog is that I can defy chronological order. Linear time? Nah! I’ve been meaning to post about a landscape urbanism lecture I attended last Friday (and, separately, a happy hour about advancing Cleveland last Thursday). Apologies for the tardiness- it has taken me a little longer to pull my thoughts together on this.

The Landscape Urbanism::After the Post-Industrial City lecture was sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Art – Cleveland and the architecture/design school at Kent State University. It featured an architect and a landscape architect, both from Milan, Italy. I had a bit of a hard time understand their accents so I assume I missed out on a lot of good stuff, but their imagery and basic concepts were excellent.

Essentially, they had been charged with creating a master plan for Milan. Oh, the opportunity! They focused especially on the “greening” of a post-industrial city. Sounds familiar? There’s a reason why they were invited to Cleveland! Their basic concept was the “green ray.” Eight greenways radiated out from the city center with the goal of making the city more permeable and more connected to the parks. I now am envisioning green rays radiating westerly, southerly, and easterly out from Voinovich park next to the Rock Hall for Cleveland… e.g., Euclid Ave but even greener.

Other gems I gleaned: design the landscape THEN the architecture; utilize microprojects; the goal is “not to project – to protect” (no more sprawl); make the inner city *new* so that it draws people back (can’t offer the old one still); informal planning flowing into formal strategy; and marketing/branding of one’s vision. To speak more about the last ‘gem’ there, they hired retirees to travel the proposed routes for their green ray project and to record their experiences in a diary. The diaries were complied and then published. What an innovative way to do the traditional ‘site visit’ with fresh eyes and to simultaneously build support!