Landscape Studio 5: Sustainable Urbanism

Studio leaders:
Professor Ray Green, Dr Anna Hooper and Madhu Lakshmanan

Environmental design thinking in the first decades of the 21st century is increasingly being driven by the concept of sustainability. Ranging from small urban spaces, entire cities to large bio-geographical regions, places can be made more sustainable through various landscape design and planning interventions. The notion of Sustainable Urbanism entails the planning, design and operation of urban spaces with the aim of optimizing their environmental, social and economic sustainability. This can be achieved through a range of design initiatives such as:

  • Generation of on-site, clean energy (e.g. solar, wind and other sources of alternative power generation)
  • Integration of natural elements with built environments and bringing users in closer contact with the natural world within the context of urban settings
  • Application of principles of landscape and urban ecology
  • Mixing land-uses to create vibrant, active and responsive sustainable environments
  • Creating interconnected environmental corridors to facilitate safe and enjoyable movement of people, and animals, in urban spaces
  • Using materials that are low in embodied energy and water and recycled materials
  • Reducing GHG emissions to help mitigate climate change
  • Reducing air, water and soil pollution
  • Harvesting, conserving and recycling water

Students learn to apply these types of initiatives through engaging with studio projects, a series of weekly lectures addressing various aspects of sustainable landscape design, and undertaking weekly design exercises. This last semester students were given the choice of three different sites, each having different design briefs and led by different studio leaders, as is described in the individual studio sections. For each of the studio projects, students had to consider the sustainable use of energy, water and materials, handling of waste and improving the ecological and socio-behavioural/cultural aspects of the sites in an effort to make them more sustainable. Individualised student design proposals were developed by involving students in a process of first undertaking detailed analysis of their sites and contextual settings, followed by development of a design program and accompanying masterplan, and finally development of detailed design proposals for selected areas within their masterplans.

Landscape Architecture 2021_winter