OASE # 98 Narrating Urban Landscapes


This issue of OASE brings together an interest in the perception and design of urban landscapes with a particular methodological view. In urban planning and landscape practices developed in recent decades, notions such as ‘sense of place’ and site-specificity have been reintroduced as leading concepts, especially in redevelopment of ‘post-productive’ landscapes: former industrial areas, brownfields, harbours, mining sites, etcetera. Here, the landscape was transformed and manipulated rigorously in favour of industrial production processes, and often planned from a bird’s-eye perspective, according to tabula rasa methods or zoning plans projected directly from the drawing table onto the territory. In redesigning and making accessible such spaces, this abstracting perspective made way for an approach taking into account the experience on the terrain, rooting the identity of a site in a retracing of former uses. Therefore, in much of these reconversion projects (for example in Emscher Park), design approaches are called in that claim to ‘read’ the different layers and meanings of a site, understood as the locus of different stories, which can be revealed, reconstructed and altered. Today, a new type of redevelopment is high on the agenda: that of suburban areas around or between cities. Built mainly in the post-Second World War period, these urban landscapes are subject to far-reaching demographic changes and development pressure, especially because most city centres and the above-mentioned post-productive landscapes are becoming fully developed. However, suburban areas often seem to lack the site-specificity and the history of inner cities and brownfields. An important challenge is how to enhance the legibility of an urban landscape that has been planned in a seemingly chaotic way, from tabula rasa planning to a piecemeal infill, juxtaposing layers and – often contradictory – meanings? If suburbia is to become city, what is its ‘sense of place’? And what is the story that holds it together?


International conference on Habitats for Happy and Healthy Ageing | Edinburgh | 11-14 October 2016 | Registration now OPEN

Mobility, Mood and Place is delighted to announce that registration is now open for the fourth Open Space: People Space Conference, ‘Mobility, Mood and Place: Habitats for Happy and Healthy Ageing’.

The conference will take place in Edinburgh on 11th – 14th October 2016.

Early registration rates apply until 30th June 2016.  For further information and registration:

NEW EDITOR Journal of Landscape Architecture, with special responsibility for the Under the Sky Section. JoLA, The Journal of Landscape Architecture invites applications for the position of Editor, with special responsibility for the Under the Sky section, dedicated to the critical review of built projects. We are seeking to appoint the new editor by July 1st 2016. Applications are required on April 30 2016, at the latest.

This document outlines the aims of JoLA, the Under the Sky section specifically and the main responsibilities of the Editor position, and a specification for the experience, skills and knowledge that applicants may bring to the post. Details on how to apply are given at the end of the document.

JoLA - The European Journal of Landscape Architecture

Editors: Kamni Gill, University of Sheffield, UK ; Bianca Maria Rinaldi, Politecnico di Torino, Italy; Noel van Dooren (Laurenstein University – stepping down) ; Bruno Notteboom, University of Antwerp, Belgium; Kristóf Fatsar, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary; Janike Kampevold-Larsen, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Norway; Jörg Rekittke, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Imke van Hellemondt, VU University Amsterdam, Netherland.

Established in 2006, JoLA is the peer-reviewed academic Journal of the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (ECLAS). JoLA is published three times a year from 2014 in colour, in paper and electronic form. Cultivated through editorial and review strategy and a unique approach to the graphic design of its content, the aims of JoLA are to provide a platform for outstanding landscape architectural scholarship and research innovation, linking theory to practice.

This conference examines the contribution of International Exhibitions to the design and construction of open space, from the scale of the garden to the scale of the city, by looking at the example of Porto’s Crystal Palace gardens. Inaugurated 150 years ago to host the International Exhibition of 1865, the gardens remain one of the city’s reference spaces. We will also look at the Paris International Exhibition of 1937, which was planned by Jacques Gréber, the author of the project for the Serralves Park, a space that is a reference in terms of landscape design and of crucial importance to the contemporary life of Porto and the country.

While the Crystal Palace gardens were the first, large-scale and modern recreational space in the city, Serralves Park was the last recreational estate to be built in Porto. For different reasons, their histories intersect with those of the International Exhibitions, whose meaning merits our reflection.

Several Exhibitions were organized between 1865 and 1937. With artistic, cultural and social effects of varying impact, these events revealed the concerns and beliefs of each time and place. The conference will look at the Exhibitions from this period which contribute direct or indirectly to the understanding of the Crystal Palace gardens, as well as to the public green spaces in Porto that appeared in the following decades and were influenced by the novelty and dynamics generated by the Palace gardens. On the other hand, the history of Serralves is closely linked to the Paris Exhibitions of 1925 – crucial to the aesthetical choices applied to the property – and of 1937, which saw Gréber in the role of chief-architect. Therefore, the goal is also to contribute to a deeper knowledge of a character essential to understanding Serralves in all its dimensions and pursue a line of research launched by the Serralves Foundation from early on.

The conference’s target audiences are professionals, researchers and students in the fields of urban and garden design, as well as the general public interested in the history of Porto and Serralves.


19-21 October 2016

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Alnarp Campus, Malmö, Sweden.

The aim of this conference is to reposition the relationships between city and landscape, as reflected in the practice and academia of various disciplines. To this end, we seek to revisit the academic discourse concerning Landscape Urbanism, and to engage with subsequent ‘isms’ as well as looking beyond, in order to enrich and broaden the urban discourse.

This international cross-disciplinary conference, organised by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), aims to contribute new and alternative formulations of the relationship between landscape and urbanism by reassessing Landscape Urbanism. The time is ripe to dig deeper into the concerns motivating the cascade of ‘isms’ that have proliferated over the last decade: landscape urbanism, ecological urbanism, infrastructural urbanism, process urbanism, biourbanism, etc. To advance a theoretically sound and practically relevant discourse – rather than launch yet another superficially modified urbanism – we invite participants to take stock of Landscape Urbanism and its closely related theories to identify their strengths, weaknesses and potentials.

The conference will bring together advocates and critics of Landscape Urbanism, as well as scholars whose research complements its ongoing discourse. We look forward to welcoming participants from around the world; we are inviting academics and reflective practitioners from disciplines such as landscape architecture, urban and landscape planning and design, architecture, cultural geography, cultural studies, as well as subject areas in the arts and humanities.

Hosted by a landscape architectural institution the conference proposes to discuss Landscape Urbanism from a landscape perspective, re-engaging landscape as a “lens” to understand and develop its theory and practice. In an attempt to tackle the complex ecological challenges that our contemporary built environments face under conditions of global change, some strands of Landscape Urbanism have tended to overemphasize scientific and technical solutions, neglecting aesthetic, cultural, social and political dimensions. The conference aims to address that oversight, to identify reductionist tendencies and to understand the motives behind them, seeking to contribute to alternative concepts.