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Linh Pham
Joy Hu

Land(scape) Banking: A Development Initiative Safeguarding Public and Hydrologic Function

Land(scape) banking puts forth a development initiative that acknowledges the desire to build alongside concerns of coastal vulnerability and an unpredictable building market. With increasingly occurring climatic events such as Hurricane Sandy, this project seeks to create a hydrologic ground work that will guarantee public accessibility in future private development.

The shape and form of this pilot site investigates the development of landscape-making using advancing tools of measurement and data integration. Using these tools, the team derived water and pedestrian movement as a new deformed grid that structures the resulting designed hydrologic ground. The project couples the design of the ground with land banking, the transferring of vacant and abandoned property to support community needs and priorities. The strategy creates an integrated coastal-land interface that prioritizes hydrologic function and public needs while safeguarding future economic development.

About The Designer

Team members Linh Pham and Joy Hu are Master in Landscape Architecture I AP candidates at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Both members have an ongoing interest of integrating their previous background in architecture into landscape practice. They advocate a complementary working method that respects tectonics, living matter, and the spirit of public life.

Team Members Linh and Joy were interested in finding the relevance of parametric design in landscape architecture. The success of translating this inherited architectural methodology and the success of the project lies in the inherent values of landscape architecture. There has been ongoing dialogue and hesitance about the use of parametrics; superficial, an aesthetic preference, and uncontextualized. However, what is seen is not always clear. Stemming from post-modern landscape architectural theory, this project’s formal geometries are in fact structured upon time, concerned with context, and derivative of public value within the urban fabric. Its complex geometry is conceived from elements in which landscape architecture finds agency; the ground plane, hydrology, planting, pedestrian circulation. Taken out of the computer and worked through by hand, the modulation and movement of the ground plane, and the development initiative that is proposed, is structured enough to speak with urban foundations, soft enough for planting, and flexible enough to react to coastal risks. Its language may look strange, but its intentions have viability for a future where urban planning, urban design, landscape architecture, and architecture are integrated effectively.