Landscape Manifesto

“A Landscape Manifesto’ is a new book by Diana Balmori that presents her theory and practice of urban landscape design as an art that spans the divide between culture and nature, while combining the science of ecology with formal aspects of aesthetics.”

What I liken to as an “urban scavenger hunt”, the game was to illustrate one of the 25 manifesto points relating to urban landscapes. It reminded me of the Hole in the Bucket project.

This is a re-post from

18. Emerging landscapes are becoming brand new actors on the political stage.

This is a photo of the community garden on my block in the East Village.  It is one of many that flourish in the neighbourhood today.

My roommate has lived in the area for over 25 years and tells me stories of its urban development and political and social change. He describes these landscapes as part of a citizen movement to improve abandoned lots that were rife with trash and drug dealing in the 1980’s.

Contests for how urban space is used or transformed will always involve the community and New York City government – and therefore always seems deeply political.   The original creation of community gardens was a grass-roots political action and through its history has continued to play a role on the political stage, especially when they came under threat by developers.  In 2002, New York City agreed to protect many of these spaces from developers, but in 2010 the debate has been reignited with that agreement expiring and being revised as of September 17, 2010.

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