A Landscape Neo-Baroque: Design as a Cultural Strategy for the Restoration of Urban Ecosystems
- Landscape Journal: design, planning, and management of the land
- University of Wisconsin Press
- Volume 34, Number 1, 2015
- pp. 57-78
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This paper presents a design strategy as a technique for increasing the ecological relevance of constructed (designed) landscapes. The paper focuses on Perth, Western Australia, a rapidly expanding settler-city located in an internationally recognized biodiversity hotspot. While uniquely endued in plant endemism and species richness, the city’s fringes are smoothed over and bulldozed with little regard. Located in the Southwest Australian Floristic Region, the landscape’s extreme age and stability, its isolation and Gondwanan botanical heritage, and the ability of its plants to thrive in old, leached stable soils are some of the factors that account for this botanical richness. While scientists continually strive to understand the specific, Perth’s inhabitants persistently crave the verdant picturesque. Without an acute and novel approach to modifying current design and development practices, Perth’s biodiversity is headed for extinction. The paper is developed in four sections: firstly, it asserts that designed landscape should be treated as potential novel ecosystems, allowing for a more robust cultural and ecological exchange. Secondly, it elaborates on the particularities of site and problems within the locale of Perth, Western Australia and, in doing so, briefly presents some considerations of Perth’s OCBIL landscapes. The paper then introduces the Baroque as a potential cultural framework upon which to articulate a considered design strategy. This paper elaborates on how baroque design strategies can structure the creation of resilient and ecologically productive novel ecosystems grounded in a critical and local aesthetic of ecological complexity.