re: Landscape architecture, Indigeneity studies and Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Rod Barnett published an essay over at Places Journal. He begins with the observation

Indigeneity is scarcely mentioned in the field’s seminal texts nor discussed in its conference halls and online forums….My project investigates how indigenous communities are represented (or not) in this process of contemporary American landscape-making.

He then draws on the work of Brian Davis

who places the modern practice of landscape architecture within the ‘long, sophisticated tradition of landscape-making in the Americas,’ thus establishing continuity and dissolving the boundaries between us and them, then and now.

to make the case for transculturation, decolonization and an awareness of the indigenous experience as a continual contact zone, as guiding principles for Designing Indian Country.

On a related note, this recent piece by Annalee Newitz for Ars Technica digs into the medieval city of Cahokia. As I noted elsewhere, the piece led me to recall a great post (also by Brian Davis) from 2011 re: mounds as “precedent for responding to floods.” and a pre-Contact form of indigenous #infrastructuralurbanism.

Proposing the “Healthy Waters for the 21st Century Act,” or H21

In the winter issue, #27, of Democracy (a Journal of Ideas) George S. Hawkins explores how “Four decades after the Clean Water Act’s passage…To ensure that our waters remain clean for another 40 years, we need to update the Clean Water Act for a new era“.

He also identifies some key features of this enhanced approach, which include;  targeting  “nonpoint-source pollution” (such as agricultural runoff), techniques for “low-impact development” and new watershed level fees or taxes.

Mr. Hawkins argues, H21 would actually have positive economic benefit(s) as a result of a new attention to infrastructure and a corresponding shift “from expensive capital projects to decentralized installation of water quality protection at thousands of individual suburban and rural parcels accentuates a key economic change“.

architecture treats infrastructure as its object of desire

Kazys Varnelis via quaderns

A criticism “As practised, however, infrastructural urbanism has drifted away from such forward-looking ideals and indulged itself in an unhealthy relationship with modernism. Too frequently, contemporary infrastructural urbanism consists mainly of modern infrastructure retrofitted for the purposes of tourism.

And then an extortion “It is time for architects to understand that the structures of infrastructural modernity are just so many ruins and, in conceiving of new infrastructures for the millennium, to learn how to embrace the new modulated world of invisible fields.

Kazys Varnelis: Infrastructural Fields, Quaderns #261