Rethinking the hinterland
Two seemingly unrelated trends define present-day urbanization in North America: one, the transformation of former croplands and rangelands into concentrated logistical development and two, reinvestment in historic city cores, often anchored by high-profile parks. These two trends are not distinct, and are both moments in a broader process of urbanization. Sites of consumption in dense, walkable neighborhoods are sustained by vast global supply chains. Coastal and inland ports, warehousing districts, and third-party logistics providers, in turn, facilitate these networks, with considerable effect on the built environment. While there are certainly exceptions, the resulting urban condition is often exclusive, socially homogeneous, aesthetically dull, and ecologically inert.
The Landscape Strategies Laboratory, affiliated with the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, designs inclusive, aesthetically ambitious, ecologically robust, but also economically viable, visions of logistical environments. We then translate them into implementable strategies and tools for application by developers, municipalities, and designers.
Several key texts are foundational to the research trajectory of this ongoing project, including the following:
Brenner, Neil. “The Hinterland, Urbanised?” AD / Architectural Design (July, August 2016): 118-127.
Snyder, Susan Nigra and Alex Wall. "Emerging Landscapes of Movement and Logistics." Architectural Design 68.7 (1998): 16-21.
Waldheim, Charles and Alan Berger. "Logistics Landscape." Landscape Journal 27.2 (2008): 219-46.