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Position: Work in the Landscape Medium

Connecting people to and through space

Our work is centered on the relationship between people and their environments, the mechanics of experience and ideas of awareness. The world is not given to us objectively and fully formed, we actively construct it.  We construct it by valuing certain things over others in our perceptive system.  We notice some things and not others.  In this sense perception is the foundation of ecology. Our projects are, in a sense, machines for viewing - an observatory for what goes on over time.

Design needs to understand and engage the effects of complex external forces

The current dominant discourse in landscape spans disciplinary boundaries of architecture, planning and engineering and seeks to incorporate ever more, larger and complex externalities into the landscape project. The profession is scaling up from site, to city, to watershed, to region and integrating ecology, politics, economics and other sciences. At their best, these emerging foci internalize external forces and expose the effects that these external forces have on the landscape project. Yet the potential remains to re-incorporate the body, in a serious way, into the externalities that we understand to be relevant to this larger project.

The environments we inhabit have real, concrete effects on our nervous system and thus our thinking. A study and incorporation of this knowledge is to be based on developments in cognitive science and neurobiology. We, those of us who shape the environments in which we live, need to understand the actual and specific effects that our design decisions have on our bodies and minds. An understanding of the science of human internal responses to external conditions will be crucial to the formation of sustainable cities that are healthy across different aspects of urban life.

The terrain we occupy in our daily life has the potential to be a substantial artistic medium

Robert Rauschenberg once said he felt sorry for people who thought discarded coke cans were ugly. And thats the great thing about our perceptive ecology being subjective - we can change it. We can adopt new ways of being in the world. New ways of seeing the terrain we occupy in our daily lives. I see public open space, both intra-personally and socially, as the most potent of artistic vehicles.  As an immersive experience and part of everyday life, open space offers great opportunity to carry out a didactic role, a role of transformation.