This past weekend, March 23-24, I attended the Landscape Infrastructure symposium at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. This symposium, organized by Pierre Belanger, pulled together a broad range of professionals to present and participate in discussions about the past and present way we look at infrastructure.
Belanger kicked off the symposium by pointing out that, as landscape architects, we are greatly outnumbered by Civil Engineers and we should examine and question how the field of engineering operates—are there techniques we can learn from, or ways to re-contextualize the economic models of engineering. The United States Army Corps of Engineers motto, Essayons, which translates to, ‘Let us Try,’ appears to be a motto that only operates functionally, and doesn’t address issues of maintenance, devising contingency plans, or ecology.
Organized around three panel discussions, the day proved to be an inspiring one. This is the first symposium where I was allowed to contemplate perspectives from all the parties involved when we design and build infrastructure, making notes of new ideas, or ways to frame information and make sound design decisions based on their ideas. I was refreshed that each speaker brought their perspective to the conversation with a hope of generating new avenues for collaboration, not a presentation by a dictatorial designer, only there to boast about their award winning projects.
A breakdown of each panel will be posted later.