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Coco Okamoto

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Do you see any valuable potentials in Landscape design/ Landscape Architect?

How much more can Landscape design contribute to climate change and to gain more understanding? Landscape design/ Landscape architect is very under rated. Or not even known what it is. Majority of people will probably know Landscape design as Garden Design, in the UK and Japan as I know of at least.
Landscape design can be psychologically change people's behavior and lifestyle by placing right things at right place to give people certain emotion.
I always wanted to discuss how much more Landscape designers can contribute to achieving sustainable life, or may be more simple and Earth-friendly life. I have been educated at University how to design landscapes and importance of ecology, but not much about what is needed in order to adapt climate change or urban life because we are not ecologist or scientist but my interest have always been in the climate change.
I like to ask if any other sector have seen potential value in landscape design, and if so what kind of potential?
Apologies for long essay I have just wrote, but I really liked to ask this question for a long time because I see lots of potential in Landscape design.

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Closing Statement from Coco Okamoto

I had same discussion on Land8 (Landscape institute) website.
It was interesting and yet people have not disagreed or against me as I expected.
Some lines I have dropped:
Landscapes can be designed like an architecture. It is a space, with people, and elements, and environment. But the thing is, it is not a puzzle that can be moved around and fit into places just for the comfort spatially. It is more like reversi (the game). If something goes wrong in such a small space, that can change a whole thing. I am looking at more of positive side so it means that one little thing can change a whole thing as a system.
Now the point is that this system i am talking about needs a whole networking. So everyone needs to have an awareness in this point.

I am only a graduate student so I wanted to discuss and ask about this idea with all sorts of people from environmental manager to economic planner. Now I wonder what those people think...
Do you think collaboration may be the way?

external link: http://land8.com/forum/topics/do-you-see-any-valuable-potentials-in-landscape-design-landscape

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  • Apr 29 2012: I strongly believe that the following talk should be related to this conversation:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_pawlyn_using_nature_s_genius_in_architecture.html
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      Apr 30 2012: Great talk Enrico...thanks for providing the link. I do not understand why your topic "What is the real missing link in renewable energy" got closed down!!! I think the missing link is our creativity.

      Michael brings up some very good ideas..."look at nature as a catalogue of products"..."ideas from biology and nature can be design tools"..."turn waste into an opportunity"..."how can I/we create more value"? Creating the "loop" as he says, provides better use of our resourses, while also creating more sustainable products, jobs, AND protecting our environment! It's a win/win situation that makes SO much sense in so many ways!
    • May 2 2012: Hello Enrico, thanks for the link. I have seen this when it came out. I have always come across with those great ideas related to much more with science (Biology and ecology mostly) and made me want to just study science instead of landscape architecture/ design. Same to permaculture.
      The main reason I brought this topic is because I thought Landscape design or the purpose of learning landscape architecture is because we need to understand something much further (I am sorry but I don't know what yet of course!) Applying scientific solution and investigating on landscape is absolutely great I think, but just because I had some time to think, I thought there may be some significant connections in all those great designs that I have not noticed.
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    Apr 28 2012: Coco,
    There is indeed a lot of potential in landscape design. In addition to the benefits you have mentioned, I see a HUGE value in landscape design and its relationship to development. I serve on the regional Project Review Committee, which reviews large regional projects. We are now seeing projects come in with rain gardens, detention ponds, permeable sidewalks and parking areas, improved drainage and landscaping to address the storm water runoff. In addition to providing a lovely landscape, these new earth friendly design ideas help protect our environment:>)
    Great topic Coco:>)
    • May 2 2012: Hello Colleen, thanks for the comment.
      That sounds very interesting!!! There are so many big big ideas and big structures out there now.
      I replied to Laurens below with a little bit of my background. I love nature but since I started to learn Landscape architecture at Uni it made me realise that it is not only way to protect our environment that we protect the nature and use green status but also landscapes including pavement can change people's lives. Do you know any good project that you recommend me to have a look at?
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        May 3 2012: Hi Coco,
        Indeed there ARE many big ideas and big structures out there now, and perhaps I misled you when I said our project review committee reviews large projects! The size of projects is all relative. I live in a tiny state (largest city 50,000 people...only about 600,000 in the whole state). I also live in an economically challenged area of the state. So, when I speak of "large" projects, it is probably nothing compared to what you are familier with.

        The fact that developers are beginning to consider the environmental impact, and we are seeing more of the features that I mention above, as well as wind turbines and solar collectors is exciting to me. I believe that every little bit we do, as individuals in our own space, AND large facilities is beneficial.

        That being said, this is the landscape of the space I occupy, which is very environmentally friendly. As with some of the designs Michael Pawlyn shows us, the outside environment, is an extension of the inside environment....it is all interconnected:>)

        http://smugdud.smugmug.com/Quintessential%20Vermont )
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    Apr 28 2012: Hi Coco,
    Any professional who devotes passion, time and creativity to his job produces "valuable" things. Don't focus too much on what is currently "relevant" or "useful" in our society. A landscape architect can change the world, just like any other professionnal, as long as he produces some genius in the field.

    Maybe have a look at ancient landscape architects, who worked for "god", so to speak and who were extremely influential in other fields (royal landscape architects in France and Britain; today, their function would indeed be to make life for the masses more bearable, and to help save nature).
    • May 2 2012: Hello Laurens, yes that is true indeed!!
      It may or may not change your view a little bit, but I am from Japan and in fact I have got a lot to think about right now about changing people's lives dramatically.
      Talking about irrelevant stuff, huge part of my home country has been destroyed by the disaster and manmade nuclear damage was also huge, I can not "not" think about what we need in our society right now to be honest.
      Although I am still living in the UK and have not been back since then, and also my home town had not much impact and so I can just live without thinking about what change we need in the near future on top of my head.
      However I did think about it. It was just a simple thought of "Life without power plant", then expanded to life without power plant with different landscape value.
      I think this is quite a simple but interesting starting point. What do you think?
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        May 3 2012: .
        Hey Coco, you're from Japan!

        When I see zen-gardens, I can only wonder how that fantastic tradition came about. This type of gardens alone is capable of changing people's minds.

        Being Japanese, you're building on one of the most wonderful traditions in landscape and garden architecture.

        I'm sure you'll do great.
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    R H 20+

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    Apr 28 2012: I think that landscape designers can have a greater impact in our constructed environment by becoming more vocal. You said yourself that few people know what it is. This field seems 'asleep' to me, or so far in the background as to be unnoticed except by a select few. Whereas 'architecture' is more well known and more roundly respected. For me, landscape design would include architecture. Maybe part of the problem is that landscape design is really in the public domain, as it is experienced by all passers by. It may not seem so 'personal' as an 'interior' environment would be, therefore less attention is given. I don't know. Many communities though seem to be more and more concerned about their 'appeal' as places to live and are giving landscaping more of a nod.
    • May 2 2012: Hi, I like this wording of "asleep". It makes sense to me. This field is something that it has always been around but not really built into our system.
      The thing is, that many landscape architecture and landscape designs comes from architects, I think this is a little bit strange. I think that is too much to take for architects.
      Personalising landscapes idea is a quite interesting point. We often divide parks and public squares into "public", "semi-public" "semi-private" and "private" in terms of atmosphere. Maybe it appears more to people if there are more detailed separation in landscape designs. Thanks for the very interesting comment!!
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    May 26 2012: I sometimes walk in a meditation garden as a form o fstroke rehab. Beauty and nature sooth our spirit and give us emotional resources we need in extremis.