January 10 2013

Floating Cities and CO2 Glass: Landscape Futures of The BLDGBLOG Book

Cloud City as imagined by Studio LindforsUltimately, the real strength of The BLDGBLOG Book is Geoff Manaugh’s skills as a compelling storyteller. As Manaugh delves into the world of Landscape Futures in the fifth and final chapter of his book, the reader is simultaneously immersed in the floating canal city of London A.D. 2109 and in the Cloud City that hovers above a hurricane-ravaged New York. The engaging stories and exquisite illustrations and photographs have quickly made The BLDGBLOG Book the most popular of my coffee table selection.

In writing about Landscape Futures, Manaugh attempts to tell the story of our planet beyond the lifetime of any of his readers. What will happen, he asks, when future generations excavate the remains of cities such as Las Vegas and Detroit? In other words, the final chapter seeks to answer what our current architectural practices will communicate in the future. Manaugh expands this line of thinking to other phenomena, including natural disasters, flood planning, and even the possibility of carbon dioxide glass to promote climate change reversal.

Currently, Amorphous Carbonia can only be created under regulated lab settings

Manaugh cites an interesting combination of academic journals and popular novels in his writing. In doing so, Manaugh makes these works more accessible to the reader who may or may not be versed in architectural and scientific writing. As has been mentioned by several of my Global Site Plans colleagues, The BLDGBLOG Book covers a wide range of subjects and in doing so, can naturally only scrape the surface of their importance to landscape architecture and urban planning. However, this surface analysis should be regarded as a strength, as it prevents the book from becoming bogged down by too much fact. Instead, The BLDGBLOG Book opens up conversation regarding Landscape Futures to those who would otherwise not have access.

Manaugh effectively brings his readers into the discussion of the future of landscapes and encourages discussion that goes far beyond the 258 pages of his book. These discussions are continued on social media, including the official BLDGBLOG Twitter account and on The BLDGBLOG itself.

I encourage you to place The BLDGBLOG Book on your own coffee table – I imagine you’ll have a hard time prying it out of any guest’s hands.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Courtney McLaughlin

Courtney McLaughlin holds an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. An avid traveler, her interests are public space modification in Canadian cities and sustainable urban planning. As an aspiring landscape architect, Courtney is particularly fascinated by the interplay of landscape architecture, public space, and urban power structures. During her time writing for The Grid, Courtney reported on urban developments in Vancouver, a city frequently named one of the world’s “most liveable” urban locations. Her blog posts explored how this title has been maintained through sustainable and accessible urban design decisions that pride themselves on community engagement.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2013 at 9:00 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Education and Careers, Energy, Engineering, Environmental Design, Government/Politics, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Social/Demographics, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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