Art, Ecology, and Community in University City

  • Node A: MLA Art-Ecology-Community
  • Node B: MLA Art-Ecology-Community
  • Node C: Art-Ecology-Community
  • Node D: Art-Ecology-Community
  • Node E: Art-Ecology-Community
  • Node F: Art-Ecology-Community

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This studio, led by professor Rod Barnett and senior lecturer Jacqueline Margetts, engaged the ecological, architectural, socioeconomic, and ideological complexities of large-scale, site-specific design in landscape architecture. The work drew attention to the political and social context within which public art is commissioned and encountered, suggesting that landscape architects should participate in the development of a critical language for discussing the ideas of public art. Students explored how site-specific art in public places connects with landscape architecture in the public realm.

Students began with the four classical elements of earth, air, fire, and water, building on these elements as the basis for their intervention in the physical and non-physical systems of their sites. Explorations looked at a range of landscape conditions that are made possible by manipulating topographies, hydrologies, and ecologies through operations such as excavation, dispersal, and aeration.

Using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to produce site-based intervention maps of University City, students worked with city officials to explore, critique, and re-engineer landscape to fit environmental and cultural conditions. Students proposed interventions on two sites in University City, primarily along the Olive Corridor.

The final products critiqued the assumption that urban public space should always provide an amenity; instead, public space could draw attention to social problems and be the site of social discourse and landscape-driven urban provocations.

The following students participated in this studio: Alisa Blatter, Rui Guo, Shu Guo, Wanyi Liu, Linda Zambito, Xiaoxin Cao, Chelsea Cole, Xiaoqing Qin, Jinghan Shi, Micah Stanek, Jiaan Sun, and Lanxi Zhang.

Partners

University City Community Development