Micro, Mega and Macro: Designing Landscapes of Urban Change



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Cities across the United States, in an effort to maintain competitiveness and address broader economic, ecological or social issues, are investing in innovative planning and design. This paper provides an overview of three recent U.S.-based projects representing a range of scales where landscape is leading this charge as a powerful urban catalyst – from the two-acre temporary landscape dubbed the Lawn on D in Downtown Boston, to the newly opened Chicago Riverwalk expansion, to a regional strategy to address land loss on the Gulf Coast. In each case, the urban context, the planning and design strategy and the project’s projected or actual impacts are described.

Whether at the scale of an urban infill site (MICRO), a district (MEGA), or of a region (MACRO), these projects demonstrate the potential of open space and infrastructural improvements to increase urban liveability, connectivity, and environmental and economic health.