Dear landscape architecture,
Hello? Are you dead? Were you ever alive? If so, what did you achieve? What significance did you have? Will you be remembered? Probably not…
Why won’t you be remembered, you ask?
The entire world exists, operates and functions within the landscape. The entire world. That’s an infinite realm of matter you could have engaged with and contributed to. But you neglected to do so. Instead you focused on appeasing the aesthetic desires of a select few. Your unwillingness to be politically incorrect has rendered you unworthy of society’s awareness. No one remembers anyone too afraid or too conservative to question, to critique, to think for themselves!
Frequently, throughout history, you failed to engage with the greater social, economic, ecological and political forces that impact on and shape the landscape. Continually the landscape has been shaped by others: the developer, the engineer, the politician. Even the real estate agent! The landscape architect must become the developer, the engineer, the politician and even the real estate agent.
The most unforgettable event in your life is the dramatic change that occurs when you leave academia for professional practice. One minute you completely ignore reality to experiment with supposedly new ideas. The next you completely ignore new ideas and submit to the pressures of reality.
Surely you can fashion a way of life where you can engage the positive attributes of both modes of thinking. An educational and professional system that establishes the ground for a confrontation between academia and professional practice – the experiments of students placed in an arena to battle it out with the experience of the professional. Two contradicting modes of thought left to collide throughout the design process. Neither mode of thinking is to come out the same. Each shall have been altered by the brutal touch of the other.
The limited number of responses to Kerb 17’s interrogation shows a lack of passion for your own existence.
Perhaps you’re better off dead? Perhaps there are hands more capable and more willing to stand as custodians of the landscape and the world within it?
Then again, perhaps not… Perhaps you are the one, the only one, with the potential to understand the complexity of the landscape. All that remains is for you to grow some balls. To redefine, assert and impose your role upon the global forces shaping the landscape that will surely extend beyond our scope, beyond our control and beyond our complete comprehension, however, still within grasp of meaningful engagement and influence.
We can’t help notice what’s happening on your periphery. Ideas are stirring, experiments are occurring. The crossovers with related professions are more exciting and interesting than anything you have produced alone. But maybe you can learn from these interactions … maybe there’s hope for you yet?