2020

NO DESIGN ON STOLEN LAND
Dismantling Design’s Dehumanizing White Supremacy


Every single building site – from a house to a highway – benefits from the exploitation of a capitalist property regime built on the back of broken treaties. These sites are not only taken from stolen lands and unceded territories, they are the spatial products of a violent structure and system of settler-colonialism that displaced and continue to dispossess indigenous peoples through more than 500 years of territorial injustices. Mundus Novus. Terra NulliusDoctrine of Discovery. Manifest Destiny.


“...the oppressive system of settler colonialism is now normalised through contemporary urbanism, precisely because of the ‘denigration of Indigenous culture. Basically, it’s racism … systemic, institutional, individual, interpersonal racism.’ As Deborah A Miranda writes in Teaching on Stolen Ground (2007), ‘genocide depends upon the appropriation of the identity of the colonized by the colonizer.’”


This booklet features an essay originally published in a January 2020 issue of Architectural Design (AD) Magazine titled “The Landscapists.”









DAMN IT!

The Beaver Manifesto


A counter-colonial proposal for the site of Central Park as retroactive space for the unleashing of the beaver as the quintessential landscape architect of climate change for the 21st century. Here, Central Park—including its Victorian-era vestiges & racist monuments—becomes a boneyard of settler colonialism & blueprint for the imminent retrocession of lands of the Lenape-Delaware Peoples and the Indigenous territories of the once and future legacy of National Parks it camouflages.

“Central Park belongs no more to the City—either of New York, or of New Yorkers—than National Parks belong to the State—of America, or of Americans.”









EXTRACTION EMPIRE

Undermining the Systems, States, & Scales of Canada’s Global Resource Empire
2017—1217


Extraction is the process and practice that defines Canada, at home and abroad. Of the nearly 20,000 mining projects in the world from Africa to Latin America, more than half are Canadian operated. Not only does the mining economy employ close to 400,000 people in Canada, it contributed $57 billion CAD to Canada's GDP in 2014 alone. Globally, more than 75 percent of the world's mining firms are based in Canada. The scale of these statistics naturally extends the logic of Canada's historical legacy as state, nation, and now as global resource empire. Canada, once a far-flung northern outpost of the British Empire, has become an empire in its own right. Published by MIT Press, this book examines both the historic and contemporary Canadian culture of extraction, with essays, interviews, archival material, and multimedia visualizations.











EXTRACTION @ Google Arts & Culture


See the permanent online exhibition of the making, research, team, collaborators, and the finale of EXTRACTION and the Canadian Pavilion at the Google Cultural Institute featuring an array of media and materials never before seen beyond the grounds of the exhibition in Venice.












VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE


Opening a wider lens on the cultures of extraction, the project intends to develop a deeper discourse on the complex ecologies and territory of resource extraction. From gravel to gold, across highways and circuit boards, every single aspect of contemporary urban life today is mediated by mineral resources. Through the multimedia language of film, print, and exhibition, the landscape of resource extraction—from exploration, to mining, to processing, to construction, to recycling, to reclamation—can be explored and revealed as the bedrock of contemporary urban life. The Extraction Exhibition was part of the 15th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale, with archive feed on twitter and instagram.


“Not only do imperial colonial powers redefine territories, they also breed new empires, replaying their cycles of dissemination and domination over and over again.” 

—Suzanne Zeller, “The Colonial World as Geological Metaphor: Strata(gems) of Empire in Victorian Canada,” 2001




CANADIAN PAVILION in Venice, recognized & awarded by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, Azure Magazine, and the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects. Read the reviews by Robert Enright "What's At Stake" in Border Crossings Magazine, "Confronting our National Demons" by Fionn Macleod in The Walrus, and "The Limits of the Plan" by Maitiú Ward in Foreground Magazine.







NEW GEOGRAPHIES 09 

Posthuman


This 9th issue of New Geographies Journal surveys the urban environments shaping the more-than-human geographies of the early 21st century, as well as spaces, systems, and scales of conflict, violence, and exploitation. This interpretation is fueled by awareness of the historical instrumentality of both geography and design (as disciplinary fields and spatial worldviews) in the delineation and pursuit of new “frontiers” serving the ambition for end­less expansion of the human empire. With this in mind, geographic and design thinking are here mobilized in a different direction: namely, as an interpretive lens through which to trace how those crises and historical circumstances that have destabilized the inherited schema of the human manifest themselves spatially—how they are indexed by the complex geographical formations of the contemporary built environment. Ultimately, posthuman ask: where can sites of resistance and hope possibly emerge? NG09 is published by ACTAR with support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.



“Settler States, former metropoles, and postcolonies are all hunted by the specter of colonialism—the geographic, architectural, epistemic, and historical framework of dehumanization, slavery, and extraction. Ruins and ruinations are spatial and temporal. In this epoch, they exist in the more the more-than-human and less-than-nature landscapes, and in the discourses on history and time deployed to justify, challenge, and make sense of them. … Here, the human is not the problem to move beyond. Like the dystopian ruins that has already been the fact of life for Indigenous peoples for centuries, it is a condition that must be inhabited and nurtured so that our voices can carry to the future.”

—Eli Nelson, “Walking to the Future in the Steps of Our Ancestors,” 2018
 













THE MISSING 400
On the Erasure of Women from the Urban Environment 


An open-source book produced in collaboration with Hélène Cixous. This book accompanies an 8-minute videographic essay that re-examines the institutional structures of sexism and historical roots of racism in architecture that have led to the systematic erasure of women from the design disciplines of the built environment. The multimedia project features a live diagram that maps out the names of over 800 women, whose lives—as designers, builders, writers, historians, photographers, philanthropists, and more—have shaped over 800 years of urban history. Narrated by Hélène Cixous, one of the most influential feminist authors in the world, with Ghazal Jafari. As part of this project, the original list of women compiled since its creation in 2016 has expanded to over 800 names and will continue to grow over time as a live document. An original performance of this project was staged with students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design on October 28, 2016. The content of the book is based on an original Open Letter written to Charles Jencks and published on October 7, 2016. The special edition of the book includes a poster that maps out the lives of over 800 women creators and shapers of the built environment across the past 800 years.









LANDSCAPE AS INFRASTRUCTURE

As ecology becomes the new engineering, the projection of landscape as infrastructure—the contemporary alignment of the disciplines of landscape architecture, civil engineering, and urban planning— has become pressing. Predominant challenges facing urban regions and territories today—including shifting climates, material flows, and population mobilities, are addressed and strategized here. Responding to the under-performance of master planning and over-exertion of technological systems at the end of twentieth century, this Routledge Landscape book argues for the strategic design of "infrastructural ecologies," describing a synthetic landscape of living, biophysical systems that operate as urban infrastructures to shape and direct the future of urban economies and cultures into the 21st century. See Gale Fulton's Book Review at Landscape Architecture Magazine.


“The outstanding feature of the modern cultural landscape is the dominance of pathways over settlements. … The pathways of modern life are also corridors of power, with power being understood in both its technological and political senses. By channeling the circula­tion of people, goods, and messages, they have transformed spatial relations by establish­ing lines of force that are privileged over the places and people left outside those lines.”

—Rosalind Williams, “Cultural Origins and Environmental Implications of Large Infrastructural Systems,” 1993








ECOLOGIES OF POWER
Countermapping the Logistical Landscapes and Military Geographies of the U.S. Department of Defense


This book is not about war, nor is it a history of war. Avoiding the shock and awe of wartime images, it explores the contemporary spatial configurations of power camouflaged in the infrastructures, environments, and scales of military operations. Instead of wartime highs, this book starts with drawdown lows, when demobilization and decommissioning morph into realignment and prepositioning. It is in this transitional milieu that the full material magnitudes and geographic entanglements of contemporary militarism are laid bare. Through this perpetual cycle of build up and breakdown, the U.S. Department of Defense—the single largest developer, landowner, equipment contractor, and energy consumer in the world—has engineered a planetary assemblage of “operational environments” in which militarized, demilitarized, and non-militarized landscapes are increasingly inextricable.

Through a series of critical cartographic essays, the book traces this footprint far beyond the battlefield, countermapping the geographies of U.S. militarism across five of the most important and embattled operational environments: the ocean, the atmosphere, the highway, the city, and the desert. From the Indian Ocean atoll of Diego Garcia to the defense-contractor archipelago around Washington, D.C.; from the A01 Highway circling Afghanistan's high-altitude steppe to surveillance satellites pinging the planet from low-earth orbit; and from the vast cold chain conveying military perishables worldwide to the global constellation of military dumps, sinks, and scrapyards, the book unearths the logistical infrastructures and residual landscapes that render strategy spatial, militarism material, and power operational. In so doing, the book reveals unseen ecologies of power at work in the making and unmaking of environments—operational, built, and otherwise—to come.

See the review by Rob Holmes at Journal of Architectural Education, Dr. Jack Adam MacLennan at Air & Space Power Journal, by Marion Clare Birch at Journal of Medicine, Conflict and Survival, by Régine Debatty at We Make Money Not Art, or by Christopher Kinsey at International Affairs. Published by MIT Press, Ecologies of Power is the recipient of The 2017 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize.








WET MATTER


The ocean remains a glaring blind spot in the Western imagination. Catastrophic events remind us of its influence—a lost airplane, a shark attack, an oil spill, an underwater earthquake—but we tend to marginalize or misunderstand the scales of the oceanic. It represents the “other 71 percent” of our planet. Meanwhile, like land, its surface and space continue to be radically instrumentalized: offshore zones territorialized by nation-states, high seas crisscrossed by shipping routes, estuaries metabolized by effluents, sea levels sensed by satellites, seabeds lined with submarines and plumbed for resources. As sewer, conveyor, battlefield, or mine, the ocean is a vast logistical landscape. Whether we speak of fishing zones or fish migration, coastal resilience or tropical storms, the ocean is both a frame for regulatory controls and a field of uncontrollable, indivisible processes. To characterize the ocean as catastrophic—imperiled environment, coastal risk, or contested territory—is to overlook its potential power.

The environments and mythologies of the ocean continue to support contemporary urban life in ways unseen and unimagined. The oceanic project—like the work of Marie Tharp, who mapped the seafloor in the shadows of Cold War star scientists—challenges the dry, closed, terrestrial frameworks that shape today’s industrial, corporate, and economic patterns. As contemporary civilization takes the oceanic turn, its future clearly lies beyond the purview of any head of state or space of a nation.

Published as the 39th issue of Harvard Design Magazine, Wet Matter reexamines the ocean’s historic and superficial remoteness and profiles the ocean as contemporary urban space and subject of material, political, and ecologic significance, asking how we are shaping it, and how it is shaping us.







GOING LIVE
From States to Systems


If landscape is more than milieu or environment, and encompasses a deterritorialized world, then it is the contested territory, hidden actor, and secret agent of the twentieth century. Stemming from the early work of some of the most influential landscape urbanists–Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Benton MacKaye, Patrick Geddes–this mini manifesto explores underdeveloped patterns and unfinished processes of urbanization at the precise moment when environmentalism began to fail and ecology emerged between the 1970s and 80s. Informed by systems thinking from the modern atomic age, this slim silver pamphlet takes inspiration from Howard T. Odum’s big green book A Tropical Rain Forest and brings alive the voices of a group of influential thinkers to exhume a body of ideas buried in the fallout of the explosion of digitalism, urbanism and deconstructivism during the early 1990s. Catalyzed by Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor meltdown, a counter-modernity and neo-urbanism emerged from the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of South African Apartheid. What happened during this concentrated era and area of change–across design, from architecture to planning–is nothing short of revolutionary.

GOING LIVE is published as the 35th edition of Princeton Architectural Press’ Pamphlet Architecture Series. Read Amelia Taylor-Hochberg's Book Review at ARCHINECT. For the backstory and the web supplement of the book, see pa35.net