Landscape Urbanism is a Graduate Design Programme at the Architectural Association leading to a Masters of Architecture (MArch, 16 months) and to a Masters in Science (MSc, 12 months) in Landscape Urbanism.
The programme explores the role that design and designers (from architects, landscape architects, urban designers, planner’s perspective) can play when confronted with large scale territories (metropolis, rural environments, infrastructural and productive landscapes, etc.). At these scales of intervention, territories are configured by sets of economic policies, political decisions, social and cultural structures, and engineering solutions where design inputs are left out or put at the fringes. Landscape Urbanism at the AA explores design not only as the source of aesthetic and performative proposals necessary to offer alternatives to today’s acute urban/environmental problems, but also as a mechanism to orchestrate, choreograph and negotiate their implementation at large scales over time.
Beyond the design of single buildings or pieces of urban desing, landscape urbanism is interested in the design of spatial policies, organizational models, innovative regulatory plans and visual decision making tools with the capacity to integrate design within economic, social, cultural and political frameworks. The aim of the progamme is to contribute to the enhancement of the discipline by making it more relevant at multiple scales and foster closer dialogues and debates with different disciplines ( geography, economy, ecology, political science, etc.), highlighting the unique capabilities of design.
The programme uses as a backbone the concept of ‘territory’ and sees it as a potential field of design praxis. Through this lens, it operates within contemporary conditions whereby urban environments are understood as intrinsically interconnected and related webs of consequential landscapes with implications at local, regional and planetary scales. These consequences are best reflected in current environmental concerns such as climate change, energy crisis, water/food/land consumption, and widespread pollution but less apparent in their social and political implications, currently being disguised by ecological and sustainable design driven agendas for the urbanised world.