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Lecture with Geoff Whitten.

The lecture of Landscape Urbanism which was given by Geoff Whitten described the development of cities and landscape urbanism. Geoff Whitten illustrated that the development of city is like an egg, which is from the shape of one core with a surrounding ring (ancient age) to one core with a random shape of edge (17-19 cent), Nowadays, the city has becoming a cooked egg with no core and random edge. The every step of the development of city related on the huge revolution. Along with the development of urban, we don’t have any concrete edge and to build up an endless intensifications and diversifications infrastructure. (Figure 1)

(Figure 1)

Then Mr Geoff Whitten showed us the historical perspectives and contemporary perspectives using the example of “The Garden City” (figure 2) and some of temporary landscape design cases. Firstly, what is the historical urban looked like? “The Garden City” might be the most typical example and even it is a popular concept in UK currently. This concept has a very idealistically society with no slam, perfect water system, reasonable distance from anywhere to the city center and harmonious social environment. Garden City also represent the most advance design concept in the past.
(Figure 2)

What the modern city looks like? How the landscape Urbanism works in modern city? Mr Geoff Whitten highlight the green space (figure 3), which is always at the central of the city, and it is completely an open space. Because of the demand of residents, people need an open space for some physical activities and green areas; even the density of the city is so high

(Figure 3)

Landscape plays a vital role in urbanism and the use rate of green space.

Landscape is not an independence part of Urbanism; a well-designed landscape could help to enhance a high living standard development for the local as urbanism do. People use green space to do physical activities for achieve a healthy life (Figure 4).  Healthy places improve air, water and soil quality, incorporating measures that help us adapt to, and where possible mitigate, climate change (Bull, 2007). The rate of use and landscape arrangement in different countries will be different according to the density. For example Hong Kong, the most intensive city in China, you can see all of the high-rises closed each other and there is no big scale green open space in the city center. However, Hong Kong still have lots of small parks in residents area, Hong Kong covers roughly 426 square miles and has a population of over 7 million residents, 90% of which live within a quarter mile of a park (Rista, 2011). Hence, Hong Kong people are satisfied their living standard and these parks in Hong Kong are fully used by citizens (Figure 5).  Compare with some of the European cities, the use rate is relatively low than Asia cities. The main reason cause the different use rate is the population in that region.

(Figure 4)

(Figure 5)


The diverse style of landscape urbanism in different time period in UK

Landscape Urbanism is an approach to the design of cities, and their components, which aims to make good places through a creative integration of natural, human and cultural process layers (Tom Turner, 2015). Since emerging in the mid-1990s, landscape urbanism has taken several different forms and interpretations. In the 18th century, a desire to sweep away strict geometric features led to a new style of English garden with a more natural look – the English Landscape Garden (Uglow.J, 2000). Exquisite pillar and smooth grass become the most distinct feature of English landscape design (Figure 6). With the development of modernization, In the first half of the twentieth century the overwhelming popularity of the Arts and Crafts style formed a great wall which shielded garden designers from the explosion of creative energy that produced the Modern Movement in architecture and the fine arts (Brookes. J) (Figure 7). Nowadays, English landscape design prefer to use some minimalism style and new materials. Contemporary landscape design is more opening mind in UK and every city has their own style, such as in some industrial city, minimalism landscape is distinct designed in the city (Figure 8). On the other hand, the historical city like Cambridge, people also can easily find out the landscape style from ancient time (Figure 9).

(Figure 6)

(Figure 7)

(Figure 8)

(Figure 9)

Image Sources

Figure 1 : The historical change of urbanism, Taken from Geoff Whitten lecture
Figure 2 : The Garden city, Taken from Geoff Whitten lecture
Figure 3 : Contemporary City, Taken from Geoff Whitten lecture
Figure 4 : Outdoor activities for kids, Taken from
Figure 5 : Hong Kong park, Taken from
Figure 6 : Classical landscape design, Taken from
Figure 7 : Landscape design with wall, Taken from
Figure 8 : Birmingham modern landscape, Taken from
Figure 9 : Cambridge classical landscape, Taken from


School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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