Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 71

CRITIQUE

REVIEW BY | PAR DANIEL ROEHR

MONTREAL 2017:
THE WORLD DESIGN SUMMIT, REDUX
...ambitious...thrilling...but flawed
EN_
SEEN FROM A landscape architecture
perspective, the World Design Summit
in Montreal, October 16-20, 2017, was a
big success. Of the 600 or so speakers
at the Summit, fully 320 were landscape
architects. The remainder included
industrial, interior and graphic designers
and some architects. Architects overall
were few, which was disappointing: they
are a critical part of the design discourse.
Engineers, too, were very rare, which
was surprising; their technical knowledge
has a major influence on virtually every
aspect of design and aesthetics.
Yet the presentations I heard were,
for the most part, excellent, not only
in individual presentation method and
content, but also in conveying the
Summit's key message: the design
professions must build awareness of
holistic approaches to design. Speakers
particularly emphasized the design
process, sharing new ways to stimulate
refined thinking and make creative
design decisions.
GIANTS OF THE DESIGN WORLD
The big names were many, the content of
their presentations generally current and
inspiring: Jan Gehl, Claude Comier, Dirk
Sijmons, Moshe Safdie, Phyllis Lambert
and more. But there were also newer,
very accomplished presenters such as
Alejandro Aravena and Ginette Caron.
Most spoke about large and complex
design tasks but did not lose sight of the
design's users, observers, and makers.
Alejandro Aravena, for example, spoke
of exploring design solutions that
incorporated public demands to deal
with pressing environmental crises,
such as future protection after the
devastation of a tsunami has occurred.
He also explored such critical public

issues as affordable living: ways to
mitigate housing crises by designing,
for example, dwellings with intelligent
floor plans for multiple generations living
under one roof.
On a completely different tack, Ginette
Caron exhibited considerable creativity
in designing the World Expo pavilion for
Milan to incorporate stirring messages
in text, set in metal fonts. After the Expo
- perhaps even more creatively - she
found spectacularly fitting "new homes"
for the messages, often at carefully
selected church buildings.
A GENTLE DEFENDER
OF LANDSCAPES
It was, however, the subtle and gentle
approaches used by Dirk Sijmons, the
IFLA's Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award Winner
for 2017, which most caught my attention.
It was not simply his decisive "big moves"
that impressed, such as diverting rivers
in Holland to re-flood large plains, and
reintroducing biotopes and wildlife.
It was also his practice of sharing his
work, by dedicating any prize monies
he received to printing self-published
books on specific topics such as energy
landscapes. (See his story, page 15.)
THE DEVIL IN THE DETAILS
All this aside, the Summit's big problem
was its organization. The speaker
program, not only before the event but
also at the venue, was only available
online: a good idea in general, if everyone
has a smartphone or iPad and if the
program site is easy to navigate and
working, but this was not the case. An
alphabetical list of all the speakers,
including their professions, would have
helped. Printed copies of the program
also should have been available: not
everyone had digital access.

Worse, the scheduled speaking venues
changed abruptly, sometimes with
announcements only in French. And
not every room had a moderator:
no one to introduce the session's
rationale, no one to keep time.
Presenters often exceeded their
allocated time, which was unfair to the
other speakers and the audience - and
for attendees like me with a "wish list"
of speakers to hear, it made a move to
another room, another speaker, all but
impossible. Overlooked, also, was the
walking distance between rooms: the
venue is a building stretching two city
blocks. Finally, despite the benefits
of choice, there were too many
sessions and it was not clear how each
group of presentations related to the
different themes.
The conference clearly suffered from
a shortfall of attendees. Just 1500
came, rather than the projected 4000.
The decision to reduce the number of
moderators and organizational staff,
however, meant that individual sessions
suffered dramatically.
This summit was very expensive to
attend, even as a speaker, and it was
therefore crucial to prevent such
frustration. Hence, even though
it's a good idea to group different
professions to learn from each other, I
would suggest smaller, less ambitious
undertakings next time around.
droehr@sala.ubc.ca
DANIEL ROEHR, MBCSLA , CSLA, AKB
is an associate professor of landscape
architecture at UBC and runs greenskins
Lab (www.greenskinslab.sala.ubc.ca) at
UBC researching stormwater management
solutions and awareness.

SPRING | PRINTEMPS 2018 71


http://www.greenskinslab.sala.ubc.ca

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Landscapes - Spring 2018

To Begin With
Our Writers
Upfront
Essay
THE TRIAD OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
CHANGZHI WETLAND PARK
AFTER THE DESIGNERS LEAVE THE ROOM
YOU CAN ONLY DESIGN A RIVER ONCE
CONVERSATION
A “PUF” OF INSPIRATION: TOWARD NET ZERO NEIGHBOURHOODS
THE TOUGH GET GOING ON THE WAY TO TRANSFORMATION
THE HALIFAX EXPLOSION: A STORY ONLY THE LANDSCAPE CAN TELL
INTERVIEW
CRITIQUE
PARTING SHOT | UNE DERNIÈRE SALVE
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - Intro
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - cover1
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - cover2
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 3
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 4
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 5
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 6
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 7
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - To Begin With
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 9
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - Our Writers
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 11
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 12
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 13
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - Upfront
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 15
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 16
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 17
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 18
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 19
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 20
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 21
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 22
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 23
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - Essay
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 25
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 26
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 27
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 28
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - THE TRIAD OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 30
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 31
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 32
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 33
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - CHANGZHI WETLAND PARK
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 35
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 36
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 37
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - AFTER THE DESIGNERS LEAVE THE ROOM
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 39
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 40
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 41
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 42
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - YOU CAN ONLY DESIGN A RIVER ONCE
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 44
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 45
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 46
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 47
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - CONVERSATION
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 49
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 50
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 51
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 52
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 53
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 54
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 55
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - A “PUF” OF INSPIRATION: TOWARD NET ZERO NEIGHBOURHOODS
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 57
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - THE TOUGH GET GOING ON THE WAY TO TRANSFORMATION
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 59
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 60
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 61
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - THE HALIFAX EXPLOSION: A STORY ONLY THE LANDSCAPE CAN TELL
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 63
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - INTERVIEW
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 65
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 66
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 67
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 68
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 69
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - CRITIQUE
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 71
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 72
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 73
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Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 75
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 76
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 77
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Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 81
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 82
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 83
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 84
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - 85
Landscapes - Spring 2018 - PARTING SHOT | UNE DERNIÈRE SALVE
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Landscapes - Spring 2018 - cover4
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