Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 49

ENTREVUE

...[the planning] wasn't led by one architect or
one landscape architect. Everyone came to the
table and said, what do we want this to be?
- Michael Ormston-Holloway

The same thing is needed for the
urban forest to thrive. We need to think
comprehensively about the trees, the
soil structure, chemistry, texture, and
other physical properties, the water, the
air quality, the microclimates and then
all of our urban critters, as well. We need
to fine-tune the local ecologies to make
this work. Everyone needs to come to the
table so that we see more clearly what a
place can be, and how it should perform.
This panel was selected very carefully.
We have designers at the table, LAs at
the table. We have soil scientists, and
arborists at the table. We have researchers,
we have academics. And this is the sort
of group that we need at these early
planning meetings in order to have these
comprehensive discussions because
sometimes we cannot steward them alone.
Marc Hallé: It's easy to be enthusiastic
about consolidating everyone's knowledge,
but I am also cynical about how the
outcome is executed. It's true, we need
to have everybody's expertise on board.
There are so many that have a different
niche knowledge that need to come
together to help us move trees forward.
Choreographing this needs leadership,
a champion. What makes me pessimistic
is that the boundaries that define living
systems are rarely a match with legal
boundaries and property titles. On
projects where these are in conflict, the
latter usually prevails. Legally, property
boundaries are virtually written in stone,
and renegotiating these is a Sisyphean
task. Virtuous intentions are resisted by
private and commercial interests and
addressing these is typically beyond a
landscape architect's skill set.
The example Michael gives of the West Don
Lands is an interesting case for optimism.
You had a cleared terrain with strong
leadership that was able to redefine those
boundaries along landscape principles. But
for more typical conditions where land is
already deeded and bound up by cadastral
boundaries, it is hard to achieve the same
kind of coherence.

Rob Wright: There's a couple of things that
I think are going to happen in the way we
look at our cities. One of them is that we're
facing a battle now over publicness, what
constitutes the public realm. COVID-19
really brought that into focus for us
because now people are looking at open
space in a lot of ways. The irony for me
is that when we look at the downtown of
Toronto, everybody now says, where's
the open space? Well, we spent 20 years
taking cash in lieu for open space and now
we don't have any. We're going to spend
$2 billion to put a 20-acre park over a
railway and that's how we're going to spend
our money.
We're challenging the way we think about
these things. For example, all of us are
involved in design projects and designing.
We take capital and we separate it from
maintenance. We spent a lot of money on
buildings and capital projects and we do
not set aside anything for maintenance.
We have a situation in Toronto where
we can't maintain our parks, where our
beautiful valley systems, which we love
and appreciate, are collapsing. These
are collapsing ecosystems. They are
not sustainable. When we talk about
sustainability, what we're saying is we want
to make things that are failsafe and if you're
an ecologist, there's nothing that's failsafe.
The two rules are everything's connected
to everything else. And the second, harder
to learn, as you get older, you learn it really
fast: everything dies.
We're looking at resilience now, which
is defined as safe to fail. We're trying to
think about environments in which we're
planning constantly because trees will be
dying. We need to understand and position
ourselves along those lines, particularly as
landscape architects. It's our time to shine.
Everybody knows how important open
spaces are. What are we going to do about
it and how are we going to do it?
And when I try to think about it in terms
of the school, you know, going to take the
back of what's behind it here and I want to

re-wild it. I also look at our students. I say
we have 1,400 students in this faculty. We
have every one of them plant a tree a year.
And the number of years. How many trees
would that be over the time? We've got to
translate a lot of the stuff into action.
There's that great saying - great cultures
always plant trees under whose shade
they will never sit.
Bob Somers: I don't read very often
anymore. But now I have a new book that
I have to read from this conversation,
called The Overstory. I read when I go on
holidays and it seems that I've been only
reading books that paint a bleak picture
about the future of the planet. I was asked
before I went on holidays about a year
ago to speak to a group of mayors and
reeves from around the city of Winnipeg
because they had seen a presentation that
I had done in a different context on water
management using native grasslands
and wetland approaches. Clearly,
forests and grasslands are two very
different ecosystems, but critical to our
geography here.
I was reading at the time a book that I
found to be very depressing about the
future of our planet called Collapse by
Jared Diamond. Its full title is Collapse:
How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.
The striking thing about this book for this
conversation is that, as an anthropological
review that looks at societies and what
caused them to fail, one of the top
three problems that were integral to
any society that has failed over history
was deforestation. Rounding out the
top three were related to that - as with
deforestation, societies then had soil
issues and water management
problems. Spring ahead to the
presentation that I had to
give, and the first slide I put
up highlighted this book and
how societies have failed.
Through that I encouraged
every single mayor and reeve
to read that book because

SPRING | PRINTEMPS 2021 49



Landscapes - Spring 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Landscapes - Spring 2021

TO BEGIN WITH | POUR COMMENCER
OUR WRITERS | NOS RÉDACTEURS
PROLOGUE
TECHNOLOGY AND THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE
VIRTUALIZATION OF THE LANDSCAPE DESIGN PROCESS
LE PAYSAGE VIRTUEL COMME OUTIL DE TRAVAIL
DATA-DRIVEN ZONING CODES FOR CLIMATE ACTION
3D FAX MACHINES
LA TECHNOLOGIE À LA RESCOUSSE DE LA SENSIBILITÉ
CRITIQUE
INTERVIEW
FORUM
THE PARTING SHOT | UNE DERNIÈRE SALVE
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - Intro
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 1
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 2
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 3
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 4
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 5
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 6
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 7
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - TO BEGIN WITH | POUR COMMENCER
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 9
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - OUR WRITERS | NOS RÉDACTEURS
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 11
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 12
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 13
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - PROLOGUE
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 15
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 16
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 17
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 18
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 19
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - TECHNOLOGY AND THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 21
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 22
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 23
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 24
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 25
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - VIRTUALIZATION OF THE LANDSCAPE DESIGN PROCESS
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 27
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 28
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 29
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 30
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 31
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - LE PAYSAGE VIRTUEL COMME OUTIL DE TRAVAIL
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 33
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - DATA-DRIVEN ZONING CODES FOR CLIMATE ACTION
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 35
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 36
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 37
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 3D FAX MACHINES
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 39
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - LA TECHNOLOGIE À LA RESCOUSSE DE LA SENSIBILITÉ
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 41
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 42
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 43
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - CRITIQUE
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 45
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - INTERVIEW
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 47
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 48
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 49
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 50
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 51
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 52
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 53
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - FORUM
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 55
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 56
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 57
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 58
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 59
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 60
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 61
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 62
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 63
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 64
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 65
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - THE PARTING SHOT | UNE DERNIÈRE SALVE
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 67
Landscapes - Spring 2021 - 68
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