Landscapes of change: communication strategies for community engagement with ecologically functional public spaces

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Johanna Barthmaier-Payne, Ann Kearsley, Nicholas J.C. Gellie, Jacob G. Mills, Dorn Cox

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Public landscapes designed for enhanced ecological function will represent a significant break with the forms, textures and planting strategies of traditional parks. Public recognition and support for this shift will be crucial for the success of resilient urban landscapes that contribute to the fight against climate change. Public space designed to respond to the climate crisis can be characterized as landscapes of change. Managed succession and regenerative practices create resilient landscapes and the potential for exciting new cultural experiences, but without inclusive communication strategies, these unfamiliar experiences are often too complex and unsettling for unanimous acceptance from a broad audience. The communication around socioecological regenerative systems in public space often requires that community members, stakeholders, and maintenance teams understand the importance of the quantifiable ecological and cultural factors that contribute to the qualitative spatial, visual, and placemaking experiences. For example, the relationships among soil quality, bio-diversity, social equity and public health can be difficult concepts to understand within a bigger system. This presentation will explore an inventory of case studies and research that demonstrates a diversity of communication methods used to effectively inform community led design and decision making by interdisciplinary working teams. These methods include; visualization techniques, community engagement methods, and education addressed to a broad range of backgrounds. This research can provide valuable insight into how communication can empower communities and clarify the roles of landscape architects and scientists to advocate for ecologically resilient meaningful public space.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program