Topos 90 – Resilient Cities and Landscapes

The cities and landscapes of the future must be increasingly resilient and adaptable to changing environmental influences. Ideally, they will modify and optimise their physical appearance to meet these challenges. Building and developing cities thus requires more and more knowledge of ecological interrelationships, dynamic systems and long-term development. The know-how that landscape architects have is especially important here, as there is no other profession that can so effectively combine this knowledge with design. Topos 90 discusses approaches to designing resilience and presents examples of work in countries such as the Netherlands, China, The United States and Columbia.


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A selection of articles from Topos 90:

Nina-Marie Lister
Resilience: Designing the New Sustainability
Design for resilience needs an evidence-based approach that contributes to adaptive and ecologically-responsive design in the face of complexity, uncertainty and vulnerability. Put simply: What does a resilient world look like, how does it behave and how do we design for resilience?

For the design studio “Depoldering Dordrecht” at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Kimberly Garza and Sarah Thomas proposed a speculative dynamic measure of sea level for the Netherlands delta region as part of a climate-change adaptation project.


Stig L. Andersson
The Urban as a Resilient System of Processes
The Delta District, Vinge, Denmark
A resilient city is constantly changing and optimizing its physical appearance. An innovative planning process expresses a symbiotic relation between nature and the built environment. Physical Development Plans can actively acknowledge how geological, hydrological and vegetative processes shape urban form and human inhabitation.

The natural and cultural processes of the Delta form the basis for the Delta District in Vinge, Denmark. This model not only creates a rainwater management system with ecological functions but also aesthetic and social spaces.


Dirk Sijmons
Resilient Urbanisation as a Landscape Architectural Question
People are urban by nature. Most global environmental problems have urban roots. If we want to solve these problems we have to solve our urban problems.

When the energy transition to CO2-poor sources exceeds a 30 per cent share, infrastructure to store energy becomes necessary. Solar and wind energy are not always available. For the Rotterdam Region this infrastructure could be installed in the form of a marine energy station built up by a ring dyke (“Rotterdam Fallingwater” by Dirk Sijmons et al.). When energy is abundant, the water is pumped out. When demand increases, the difference in level is used to generate electricity again.


Kongjian Yu
A Resilient Landscape
In Yanweizhou Park in Jinhua City water-resilient terrain and plantings are designed to adapt to the monsoon floods. The project has given the Chinese city a new identity and is now acclaimed as its most poetic landscape.

The monsoon climate makes Jinhua City suffer from annual flooding. Yanweizhou Park is a resilient landscape that welcomes the flood instead of trying to defend it with floodwalls. The aerial view shows the park during the monsoon season. Photo: Turenscape