According to the lecture in class and the readings, the evolution of the environmental planning have gone through many eras. In one page, summarize each era highlighting its major characteristics, key players and specific milestones lead to change. Then, in your 2nd page, indicate where do you stand in the conservation/preservation argument? and why? Lastly, Gifford Pinchot and John Muir had very different approaches, highlight briefly what are the common values that they both shared.
During the Pre-Industrial Revolution environmental planning was focused on the beautification of the land and the reproduction of European gardens in the U.S. Plant material was brought over from Europe not necessarily for the environmental benefits, but more for the aesthetic value. The emphasis on creating parks and gardens was both for the enjoyment of the elite and the attempted betterment of those in lower economic status. There was not an explicit focus on the benefits of natural systems and preserving those systems for the inherent natural value. Humphry Repton was known for his emphasis on creating before and after drawings to capture the changes that were made on the landscape site, which seemed to be a new method of documentation for this field.
As cities deteriorated and the economy and transportation options of urban areas changed during the Industrial Revolution environmental planning shifted focus to natural conservation as a method to disrupt ‘ugly’ urban sprawl. There was an emphasis on creating “garden cities” that included green space, efficient transportation and thoughtful planning techniques. During the 19th century, Warren H. Manning began working with overlaying maps and data using a light table which helped to establish a new way of working with maps and designs.
Creating designs that were specifically ecologically focused came into play during the 1920’s as the field became more interdisciplinary and included data and experiences from surveyors, geographers, botanists, etc. G.E. Hutchings and C.C. Fagg emphasized that landscapes are part of a larger system and cannot be designed in a vacuum. During this time period landscape architecture became an occupation and a field of study in many universities, further elevating the concept that landscape architecture and environmental planning were fundamental to how land was viewed and planned.
Jack Dangermond and Ian L. McHarg’s work with geographical information systems established the framework for what we now know as ArcGIS. The ability to analyze large amounts of data helped to shape our understanding of human and industrial impact on the environment. States and regions began to understand the importance of planning schemes that were encompassing of ecosystems not just single projects or state borders. States began developing wider scope plans, such as the California Coastal Commision, to help comprehend the environmental issues at hand.
In the 1980’s the environmental movement began to push for sustainability as a method to better work within the cycles of nature. The goal was that planning would focus on equity, economy and ecology in every step of design. In a large part the sustainable movement helped to educate the general public about environmental impacts and the degradation of natural resources. However, the term “sustainable” does not fully encompass the changes that actually need to be made and has become greenwashed with the power of mass media and corporate funded campaigns.
We are now in the post sustainability era of environmental planning as we begin to rectify the inadequacy of sustaining our current methods of planning and developing the world around us. As Carl Steintz concluded in his Landscape Planning: A History of Influential Ideas, one of our biggest challenges today is educating the public, and I would argue policy makers as well, to better understand the issues at hand and the potential solutions that are available. Moving forward we need to better understand the complexities of the natural world and our interactions so that our solutions are not flat responses to a multi-dimensional issue.
I want to say that I am for preservation, but in reality I am more in the conservation mindset. Especially in our current economic system it is unrealistic to expect humans to keep preserving massive tracts of land that have no human interaction or development. Humans are part of nature and we rely on the natural world for food, shelter and economy. It is unrealistic to think that we can continue living without having an impact on the land. However, I do think that we have the intelligence and resources to live within the land in a manner that is both productive for economy and helps to maintain ecological systems.
It is unfortunate that Gifford Pinchot’s concept of conservation has not really been implemented either. Land use policies in the U.S. do not account for maintaining parts of the land in a ‘natural’ state. It is important that during his time, John Muir believed in the concept of untouched land as we would likely not have has many state and national parks that have been kept pristine. With the current Trump administration it feels as though many of these protected lands are up for grabs. The proposed border wall between Mexico and the U.S. is slated to start in the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas with other plans in the Lake Amistad National Recreation Area and Big Bend National Park.
John Muir’s concept of preservation by our standards today is too idyllic. Population growth and technological advances alone have created dramatic pressure on the natural world. Gifford’s conservation method would require strict regulation from all levels of government, which most of American’s today would consider as too restrictive. Despite their different views on land use both Muir and Gifford understood the scientific benefit to observing, understanding and cataloging the ecosystems they encountered. They knew that these ecosystems held knowledge that was important and to transfer this knowledge to the general public for an enhanced understanding of our natural world was imperative for any chance of these systems being sustained.
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The Hurdles of Environmental Planning and its Future
In this response to Week 1’s reading assignment I will briefly discuss the role and state of planning in the United States, primarily how it is at odds with many American beliefs of individualism, freedom, and capitalism, leading to relatively ineffective ability for planning entities to manage development and natural resource use in the United States. In addition, I will discuss the necessities of planning, especially with the inclusion of the environment (environmental planning), why it must be conducted regionally, and how a region should be defined. Writing mostly from opinion after working in urban planning for several years, I look forward to reading this response at a later date when I have learned more about environmental planning.
After reading “Ecological Planning: Retrospect and Prospect” I felt it important to begin my study of Environmental Planning at UC Berkeley with a clear statement of why planning is necessary. John Welsey Powell’s quote from the reading closely matched my personal opinion, “the redemption of these lands will require extensive and comprehensive plans,” plans including consideration of the “character of the land themselves,” as well as the engineering problems and the necessary legislative action since “here, individual farmers, being poor men, cannot undertake the task.” Here he is stating that there are societal tasks beyond the capability of the individuals within society. I like to believe that most members of society are decent human beings that are trying to survive, work, and raise families. However, the good intentions of many, collectively become a destructive force to the environment and to society itself. This is the role of planners, to influence factors people do not always perceive as issues.
A classic example is the predicament of suburbanization. People should have the right to choose whatever housing option they wish, however the result is the physical destruction of natural landscapes, degradation of air and water quality, higher energy usage, inability to operate effective public transit, traffic congestion, disinvestment of places of historical and cultural value, stratification of society based on racial/socioeconomic constructs, and so much more. Thus, becomes the responsibility of planners to manage suburban growth and to implement solutions and alternatives.
The fundamental concept of planners controlling, or attempting to control aspects of how regular people (lack of a better term), is in direct conflict with many values that Americans believe in. Culturally, to varying degrees, Americans hold strongly to the idea of individualism. Bolstered through capitalism, Americans basically believe they should be able to purchase whatever they want, and government shouldn’t impede their ability to do so. The result of the combination of these two ideals is the division and commodification of land in to property. In the United States, planners face immense difficulty implementing change because so much control is centered on personal property, highlighted by strong local control.
Regardless of the resistance to planning in the United States, it is ever more important to pursue environmental planning efforts on a regional scale because of the intensity of development in metropolitan areas. In urban regions where cities are close to one another, the impacts of one community, effects the other communities. In order to address issues effecting more than one city, planning must be conducted at a larger scale.
What defines a region differs based on subject matter and location. My particular interest is urban regions and I seek to understand more in regards to environmental planning in these areas. Urban regions, in the United States are governed by Metropolitan Planning Organizations, federally funded and mandated definitions and entities. The reasoning behind the regional boundaries for MPOs is based primarily on commuting patterns. Even with suburbanization, major employment centers are still clustered in central cities, or are still located many miles from where people live. Thus, heavy emphasis on planning roadway infrastructure dictates the MPO structure.
MPOs have begun addressing more issues than just that of highway planning. For example, the San Francisco Bay Area’s MPO: The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in conjunction with the Association for Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has produced Plan Bay Area, a regional planning doctrine for the nine counties of the Bay Area (San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo, and San Mateo Counties). Plan Bay Area is both a conservation strategy and urban development strategy, by denoting areas in pre-existing urban areas where future residential and employment development will be built. This strategy serves to create walkable urban cores throughout the region where transportation investments can be focused, while preserving open space and productive farm land. On top of these land use and transportation goals, Plan Bay Area is shaped by goals to reduce pollutants primarily by reducing the total number of miles an individual generates: vehicular miles traveled (VMT).
Although the evolving roles of MPOs like the MTC show progress towards more inclusive regional planning, regional planning has been met with harsh backlash by small but vocal groups of property-owners who believe regional planning is a conspiracy to reduce the rights (specifically property rights) of American citizens. These groups have been effective in terminating important planning efforts. I found the reading’s title “Retrospect and Prospect” fitting for this conversation. The need for stronger environmentally based regional planning is there, but the challenge will be gaining the political power and support to wield enough strength to put plans in to action.
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Well articulate and organized thread of thoughts. Also shows your enthusiasm and interest in doing things better in practice. In order to understand the environmental complexities, explore the Conservation/Preservation concepts and elaborate further, and more precisely, where do you stand and your critique of both ideas.
In the late 19th century, a hand full of think tanks began analyzing the impact of human action on the environment and the need to design our landscape in accordance with natural characteristics of the environment. The legacy such thinkers who began advocating for the importance of ecological considerations for sustainable development in seen in many of the federal entities and policies meant to protect natural areas today. The United States specially has a myriad of policies that seek to better manage the interaction between humans and their environment.
In 18th century, there was tremendous value was given to the aesthetic landscape. Access to natural spaces was reserved for the royal and upper classes. In the early 20th century as modern landscape planning had evolved as a profession, there was a push to better understand and integrate ecological factors into regional planning. The Garden City, exemplified by Enezer Howard in his book Garden Cities of Tomorrow was created in response to the deterioration of cities and poor housing conditions during the industrial revolution in the 19th century. Garden Cities advocated for controlled and deliberate planning of self-sustained communities. Such communities consisted of both houses and commercial units in close proximity connected by efficient public transportation and surrounded by green space. The concept of Garden cities is interesting to me as they seem to have had good intentions but seem restrictive due to the control of city design and inflexibility to allow cities and communities to expand in natural ways. I also question, given the history of inequities in the US and other countries, the politics of who is allowed to live in which garden city community and the resources allocated to each community based on who its residents are.
A few other examples highlight the paradigm shift to more holistic and sustained regional planning practices. The Tennessee Valley Authority worked to promote the economic sustainability of the area around the Tennessee River by analyzing the best use of its natural resources. The river was determined to provide multiple uses, including providing hydroelectric power. In 1969 the National Environmental Policy Act was created and adopted an interdisciplinary analytical approach to environmental planning and management. This required the collection of extensive ecological inventories which were used for regulatory functions. Into the 70’s several other acts were created for protecting soil, water, forests, etc. of critical environmental concern.
Today, most people understand the need to protect the environment as human beings are highly dependent on natural resources that are depleting quickly. However the questions of whether conserving natural places or preserving them completely still stands. Gifford Pinchot and John Muir both believed in protecting natural open spaces. Pinchot’s philosophy of conservation however was based on the multiple uses of nature. He thought that forests space could be used by the public for recreation but also for economic gain by industries for logging and mining. Muir on the other hand, held that natural open spaces should be protected from all use and should provide little to no industrial profit.
Although I believe natural areas should be completely protected, I tend to advocate for a conservationist approach to environmental protection. This is mostly due to the economic and therefore political implications of complete preservation. Despite years of advocacy from environmental groups, it is difficult to develop environmental protection polices without considering the economic interests of so many powerful industries around the world. Conservation can perhaps leave natural areas with ineffective protections as opposed to preserved areas which benefit from more permanent protection. The Brazilian government for example has recently abolished a natural reserve of almost 18000 square miles in the Amazon for mining, according to the BBC. Opponents fear that opening up areas for mining without considering the environmental impact of these decisions will be costly for an already fragile ecosystem. I think that in situations like these, where the state of the natural environment has been so compromised and the Amazon has suffered tremendous biodiversity loss, a preservationist approach is more appropriate.
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Thinkers not think tanks. 🙂
Good that you understand both concepts and adopt the more appropriate approach according to context and location. I salut you brining the example from Brazil as it demonstrates that preservation is at times more appropriate even if it is more romantic and less realistic in other contexts.
During the Pre-industrial revolution in the 18th century, landscape represented social status. Landscape sometimes convey a particular trait; people were more likely to choose bigger design and yards to communicate higher social status. The productive agricultural landscape was the basis of the wealth of the family. The key players are William Kent, Charles Bridgeman, and Lancelot “Capability” Brown, and Humphry Repton. Repton introduced “before and after” views, which showed the effect of proposed changes on the existing landscape.
The Industrial revolution in the 19th century lands transformed into public parks (i.e., Central Park in New York, Yosemite National Park, California). The key players are Grifford Pinchot and John Muir. This era had a social landscape characterized by areas of significant social segregation. Eliot had the idea of developing a park system from the city’s leftover lands and the unwanted land for development. Efficient public transportation connected rural and urban areas (i.e., railway). Howard’s garden city concept reduced the size and lowered the density of a major city by relocating people to smaller new towns.
At the Beginning of Ecology Planning from 1920 to 1970, ecology was incorporated into planning (i.e., ecological corridors). Huthings and Fagg brought up how to make regional landscape plans and how to connect complex elements from one to another. The modern landscape began as a profession. Eisenhower concluded that the United States required limited access highways to connect all the state capitals. Manning used the map for the first time for his study. Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson passed the National Environmental Protection Act, which opened up opportunities for public participation.
The Environment Cleanup from 1971 to 1980, the government adopted environmental reform such as Coastal zone management Act (1972) and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (1976). The United States established public land policy and guidelines for land management earlier than the other countries. The key players include Carl Steinits, Ian McHarg, and Howard Fisher. McHarg refined GIS and introduced how natural processes can guide development. Fisher invented SYMAP which is the first practical and publicly available computer graphics program. In this era, several figures significantly contributed in computer visual mapping program
During the Sustainable Development from 1981 to 1998, McDonough introduced the sustainability as balancing economy, ecology, and equity. People start to treat global environmental issues as complex problems. The landscape urbanism, a theory that design of the city’s landscape is the best way to organize cities, was first introduced in the mid-1990s. Esri’s GIS mapping software became even more essential planning tool.
In the Post sustainability 1998 and onward, while sustainability can be a useful formulation of goals on environmental issues, it is insufficient for current environmental and urban planning. Planning became a wicked problem. The Millennium Development Goals was launched in 2000, and the Sustainable Development Goals was set in 2015.
During the environmental movement of the early 20th century, two different views and methods for managing land emerged. The methods of conservation are using the environment and its resources responsibly. While the method of preservation, which is stricter than the conservationist approach, is not consuming the environments, lands, and their natural resources instead maintain in their original form. I stand as a conservationist to sustain a space or natural resources for continuous use. Natural resources may be renewable or non-renewable. Renewable resources like trees, people slowly consume than they replace. A non-renewable resource like fossil fuel needs maintenance to insure sufficient quantities for the future generation. We should accept the development that is a necessity for the better future but only under the condition that the changes are not wasteful. Preservation provides space reserved solely for wildlife, but conservation is necessary to link humans to their environment through education. Therefore, we should seek the proper use of nature while we regulate human use.
Grifford Pinchot and John Muir were two men who held very different ideas about the environment. Grifford Pinchot (1865-1946) was the early conservationist who argued that public wilderness areas could be used as a source of income for the country if the resources were consumed wisely. John Muir (1838-1914) was the early preservationist who argued we should protect the land and use the environment for enjoyment and not as resources for goods. Although Grifford Pinchot and John Muir had opposing views on treating public lands, they shared values. Both men are activists who (a) led the environmental movement during the nineteenth century, (b) worked for a degree of protection, and (c) opposed the reckless exploitation of natural resources, including clear-cutting of forests. The dual system of conservation and preservation land management keeps the public lands open and productive for future generation.
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Nice summary of the history and the evolution of the ideas. And good you have a clear stand and good understanding of both schools. AndI agree with the common grounds you shared about Muir and Pinchot.
The two men, Gifford Pinchot and John Muir had common goals – to protect the environment – even though they took different approaches to the same issue.
The time before the industrial revolution, in the 18th century saw gardens as an aesthetic element, often only added to housing estates and meant higher social class. During the 19th century, when the quality of life started to decline, public parks were introduced to create equal access to public space for all citizens. This was when parkways were introduced, and the railways helped in the decentralization of activity from the cities to the suburbs. This also when the Preservation and Conservation movements were introduced by John Muir and Gifford Pinchot, respectively.
Both the men, Pinchot and Muir worked their beliefs to give back or protect as much environment possible, to the public of the United States. While Muir’s beliefs are referred to as that of a Preservationist, to not use or alter any piece of existing wilderness in the name of protecting, preserving and maintaining it, it tends to impede growth or development of any kind. It is however due to this movement that we have places like the Yosemite National Park. Pinchot first advocated the Conservationist movement which believed that the people use nature and its resources, but limits it to a point where they do not over-use it and gave equal importance to protecting the nature and advancing development opportunities.
At a discussion I was part of, an architect spoke about how she would imagine all her buildings as ones that would one day wither and die, like the elements of nature which are all non-permanent in existence. While I believe that the preservationist approach is probably most beneficial to the planet, on the downside it means not being able to use any of the resources that are available in nature for the benefits of advancement of the human population. Putting nature before comfort is something that probably will need a lot of getting used to and can also be too hard to achieve in today’s time. A conservationist approach is, however, the most rational out of the two and allows the co-existence of both nature and man in a way that is non-compromising to either.
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Good you have clear understanding of preservation and conservation concepts and nice to bring the building in the discussion as an architect. Buildings, as the main element of the built environment, can tell us a lot about the incorporating the environment in the process of the environmental planning. Feel free to use architecture to demonstrate ideas and concepts discussed in class.
Before the Industrial Revolution the vast majority of the population was employed in agriculture and wealth and status went hand in hand with land ownership. The aristocracy liked to display their “wealth” by commissioning parklands and gardens to show off the landscape’s aesthetic values, and creating beautiful flower gardens instead of keeping the property in food production was another form of conspicuous consumption.
During the Industrial Revolution people left the countryside in large numbers and quickly over-crowded towns and cities. Poor health and sanitation combined with new pollutants from factories left urban communities made cities an unpleasant place to live. The disparity of access to more “wholesome” landscapes became more apparent and the public started to demand public green spaces that everyone could access. This gave birth to the idea of public parks landscaped to resemble natural environments. Even though Central Park looks like a natural environment it is a completely constructed space. Park systems arose, as well as the parkway along carriage and automobile corridors. Once railway started allowing people to commute quickly into the city the suburbs were born and inner-city parks lost the support of wealthy urbanites who fled for the countryside. During this time Gifford Pinchot and John Muir became voices in the conservation vs. preservation discussion surrounding wild lands. Both participated in the formation of the National Parks system but Pinchot believed that we should conserve the landscape while making accommodations for the resource needs of humanity while Muir felt that we should preserve the landscape in its entirety and not have any influence or development upon it.
The industrialization of our society made plain that we are having a deleterious effect on our environment and on the natural resources that we depend upon. The idea of environmental planning – that we should have a holistic approach to land management – started in the 1920’s and grew through the 1970’s. During this era new tools were developed to augment planning decision such as the overlay map, which was the progenitor of Geographic Information Systems technology. In 1960 Lynch studied how people use and form the landscape in order to better plan how to create a landscape people might fully utilize. In the 1960’s the EPA was formed in order to protect the health of the environment and regulate development. Professionals such as landscape architects and environmental planners started getting involved.
After this start the field has gone through a couple of phases such as the environmental cleanup phase and the sustainable development phase. Now we seem to be in a post-sustainability phase where we’ve reached the limits of the ideas of sustainability. We have a lot of theories about how we might find a balance between the environment, the economy, and social equity but every planning decision leaves someone unhappy and political pressure is mounting to stimulate the economy at the expense of the environment and redistribute the spoils of our natural resources.
In my opinion, what we face is a crisis of democracy. Environmental planners are in an impossible position of having to play God and make decisions they may not be fully equipped to make. Democracy addresses equity. It gives citizens the right to vote, but the environment doesn’t get a vote, future generations don’t get a vote, businesses don’t get a vote, at least they aren’t supposed to. Unfortunately, the populace can and does vote against its own self-interest on a routine basis and I don’t think democracy was intended to work when the population doesn’t act in its own self-interest. Mis-information and pure ignorance of the complexities of our society, economy, and environment are to blame. Even so, I don’t think it’s reasonable to insist that everyone have a deep understanding of ecology or economics. Thomas Jefferson believed that an educated population is the best insurance of a functioning democracy but we live in the Information Age and the amount of knowledge we possess as a society is far greater than any person could comprehend so we end up having to compartmentalize decision-making to experts, such as environmental planners. However, this compartmentalization leaves environmental planners and other specialist decision-makers vulnerable to the mob of the electorate who may elect representatives who are just as ignorant as they are to oversee complex operations and maintain democratic control.
Nature doesn’t have a term limit, it doesn’t campaign for your vote, it doesn’t have a jurisdiction, and it can’t be compromised with. The EPA was created to combat pollution and preserve natural resources, not to address climate change. Some countries are acknowledging the interests of the environment as an entity in courts and perhaps that’s a good idea that we should emulate or build upon.
I think concepts like SER’s are a good goal but they pre-suppose that we have the ability to come to a compromise between the capitalism (economy) and democracy (equity) while anticipating and understanding Mother Nature. I would prefer a very conservative “Pinchot” approach to conserving the landscape with a “Muir” hardline at a few key decision-making nodes. We can’t drive species to extinction. Waterways need to be undisturbed and restored to ecological function. We can’t extract and burn fossil fuels. If we make a few concessions to development we risk the slippery slope of long-term impacts and since hindsight is 20:20 but the future is foggy we can’t know that the concessions we make now won’t have grave consequences for our progeny.
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I selected few of your words that are very powerful. Some may agree or disagree with those, but they are certainly based on a solid argument:
“…every planning decision leaves someone unhappy…”
“…Environmental planners are in an impossible position of having to play God and make decisions they may not be fully equipped to make…”
“…the environment doesn’t get a vote…”
“…future generations don’t get a vote…”
“…businesses don’t get a vote…”
In fact, I think they do and sometimes manipulate the public to vote for their interest. Especially large corporates.
“…I don’t think it’s reasonable to insist that everyone have a deep understanding of ecology or economics….”
“…the future is foggy…”
But we should be optimistic and change that. Right?
“…we can’t know that the concessions we make now won’t have grave consequences for our progeny…”
During the Pre-Industrial period, the environmental planning cared about the beautification and production of a land. The goal the environmental planning was not directly relative to environmental planning. People built a park or protected the land for enjoyment or better living conditions. When the Industrial comes, urbanization was accelerated and urban area sprawled, which caused serious environmental problems. So the idea of ‘Garden Cities’ emerged. Designers started to create more green space in urban area to mitigate the ‘Urban Disease’. During 1920’s, environmental planning focused on system other than the single space. There were multi-discipline researchers took part in the environmental planning research. They started to link the existing green space into the holistic system. Later on, Mc Harg’s laid the foundation of technology system of environmental planning – ArcGIS, which strengthened the scientific nature of environmental planning. In 1980’s, environmental planning set the sustainability as the major goal. Now we are in the post sustainability period. We care more about the relationship between human being and nature.
Pinchot and Muir hold both different and same opinions in environmental planning.
On one hand, their path of achieving environmental planning goal is different. Pinchot focused conservation and argued that the resources from nature should be used within in a limited extent so that the environmental resources can be used sustainably. Muir was a preservationist and believed forbidden using any resources of nature and changing any natural-system.
On the other hand, they both share the same goal – environmental protection. Firstly, they focused on mitigating the detrimental effect human being brought to nature (in different ways). Secondly, they adhered to the opposite side of the limitless waste of natural resources. Thirdly, they cared about the long-term benefit instead of short-term outcomes. They achieve the same goal by different approach.
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In China, environmental planning is more likely toward the conservation. This phenomenon derives from the fact that the population dense of our country is so high that we should choose a wise way to use the limited recourses in long-term development. We also keep some natural park for preservation. But those preservation actions are built on the premise that we preserve the area for next generation/future usage.
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During the 18th century which was Pre-Industrial Revolution period, landscape architects like Charles Bridgeman, William Kent, and Lance lot “Capability” Brown focused on the beautification of landscape. The landscape they designed was particularly classic English style with cattle, sheep, deer grazing and clumps of trees. Much emphasis was put on the rural aesthetic landscape which remained access to only the upper level of society.
Later in 19th century, as the Industrial Revolution started, the deterioration of cities became inevitable and city’s environment was largely damaged. A section of the educated and the elite raised concerns for the lower class, and they noticed the potential demand for public parks. Frederick Law Olmsted, the founder of landscape architecture, designed Central Park in New York together with Calvert Vaux. They were the first to raise the conception of creating equal access to recreational places and the park system. They added pathways to the public park system to serve the public.
Worried about the reducing housing quality which was polluted and dangerous, a few intellectuals formed the Green City Association. They introduce the concept of Garden City to the landscape and urban planning. Their idea was to separate city with a band of countryside and remove people to smaller new towns. Urban and rural areas would be connected with efficient and convenient transportation systems. Their innovation which still has a huge influence on today’s New Urbanism movement integrated the ecological and environmental elements to the urban systems. The eco-planning which began in later periods incorporated ecology and holistic landscape conception. The emergence and spread of railway system on the one hand enlarged the scale of urbanization; on the other hand it lowered the density and scale of cities. However, the highway systems became a catalyst for the flow of capital. The GIS which was then introduced into landscape planning better helped planners to project the supervision and management. A tremendous emphasis was gradually focused on sustainability which has influenced the world for over thirty years.
I stand at the point of conservation but I am sure that the best way is to combine conservation and preservation. Conservation incorporates ecology and environment into economic development. It allows people to have access to nature and its resources but they cannot over-exploit them. Conservation tries to build a sustainable balance between human and nature so that both of them can function well without compromising the use of future generations. The concept of conservation is significant to the awareness of sustainability in developing countries since they would not throw economic development away because they have to make a living first. Compared to preservation which puts more emphasis on reserve the natural resource like forests for recreational touring or just entire reservation, conservation is more suitable for human society as we can make use of the resources. However, preservation is also important in some particular cases. For instance, there are many unique natural heritages and landscapes in the world, such as Yellowstone National Park in America, Huang Mountain in China and many national parks in Africa which are the best habitat for wild animals. There is no doubt that these sites should be preserved as more blocked areas and separated from the secular world.
Although John Muir and Gifford Pinchot held different views about environment, I would argue that they were both environmentalists and shared a common opinion of environmental protection. John Muir, as one who supported preservation, along with Olmsted formed the idea of protecting the important landscapes of America. The representative of conservation, Gifford Pinchot promoted the multiple use of forests in Baltimore for providing water, timber and recreational use. From the examples mentioned above, what can be deduced is that both of them cared about the sustainability of natural resources and what can be left for future generations. in addition, they both objected the clearance of forests, which implies their concern for the natural environment.
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