London’s water, waterscape and flood landscape

The Architectural Review published an article on Architecture and Water, in 2014, supported by three videos which are embedded below. It’s great to see architects having a concern for these issues and many good points are made by the interviewees. The videos are about London, despite their titles, and they raise important issues. The points I noted are: (1) ‘Water’ is too limited as a headline term for a debate which must include ecology and people: Herbert Dreiseitl’s ‘Waterscape’ would be better (reading it as a contraction of water+landscape) (2) the term ‘gentrification’, used in the title of Part 2, is a sociologist’s sneer: instead, the debate should be framed in the mainstream landscape architectural vocabulary of ‘creating and conserving public goods’ (3) the word ‘park’, as used in the title of Part 3, is wrong: a park is an enclosed space; London’s waterways should be unenclosed landscapes (4) the videos are too much about creating opportunities for developers and their architects: public investment in green infrastructure is also necessary (5) the greenway concept is of key importance in the inter-generational task of recovering the Lost Rivers of London – the small rivers, like the River Quaggy in SE London, are as important as the River Thames. They suffer from a far greater level of neglect and have been very badly treated by generations of river engineers.
Part 1: A river runs through it

Part 2: Gentrification machine?

Part 3: Water park

Tom Turner

Posted in flood prevention, green infrastructure, greenways

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