Landscape Planning and Environmental Impact Design

By Tom Turner | Go to book overview

Preface

In town and in country there must be landscapes where we can walk in safety, pick fruit, cycle, work, sleep, swim, listen to the birds, bask in the sun, run through the trees and laze beside cool waters. Some should be busy; others solitary. Rivers should be prised out of their concrete coffins and foul ditches. Quarries should be planned as new landscapes. Forests should provide us with recreation, timber and wildlife habitats. Wastes should be used to build green hills. Routeways should be designed for all types of user, not just for motor vehicles. Old towns should be revitalized and new villages made. When growing food, farmers should conserve and remake the countryside. Buildings should stop behaving like spoilt brats: each should contribute to an urban or rural landscape. But what is a landscape? In this book, the word is used to mean “a good outdoor place”: useful, beautiful, sustainable, productive and spiritually rewarding.

To achieve these goals, there is but one necessity: when preparing and approving plans for new places, or spending money on old places, we must look beyond the confines of each and every project. Gazing at these wider horizons, we shall see that development projects are initiated by specialists who have been imprisioned within “closely drawn technical limits” and “narrowly drawn territorial boundaries” (Weddle 1967: vii). It is not the specialists’ fault. But if their approach results in single-objective projects, the collective landscape suffers.

Ill fares the land, to hast’ning ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay. (Goldsmith 1770)

Professionals should be trained to take both narrow and broad views. This book is addressed to members of the public, to let them know what they should request, and to the many professions involved in landscape-making: planners, designers, architects, engineers, farmers, foresters and others. The task has aesthetic, functional, economic, political and philosophical dimensions.

Economists distinguish between private and public goods. Private goods, such as cars, houses and farms, are the province of private individuals, private organizations and single-minded professionals. Public goods, such

-vii-

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