In a time where we may feel nothing is happening according to plan—as though the patterned overlay which so reliably charts our course and acts as a marker of time passed and life lived has been unceremoniously stripped away—we can take solace in the knowledge that this upheaval is, too, part of a pattern larger than us, the likes of which have been overcome before and will be again.
And while it can be comforting to know we are not alone in this experience of uncertainty, it is critical we confront the ways some of us benefit from systems of which are designed to actively dispossess so many others. In this collective pause, we have both the privilege and the responsibility to examine the patterns and systems which shape our lives, our cities, and our society, and to consider which are useful and which are long overdue for a redesign.
Old systems and patterns are showing the cracks of strain under their own oppressive weight. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted importance of our interaction with the natural world. Black Lives Matter and social justice movements across the globe have revived a keen understanding of public space as a stage upon which the fight for democracy and equity is played out. Climate change has facilitated a broader awareness of how status quo development is woefully inadequate to tackle the challenges of our time.
We do not know what the future is going to look like, but we have the tools to design it. One of our most precious skills as designers is our ability to envision futures which do not yet exist, and to communicate those futures to others. As landscape architects, we are well-positioned to be fierce advocates for, and designers of, a more just, sustainable, and prosperous way forward.
Nadja Pausch, OALA
Chair, Editorial Board