During the holidays, home is at the forefront of our minds. It is the season for coming together. For me, a recognition of privilege and a deep sense of gratitude for where I am able to call home has been heightened over the past two years—particularly as the temperatures drop and daylight shortens. Winter is a season of slowing down, reflection, and rest, where many of us spend more time indoors. Many of us also embark on an annual pilgrimage, returning to the landscapes and houses in which we grew up to celebrate family, community, and shared values. The season reminds us home is not a building: it is who we are.
But what happens when we cannot return home? Douglas Robb explores this question as he discusses an upcoming hydropower project in British Columbia and its impacts on the surrounding landscape. When infrastructure projects, climate change events, or forced displacement from our home landscapes occurs, what is the impact on our identity and sense of place in the world? It is a question we should all consider as professionals working on stolen land.
These questions also relate to the theme of the Round Table, which explores how we can better design public space to meet the diverse needs of all users, including unhoused members of our communities. As we discuss, the ways in which our public spaces are designed and utilized are often a result of public policy, which in many ways are an extension of our societal values. As Adri Stark comments, our society is changing, and the way we utilize public spaces is as well. Designing parks and public spaces to be less hospitable to diverse uses does not solve complex problems, it exacerbates them; when our designs acknowledge and empower the most marginalized members of our communities, we all benefit. As landscape architects, we have a responsibility to create safe, welcoming public space for all. For those of us with the privilege of feeling generally safe and welcome in the public realm, this requires a continual unlearning and questioning of our perceptions.
The past two years has seen not only an influx of use in public and natural spaces, but in our private home landscapes as well. Once secondary, sometimes neglected outdoor environments have become vital extensions of our primary living space due to the pandemic. A handful of prominent landscape architects working in the residential sector answer questions about their experiences over the past few years and trends in the industry.
On behalf of the entire Ground Magazine Editorial Board, we wish you a safe and restful holiday season.
Nadja Pausch, OALA, CSLA
Chair, Editorial Board