Climate change and global warming are some of the hottest issues of today, with calls for communities throughout the United States to adopt sustainable living practices to preserve the environment. This is especially relevant for the state of Utah, widely known even outside the United States for its picturesque scenery and natural landscape.
Thus, it is important that Utah address these concerns and find a way to integrate sustainability into everyday practices, lest its environment suffer the cost in the future. One of the best ways Utah can begin to address climate change is by integrating sustainability into its landscape architecture.
As opposed to designing buildings or structures, landscape architecture focuses on designing outdoor areas to achieve both environmental and socio-behavioral outcomes, as well as ensuring presentable aesthetics.
Some of the places designed by a landscape architect include parks, public walkways, and subdivisions, and they can even be involved in restoring natural areas like deforested land. Given that it is known for its outdoor life, landscape architecture is a perfect focal point for Utah’s sustainability efforts.
Here are some ways in particular that landscape architecture can shape sustainability:
Landscape urbanism is the general practice in architecture and urban planning wherein the best way to design an urban area is not by focusing on individual structures, but by focusing on the landscape as a whole.
Thus, structures and areas constructed with landscape urbanism in mind are typically rich in green spaces and incorporate other forms of sustainable practices into the design. The practice of landscape urbanism forms the backbone for integrating sustainability into architecture.
As the landscape is the focus, the design must cleverly harness natural elements to be integrated into the structure. These natural elements also add aesthetic value, as the color they generate is immediately eye-catching and noticeable.
In a dry, desert landscape such as Utah, knowing how to properly manage water is of paramount importance. Landscape architects have the responsibility of making sure their structures can harness and conserve rainwater.
At the same time, the structure must be designed in such a way that does not make it susceptible to damage from flooding. Apart from designing structures that make use of water properly, landscape architects may also be tasked with restoring wetlands or urban areas near bodies of water that have been damaged by pollution or contamination.
This involves cleaning up the area and bringing it back to life. Many successful restoration projects turn these areas into parks or lively public spaces.
Utah has recently been grappling with poor air quality, which poses a danger to many of its citizens. Because landscape architecture involves focusing on the landscape, it follows that any structure designed with landscape urbanism in mind promotes having green spaces.
It is a fact that plants and trees are important when it comes to purifying air, as they produce oxygen while also absorbing gas pollutants. Whether through rooftop gardens or centralized parks, landscape architecture definitely plays a big role in mitigating air pollution and ensuring that the population can breathe easily in the city.
Landscape architecture certainly has a lot to contribute towards preserving the beauty of Utah’s surroundings. Through intelligent and creative design, landscape architects will be able to design structures that complement the already spectacular Utah landscape. With the accompanying benefits that landscape architecture brings, this could really be the state’s long term solution to address climate change.