Working with nature -- instead of in opposition to it -- helps communities become more
resilient and come back stronger after disruptive natural events. Long-term resilience
is about continuously bouncing back and regenerating. It's about learning how to cope
with the ever-changing “new normal.”
become more frequent and intense due to climate change,
communities must adapt and redevelop to reduce risks and improve ecological and human health. It's also time to stop putting communities and infrastructure in high-risk places. And we need to reduce sprawl, which further exacerbates the risks.
Resilient landscape planning
and design offers a way forward for communities. We can now use multi-layered systems of protection, with diverse, scalable
elements, any one of which can fail safely in the event of a catastrophe.
Many communities have attempted to find a single solution to disasters through
heavy-handed infrastructure projects: walls to keep out water, power plants to
cool cities. But working with nature to create multi-layered defenses provides
For example, constructed coastal buffers, made of reefs and sand, can also provide
wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities; urban forests made up of diverse
species clean the air while reducing the urban heat island effect; and green
infrastructure designed to control flooding also provides needed community
space and creates jobs.
The goal of resilient landscape planning and design is to retrofit our communities to recover more quickly from extreme events, now and in the future. In an era when disasters can cause traditional, built systems to fail, adaptive, multi-layered systems can maintain their vital functions
and are often the more cost-effective and practical solutions.
In an age of
rising waters and temperatures and diminishing budgets, the best defenses are adaptive,
This guide is
organized around disruptive events that communities now experience: drought, extreme heat, fire, flooding, landslides, and, importantly, biodiversity loss, which subverts our ability to work with nature.
The guide includes
numerous case studies and resources demonstrating multi-benefit systems as well
as the small-scale solutions that fit within those. The guide also explains landscape
architects’ role in the planning and design teams helping to make communities
A special thanks to our expert reviewers for their guidance: Alexander Felson, ASLA, assistant professor, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale School of Architecture; Kristina Hill, Affiliate ASLA, associate professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning and urban design, University of California at Berkeley; Nina-Marie Lister, Hon. ASLA, graduate program director and associate professor, Ryerson University School of Urban and Regional Planning; Nate Wooten, Associate ASLA, landscape designer, OLIN; and Kongjian Yu, FASLA, founder and dean, Peking University College of Architecture and Landscape.
This guide is a living resource so we invite you to submit research studies, news articles, and case studies you’d like to see included. Please e-mail them to ASLA at email@example.com
Biodiversity Loss >>