Winter is a great time to catch up on reading that informs, challenges, and inspires the design process. Places Journal, an online publication that covers the future of architecture, landscapes, and urbanism, has a user-generated feature called Reading Lists. Topics range from “Nature in the City” to “Planning + African-American Communities” to “Deconstructing the Imperialist’s Approach to Geomorphology” (this last one devoted to understanding the U.S. Army Corps as landscape designers). Pick any topic and you’ll be greeted with a comprehensive list of books, scholarly papers, and online articles typically adapted from a contributor’s seminar.
A list of particular interest here at RDG is “Toward a Future Agrarian Urbanism”, created by Phoebe Lickwar (principal of FORGE Landscape Architecture and Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Arkansas). Lickwar sees the design of productive urban spaces as intrinsically political; her reading list prompts questions about the role designers and scholars have in creating equitable and sustainable urban agriculture models.
The list is organized into three parts: Agrarian Ideals traces the agrarian narrative established by Thomas Jefferson, Wendell Berry, Aldo Leopold, and others; Agrarian Praxis delves into the designs and experiments arising from that narrative; and Agrarian Entanglements offers readings that challenge parts one and two.
Anyone interested in sustainable design, agriculture, social justice, land rights, or food systems will find something worthwhile to read. See the full list here.