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Landscape Field Notes From A Post-Pandemic Future

How Did We Get Here?
A little over a year ago, the perception of the world was altered in scale with the aid of a malicious, microscopic virus whose impact was both vastly global and horribly intimate. For some of us, it was a second global pandemic in our lifetimes, the first being HIV/AIDS, and now in the present, an invisible specter is passed through gathering, proximity, and air. Like so many, DAVID RUBIN Land Collective shut its studio doors in favor of remote engagement and virtual collaboration. We soldiered on to find the balance between designing landscapes of social purpose while informing an environment that is safe for gathering.

Why Now?
Pandemics, generally, expose and highlight vulnerabilities in our society, often isolating communities and bringing to light long suppressed issues. As with past pandemics, the current COVID moment has exposed and exacerbated the existing fractures in our society. We at Land Collective gathered virtually and often to process the ongoing inequities that this moment has laid bare. We asked ourselves: what can we do about this? How can landscape serve this moment? We listened while many spoke to the immediate needs: opening up more public space, marking 6-feet of distance on pavement, building emergency healthcare facilities.

How Can We Show Up Better?
But we wanted to think about solving the issues that plagued us before the pandemic and would remain with us long after. These are issues that are now openly talked about. Let’s seize this moment of awareness to see if we can come through this pandemic stronger, smarter, better-prepared to change our future, our common ground, and future landscape. We ended up with a new dedication to our core mission: utilizing empathy to create socially resilient landscapes that positively inform and empower communities.

Let’s Do this Together 
Working in collaboration with the brilliant talent at Bruce Mau Design, together we have created an Instagram “magazine” – Landscape Field Notes from a PostPandemic Future@Post_Pandemic_Landscape. Bruce Mau Design assisted us in bringing visual life to what we wanted to say, and guided us to new forms of dialogue. Our collaboration led to the development of an Instagram discussion on the PostPandemic Future of Landscape – everything outside of the building envelope, and sometimes on top of it. It is our discipline that marries static systems and living systems, sociology, anthropology, and other human sciences, and brings meaning to places that resonate in the hearts and minds of the constituency that occupy and identify with those designed spaces.

We want this Instagram magazine to be a place that sparks conversations, integrates diverse ideas, and guides us all to be better designers. It has been a joyful collaboration and we want to share that joy with others. The series is meant to be engaging, accessible, and informative. It is not at all definitive. Rather, it is intended to be an inclusive dialogue that empowers practitioners and recipients of designed environments, and gives voice to the novice who may not appreciate (yet) the power of landscape to inform and reflect culture. We invite you to be part of building a better future landscape, too. Consider our posts, share how they resonate with you, and help us learn from your pandemic experience as much as you learn from ours.

This is a living magazine and you are, aspirationally, a contributor. Join and participate.