Girot: Four Trace Concepts in Landscape Architecture

This article brought up a lot of great points that really put my mind to work. The first of which was one of the first points made. “Designers seldom belong to the place he/she is designing.” This was a point I had just accepted up until now. But now, it doesn’t make sense to me. I feel as if design, in order to be done to benefit the community of the new building, must be down with the community. A person just coming in, building a structure, and leaving, has made no attempt to engage the community and therefore has lost the point of the design in the first place. A design of a building or park is meant to be used by a community and bring them together. Therefore, a designer must immersible him/herself in the community in order to make the best design possible.

The second point that caught my attention was the comparison between “Landing” and “Grounding.” I feel strongly that many designers, and people in general, let their “Landing” experience be the end all be all. They use their first interaction as a pair of dark sunglasses, shielding them from seeing or experiencing any new opinions about a place. Girot is correct in demonstrating the importance of “Grounding,” going back to the sight many times with an open mind and room for new interpretation. In this way, the design is never fully done mentally. If a design can take on a new meaning for people which each visit, it has truly made an impact on them.

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You bring up good points, Emmett. I also appreciated Girot’s message. I find a parallel narrative in the international food trade. To help a developing nation alleviate food scarcity, it would make sense to involve the farmers there in resource allocation rather than dumping food on the market, the presence of which threatens farmers’ ability to sustain long-term business. Communities with “stake” in the decision surely should be at the table.

I like Girot’s emphasis on empathy. Not only are we looking to bring the impacted community to the table, but we’re really trying to digest the cultural/environmental context in which the design happens. I see this as relevant to the humanization of professional relationships (or the rejection of commodity fetishization) in Fisher’s article.

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