In April, Dou Zhang, ASLA, Director of Sasaki's Shanghai Office, spoke at the inaugural Shanghai Landscape Forum. Founded by Sasaki, SWA, and AECOM, the forum aims to raise the profile of the practice of landscape architecture in China, and to create a more sustainable future for the profession and urban environments everywhere.
Echoing the New Landscape Declaration crafted by the Landscape Architecture Foundation last year, the Shanghai Landscape Forum’s mission is to:
-Pioneer new practices that result in design innovation and exert influence on policy transformations
-Raise public awareness of landscape architecture’s vital contribution
-Advocate for landscape architecture as a driving force for social progress
“Landscape architecture has experienced rapid growth in China over the past 20 years,” said Dou in her opening remarks, “Landscape professionals are often the last ones to be engaged in the planning process and the first to see budget cuts…sometimes months of planning and design effort can be overwritten overnight by government officials or leading decision makers… We need to improve it.”
Representatives from each founding firm shared experience of their practice in the Chinese context. By presenting case studies of Sasaki’s recent China projects: Lujiazui Riverfront Public Open Spaces, Xuhui Runway Park, and Yiwu Hesilu Village Master Plan, Dou pointed out the importance of engaging stakeholders, effectively communicating with decision makers, and understanding community needs as the key to successful projects.
Dou also gave closing remarks after the presentation. She reiterated the mission of the forum and urged all participants to connect and communicate with the other international and domestic designers through its future programs.
See more photos of the event below:
Shanghai Landscape Forum is a quarterly event with the aim of shifting to a monthly meeting. As a platform to promote landscape architecture in China, the forum is open to all landscape design professionals in the area to connect, share, and network.