This is the result of continuous student interest in designing and conceptualizing living landscapes with productive qualities. Products range from classical agrarian products to new energy harvesting and pollution solutions.
The 'Landscape Machine – Design Laboratory’ was founded in 2012 at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands by landscape architect Paul Roncken. It is the result of continuous student interest in designing and conceptualizing living landscapes with productive qualities. Products range from classical agrarian products to new energy harvesting and pollution solutions. The students are working at their final Msc Thesis projects in landscape architecture. The team has regular meetings in which we discuss the design aspects of the landscape and the scientific aspects of the living machine. We cooperate with scientific fields such as fish breeding, renewable energy, aquatic ecology and climate studies. As landscape architects we also cooperate with artists, product designers and entrepreneurs that dare to invest in future environments and will inspire future generations and generate new biotopes.
Recent examples of landscape machines in the design laboratory have revealed several types that clarify the diversity of living system design. The two examples in the prior publication can now be categorized as ‘production type’ (Saline Landscape) and ‘waste treatment type’ (Dredge Landscape Park). New examples are additional by introducing a ‘system repair type’ and an ‘energy-battery type’.
The ‘production type’ aims to upscale the design of an essentially closed cycle of crop or lifestock breeding within a chain of nutrients, waste and fertilizer exchange. Instead of a closed cycle the landscape machine introduces an open system and thereby necessarily upscales the amount of production units by being responsive to existing or dormant landscape processes that are cooperatively used by several interrelated production units. The ‘waste treatment type’ intends to clean a pollution that is contained within soil, water or artificial materials by use of a sequence of landscape processes. The sequence is determined by variation in time, size and position of the various cleaning stages. In the end the majority of the waste is decomposed into valuable resources. There might however be a minority of waste residue that can be isolated to perform in extreme types of landscape environments (e.g. the sink garden in Dredge Landscape Park).
The ‘system-repair type’ is an intervention in a landscape to re-adjust an unbalanced dynamical aspect within for instance delta regions, riverbeds or beach and breach coastlines. Due to an excess of human involvement some dynamical systems needs continuous and costly maintenance that results in an equally continuous hindrance of biodiversity and system complexity. Such landscapes are deadened by unnecessary human involvement. The landscape machine introduces an intervention to allow a sustainable expansion of human economical use of such dynamical landscapes by living system regulation. Lastly, the ‘energy-battery type’ intends to create a landscape integrated storage facility for renewable energy, generated by large scale natural dynamics such as ebb and flood dynamics, blue energy and wind funneling.