Modular landscapes in arid climates redefining sustainability in public space

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Abstract

This paper proposes a set of sustainable Modular Design Principles (MDP) with direct applicability in different landscape contexts. Sustainable practices, such as the optimization between resources and costs, both in terms of construction and maintenance phases, are included in the structural reasoning.

MDPs here presented are included in a vaster group of landscape practices, used in several projects where important resources, such as water and soil, are scarce – especially in arid and semi-arid areas.

A theoretical case study in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is presented, in order to put the proposed MDPs up to the test. These principles do not close the theme of sustainable practices in landscape architecture, but rather deepen the discussion.

The definition of these sustainable design principles followed a modular approach, where different elements were isolated for deeper comprehension. Nevertheless, to understand those as a whole is quintessential in order to produce enduring integrated landscape solutions.

Conclusions demonstrate that the modular reasoning opens the possibility of continuous reinventions and adaptations to new techniques, new technologies and new operational wills in landscape.

Although proposed MDPs are contextualised within a limit situation – the desert climates – it is defended that this researches’ operative conclusions can be applied as global models for integrated landscape design, as long as they are provided with specific adaptations regarding accurate relations between desired aesthetic attitudes, good sustainability practices and application site’s specific characteristics.

Keywords: sustainability, design principle, intensive/extensive areas, modular landscape, arid climate

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