Working group leader(s):

  • Mathew Pryor    Assoc. Professor (Teaching), Landscape Architecture, HKU

  • Yizhao Yang    Assoc. Professor.  Planning, Public Policy and Management . U. Oregon

  • Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard  Lecturer, Landscape Architecture, UNSW Sydney, Faculty Built Environment

In 2019, three working groups will combine to explore the condition of infrastructural ecologies and their biodiversity networks within the urban-rural interface.The focus of the working group will be a comparative study between several agricultural types existing at the urban-rural interface of each participants city. This assessment will identify several types, explain their condition, consider their relationship to biodiversity and outline how they provide linkage within Green Infrastructure (GI) networks. A critique of the tools for measurement and evaluation will be considered.

Identifying, evaluating and strengthening ecosystem links and spatial flows across the urban-rural continuum addresses the aim of the Urban Agenda (2016), and the UN’s mandate to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities. We are now at a point where rapidly evolving social and environmental pressures threaten, transform, and shape cities. In response, re-thinking green infrastructure in cities as productive, resilient, and living systems opens pathways of design thinking towards emergent forms of ecological urbanism. These designed systems redefine the notion of productivity to encompass both the ecological and social. Thinking in assemblages of stakeholders, actors, and spaces creates a framework for social investment and development.

Urban Renewable Energy

Working group leader(s):

  • Makena Coffman, Professor & Director, Urban and Regional Planning & Institute for Sustainability and Resilience, University of Hawaii, Manoa

  • Yekang Ko, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, APRU SCL Program Director, University of Oregon

The Urban Renewable Energy Working Group in 2017 and 2018 gathered experts from around the Pacific Rim in topics of how renewable energy interacts with biodiversity, as well as can contribute to the resilience of energy systems and communities. This year, 2019, we will build on these themes within the context of renewable energy landscapes. We invite participants to share illustrative case studies within their regions to conceptualize what it means to achieve both large-scale decarbonization within the power sector as well as responsible renewable energy technology development that identifies and limits trade-offs to other important ecological and/or social processes.


Working group leader(s):

  • Dr Mohsen Mohammadzadeh. University of Auckland

Researchers from different parts of the Pacific region will join this working group to consider the various aspects of Smart Cities as an emerging global trend. The emerging smart and innovative technologies are gradually transforming our cities including the physical environment, landscape and everyday life. The technological progress provides new opportunities for decision makers, urban designers, planners, and landscape architects, among the others, to suggest new solutions for some of the wicked urban issues such as traffic congestions.

This working group will investigate the different capacities of smart technologies to attain sustainable development. These technological achievements may generate new problems and concerns such as ethical implications. This working group will consider the ethical implications of using these emerging ethnologies. Governments have deployed various plans and policies to maximise the benefits of the utilisation of these new smart technologies. This working group will review and compare Pacific cities’ plans and policies that have been prepared and implemented by both the central and local governments.

Sustainable Urban Design

Working group leader(s):

  • Errol J Haarhoff. Professor of Architecture, Director: Urban Research Network, University of Auckland

  • Dr Paola Boarin, Senior Lecturer, Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

The Sustainable Urban Design Working Group gathers experts from around the world to research and discuss sustainable urban design approaches in their regions. Also of interest, is the extent to which urban development is being informed by international agreements, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim of this group is to share knowledge so that we can better understand the particularities of context as well as help identify more general, universally applicable approaches and ways of thinking about urban sustainability. The working group invites researchers and practitioners from built environment disciplines including urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and engineering, to name a few.

 We are targeting the publication of a Working Paper that contains a number of case studies demonstrating sustainable urban design outcomes. The case studies will reflect sustainability issues from the cities concerned and evidence-based outcomes from research and in projects. Among the issues that these may demonstrate are responses to the UN-SDGs, drivers-of-change, disruptive technologies, density and well-being, climate change, and urban transport. As case studies these may be best demonstrated at a neighbourhood or urban enclave scale. Participants are invited to submit a 500 word outline of a case study, expanded to a draft document before the conference of 3000-4000 words, for presentation and discussion at the Working Group sessions. Revised papers will be published after the conference.

Transitions in Urban Waterfront

Working group leader(s):

  • Anne Taufen, Associate Professor, Urban Studies Program, University of Washington Tacoma Urban Studies

  • Ken Yocom, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Washington

  • Catherine Evans, Senior Lecturer, Landscape Architecture, UNSW Sydney, Faculty Built Environment

In cities throughout the Pacific Rim, waterfronts are hybrid spaces of transition and development. Urbanization has wrought profound environmental damage in these zones of previously rich biotic life and primary productivity; additionally, the social, economic, and environmental benefits that waterfronts enable and support are unevenly distributed among human populations of urban regions, so that they are sites of accumulated inequity, accessible and generative for a relatively small percentage of the people living in a metropolitan area.  Because waterfronts and in particular their maritime and port functions have been shaped by dominant patterns of competitive development, many coastal cities have struggled to reclaim the regional bio-function and broadly shared cultural values of these urban spaces. This working group sets forth an agenda for better understanding changes underway for urban waterfronts on two key dimensions: performance and access.

 Performance encompasses the mechanics of what happens in waterfront spaces, including typological configurations of economic performance (shipping, trade, tourism, retail); environmental performance (species diversity, catchment morphology, biological health); and social performance (parks, trails, open shorelines, docks). Performance acknowledges that some uses will be prioritized over, or negotiated against others, and helps to illustrate, in empirical terms, the trade-offs involved. Access adds an explicit equity frame to such assessments, helping to surface the values that underpin typological distinctions among different waterfront configurations. Hierarchies of access will be examined through analysis of performance typologies, and also, importantly as they relate to discourses of development, politics, design and sustainability, and to governance structures and institutional norms that reach far beyond the scale of the waterfront itself.

Vulnerable Communities

Sociotechnical systems and increased vulnerability from climate changes in cities

Working group leader(s):

  • Chingwen Cheng, Assistant Professor Landscape Architecture, Arizona State University

Climate changes place increasing stresses on existing sociotechnical systems, both in cities, and those that support cities (e.g. electricity grids, water systems, transport systems, as well as increased heat exposures, increased flooding in cities and more).  We propose a panel that explores how modernist sociotechnical systems – and a lack of such – may enhance human vulnerability in cities due to impacts of a changing climate.

We welcome participants who work on water, energy, housing, urban form and the impacts of modernist sociotechnical systems – or a lack of alternative approaches – impact the health and resilience of urban dwellers.

Landscape and Human Health

Working group leader(s):

  • Chun-Yen Chang    Professor, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture  National Taiwan University

In recent society, people are getting unfamiliar with nature than people used to be. Most of the people live in urban area with less green cover area. When people involve in natural environments, people receive some health benefits, for example recover from mental and physical fatigue, enhance attention, release stress, slow heart rate, enhance sense of community, improve social integration…etc. With these benefits, natural landscapes can ease the tension of the modern society, improve performance of daily or important affairs, ameliorate relationships among people.

 Studies in the “healthy landscape and healthy people”, researchers asked questions to fill the gap in the relationship of landscape and human health. What other advantages can nature provide to human being? What are the benefits that nature do to some specific groups? How should we adjust landscape design to help getting more natural areas in built environments? What are the criteria when designing restorative landscapes? To answer these questions, we did research about landscape ecological and figure out how do diversity of land cover types and species affect preference and mental health. Studies evaluated preference, psychological health benefits and physiological health benefits of different kinds of landscape, for example urban, mountain, forest, seashore, streams. They also discussed the characteristics of images, such as spatial frequency, to examine the attention restoration effect. furthermore, studies did the researches of different groups, for example students and elders. On the other hand, they used functional magnetic resonance imaging instruments to examine brain activities while people were viewing different landscapes and doing tasks such as attention restoration. Still, in the field of landscape and health, there are more to be explored.

 In urban lifestyles, people spend lots of time in indoor activities, such as studying, working, or even workout, causing less chances to contact with green landscapes. How to do and what is the benefits by creating greens and vivid environment that reduce stress, increase productivity, good emotion in daily would be a next news step in our research. Enhance, by this working group, we would like to invite experts from other countries to share and discuss the knowledge of this field further with each other, and get inspired.

 In this working group, we will ask questions about the core concept, landscape and human health and discuss under several aspects:

1.    Research
-Healthy biodiversity indicators
-Landscape type analysis
-Green infrastructure
-Place perception and meaning
-Healthy (psychological and Physiological) indicators

-Evidence-Based practice of Biophilic Design in Everyday Life   

2.    Application
-Therapeutic landscape planning and design
-Friendly environment for elders
-Supportive environment for students
-Healthy green infrastructures

FOOD and Nutrition SECURITY

Working group leader(s):

  • Dr Robert Dyball, Senior Lecturer, Human Ecology Program, The Australian National University ANU

Throughout history, cities have developed mechanisms to grow beyond the limitations of the productive capacity of their immediate hinterlands. The changing nature of the relationship between a city and the landscapes that provision it is of central concern to the SCL hub. This theme looks at how secure are the food systems of cities and their hinterlands, and what are some of the environmental and human health and wellbeing consequences of their current arrangements. These environmental and wellbeing concerns extend to all actors in the food system, from producers, processors, retailers, consumers, and issues in post consumption, wherever they may be located.

 The food and nutrition security theme is interested in current and potential alternative food production and distribution systems at a range of scales, from the very local, including urban agriculture, to regional ‘food catchments’ and ‘food miles’, to national and international distributions systems, including ‘telecoupled’ relationships between producers and consumers in distant places. At any scale, food systems can be assessed against their material and energy costs and outputs, including the sustainability of terrestrial and aquatic methods of production, and the transmission of information, including finance, values, and trust relationships between actors. Beyond studying processes that make food physically available, the theme is concerned with issues of equity and justice for all agents in the food system. It is also concerned with the health and wellbeing implications of different food system arrangements for primary producers, process workers, and for consumers accessing foods with differing degrees of processing and differing energy and nutrient densities. Overarching questions asked by the theme concern the exposure food systems have to different levels of risks and vulnerabilities and how they might be reconfigured to reduce those vulnerabilities, while improving measures of health, justice and sustainability.


Working group leader(s):

  • Adam DeHeer, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon

As cities around the Pacific Rim and the world continue to expand rapidly, traditional wastewater and sanitation systems are failing to meet the challenge. Over consumption of water, lost nutrients, and the failure to expand services to underrepresented and vulnerable populations all indicate the need for a water and sanitation revolution. This working group aims to address how wastewater and sanitation services can evolve to be truly sustainable, with a focus on the increasing need for non-traditional solutions in informal settlements.  Examining nutrient flows and opportunities for onsite resource recovery, this working group will develop strategies for cost-effective ways to transform waste products into productive community resources. Previously, this working group examined how urban areas could take tangible first steps towards remaking their wastewater and sanitation systems and subsequently, how alternative sanitation systems can be taken to scale. In 2019, the working group will concentrate on the role of landscape architecture in informal settlements as it applies to water and sanitation. Intended academic outcomes include a position paper, a book chapter and possibly a grant proposal.