Grounds for Review

Grounds for Review: The Garden Festival in Urban Planning and Design

Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Pages: 300
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  • Book Info
    Grounds for Review
    Book Description:

    Garden Festivals are more than temporary horticultural expositions. Complex and phased, these projects have additional significance as planning stratagems, reclamation projects, public art venues, and precursors of new urban parks. Their scope extends well beyond that implied by the term ‘garden festival’. Typically exceeding 50 hectares, they stimulate development and steer site design through a unique merger of domestic garden culture with a large-scale urban project. A general discussion of the origins, formative elements and chronology of the generic event followed by cross-cultural reviews and analyses of numerous recent festivals and their site legacies form the core of this first comprehensive book on the subject. Recent installations have been responsive to the ascendance of open space as a critical planning element while forthcoming events now develop in the midst of a trend towards the holistic initiatives of urban landscape planning, giving them a renewed relevance for urban design. The author has explored over fifteen festival sites and documents this study using government reports, interview transcripts, thematic maps, master plans, and other primary source material.

    eISBN: 978-1-84631-464-3
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. viii-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-27)

    A garden festival may be thought of, roughly, as a world’s fair but with a strong horticultural theme and presence. A large tract of derelict, abandoned or otherwise under-utilized urban land is acquired and made suitable for development. The site is ‘trapped’ for the duration of an exposition, typically five to six months. At the end of this period festival exhibits are dismantled and the site moves to a pre-determined final stage of development, usually, but not always, a new urban park.¹

    This book explores the role of the garden festival in modern urban planning and design. Originating in post-war...

  6. 2 The German Garden Shows
    (pp. 28-95)

    The modern garden festival movement has its origins in post-war Germany and today any nation wishing to adopt the festival concept will probably be inspired by the German model and look to it for guidance. In 2000, Hanover hosted Germany’s first world’s fair, the EXPO 2000 World Exposition. This was, however, a second ‘first’, since Hanover began, in 1951, the tradition of the biennialBundes-gartenschauen,¹ eventually influencing the occurrence of garden festivals throughout Western Europe, Asia and North America.²

    Hanover, like many German cities, suffered massive bomb damage in the Second World War. The pre-war German tradition of the federal...

  7. 3 The Dutch Floriades
    (pp. 96-139)

    Land-use planning in the Netherlands is extremely complex, with most of the population living on land reclaimed from the sea. Arguably the most planned country in Europe, the Netherlands is slightly more than twice the area of Yorkshire, with a third of its landmass below sea level.¹ Dutch engagement with challenging and unforgiving natural conditions has resulted in a markedly artificial landscape of tidy towns and crisp agrarian geometry that masks the grudging surrender of the North Sea, kept at bay by extensive networks and systems that are ever-present reminders of the landscape’s constructed nature. A broad awareness of its...

  8. 4 The British Garden Festivals
    (pp. 140-207)

    Only the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain have held garden festivals on a recurring basis. The British events were successful as festivals but, unlike their continental counterparts, did not have a strong record of post-festival follow-through. The site of the inaugural event in Britain, the 1984 Liverpool International Garden Festival (IGF), was in an unresolved state twenty years after its completion. The vague and prolonged development strategy for the post-festival usage of the Liverpool site became representative of those that followed, with the possible exception of Ebbw Vale, the last of the British festivals. The closing of the Ebbw Vale...

  9. 5 Festivals Foreign and Familiar
    (pp. 208-239)

    The post-war garden festival concept, originating in Germany, has moved beyond the Netherlands and Great Britain, with versions adopted elsewhere in Europe, as well as North America and Asia. Despite the scope of design styles, themes, and follow-on development reflective of cultural trends and site contingencies, these events have tended to remain primarily horticultural exhibitions followed by new urban parks. This is due in part to the AIPH requirement for a strong horticultural component. Whether there are also amusement rides, state-of-the-art multimedia displays or commercial after-use depends on local interpretations of what ‘attractions’ the festival should include.

    None of the...

  10. 6 Patterns and Prospects
    (pp. 240-269)

    How might fifty years of garden festivals best be evaluated? Unlike a single building or urban open space development, festivals are an amalgam of cultural and commercial imperatives. Their nineteenth-century antecedents were purely horticultural events, but recent expositions have included ecology, public art, experimental theme gardens, and the paraphernalia of the leisure industry. They have been composite landscapes whose ephemerality might be regarded as a new landscape genre, inviting analysis in this regard alone.¹ They are projects that, employing an established organizational methodology, facilitate inclusion and collaboration and increase the pace of development. Reclamation, environmental and economic benefits materialize as...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 270-277)
  12. Image Credits
    (pp. 278-279)
  13. Index
    (pp. 280-289)