The forest carries deep cultural significance. Within the urban landscape, this ecologically complex, spatially layered, dynamic system is also understood to perform a wide range of essential ecosystem services. As arborists, parks departments, landscape architects, planners and community groups engage in the reforesting of cities, how are they collectively shaping the urban landscape? What hybrid ecosystems are yet to be designed? How many trees are enough? — Scenario Journal
Scenario Journal's just-released issue, Scenario 4: Building the Urban Forest, features a broad, interdisciplinary conversation between architects, ecologists, landscape architects, and artists, about the meaning and possibilities of the spatial, biological, and metaphorical construct of the "urban forest." From living machine, to novel ecosystem, to provider of ecosystem services, to spatially and culturally rich landscape, the urban forest is an inspiration, a challenge, an opportunity, and a fertile source of interdisciplinary collaboration.
Reforesting cities is one of the defining trends of twenty first century urbanism. Among designers, the forest has served as inspiration, as model, and as tool. At the same time, forest managers and cities have been wrestling with the actual challenges of maintaining existing tree canopy and forested land. As an increasing number of projects and programs concern themselves with shaping, managing and advocating for a new generation of urban forests, we see an outpouring of ideas and techniques emerging, creating a new ground for innovation.
How does the urban forest, and urban forestry, act as operative terms for a set of related disciplines? With pieces by ecologists, architects, artists, and landscape architects, all using the term "urban forest" in diverging and overlapping ways, this issue explores the spatial, imaginative, active and political dimensions of this rich and diverse concept.