Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

卡特林·波尔: 设计可持续的生产性景观是一项复杂的任务 Designing productive urban landscapes is a complex task

When researching the academic impact in China about the productive urban landscape concept by Katrin and André, I was lucky to find this interview from 2010. Despite nine years having passed, their wisdom in the relevent field is still active, we still could recognise the influence in some of the theses published today in China. I am honored to introduce the interview below from Landscape Architecture China (LAC) below:

LAC: Why do you focus your research on “productive landscape”?
Katrin Bohn: We enjoy doing things, makings things. We believe that lots of people are like that and that urban landscape wants “to do things” as well, to be productive. We came to productive landscape design research from an interest in low energy architecture where we identified the significant impact that urban agriculture could have in improving urban sustainability and bringing new qualities to the urban environment. The subject’s ability to bridge environmental and design concerns further attracted us and we noticed early on that the way we design for the everyday use of our cities will have an immense impact on the sustainability of architecture and the city.

LAC: In your opinion, how can landscape architects apply the productive principle into their designs?
Katrin Bohn: Designing for sustainable productive landscapes is a complex and ambitious task needing great clarity of mind to balance the ordered (i.e. new infrastructures or food systems) and the untamable (i.e. seasons or grassroot initiatives). Cooperation with a great variety of partners from soil experts to economists and local community groups will be necessary, as will be an urge to rediscover and/or maintain the importance of open urban space for the well-being of the urban population.

LAC: How can we promote the public’s aesthetic needs for “productive landscape” ?
Katrin Bohn: In our own practice, we have and are pursuing an open public discourse in order to change people’s perception of urban agriculture and CPUL. This is a slow and intriguing process culminating in prototypes, art/architecture exhibitions, installations and events. Given the increasing number of such practices all over the world and the current rediscovery of allotments and home food growing in, say, Europe, it seems that the public’s aesthetic is far more receptive to these ideas, than our professions and planners assume.


Interview published in the journal: Landscape Architecture China (2010), vol. 9, issue 1, p. 76.

For further information see the journal’s own website.

Image: For its issue on productive landscapes, the journal Landscape Architecture China interviewed some of its contributors (source: Landscape Architecture China (2010), vol. 9, issue 1, cover and p. 76)

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* landscape* urban agriculture* urban designChina

Dong Chu • 27th November 2018

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