Landscape diversity in Israel: meaning for landscape architecture practice and education

Burmil, S., 1997, Landscape diversity in Israel: meaning for landscape architecture practice and education, in: ECLAS, ‘Multicultural aspects of landscape education’, ,

  • Author : Burmil, S.
  • Year : 1997
  • Published in Book : Multicultural aspects of landscape education
  • Pages : 37
  • Abstract in English : As landscape architects we share common professional responsibilities and ethics. Part of it is to be able to read, understand, and respond, to a wide range of diverse landscapes. Much more so in Israel where landscape is highly diversed and is and almost always was, in fast process of change. Three aspects will be discussed: a) the diverse characteristics of the landscape in Israel, b) implications of landscape diversity and cultural diversity on landscape planning and design, and c) how should landscape architecture education prepare professionals to respond to diversity. Extreme diversity in the Israeli landscape is expressed both in space and in time. In space there is a clear landscape gradient from north to south and west to east. The gradient is mostly defined by climate, geomorphology, and geological history. The number of landscape units and differences between them are much more extreme than those that can be found in many other small countries (i.e. The Netherlands). Landscape diversity in Israel is enhanced by changes in time: changes between natural and cultural landscapes and between open spaces and built landscapes. Seasonal changes may add to diversity and extremities. Not only is Israel a small country, but landscape units are small and vulnerable to human impacts. The human landscape is at least as diverse as the physical landscape. Being a country of immigrants coming from many different cultures and landscapes, people bring with them different landscape perceptions and attitudes. The public as well as planners and designers have difficulties in responding to the diversity and the small size of landscape units. Much more so because most of the units in Israel are of dry Mediterranean, semi-arid, and arid nature. Landscape perception lags in recognizing and responding to the dramatic changes that occur in the Israeli landscape due to rapid increase in population, population density, and in standard of living. These dramatic transformations occurred within the span of professional activity of many landscape architects. As the professional activity of landscape architects in Israel covers a wide range of landscape units, landscape education has to develop the students' ability to recognize, appreciate, and respond to the high diversity. Exposure to, and familiarity with, the whole range of landscape units has to reach an intimate level. Luckily the scale of the country might enable it. Flexibility in landscape planning and design, and ability to respond to changes in time has to be stressed and maintained.