All over the world, cities are trying to take back public space from the car. Barcelona has invented the ‘superblock’, where through traffic is banned to make space for playgrounds and gardens. I went to see the superblock in the neighborhood Poble Nou. Where four lanes of through traffic used to drive, there are now gardens, benches and playgrounds. “All cities should try this”, says neighborhood resident Silvia Casorran.
Water is life – and death. As floods and droughts assume Biblical proportions in many areas in the world, the magnitude of the water issues we face is penetrating our awareness and our political and spatial agenda. Nowhere is that clearer than in the Netherlands, where mastery of the water has always been a condition for survival. If there is one element which is crucial to the Low Lands – for its sheer existence, for its landscape, for its identity – then that is water. The Dutch created land by pushing the water out with dikes and keeping it out with pumps. Now, however, the country that has refashioned its landscape so distinctly in order to keep water out, is letting it back in. For Landscape, the magazine of the British Landscape Institute, I wrote an essay based on my book in collaboration with Maartje van den Heuvel, Sweet&Salt: Water and the Dutch. Read the essay here: Tracy Metz – Designin for water: the sweet & the salt of it – 2012 – Landscape Institute