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Founded in 2005 by Kate Orff, SCAPE is a landscape architecture and urban design studio based in New York, celebrated not only for its interventions in public spaces but also for the far-reaching questions it raises and meaningful debates it engenders about the built environment, public sphere, climate change, and social and environmental justice in the age of the climate crisis. SCAPE is more than a design firm- it is a progressive and multidisciplinary think-tank, emphasizing the potential of landscape to mediate relations between communities and infrastructures. For the past ten years, the SCAPE practice has seen landscape architecture as an expanded field and as a form of activism, a zone of collective engagement. Its output takes many forms- research, teaching, built landscapes, maps, reports, and temporary installations. Through each of these, SCAPE’s goal is to create and organize dialogue—then to channel the conclusions reached in concrete, meaningful actions. It has consistently sought to reveal how embedded natural processes, cycles, and systems can help shape the cities of tomorrow. Toward an Urban Ecology is an extended case study of the firm’s practice, showing in detail how they construct narratives of projects, what kinds of questions they ask, and how they’ve engaged in a constellation of sites and issues in a way that is useful for the next generation of landscape practitioners and activists—storytellers and scientists with the power to change the world.
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