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Cristina López Uribe


Editorial en inglés

In this issue of Bitácora, landscape architecture –a topic that

along with architecture, urbanism, and industrial design makes

up our content–for the first time takes up the whole issue. It

is a necessary critical reflection given that thirty years ago landscape

architecture was established in Mexico as an independent

university degree.

Today, we live in a world that focuses its efforts on the irrational

exploitation of natural resources and, because of this, it

becomes more relevant to have an ecological consciousness to

arrive at a better future. The consequences of climatic changes

are evident as well as the inability of governments and societies

to establish better relationships between humans and their

natural environment. One key way to achieve these is to find

a solution to the paradoxical tension between the megalopolis

and green space. Landscape architecture proposes real alternatives

to the problems caused by our industrial societies.

From the point of view of more autonomous disciplines,

to think about landscape architecture allows us to abandon

the outdated notion of design as an abstract subject-object

relationship that does not consider place –in the broad sense

of the word– nor the essential collaboration with other disciplines.

In contrast to other fields of study that use technology

and scientific thinking to conceptualize their works in an

isolated way, landscape architecture applies the same methodological

tools and technology in an integrated way to the

whole context.

The design of the landscape implies to act on the environment

with the precision of a scalpel; to think about regions

instead of cities or buildings; communities instead of individuals.

The focus of the landscape architect is surprising in the way

that it is simultaneously aware of how the large surfaces of our

planet interact with climatic changes but is also capable of distinguishing

small biological specificities, such as the important

work of insects in spreading plant species and in our well-being

on the planet; from the macro-scale, such as the landscape of

the Mixteca Alta region, to the micro-temporality of the “Flor

de Mayo,” which blooms for just a few days once a year in the

black lava rock of El Pedregal.

In contrast to the traditional idea of architecture, landscape

architects don’t think about the design of a building

whose most important moment is its inauguration – and the

photographs that will memorialize it forever. For them, instead,

the work is considered within large timeframes. They are conscious

of seasonal changes, of the consequences of each plant

and animal species in relation to one another, and of the

erosion caused by water or wind. They imagine equally the

significance of the seed in the subsoil as they do of whole generational

shifts of landscape elements that constantly mutate.

Their work is to observe from a distance the geographical evolution

of a region, of the soil, of its living beings in order to make

careful adjustments to them. They work with the memory of

the territory, with the knowledge of what has been lost and

what can be rescued and, at the same time, they propose a

new way of being in the world. The beauty of the landscape is,

then, just an effect of wide-ranging considerations.

Landscape architecture is one of the few academic disciplines

that develop professionals who, as soon as they become

part of the labor workforce, can transform the traditional and

predatory way with which one intervenes in material reality.

There is an urgency to this, but there are also opportunities:

cities and, even more, our own planet need to be considered

from this point of view.


Cristina López Uribe



The history of architecture and habitation cannot be considered

without landscape architecture despite the fact that it

wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century that Fredrick

Law Olmstead declared it as an academic discipline at Yale


At the UNAM, we have been awarding that degree for

thirty years with the belief in the importance of the design,

planning, construction, and management of open space. We

understand that it is more than an indicator of the quality of

life according to the United Nations; more than a relationship

between the built and the natural world; more than a multi-,

inter-, and trans-disciplinary relationship between design, social

commitment, and environmental sciences. In addition,

the concepts of cultural and Mexican landscapes have been

consolidated in the same way that the tangible and intangible

heritage has. We even see the twenty-first century as the century

of landscape architecture in response to the deterioration

of the environment, the impact of climatic changes and natural

disasters in our planet, and as necessary for the identification

of zones that are at risk.

However, landscape architecture can also be defined in

scope as the lasting and indispensable relationship between

humans and nature. We perceive the urban scale today as the

public space within which we live; the space of the collective.

Urban space is designed and built from the relationship that

urban design establishes with landscape architecture and urbanism

so that in the field of urban-environmental studies,

such as those in our Architecture degree, we have made our

students aware of the relationship that exists between the architectural

object and its context in order to direct it towards

a more sustainable direction linked to the regional scale.

Landscape architecture has evolved from the poetics of

the garden to the genius loci of the Romans, to Kevin Lynch’s

reading of society, to the design with nature of Ian McHarg,

to social theories and participatory design, as well as, to the

systematic basis of landscape that ties it to the processes of

how it is managed, used, and conserved.

In thirty years, we have trained more than two hundred

landscape architects in the Department of Landscape Architecture

of the UNAM. The seed that was planted thirty years

ago has yielded fruits; however, not enough since the deterioration

of the landscape is an important theme that must be

taken up throughout our country with the rigor and depth

that it deserves.

This issue of Bitácora differs from its traditional format because

we sought to gather the voices of landscape architects who

were trained at the UNAM and at other institutions in Mexico

and abroad and who speak about their professional, academic,

and research experiences. Without a doubt, this is an invaluable

testament to three decades of academic work.


Marcos Mazari Hiriart

Founding Professor of the Landscape Degree in 1995




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BITÁCORA ARQUITECTURA Número 38, noviembre-marzo 2018 es una publicación cuatrimestral, editada por la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegación Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, a través de la Coordinación editorial de la Facultad de Arquitectura, Circuito Escolar s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegación Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, C.P. 04510, teléfono: 56 22 03 18. URL: Correo: Editora responsable de la revista digital: Cristina López Uribe. Certificado de Reserva de Derechos al uso Exclusivo del Título No. en trámite. ISSN-e: 2594-0856, ambos otorgados por el Instituto Nacional del Derecho de Autor. Responsable de la última actualización de este número, Coordinación Editorial de la Facultad de Arquitectura, Circuito Escolar s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegación Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, C.P. 04510, tel: 56220318, Fecha de la última modificación: 16 de octubre de 2018.

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