Much has been written on the garden as a metaphor for human interaction with landscape process, but the metaphor should be exploded to include maintenance at a variety of scales. Landscaping is the closest analog to gardening at the landscape scale. As such the lessons of the garden can be applied to the office parks, highway medians, urban forests and subdivisions of the contemporary landscape.

The generative capacity of landscape is defined as the potential and possibilities that occur from events, and is therefore different that its productive capacity which focuses on efficient outcomes over a set time.i It can therefore be better understood through direct observation and material experimentation instead of using predictive models.ii

By applying observations from specific cases to specific experiments (transduction) instead of attempting to discern general rules, there is the potential to discover distinct material and spatial qualities, and collaborative opportunities previously hidden behind the computer screen.iii

the utility yard

By consciously observing the agency of digital design tools, we may avoid allowing the agency of these tools from dictating design intent. Conversely, through hyperbolic critique of our maintenance and construction tools, we may better understand their generative capacity, how we might innovatively employ them.iv

Infrastructure may be thought of as a product of maintenance as it is the basic physical and organizational structure that facilitates the operation of a society. Just as a path is paved and a ditch is excavated, infrastructure is often produced to address an identified deficiency that threatens a condition. Infrastructure is both created to maintain landscapes and creates landscapes by maintaining other conditions.

Along with preservation, conservation and restoration activities can also be understood as maintenance. Conservation case studies can be particularly helpful in understanding how maintenance objectives produce infrastructure, whereas restoration can be helpful in understanding retroactive maintenance.v vi



iDavis, B. (2011). On Landscape Ontology II: Production, Extraction, and Generative Capacity. FASLANYC. Retrieved 7/05/2012 from http://faslanyc.blogspot.com/2011/04/on-landscape-ontology-ii-production.html

iiLatour, B. (1984). Irreductions. The Pasteurization of France. trans. Alan Sheridan and John Law, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1988.

iiiTopiary Garden, Pearl Fryar.

ivHarman, G. (2009). Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics. re.press.

vFire Protection, Erosion Control, Civilian Conservation Corps


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