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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Open Access Policy Deposits

This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UC Berkeley Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning researchers in accordance with the University of California’s open access policies. For more information see Open Access Policy Deposits and the UC Publication Management System.

Cover page of The canal and the pool: infrastructures of abundance and the invention of the modern desert

The canal and the pool: infrastructures of abundance and the invention of the modern desert

(2022)

Modernist ontologies of water physically materialise in Phoenix’s landscape: over 100 miles of canals convey water to the suburban grid, where thousands of gallons are piped into backyard swimming pools. The canal and pool are thus joined in architectural folly to move, hold, and control water in the service of sustaining the belief that dry ecologies are but supply chain problems in need of engineering solutions. These typologies reveal longstanding entanglements between the promises of modernity and aridland urbanism; and they further amplify the immense challenge of transitioning away from modern water infrastructure in the face of climate change. By using the canal and the pool as signifiers of the insidious entanglements between modernity, growth, and aridland urbanism, this article advances an historical examination of Phoenix that destabilises tropes of water scarcity as a problem to be solved but which has also created cultural perceptions of abundant water.

Cover page of Strategic basin and delta planning increases the resilience of the Mekong Delta under future uncertainty.

Strategic basin and delta planning increases the resilience of the Mekong Delta under future uncertainty.

(2021)

The climate resilience of river deltas is threatened by rising sea levels, accelerated land subsidence, and reduced sediment supply from contributing river basins. Yet, these uncertain and rapidly changing threats are rarely considered in conjunction. Here we provide an integrated assessment, on basin and delta scales, to identify key planning levers for increasing the climate resilience of the Mekong Delta. We find, first, that 23 to 90% of this unusually productive delta might fall below sea level by 2100, with the large uncertainty driven mainly by future management of groundwater pumping and associated land subsidence. Second, maintaining sediment supply from the basin is crucial under all scenarios for maintaining delta land and enhancing the climate resilience of the system. We then use a bottom-up approach to identify basin development scenarios that are compatible with maintaining sediment supply at current levels. This analysis highlights, third, that strategic placement of hydropower dams will be more important for maintaining sediment supply than either projected increases in sediment yields or improved sediment management at individual dams. Our results demonstrate 1) the need for integrated planning across basin and delta scales, 2) the role of river sediment management as a nature-based solution to increase delta resilience, and 3) global benefits from strategic basin management to maintain resilient deltas, especially under uncertain and changing conditions.

Cover page of The geographical dimensions of patent innovation: history, precedents, praxis, and pedagogy, in an expanded field of landscape technology.

The geographical dimensions of patent innovation: history, precedents, praxis, and pedagogy, in an expanded field of landscape technology.

(2021)

Innovation has geographical dimensions, ranging from site and building technology, to infrastructure and environmental systems. As the allied professions of environmental design expand disciplinary scope beyond aesthetics into questions of territory, landscape infrastructure, performance-based design, and issues related to climate adaptation and the Anthropocene, an expanded concept of technology and innovation becomes essential to address new pedagogical adjectives and praxis. One of the most effective ways to track technological change in a specific sector of technology is through patent innovation. The global patent archive is the world’s largest technological dossier. An estimated 90 million patents have been granted globally, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) alone has issued more than 10 million patents since 1790. A unique subset of these inventions relate to site and building technology as well as large-scale environmental systems such as rivers, coasts, and cities. Since patent innovation is an ongoing process, patent documents provide insights into the ever-evolving sectors of technology, which may be understood as an expanded field of landscape technologies that define site, cities, and regions. This paper explores the histories of patent innovation related to the physical built environment and argues for an expanded definition of “Landscape Technology”. The paper also includes examples of New pedagogical approaches that integrate patent innovation studies into environmental design curriculum, and a discussion of strategies for implementing novel technologies and patent innovation studies into professional design projects.

Cover page of Inventing Venice:An Urban and Environmental Innovation Model from the Lagoon City

Inventing Venice:An Urban and Environmental Innovation Model from the Lagoon City

(2021)

Innovation in physical urban infrastructure is a vital component of city making in an era of sea level rise, climate change, and rapid urbanization. Venice pioneered an urban and environmental innovation model in the 14th and 15th century, successfully negotiating the cities complex geography and the sociotechnical processes that characterized Renaissance urbanism. A review of early inventor rights issued in the city suggests that the process of patent innovation facilitated urbanization of the Venetian lagoon through development of advanced drainage, dredge, irrigation, and reclamation infrastructure, essential to the city’s survival. In addition to granting patents for new inventions, the Venetian government established expert review for proposed inventions, supported prototyping and testing for untried technologies, and used patent rights to attract experts with novel inventions from across Italy and Europe. These processes, in addition to the extensive dossier of patents issued in Venice, substantiate the primacy of innovation in the process of urbanization and revel an urban innovation model. Patent law later spread along Venetian trade routes through Europe, where they were also employed in economic modernization, and the construction of urban and regional infrastructure. Interestingly, similar process can later be observed throughout Europe and the United States as patent rights were constitutionalized.

Cover page of Greenness, texture, and spatial relationships predict floristic diversity across wetlands of the conterminous United States

Greenness, texture, and spatial relationships predict floristic diversity across wetlands of the conterminous United States

(2021)

Plant diversity safeguards wetland ecosystem functions, stability, and resilience, but is threatened by habitat loss and degradation. Remote sensing could support the cost-effective management of biodiversity by providing consistent and frequent data at large scales. While identifying individual species from remote sensing datasets with low spatial and spectral resolution is challenging, studies can focus on factors known to correlate with or promote diversity. We tested the predictive potential of such factors — maximum annual greenness as an indicator of productivity, texture (i.e., spatial arrangement of grey tones) as a proxy for habitat heterogeneity, and spatial autocorrelation — across a dataset of 1115 wetlands in the conterminous United States surveyed by the EPA's National Wetland Condition Assessment. We used multivariate linear regressions to test whether spectral and spatial metrics derived from two open-source datasets — NASA's Landsat 5 TM and 7 ETM+ (30 m, 16-day revisit) and USDA's National Agriculture Inventory Program (1 m, biennial) — can predict wetland plant diversity and richness. Individual texture metrics showed different sensitivity to vegetation evenness, growth form, and spatial distribution and could together predict 35–36% of site variation in richness and diversity. This highlights the impact of habitat heterogeneity on species diversity and spectral variability. While maximum annual greenness and texture metrics had similar predictive capacity, their interactions and combined effects improved the fit of linear models by 11–14%, demonstrating their complementarity. Best results were achieved when including distance-based Moran's Eigenvector Maps (dbMEMs) describing spatial relations among sites at multiple scales and reflecting the role of spatially structured factors (e.g., climate, topography, dispersal) on diversity. Together greenness, texture, and dbMEMs could predict 59% of plant richness and 50% of plant diversity across the entire dataset and up to 71% of the richness of least disturbed sites. These results show the potential of open-source remote sensing datasets to monitor biodiversity resources at a large scale and prioritize the protection and field monitoring of wetlands.

Cover page of Remotely sensed phenological heterogeneity of restored wetlands: linking vegetation structure and function

Remotely sensed phenological heterogeneity of restored wetlands: linking vegetation structure and function

(2021)

Seasonal phenological dynamics of vegetation hold important clues on ecosystem performance towards management goals, such as carbon uptake, and thus should be considered in projections of their targeted services. However, in wetlands spatio-temporal heterogeneity due to mixing of open water, soil, green and dead vegetation makes it difficult to generalize ecosystem functioning across different regions. Remote sensing observations can provide spatially-explicit, cost-effective phenology indicators; however, little is known about their capacity to indicate the links between wetland ecosystem structure and function. Here we assessed this potential by comparing one-year Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) from satellite products at high (5m; RapidEye) and low (30m; Landsat) spatial resolutions with eddy covariance time series of net carbon exchange, field digital camera (phenocam) greenness and water temperature among three floristically similar restored wetlands in California, USA. Phenological timing differed by wetland site: depending on satellite, the range in site-median start of greening was up to 28 days, end of greening – up to 73 days, start of senescence – up to 79 days, and end of senescence – up to 10 days. Key transition dates from satellite inputs agreed with seasonal changes in net carbon exchange, phenocam greenness and water temperatures, suggesting that phenological contrasts could result in part from site differences in vegetation configuration and litter affecting the exposure of canopy, soil and water to sunlight and thus sub-canopy microclimate and ecosystem functioning. Yet, the agreement between satellite inputs was non-systematic, with the greatest disparities at the more heterogeneous, less vegetated site. Phenological model fitting uncertainty increased with greater spatial resolution, highlighting the tradeoff between the accuracy of representing vegetation and the complexity of local seasonal variation. These findings highlight the sensitivity of satellite-derived phenology to structural and functional heterogeneity of ecosystems and call for more rigorous spatially-explicit analyses to inform assessments of restoration and management outcomes.