Overgrown By Julian Raxworthy – Book Review

Overgrown by Julian Raxworthy calls on landscape architects to embrace gardening and connecting with the site and working plants in the landscape. He encourages landscape architects to develop a new type of design practice by leaving their offices including the visualisations and plans to acknowledge and learn from the growing landscape.

Throughout reading the book you often feel like you are wandering down a meandering garden path with Raxworthy using case studies and insights into the works of landscape architects including Burle Marx, Kiley, Sven-Ingvar Andersson, McHarg, Dutton as he explores this notion of this new type of practice which he calls “the viridic”.

Raxworthy seeks to encourage landscape architects to work in the landscape and use the unique language of landscape architecture that makes it distinct from other design professions. The final chapter – A Manifesto for the Viridic calls on landscape architects to change practice by embracing gardening to learn about plant growth and maintained spaces to “exercise design judgement over what is emerging over time”.

Overgrown provides landscape architects with a work that challenges that existing paradigm of a design practice seeking to push landscape architects to move out of the office into the landscape as many of us yearned for during university and throughtout our professional careers.

Overgrownis available from Amazon for $35.56 (as 12 July 2019)

Overgrown: Practices Between Landscape Architecture and Gardening
by Julian Raxworthy (Author), Fiona Harrisson (Foreword)

Publisher: The MIT Press; 1 edition (15 October 2018)
ISBN-10: 0262038536
ISBN-13: 978-0262038539

Overgrown was purchased by WLA from Amazon for this review. Links above are affiliated with Amazon.

Book Review | The Social Organism by Oliver Luckett & Micheal J. Casey

social-organism-luckett

I picked up The Social Organism after watching Oliver Luckett on Gary Vaynerchuk’s #askgaryvee vlog and was interested in the concept of social (media) as seen from the lens of an organism. The book gives background of the Social Organism and how the seven rules of life (biology) can be applied to social media. Luckett explores social media through the many lens/ideas throughout the book including Darwinism, commercial printing presses, and more however, the main lens/idea of the book of organism/science is explored including Koestler’s model, cell organisms, genes, artificial intelligence. It may appear at first glance that this would be a boring read, however the book is written to allow the reader to understand at a basic principles and how they can be applied to social media.

Luckett uses real life examples throughout the book including #BlackLivesMatter, Spring uprising, Taylor Swift swifties, Oreo’s dunk in the dark, League of Legends and more to show the good and bad aspects of social media and how many still don’t understand that social media is not a fad, or just another platform or media but a part of social makeup of many places that jump local, state and nation boundaries and work at a international level. However, one criticism I have of the book is that it is very USA-centric in its examples and reference points with only a few international examples (platforms, movements) which are covered all too briefly in the book. Another criticism of the book is that it spends too long in the initial chapters explaining terms of reference and concepts which I realise is needed for those who have little to no background in social media. I think there are many ideas in the book that are covered only briefly that could have been further explored, but I think that also provides the opportunity for Luckett and co-writers to explore in a followup book.

Overall, this is a great book that I will read again over the Christmas 2016 break to gain more ideas for the future.  The main takeaway from the book is that social media has its good and bad sides and that we are living in an era when social media and the coming internet of things(IoT) is transforming the way we live, interact and govern. If you have any interest in sociology or social media I encourage you to get a copy and read it with a notepad or highlighter/marker by your side as it is full of great ideas that will trigger your own interesting thought processes. I am hoping that Luckett and co-writers have a follow up book in the making to explore ideas in more depth.