Sometimes, we get off track and you realise that where you are is not where you want to be. You had a dream, ideas, and a plan to get there, you visualise what you think the dream will be like and what you want. Once you reach that point where you thought was the point of happiness you realise it is not what you thought it was going to be, it is not living up to the expectation and the dream. Maybe it was the process of getting there or only part of the dream that you wanted. You have stray from the core idea that drove your dream. You chasing something that wasn’t what you were looking for.
With WLA and other parts of my life, I have realised that what I thought the dream that I wanted is in actual fact far away from where I ended up. I have strayed from the core of WLA and what it meant to me and landscape architecture. Two things triggered this realisation; one was a book review I did that was trying to not be too hard on a poor quality book, however, I should have called it out for what it was. I received some criticism for the book review being harsh and ignoring the books intent, but in fact, I was being kind in my review. I have since taken down the review from WLA. The review strayed from the idea I had of WLA. The second trigger was a video from Casey Neistat posted below. The video is currently how I feel about WLA and landscape architecture.
It is time to reassess what WLA is and the core principles of WLA and also what landscape architecture means in my life. Time for change for the better.
Over the last few years the publishing industry has been struggling with declining sales and creating more books with broader appeal (high increase in coffee table books). However, I think that books will still exist although the maybe more increase in digital format (ebook, pdf, interactive) and that is because they are edited and curated around a topic or idea providing a broad range of information. You might be thinking “of course, what a simple thing to write” but I think that in a world of fast information and being bombarded with information and being able to search any topic we have lost site of the value of books and what they bring.
This sentiment may seem fairly ironic or hypocritical coming from someone who publishes a blog on landscape architecture with over 5,000 posts but I think that we often get too lost in thinking about the bright new shiny thing and how the old shiny thing will be killed off, this has happened numerous times in history. The radio didn’t kill newspapers, tv didn’t kill radio, the internet didn’t kill (all) newspapers, online blogs didn’t kill magazines, online streaming hasn’t killed tv, and the next thing (AR, VR, whatever R) will not kill off online streaming. Books will still be around as they are an easy way to gain knowledge about a topic in a concise, curated format and I think spending two hours in a book store is more relaxing than spending two hours reading through news articles and the comments section.
I know some people read one book at a time cover to cover as they want to keep the same train of thought. I read multiple books at the same time, I feel that reading books at the same time in the same or different areas allows for a crossflow of ideas and then possibly germination of new ideas triggered by reading two or three books at the same time.
For remembering those ideas I usually either bend the corner to quickly reread when I have finished the book. I also take notes in my phone with title, page number and idea I had, this allows me to come back through the reread and see if there is something I wish to action on or research further.
I try to read 12-20 books a year along with the numerous blog articles and academic papers. Most of the books I read are non-fiction, I will read fiction every so often but usually on holidays when I want to try and take a break from work, WLA and other business pursuits.