Except in the summer months, the climate in Lima is primarily grey and drizzly, the soil is dry and desert-like, the city expansive and disorganised. At first glance, thinking about parks, greenery and public space doesn't seem all that appealing. And yet it proves to be a topic that is in dire need of being discussed. It is for this reason that LOT organised a sizeable multi-disciplinary project under the title City Landscapes in October 2009 that put the theme of landscape architecture into the context of public space and artistic intervention.
"LOT is constantly working to improve the cultural climate in Lima. Thus considering as model that stimulates confrontation, debate and how people relate to their natural habitat was the starting point for City Landscapes. The installation art piece that LOT constructed with a group of 8 artists in a space that measured 1200 square metres in a monumental building in the centre of Lima marked the start of the project", says Rafael Freyre, an actor with LOT.
LOT invited three internationally-renowned landscape architects and designers, including Petra Blaisse of the Inside Outside design agency in Amsterdam. The interdisciplinary and experimental nature of her curtains, interior designs and landscape architecture was inspirational in defining the premises for City Landscapes.
"It is always stimulating to take an unconventional approach to complicated subjects. In addition to my paper at the conference, I participated in a work group together with a colleague architect at Inside Outside, Aura Luz Melis, the director of the Roberto Burle Marx Foundation from Brazil and a variety of Peruvian experts in the fields of botany, water management, archaeology, art history, architecture and urban planning. Artists and municipal officials also attended."
"The various viewpoints that were involved in the work group helped us to understand the complexity and many layers of the relationship between culture and nature. At the end of the conference, we publicly signed the manifesto that we compiled in the work group. The ten points it contains can serve as a guideline for sustainable and integrated landscape development in Lima ", says Blaisse.
City Landscapes did not end there, however. The manifesto will be presented to municipalities, universities, NGOs and architectural bureaus. The website www.lotperu.com/paisajesurbanos will serve as a platform for the exchange of ideas and proposals, and an interdisciplinary study of the relationship between landscape and urban development will be published in November 2009. A number of work group participants are also establishing a permanent study group that will work not only to put the subject of landscape and public space on the public agenda, but also to implement a plan of action.
LOT is supprted by Hivos, Arts Collaboratory and DOEN Foundation.