Resilient Urbanism



Prior to the recognition of resilience as a novel ecological notion and design objective, the Office ofFrederick Law Olmsted deployed planning and design strategies that would be considered 'resilient' by most present-day standards. In this study, twenty coastal and estuarial Olmsted projects were reviewed in tandem with over thirty contemporary resilience projects. This assessment led to the derivation of six overarching design frameworks and affiliated physical site strategies. It also demonstrated how concepts such as systemic design, failsafe redundancy, accounting for indeterminacy, and flexible gradients are consistent with nineteenth and early twentieth century landscape practice. The research on Olmsted’s projects was conducted as part of the 2016 Beveridge Fellowship at the Fairsted National Olmsted Archives. The Charles E. Beveridge Research Fellowship honors an eminent scholar and is intended to encourage the use of the Olmsted archives in Brookline, MA. Projects by the Olmsted Firm: Sourcing the Past to Improve Resilience investigated "resilient" adaptation strategies that were extracted by analyzing coastal projects completed by the Olmsted office such as: Plan for the Rockaway's (1879), New York City’s Regional Plan (1920), The Toronto Island’s Waterfront Plan (1912), Riverside Park Park and Extension in Manhattan’s Upper West Side (1913), Florida’s Lakelands and Winterhaven Subdivisions (1921), and Boston’s Back Bay Fens (1877).  


TeamFadi, Masoud, Elspeth Holland, Ambika Pharma, Louisa Kennett, Hilary Todhunter.