As I write about the articles in this issue, the image of a beachgoer bargaining with the tide comes to mind. She arrives early in the day and spreads her blanket close to the lapping surf. But as the day grows long and the tide comes in, she must retreat, a few feet at a time. If she is greedy in her bargaining and tardy in her response, a wave will foreclose on the sand it had lent her, leading to shrieks of surprise and a scramble to save belongings. We are naturally drawn to the water—but are tempted to stay too close.
That multifaceted nature of our relationship with water is the main focus of this issue. It’s hard to imagine a resort that does not celebrate water, even in the midst of a desert. In the article beginning on page 56, Jeffrey Spivak leads a tour of some of the most environmentally progressive golf resorts, which are getting serious about reducing their water use. Landscapes that are more natural—and less thirsty—are likely to replace much of the green velvet that golfers have come to expect.
Waterfront resorts can’t seem to get enough of the wet stuff, even at great expense. The technology behind manmade water features is explored in Patrick J. Kiger’s article “Buy the Seaside,” beginning on page 62. We are not talking about the average water theme park: there is an arms race underway, worldwide, when it comes to building new water attractions at the best resorts.
One cannot talk about water without giving full attention to the matter of resilience. In “Outlook for Resilience,” which begins on page 52, author Ron Nyren talks with ULI council members about practical considerations in preparing for adverse events in ways that enhance communities even during calm and sunny times. And, in “Before It Runs Off,” beginning on page 69, we learn about communities’ increasingly determined efforts to maximize the benefits of stormwater. No longer is the optimal strategy to just shunt aside an overload of water as efficiently as possible; there is better value in finding ways to capture that runoff and put it to best use.
This issue of Urban Land coincides with one of ULI’s four major meetings, the Asia Pacific Summit, which is being held in mid-June in Shanghai. Located along the Huangpu River in China’s Yangtze River delta, Shanghai is the world’s largest shipping container port. Access to the water is, fundamentally, the city’s reason for being, as it originally was for many of the world’s great cities. Beginning on page 76, we see how the new ShanghaiTech campus pays homage to China’s tradition of water towns, and to the agricultural canals that long supported area farms. Also in this issue, California-based architect and planner Peter Calthorpe offers his response to the “sweeping vision” reflected in the urban design standards issued by China’s State Council earlier this year. Watch for the July/August issue of Urban Land for the top stories from this year’s summit in Shanghai, and have a wonderful summer.
Editor in Chief