Ultimately, the real strength of The BLDGBLOG Book is Geoff Manaugh’s skills as a compelling storyteller. As Manaugh delves into the world of Landscape Futures in the fifth and final chapter of his book, the reader is simultaneously immersed in the floating canal city of London A.D. 2109 and in the Cloud City that hovers above a hurricane-ravaged New York. The engaging stories and exquisite illustrations and photographs have quickly made The BLDGBLOG Book the most popular of my coffee table selection.
In writing about Landscape Futures, Manaugh attempts to tell the story of our planet beyond the lifetime of any of his readers. What will happen, he asks, when future generations excavate the remains of cities such as Las Vegas and Detroit? In other words, the final chapter seeks to answer what our current architectural practices will communicate in the future. Manaugh expands this line of thinking to other phenomena, including natural disasters, flood planning, and even the possibility of carbon dioxide glass to promote climate change reversal.
Manaugh cites an interesting combination of academic journals and popular novels in his writing. In doing so, Manaugh makes these works more accessible to the reader who may or may not be versed in architectural and scientific writing. As has been mentioned by several of my Global Site Plans colleagues, The BLDGBLOG Book covers a wide range of subjects and in doing so, can naturally only scrape the surface of their importance to landscape architecture and urban planning. However, this surface analysis should be regarded as a strength, as it prevents the book from becoming bogged down by too much fact. Instead, The BLDGBLOG Book opens up conversation regarding Landscape Futures to those who would otherwise not have access.
Manaugh effectively brings his readers into the discussion of the future of landscapes and encourages discussion that goes far beyond the 258 pages of his book. These discussions are continued on social media, including the official BLDGBLOG Twitter account and on The BLDGBLOG itself.
I encourage you to place The BLDGBLOG Book on your own coffee table – I imagine you’ll have a hard time prying it out of any guest’s hands.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.