History of Environmental Design in Northwest Pacific
The Northwest Pacific is the Northern American continent region that comprises the US States of Oregon, Washington and the Canadian state of British Columbia. The State of Oregon has a diverse terrain: volcanic extensions, waterfalls, forests and a desert on the eastern side of the state. On the contrary, Washington has several parcels of land under federal protection: parks, forests, wildernesses and wetlands while the British Columbia is comprised of mountains and about six thousand islands.
Facts about the Northwest Pacific
Before the influx of immigrants in the region, the statistics conducted in 1949 revealed that the west coast of Columbia had the ability to produce between ten to sixteen million fish annually. However, by the 1980s the production of salmons in Columbia basin could was merely 1.8 million annually. A verdict was made that more than 50% were caught in between the eight dams over which they travelled through and thereby leaving just 2.8 million fish as capital stock to reproduce. Their habitats were reduced by pollution, dams and encroachment to half the original coverage. The 50% of the stock came from hatcheries. Salmons were canned and sold worldwide by 1970 but later, the industry was unsustainable and ceased to operate. In 1985, Canada and the United States negotiated the Pacific Salmon Treaty which took over from where the commission had failed to increase the salmon stocks during its regulatory period.
Even though there are private holdings, the US forest management maintains the biggest portion of the forest on the Cascade Range. The concern of the people was to increase the productivity of forests while the management preferred the capital measure of forests measured by the percentage of old growth forest which comprised of trees between 180-220 years old.
In the 1940s, two thirds of the productive forest (26.9 hectares) in California, Oregon and Washington States was private land. The old growth was approximately 13.3million hectares. By the 1990s, the old growth was estimated to have lapsed down to 4.2 million hectares.
Landscape design is the innovative approach to emerging not only environmental challenges but also changes. It involves the creation of sustainable and regenerative ecosystem on the landscape.Landscape architecture is the profession that combines art and science for the management of the landscape relative to culture and physical features while planning is the process of decision-making about the allocation of resources, extraction and use (Motloch, 2001).
The Phases of Environmental Design
The environment undergoes four cycles: exploitation, conservation, release and renewal.
The Exploitation Phase
In this phase, there is rapid growth and capital accumulation. The opportunists and pioneers exploit the resources freely with less restriction either because the local authorities are still unaware of effects, or there is minimal competition for the resources which are in abundance. In analyzing this phase, the emphasis is on Seattle which even though it didn’t have any strategic regional planning, it was encountering an economic boom as the expanding Boeing aircraft industry was proving to be a centre for development (Sale R, 1976). At the end of the WWII, the Boeing Company retrenched 70000 of its workers as the plane supplies were mainly for the war. By 1947, the industry had once again employed about 20% of the population in Seattle and with this came an influx in population and the need for transport and communication links (Archives, 1998). Freeways were built to link the emerging centers such as Newport, Bryn Manr, Bellevue, Clyde Hill and Lake Forest Park which were dependent on the Boeing boom. In Washington there was a trial of filling the post-war depression gap using logging to cater for the surging demand of paper pulp and housing materials. In the same period, they started to diversify into other industries such as airplanes, cherries and atomic weapons.
The architecture of the Northwest Pacific region at that period was mainly constructed by timber as it can viewed in the pictures (below) with extensive utilization of wood.
Logging in Washington
Airlie, gas station, 1941 – Salem Public Lib. Oreg. Historic Photo Collec., 8101
The Second Stage
The conservation phase: it’s realized when the extraction costs increases and there emerges the need for strategy. In the conservation stage people realized there was pollution which were was coming up as a result of the rapid capital accumulation, immigrants were at first attracted by the beautiful scenery that was then facing depletion. The Metropolitan Problems Committee (METRO) was formed to plan the metropolitan area. The whole process was scuttled by sub-urbanites whose only concern was for the authorities to create better link between the centers by building more bridges. The need for sewage treatment and planned transport system emerged later which saw METRO re-endorsed.
In Oregon in the 1930s was the formation of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) which focused mainly on protection projects and on fighting forest fires which had become norm because of declining humidity levels (Sale R, 1976). The CCC camps built lookout towers, telephone lines, trails and roads. CCC crews also helped to develop three parks; Golden Falls, Daphne Grove and Silver Falls State park; constructed forestry buildings near Marshfield and Port Orford Cedar Experimental Forest. The CCC program ended in 1942 but its impact and influence remained in the green conservation policy in the region (Oregonencyclopedia, (2011).
The Release Phase
Hereby, there are the threats of fires, pests and general mass wasting The Willamette River flood of 1964 was the worst in the 20th century causing an estimated loss of $71 million damaging houses, sewage system, crops, livestock and soil erosion. The Corps’ comprehensive plan included formation of dams on the tributaries on the river. Between 1937-1940,the Corps constructed eleven storage dams and two regulating reservoirs. These developments salvaged the urban areas from severe damage during the 1964 flood (Willingham W.F 1983). Forest fires had become dominant bringing the need to form camps for forest management.
Recruits from Nebraska arrived at CCC Camp Coquille in 1933. Courtesy of Coos Forest Protective Association. http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/entry/view/civilian_conservation_corps_in_coos_county/
The Re-organization Stage
. Lastly, is the re-organization of the system to correct the threats or renewal (Smith, 2000).States in the Northwest Pacific are recognized for their environmental conservative policies that date back to 1903. In Portland of Oregon the conserved features include the 40-Mile Loop which Olmsted Brothers proposed in 1903 and was affirmed in 1948. In 1990 the whole loop was turned into recreational land after the last parcel was obtained through legislation.
The Three Sisters on which conservation began in 1937 were strengthened later by upgrading it into a reserved wilderness.
Engineering Department Photographic Negatives (Record Series 2613-07), Seattle Municipal Archives. http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~scripts/nph-brs.exe?s1=monorail+&S2=&S3=&l=0&Sect7=THUMBON&Sect6=HITOFF&Sect5=PHOT1&Sect4=AND&Sect3=PLURON&d=PHO3&p=1&u=/~public/phot1.htm&r=22&f=G
After the concerns to conserve the environment, the concern of the population shifted to urban planning which was essential to the rapid capital accumulation and population growth.
Planning in the Region Picture retrieved from Willamette Valley, n of Albany, ca 1970, bb003272 – Oreg. Hist. Soc. Research Lib., bb003272
According to the aerial view, there were concerns to preserve the vegetation along the Valley of Willamette River and its tributaries. The other areas which are mainly slopes were put under cultivation with minimal vegetation though they too have signs of planning due to their alignment. Oregon State later passed a bill in 1973 to allow for statewide land use planning while preserving the local responsibility on better practices on land. Oregon land use plan was used as a model by other states. Oregon had addressed housing by ensuring that there was a distribution of low-income housing in all parts of the metropolitan urban areas. Its consistent and timeless policies, urban growth boundaries, emphasis on affordable housing and land resource conservation were viewed as progressive towards the right direction. (Century 21 Exposition)
Based on maps of Seattle and on map of the exposition grounds in Official Guide Book: Seattle World’s Fair 1962, Acme: Seattle (1962), p. 4–5
The plan was drawn during Seattle’s trade fair held on 1962 April 21 to October 21. With the trade fair Seattle built several buildings including the Space Needle, Alweg monorail, Performing arts buildings, sports venues etc.
The Columbia River treaty signed between US and Canada in January 17, 1961 saw the construction of three dams for regulation purposes: 1.73 km³ (1.4 Maf) provided by Duncan Dam (1967), 8.76 km³ (7.1 Maf) provided by Arrow Dam (1968) [subsequently renamed the Hugh Keenleyside Dam], and 8.63 km³ (7.0 Maf) provided by Mica Dam (1973) provisions made by Canada of 19.12km2. The dams were to make management of the river more effective (Krutilla, John V. 1967).
The Duncan Dam was required under the Treaty, and was completed in 1967. It has no powerhouse and remains purely a storage project.
The eminent trend of land planning and design in the region was the formation and integration of land resource reserves which included forests, wildlife and wilderness through commissions and committees. People’s perception had changed from utilization to preservation and reforming those which were either being polluted or depleted. In British Columbia (1975), 85% of the province’s land was managed by the Ministry of Forests (Barman J, 2007). In Oregon and Washington conservation was receiving a new incentive from the population who settled in these because of their landscape and environment suitability were experiencing disutilities caused by pollution and the trendy forest fires. The landscape architecture then was the construction of several dams along the valleys in the region to enhance control over flooding as well as land use. The limit of urban expansion boundaries and restrictions on conversion of rural land for development other than Agriculture were applied strictly from Oregon then adopted by other areas.
By the end of the 1960s, the residents of Seattle were hooked to the movement that advocated for beauty, health and permanence. The perception and preference changed from utility to recreation. Polluted atmosphere, wildlife depletion and threatened outdoor recreation became of great concern which led to the formation of welfare to undertake the process of planning and growth management. In Washington there was urban environmentalism at the time when untreated sewage was polluting Lake Washington. By mid 1950s the lake was not good even for swimming. Metro was formed for planning and management. In the 1960s the concern shifted to the general causes of population increase and unplanned centers such that there was pollution and congestion. There was the advocacy for more public utilities; parks were reserved, highways broadened, county stadium and forest reservations. The British Columbia suit the example: green conservation. However, in Columbia the land pressure was not intensive. Its holding of seven of Canada’s national parks is a clear indication of conservation extensive area (Barman J, 2007).
When it comes to planning most of the plans were reactionary following the trails dissatisfaction and discontent. Others came in the face of particular developments like the Boeing boom, nuclear site construction and the Seattle trade fair.
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Oregonencyclopedia, (1983).Willamette River Flood of 1894. The Oregon Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 29 may 2011 from http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/entry/view/willamette_flood_1894_/
Washington.edu, (2011).III. Constructing Nature: Urban Planning and Design in Seattle. Centre for the study of Pacific Northwest. Retrieved on 29 may 2011 from http://www.washington.edu/uwired/outreach/cspn/Website/Classroom%20Materials/Curriculum%20Packets/Building%20Nature/III.html
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Barman J,(2007). The West Beyond the West, A History of British Columbia 3rd edition. Toronto, Toronto University Press.
Krutilla, V. (1967).The Columbia River Treaty: The Economics of an International River Basin Development. Baltimore, Md.: Resources for the Future, Inc.
Archives,(1998).The Beginnings: 1903-1938. The Growing Pains, Boeing. Retrieved on 29 may 2011 from http://web.archive.org/web/20030202065217/http:/www.boeing.com/companyoffices/history/boeing/growing.html
Ubcic.bc,(2010).Historical Timeline. From 1700s to the Present. Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Retrieved on 29 may 2011 from http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/Resources/timeline.htm