ECW: Resilience has emerged as a goal and ideal amid the new reality of climate disasters. What role does resilience play in your work?
GJ: I’ve always considered it a responsibility of the landscape architect to help visualize resilience and to expand its continuum. Let me give you an example.
One of our early projects at Jones & Jones was a plan for a river, the Nooksack River in northwest Washington State. The Whatcom County Park Board was looking for new lands to add to a park system along the river. The Park Board wasn’t our only client; we felt the river itself was our client.
One of our first steps was to investigate the health of the river: to map and describe the places where it strongly expressed natural process and form, where rare examples of that expression had been damaged, where the river remained pristine.
The questions we asked the Nooksack River included many related to resilience. Where could the river absorb change? Which segments and reaches offered resilient corridors for animals, including insects, microbes and fungi? Questions of resilience were an integral part of what it meant to design for – and with – a river.