This speculative project addressed key spatial challenges related to urban planning and design within the context of increasingly wildfire-prone rural landscapes. The topical project identified community-scale design strategies for mitigating risk and increasing resilience within and around the Town of Paradise California, which was destroyed by fire in 2018. In partnership with community leaders, the project envisioned a series of wildfire buffering schemes designed to leverage the co-benefits of wildland fuels reduction, high-value agricultural production, renewable energy, and recreational programming. The team used GIS software to delineate a strategic opportunity zone around the Town of Paradise where prescribed burning and other wildfire mitigation strategies would be most effective. This project, which builds on recent studies by the Conservation Biology Institute and the Nature Conservancy, continues SWA’s research and design engagement with wildfire-prone landscapes in California.

RESEARCH TEAM

Jonah Susskind, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA
Alison Ecker, Sergio Lima, and Kapp Singer, SWA

THANKS TO

Dan Efseaff, Paradise Recreation & Park District
Megan Barnes, Landscape Architecture Foundation
Gerdo Aquino, Ying-yu Hung, Joe Runco, Andrew Watkins, Natalia Beard, Sean O’Malley, and Jeremy Klemic, SWA
Anya Domlesky, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA
Deanne DiPietro, Conservation Biology Institute
Weitzman School of Design McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, University of Pennsylvania
The Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes (CRCL), Columbia University
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA)

FEATURED

Green New Deal Superstudio Curated Project Showcase: Adapt
“Edge of Paradise: Landscape Strategies for Living with Fire”

The Field, The American Society of Landscape Architects Professional Practice Networks’ Blog
Community Scale Wildfire Mitigation for Paradise, California

Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Climate By Design core graduate course
“Built to Burn: Climate Change, Forest Management, and Wildfire in the American West”

Texas Tech University

Planetizen
“A New Approach to Wildfire Resilience: Property Buy Backs, Fire Resistant Parks”

Landscape Architecture Foundation Webinar
Superstudio Showcase: Reflections from a Year-Long Open Call