1st Edition

Aquaculture Landscapes
Fish Farms and the Public Realm

ISBN 9781138218352
Published August 4, 2019 by Routledge
264 Pages 221 Color Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Aquaculture Landscapes explores the landscape architecture of farms, reefs, parks, and cities that are designed to entwine the lives of fish and humans.

In the twenty-first century, aquaculture’s contribution to the supply of fish for human consumption exceeds that of wild-caught fish for the first time in history. Aquaculture has emerged as the fastest growing food production sector in the world, but aquaculture has agency beyond simply converting fish to food. Aquaculture Landscapes recovers aquaculture as a practice with a deep history of constructing extraordinary landscapes. These landscapes are characterized and enriched by multispecies interdependency, performative ecologies, collaborative practices, and aesthetic experiences between humans and fish. Aquaculture Landscapes presents over thirty contemporary and historical landscapes, spanning six continents, with incisive diagrams and vivid photographs. Within this expansive scope is a focus on urban aquaculture projects by leading designers—including Turenscape, James Corner Field Operations, and SCAPE—that employ mutually beneficial strategies for fish and humans to address urban coastal resiliency, wastewater management, and other contemporary urban challenges. Michael Ezban delivers a compelling account of the coalitions of fish and humans that shape the form, function, and identity of cities, and he offers a forward-thinking theorization of landscape as the preeminent medium for the design of ichthyological urbanism in the Anthropocene.

With over two hundred evocative images, including ninety original drawings by the author, Aquaculture Landscapes is a richly illustrated portrayal of aquaculture seen through the disciplinary lens of landscape architecture. As the first book devoted to this topic, Aquaculture Landscapes is an original and essential resource for landscape architects, urbanists, animal geographers, aquaculturists, and all who seek and value multispecies cohabitation of a shared public realm.

Winner of the 2020 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize!

Table of Contents


Imagining Aquaculture, by Charles Waldheim

Introduction: Aquacultures

PART ONE: Situating Aquaculture Landscapes

Designing Ichthyological Urbanism

Resilient Aquaculture Coastlines

Catalytic Polycultures

Post-Aquaculture Adaptations

PART TWO: Surveying Aquaculture Landscapes

Overview of Aquaculture Landscapes Case Studies

01 Fishponds of the Třeboň Basin, Czech Republic

02 Esteros in the Bay of Cádiz, Spain

03 Wetland Basins in the Doñana Nature Reserve, Spain

04 Valli of Comacchio, Italy

05 Piscina of Sperlonga, Italy

06 Piscifactoire of Huningue, France

07 Grotto Aquarium in Paris, France

08 Acadjas at Lake Nokoué, Benin

09 Bheries of the East Kolkata Wetlands, India

10 Dike-Pond System of the Pearl River Delta, China

11 Rice-Fish Terraces of Longxian Village, China

12 Gei Wai in the Mai Po Marshes, Hong Kong

13 Savanna Weirs of Baures, Bolivia

14 Tailwater Fisheries at Wolf Creek Dam, United States

15 Ahupua’a of the Hawaiian Islands, United States

PART THREE: Depicting Aquaculture Landscapes

Representations of Aquaculture Landscapes



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Michael Ezban is an architect, landscape designer, and scholar. His work explores landscapes and buildings designed to mediate relations between humans and other animals. Published and exhibited internationally, Ezban’s writing and design focus on aquaculture landscapes, waterfowl hunting grounds, and equestrian facilities. He is a recipient of the Maeder-York Family Fellowship in Landscape Architecture from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Ezban is an Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia, and a cofounder of VanderGoot Ezban Studio, a research-based practice.


"The work is a visual feast with something to lure every reader: landscape historian, urban ecology, entrepreneurial fish farmer, or landscape architect...Ezban's descriptions of contemporary projects provide a conceptual spine for 15 beautifully illustrated case studies - the tour de force of the book." —Nathan Heavers, Landscape Architecture Magazine, November 2019

"Aquaculture Landscapes is a breath-taking book—full of historical drawings, ingenious diagrams, and superb photography—that demonstrates how we can revolutionize our relationships with aquatic life. Grounded in multispecies urban theory and dreams of coexistence instead of exploitation, Ezban offers both concrete examples and speculative designs from around the world that will transform landscape architecture practice. His book is the first to not only argue for a post-human urbanism, but to demonstrate how landscape architects can go about creating a zoöpolitan urbanism for the future. Aquaculture Landscapes is a must-read for all landscape architecture students, faculty, and professionals."—Jennifer Wolch, Dean, College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley, USA

"Michael Ezban presents an original and informative book on an extremely intriguing subject: aquaculture landscapes—fish farms as seen through the lens of contemporary landscape architecture. His work opens and invites us all into vast and exciting new territory for landscape architecture practice. Through examination of public landscapes where nutrient cycling, biological conservation, remediation, and vernacular farming practices combine to inspire a sense of wonder and pleasure, Aquaculture Landscapes illustrates both the art of survival and the art beyond survival."—Kongjian Yu, Dean and Professor, Graduate School of Landscape Architecture, Peking University, China, President, Turenscape

"Aquaculture Landscapes is a thoughtful, articulate, forward-thinking contribution to a deeply problematic yet still growing sector of food production. Combining intelligent prose with illuminating illustrations, Michael Ezban presents an alluring vision for how new, ecologically and ethically sensitive systems can—indeed, must—be designed for a liveable future. With what I’ve seen of the state of contemporary industrial aquaculture, this is a much-needed blueprint."—Jonathan Balcombe, author of What a Fish Knows

"We are all born of water, and our primordial relationship with aquatic ecologies endures. In this lush volume, Michael Ezban both plumbs the depths and surfaces common currents to reveal an aqueous terrain worthy of navigation for the Anthropocene. Through rigorous historical research and insightful contemporary precedents from aquaculture to angling, Aquaculture Landscapes offers fresh thinking and timely designs for a richer, more biodiverse world. Ezban’s design research intelligently articulates how we might materially and metaphorically cohabit with our oldest of relatives—the fish—and other species beyond the human."—Nina-Marie E. Lister, Graduate Program Director, School of Urban & Regional Planning, Ryerson University, Canada

"Aquaculture Landscapes is an incredible achievement! Michael Ezban’s beautiful maps, diagrams, and renderings unpack the diverse and integrated worlds that humans and fish inhabit. This book is a celebration of our ingenious and resourceful history as humans guiding and cultivating the aquatic landscape."—James Prosek, author of Eels

"We are ecological beings. We interact with our fellow humans as well as with other species and our environments. But our interactions with other species tend to be one-sided: we take much more than we give. In Aquaculture Landscapes, Michael Ezban takes compelling deep dives into cohabited landscapes from around the world, and he offers a hopeful vision for how we might rebalance and reconfigure our relationships with fish and other aquatic life through design."—Frederick Steiner, Dean, Stuart Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania, USA