1st Edition

Design by Fire Resistance, Co-Creation and Retreat in the Pyrocene

By Emily Schlickman, Brett Milligan Copyright 2024
    364 Pages 108 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    364 Pages 108 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Across the world, the risks of wildfires are increasing and expanding. Due to past and current human actions, we dwell in the age of fire – the Pyrocene – and the many challenges and climate adaptation questions it provokes. Exploring our past and current relationships with fire, this book speculates on the pyro futures yet to be designed and cared for.

    Drawing upon fieldwork, mapping, drone imagery, and interviews, this publication curates 27 global design case studies within the vulnerable and dynamic wildland-urban interface and its adjacent wildlands. The book catalogs these examples into three approaches: those that resist the creative and transformative power of fire and forces of landscape change, those that embrace and utilize those forces, and those that intentionally try to retreat and minimize human intervention in fire-prone landscapes. Rather than serving as a book of neatly packaged solutions, it is a book of techniques to be considered, tested, and evaluated in a time of fire.

    Introduction  1. Stewarding Change  2. Landscapes of Fire  3. Pyric Lexicon  Approaches to Designing with Fire  4. Resistance  5. Co-Creation  6. Retreat Epilogue  7. Pyro Futures


    Emily Schlickman is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design at the University of California, Davis whose research explores design techniques for accelerated climate change. Schlickman received a BA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MLA from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

    Brett Milligan is a landscape architect and Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design at the University of California, Davis. There he is the director of the Metamorphic Landscapes Lab, dedicated to prototyping landscape-based adaptations to conditions of accelerated climatic and environmental change, through extensive fieldwork and transdisciplinary design research. Much of his work is based in California, undoing and reworking colonial legacies of land reclamation, water infrastructure, flood control, and fire suppression. He is a co-founder of the Dredge Research Collaborative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring the human alteration and design of sedimentary landscapes, and co-author of the book Silt Sand Slurry: Dredging, Sediment, and the Worlds We Are Making.

    "It’s no longer enough to live with fire. We have to live with a fire age. That requires new thinking, novel classifications, fresh metaphors and models, a vision of what can happen where fire, town, and country converge, so it’s great to see what landscape architects have to say. Design by Fire is a welcome contribution to an urgent problem." Stephen Pyne, ASU, author of The Pyrocene

    "Design by Fire is the essential guidebook and atlas for the pyro-future that is already here. Whether homeowner, concerned citizen, designer, or policymaker, you will find in these extraordinarily researched and illustrated pages a foundation for understanding – and living in – the world to come." Alexander Robinson, USC School of Architecture, author of The Spoils of Dust: Reinventing the Lake that Made Los Angeles

    "Design by Fire is a necessary book for all landscape architects and planners. The insightful interviews, succinct strategies, and emphasis on co-creative approaches structure the book, while the authors challenge us to grapple with current practices. They help us imagine a future in which reparations can bring traditional ecological knowledge to the forefront and imbue us with a culture of stewardship." Miho Mazereeuw, MIT, Director of the Urban Risk Lab