Kendra Busche loves the balancing act between big shots and concrete details. The open space planner conceives and designs everything that is between buildings on many scales. She networks with many neighboring disciplines – communication is easy for her. Since the 2022/2023 winter semester, Kendra Busche has been a “Professor for open space planning in an urban context” at the Technical University of Lübeck.
Your area of expertise is a complex profession within the engineering sciences at the interface to architecture and urban planning. “We mainly work with living objects, especially vegetation. But moving people and wild animals also play a role in our planning,” says Kendra Busche. Many things are difficult to predict at the beginning of every new project, it takes a long time from planning to spatial formation. “We therefore need a broad view and a lot of patience at the same time. I find this combination really exciting.”
City-wide green connections – climate-resilient and sustainable
Kendra Busche studied landscape architecture and environmental planning in Hanover, Berlin and Copenhagen, gained experience abroad in Venice, China, Liverpool, Glasgow and Versailles. In her doctorate she dealt with the topic of civil society participation in landscape planning. Title: “Lovely landscapes, provocative processes – involving design for individuality in urban landscapes.”
At the TH Lübeck it will initially be in the courses architecture and Town planning teaching. “I look forward to exchanging many interdisciplinary suggestions and ideas that are important for a sustainable world,” says Kendra Busche. “We do more than just put pretty greenery around a building – we create city-wide green connections and make sure that we become climate-resilient and our society remains diverse. I would like to convey this foresight to the students.” As a professor, she is not only a teacher, but also a mentor. The topics of group dynamics, self-organization and above all the development of soft skills are close to her heart. In addition to imparting the basics, she primarily wants to accompany people who
are prudent and know how to assess what an urban community or urban structure needs. I want to convey pleasure and respect for landscape and life. Green is not the same as green.
Transnational research around the Baltic Sea
For Kendra Busche, teaching, research and transfer belong together. “I do research with my students when we design cityscapes together. Through our work, we keep gaining new insights. We have a room, have a research question, try things out, make designs and interventions, talk about them, reflect on our findings, and in the end we develop concrete proposals. And then other people can build on it and advance our idea further.”
Where exactly is your research headed? That will be found. Schleswig-Holstein is familiar to her, she often vacationed here as a child, went sailing and rode her bike a lot. “I love this area, but I’ve also seen structural problems, such as the overdeveloped or shrinking villages,” she reflects. Perhaps the Baltic Sea will become the connecting element as a research project. “I have good contacts in Oslo and Denmark,” she reflects. You can think about how climate change affects urbanization processes in coastal regions on a transnational basis.
The topic is – unsurprisingly – complex. That doesn’t deter Kendra Busche; Cities, villages, ports, climate, agriculture, tourism…. “Landscape architects can do everything – but nothing perfect,” she quotes her doctoral supervisor. “We have extremely complex thinking, understand facts, have different levels of communication. But then we also know how to assess our limits, which is where specialists are needed.” This interface thinking is becoming more and more important, because everything is interconnected.
Network between university, civil society and politics
In the next few months, Kendra Busche would like to establish a network between the university, civil society and the city administration in Lübeck – just like in Hanover. You could well imagine a design-build project in collaboration with colleagues and students, i.e. a project where you not only draw plans on the computer, but actually spend a week or two somewhere on site and build something in cooperation with a district . “We have to work in a transdisciplinary way,” she is certain. Open space and the city are political issues. Who owns the city? Who can have a say? She believes that open space planning has a key position in answering these questions – and she wants to take on this responsibility.
I am really looking forward to getting to know this city and its actors.