Date of Award


Document Type

Terminal Project

Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

Committee Member

Dr. Matthew Powers

Committee Member

Robert Hewitt, MLA

Committee Member

Dr. Hyejung Chang


This thesis researches the potential of an open systems approach to the design of urban public space. Open systems are created and informed by the matter- energy that continually flows through them. Open systems do not just recover well from disturbance (hurricane, pollution, commercial development)but actually integrate it and evolve to more complex levels of operations. The thesis investigated a series of complex conditions in Charleston, SC by design an open system of landscape structures and process through creating a cloudburst plaza by the open system in the downtown Charleston. These new landscapes are then tested against a range of possible disturbances (flooding, terrain features and inappropriate urban development) to ascertain whether they will mitigate the degree of Charleston city flooding problems. Design application is an example based on the research conclusion. AACN Charlestowne chapter is an existing plaza in downtown of Charleston, SC. It is subject to storm surge, flooding from heavy rains and high tides every year.

Additional Files

Poster_Final_QingciCao_2018.pdf (85553 kB)