Associate Professor Frank Sleegers was invited by the Institute of Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Garden Art in Budapest, Hungary for teaching at their Master’s program in a two- week intensive design workshop in Urban Landscapes & Urban Green Systems. Together with Professor Réka Báthoryné, the class envisioned a transformation of a neglected and channeled urban creek in the 14th District of downtown Budapest. The proposals were seeking to enhance visibility and perception of the channeled Rákos Creek, improve the ecological performance through slowing down the velocity and expanding vegetated areas along the stream, and improving overall accessibility within the overall framework of urban sustainability and providing green infrastructure services. The class was taught in a studio format with four meetings a week that consisted of specific lectures, design critiques, and working time.
Sleegers also gave a lecture in Sándor Jombach’s class in Urban Ecology: “Phytotechnologies and Beyond - Multi-Scalar Frameworks for Restoring and Re-Envisioning Urban Brownfields”. Professor Sándor Jombach from the Department of Landscape Planning and Regional Development is well known to the department. He was a visiting scholar to LARP back in 2009 and organized the 3rd Fábos conference in 2010.
Other lectures were presented by Professor Sleegers to students and faculty to share his expertise in perceiving, transforming, and designing urban landscapes: “Reclaiming Contaminated Places - Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord and Mauerpark Berlin”, “Stormwater Infiltration on Urban Streets”, and “Back to Nature – Renaturation of Urban Streams Serving Ecology and People”. This relationship with the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences and their Institute of Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Garden Art has been induced through Professor Julius Fábos and is supported generously through the Fábos Endowment that also sponsors The Fábos Conference on Landscape and Greenway Planning and the exchange of international scholars. Recent scholars included Ákos Bence Keszthely and Istvan Valanszki. Director of the Institute, Albert Fekete supported the mutual exchange between the continents and invites students from UMass, LARP to come and participate. All lectures are held in English as the programs attract students from all over the world. The Institute is also actively involved in the European Erasmus program to foster exchange and experiences between European students.
For Sleegers, it was a special experience to get back to his European roots and one of their oldest programs in Landscape Architecture. Sleegers was impressed with the high quality of research and design that spans from landscape planning and protection, tourist management, urban planning and design to garden art and horticulture.
His special thanks go to the Director of the Institute, Professor Albert Fekete, and Professor Eszter Bakay Karlócainé.