The Fábos Conference on Landscape and Greenway Planning is held every three years to bring together experts who are influencing landscape planning, policy making and greenway planning from the local to international level. It is intended to highlight recent trends and expand the literature about landscape and greenway planning. The aim is to explore how landscape architects and planners from different countries have approached greenway planning and to understand how greenways have been tailored to each county’s unique geographical, cultural, and political circumstances. The conference provides an opportunity to publish full papers in printed proceedings.
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About Julius Gy. Fábos
Julius Gyula Fábos was born in 1932 in Marcali, Hungary. He grew up in an extended family of proud farmers who instilled in him a strong agrarian work ethic, values of land stewardship and prudent resource use, and loyalty to family, colleagues and friends. After 1949, successful farming families, such as his, were labeled “Kuláks” and treated as enemies of society. Julius and his family lost their farm, were arrested, tortured and jailed. At age 24, soon after the Hungarian revolution in 1956, Julius boldly escaped from Hungary to begin a new life in America (Fábos 2010).
Julius settled in New Jersey, learned English, met his wife Edith, and earned a bachelors degree from Rutgers in Agronomy in 1961. He continued his education at Harvard where he earned his Masters of Landscape Architecture degree in 1964. He learned of ecological planning and was introduced to a regional view of landscape architecture by Phil Lewis, visiting instructor at Harvard, and through the work of Ian McHarg.
Early in his tenure at UMass, Fábos found his scholarly niche in articulating theory and developing parametric methods for landscape planning. Through his highly collaborative research program, he learned the importance of research for advancing landscape architecture from a professional field to a respected academic discipline. He started the Metropolitan Land Use Planning Research Group (METLAND) that established a science-based, parametric approach to landscape assessment and planning. METLAND was applied to the then-rapidly expanding Boston metropolitan region to assure that natural, physical and cultural resources were duly considered in landscape and land use planning decisions. The METLAND group also pioneered the computerization of landscape planning in the 1980’s. He was influential in advising the Portuguese government on establishing a national geographic information system during a Fulbright Fellowship in Portugal in 1986. In 1985 he was inducted as a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in recognition of his contributions to the knowledge base of the field. In 1997 he received the ASLA medal, the highest honor given by the Society.
In the 1980’s, Julius Fábos refocused his research on the theory and practice of Greenways. With faculty colleagues at UMass, he co-edited three special issues of Landscape and Urban Planning Journal on the emerging practice of greenway planning and design (Fabos and Ryan 2006; Fabos and Ryan 2004; Fabos and Ahern 1995). His individual contributions in these special issues defined greenways as a flexible strategy for integrating natural, recreational and cultural preservation appropriate for international application. Collectively, these special issues defined theory from emerging international practice and established a future research agenda for greenways. For the 1999 Centennial of the ASLA, Fábos and UMass colleagues Robert Ryan and Mark Lindhult organized hundreds of professionals and officials to create a comprehensive Greenway Plan for the New England region.
After his retirement from UMass in 1997, Fábos continued to promote landscape planning and greenways. Julius and Edith Fábos established an endowment at UMass to sponsor a triennial international conference on Greenways and Landscape Planning. The 5 Fábos conferences to date have attracted international academic and professional participation and have resulted in substantial published proceedings.
Julius Fábos will always be known as an inspirational and demanding professor. Students he has taught and advised have become noted academic, governmental and professional leaders internationally. He has served as advisor and mentor. He is a tireless and effective advocate for the profession – urging landscape architects to “make big plans; aim high in hope and work…” in the spirit of Daniel Burnham, another of his idols.