Second, Waldheim uses the word ecology as a kind of touchstone throughout the book, even titling his conclusion, “From Landscape to Ecology.” He also refers to the subdiscipline of landscape ecology, to the applied discipline of ecological planning, and to ecological modeling. But he does not define ecology until the end of his book, on page 181—and even there his definition is incorrect. He does not review any literature or ideas in ecological science or even refer to others who do scholarly work in this area except for a brief name-drop of Richard Forman, who has taught landscape ecology for thirty years at Harvard. Instead, Waldheim appears to use the term ecology as a mute prop throughout the book, presumably to confer a misleading degree of authority on his writing about the meaning and performance of designed landscapes. He refers to ecology alternately as an epistemological frame, a metaphor, a medium, and a model. And he reveals his lack of awareness of the actual discipline through claims that it treats natural systems as “indeterminate,” which is a distortion of its theory and epistemology. In spite of his rejection of empiricism, Waldheim claims a performative capacity for landscape urbanist designs—apparently on no other basis besides the critical approbation of what he calls “high design culture.”
Third, as any design theorist would, Waldheim assembles proposals and writing that establish exemplars for landscape urbanism and process-based design approaches in urban landscapes. But here he makes an unusual choice. Instead of organizing the ideas of the individuals who have written the most about process-based design, or been most involved in its inception and development, he chooses a specific subset of examples that are almost entirely authored by a small group of men. Most of the writing about process-driven, performative design in landscape architecture has been produced by women (for example, Anne Whiston Spirn, Catherine Howett, Joan Nassauer, Jane Wolff, and Elizabeth K. Meyer). Early examples of this type of design were produced by women (Spirn, Julie Bargmann, Anuradha Mathur, and Mia Lehrer, among others) as well as men.