Call for Abstracts: Child-friendly Cities

Teardrop Park, New York. 2009 General Design Honor Award Winner. The 14-foot long custom-made stainless steel slide, rested on the side of a bowled land form, and the Wooden Step Seats (foreground) create a social microcosm shared by sliders, climbers, onlookers, diggers, and New York Times readers.  image: Nilda Cosco, Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University, Raleigh, NC

Teardrop Park, New York. 2009 General Design Honor Award Winner. The 14-foot long custom-made stainless steel slide, rested on the side of a bowled land form, and the Wooden Step Seats (foreground) create a social microcosm shared by sliders, climbers, onlookers, diggers, and New York Times readers.
image: Nilda Cosco, Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University, Raleigh, NC

The 4th International Conference on the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families will take place January 12-15, 2015 in San Diego, CA.The conference’s theme is Young People, Borders & Wellbeing, and the call for sessions, papers, and posters will be open until October 15, 2014. Highlighted below is one proposed session of interest on Child-friendly Cities: Critical Approaches. See below for instructions on how to submit an abstract if you would like to be considered for inclusion in this session and in a special issue of the journal Children, Youth and Environments.

Many of the papers within children’s geographies end with some kind of recommendation for the building of child-friendly cities. But what do we mean by child-friendly cities? This workshop will explore different ways of conceptualizing children, cities, child-friendliness and their interrelationships.

Policies aimed at child-friendly cities presuppose that cities are not child-friendly: cities have to change in order to become child-friendly. This supposition reveals an anti-urban way of thinking. It juxtaposes the urban jungle vs. the rural idyll. These contrasting connotations are very much based on the relatively poor provision of outdoor play facilities in urban environments and their assumed abundance in rural environments. But today, enrichment activities have become more prominent in many children’s everyday life. Will this emphasis on enrichment activities change the rural into the urban idyll?

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SCUP Landscape & Planning Award Winners

The University of British Columbia's pedestrian campus, SCUP Honor Award winner for Landscape Architecture--General Design image: Dean Gregory

The University of British Columbia’s pedestrian campus, SCUP Honor Award winner for Landscape Architecture–General Design
image: Dean Gregory

Congratulations to those landscape architects, teams and campuses that are winners in the 2014 Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Campus Awards Program in the Landscape Design and Planning categories. The goal of the program, started in 2001, is to recognize excellence in higher education and its resultant physical environment. In 2013, there was a slight uptick in the number of submissions under the planning (20) and landscape (19) categories. This year, there were 22 submissions under the planning category and only 14 submissions in the landscape category.

The 2015 Call for SCUP Excellence Award Entries will open October 1, 2014. I encourage all of you to start thinking about which landscape and planning projects you’re going to submit for the 2015 program.

In the meantime, following is a list of the 2014 SCUP award winners in the four categories of Landscape and Planning.

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Top 5 Iconic Spaces

Broad view with detail of canyon, horizon, and mountains above, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, from the series: Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, compiled 1941-1942, documenting the period ca. 1933-1942 image: The U.S. National Archives via Flickr Commons

Broad view with detail of canyon, horizon, and mountains above, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, from the series: Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, compiled 1941-1942, documenting the period ca. 1933-1942
image: The U.S. National Archives via Flickr Commons

At the start of 2013, a questionnaire was sent out to members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). The theme: favorite spaces. As you can imagine, responses were varied, and included many insightful comments and suggestions. Synopses of the survey results were originally shared in LAND over the course of 2013, and we are now re-posting this information here on The Field. For the latest updates on the results of the 2014 PPN Survey—focusing on members’ career paths in landscape architecture—see LAND‘s PPN News section.

One may not immediately associate landscapes, which are necessarily ever-changing places, with the kind of permanence iconicity implies, but there are nonetheless a few that have achieved the status of icons. These places are instantly recognizable, with deep historic and cultural connections, and they have left an indelible mark on both the history of landscape architecture and on countless individuals, who are impressed, awe-stricken, moved, surprised, and captivated by these places when visited in-person.

Of all the iconic spaces selected by our members, here are the top 5:

  1. Central Park, New York City
  2. Grand Canyon National Park
  3. The National Mall, Washington, D.C.
  4. Paley Park, New York City
  5. Yosemite National Park

But why are these spaces so great? Here are a few of the reasons why, according to our members.

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Public-Private Partnerships & Water

image: Alexandra Hay

image: Alexandra Hay

Given the urgent need to address aging water infrastructure across the United States, public-private partnerships, or PPPs, offer a possible solution. The ongoing discussion of PPPs’ potential includes an overview of 2013’s PPP-related developments by Michael Deane, Executive Director of the National Association of Water Companies, for The Huffington Post and an article by Giulio Boccaletti, Managing Director of Global Water for The Nature Conservancy, in The Guardian that takes a look at financing solutions for natural infrastructure.

Earlier this year, ASLA’s Government Affairs Manager, Mark Cason, observed a roundtable discussion of PPPs focused on water supply and treatments. The roundtable, hosted by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, addressed the challenges municipalities face in operating, maintaining, and financing their water and waste water systems. Panelists also outlined the substantial federal and state investments needed to address all of the demands, especially as the original infrastructure reaches the end of its life cycle.

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Getting Out of Your Own Head

Learning from and with others is the main ingredient of the conference experience. image: PLANET Green Industry Conference

Learning from and with others is the main ingredient of the conference experience.
image: PLANET Green Industry Conference

ASLA will periodically publish guest posts from partner organizations on The Field about upcoming programs, such as the PLANET Green Industry Conference. For more information on other national conferences for landscape architects, check the ASLA website.

Many business owners have a difficult time getting out of their own heads. Making sure their teams are meeting goals and enjoying their jobs, and customers are happy can fill more hours than there are in a day. Before they know it, the busy season is winding down and it’s time to work on next year’s goals and strategize on how to exceed the past year’s accomplishments. The cycle starts all over again, and so does the feeling that there just isn’t enough time to really tend to one’s own growth.

Annual meetings, like the PLANET Green Industry Conference (GIC), can provide owners and their employees alike with much needed respite and refueling. As David Snodgrass, president of Dennis’ 7 Dees in Portland, Oregon, and a former PLANET president, so aptly stated, “Stay at home, don’t go to GIC and your benchmark is only as big as your local competition. Go to GIC and your benchmark suddenly expands, and you naturally think bigger. It was a stretch for us to attend in the beginning. Our company was small. We were very busy and wearing several hats. Yet, even back then, the biggest event in the industry was a requisite for us. … We would not be nearly as successful as we are today if we had failed to put GIC on our agenda.”

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Logistics of International Work–Part 1

Nefta, Tunisia  image: Erik Mustonen

Nefta, Tunisia
image: Erik Mustonen

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
–Saint Augustine (AD 354 – 430)

My previous post, Getting Started in International Work, covered how to prepare for international work generally. This two-part addition covers logistical considerations for working in a foreign country based on my own experiences in Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and elsewhere. Conditions vary greatly between countries, within countries, and over time, but this should at least give you an idea of what to think about. I look forward to hearing other people’s experiences as well. Part 1 deals with the logistical issues before you go. Part 2 will cover issues relevant while there and after you return.

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The Results Are In for the 2013 PPN Survey

Bow Bridge in Central Park   image: David Joyce via Wikimedia Commons

Bow Bridge in Central Park
image: David Joyce via Wikimedia Commons

At the start of 2013, a questionnaire was sent out to all members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). The theme: favorite spaces. As you can imagine, responses were varied, and included many insightful comments and suggestions. Synopses of the survey results were originally shared in LAND over the course of 2013, and we are now re-posting this information on The Field. For the latest updates on the results of the 2014 PPN Survey—focusing on members’ career paths in landscape architecture—see LAND‘s PPN News section.

Among the questions posed were:

What is your favorite iconic space?

Name a designed space everyone should see before they die.

Every child should experience which space?

What space are you most worried about losing?

What’s a great space to move through?

And where do you love to linger?

What city has a strong network of open spaces?

Name a space that is small, but mighty.

Name a project that you believe is technically innovative.

What project changed the profession?

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