Discover the Twin Cities, and Beyond, at ASLA 2023

Coen+Partners’ Heart of the City project in Rochester, MN—recipient of the 2023 ASLA Professional Award of Excellence for Urban Design—is part of the field session Art, Community, Healing: Innovative Public Spaces for a Destination Medical Center. / image: Jasper Lazor Photography

Next month, thousands of landscape architects and allied professionals will converge on Minneapolis for the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture, ready to learn from their peers, forge new connections, and explore the city—and one way to do all three simultaneously is through the conference’s field sessions. Six are already sold out, but there’s still a few openings on the 12 other field sessions. Get your tickets now to secure your spot!

Field sessions run on Friday, October 27, and Monday, October 30, with a variety of departure times and session lengths. Can’t commit to a full-day excursion? Not to worry—we’ve added more half-day field sessions if your availability is limited.

Looking to deep dive on a certain practice area, while being out and about in the Minneapolis area? Some field sessions are ideally situated to appeal to members of ASLA’s various Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). Campus Planning & Design PPN members should consider The Modernist Campus of St. John’s University and Monastery and Layering Mobility, Resilience, Community, and Cultural Resources at the University of Minnesota. Healthcare & Therapeutic Design PPN members, Art, Community, Healing: Innovative Public Spaces for a Destination Medical Center would be a great pick for you.

See the full field session lineup on the conference website, and consider grabbing a ticket to explore:

Twinning: A Photography Flex with Two Sites, Two Firms, And Two Photographers
Friday, October 27, 2023
8:30am – 5:00pm CT

Designers and photography enthusiasts work with professionals to enhance their landscape architecture photography. We will tour Historic Fort Snelling and Peavey Plaza, ending with a photo critique. Optional dawn shoot before the session begins. Photo assignments assist attendees in achieving professional photographic results. Images will be displayed at the EXPO.

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Parking(ing) Day Highlights from Washington, DC

Park(ing) Day scenes from September 15, 2023, in Washington, DC / image: Alexandra Hay

Park(ing) Day is an annual, “global experiment in remixing, reclaiming and reprogramming vehicular space for social exchange, recreation and artistic expression.” The focus of this year’s event is pollinators, so ASLA decided to buzz around town to see the parklets popping up around DC.

Our first stop was the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (HU-MS2), where National ASLA partnered with the school and Jeff Holzer, ASLA, from the Potomac Chapter, to host a week of activities, including a mini course on landscape architecture, a walking tour of the Howard University campus, designed by African American landscape architect David Williston, and a design charrette. Students sketched their ideas for a pollinator-themed parklet and then constructed a parklet on campus on September 15. The parklet included flowers, a gaming station, lemonade, and a sound station set to 500 Hz, a frequency that attracts pollinators.

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Richmond on the James: Stories of Landscape Transformation, in Review

by Rebecca Flemer, Affiliate ASLA

Virginia War Memorial / image: R. Flemer

Richmond on the James: Stories of Landscape Transformation
Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation Annual Meeting
Richmond, Virginia  |  May 24-27, 2023

This year’s Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation (AHLP) conference explored the rich history of a place which is home to one of the organization’s founders, Hugh Miller, Hon. ASLA. Along with Hugh, Tim Keller, Barbara Wyatt, FASLA, and Genevieve Keller, Hon. ASLA, organized the conference. From the homeland of the Powhattan and other tribes, to capital of the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War, to its industrial past, themes for presentations and tours during the conference strove to gain a deeper knowledge of Richmond’s history as seen through its changing landscape.

The conference kicked off Wednesday evening with a welcome reception hosted by Preservation Virginia at their headquarters, the Cole Digges House. Thursday’s presentations started with an overview of the conference and a conversion with Hugh Miller. Two sessions followed with themes of Equity and Social Justice in Urban and Rural Landscapes and Racialized and Culturally Distinct Contexts of the Historic Landscape. These discussions featured professional and academic projects including scholarship papers supported by the Alliance.

On Friday, Bill Martin, director of the Valentine Museum, led an all-day bus tour of Richmond neighborhoods and landscapes. We began at Shockoe Bottom—between the 1830s and the Civil War, the largest American slave-trading hub outside of New Orleans. Largely erased during urban renewal, the site is overshadowed by Route 95. It has recently been recognized as a threatened site important to the story of enslavement in Richmond.

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Performance-Based Plant Selection: Developing a Bioretention Plant Selection Tool

by Jeremy Person, PLA, ASLA, with co-authors Ann English, PLA, ASLA, Ted Shriro, Andy Szatko, John Watson, and Jim Cooper, ASLA

Lanark Way bioretention, Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Environmental Protection retrofit. Aromatic aster blooming. / image: reproduced with permission from Montgomery County, MD Department of Environmental Protection

In January of 2020, The Field published an article on Performance-Based Plant Selection for Bioretention that sought an approach for planting design that prioritizes the functional attributes that plants provide in bioretention stormwater treatment facilities. In 2021, the Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange (the Exchange) awarded a Collaborative Grant to a multi-disciplinary team from Chicago, Maryland, Omaha, and Oregon to explore these questions further and complete a first phase towards building a Bioretention Plant Selection Tool (BPST). The effort was focused specifically on functions plants provide in bioretention and the vegetative attributes to optimize overall bioretention performance. Biohabitats, a multidisciplinary consulting firm specializing in ecological restoration, conservation planning, and regenerative design, was hired to survey stormwater professionals, complete a review of research on plant functions in bioretention installations, and develop an outline of how stormwater practitioners could evolve planting design to improve facility performance.

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Events & Opportunities Roundup

Cindy Crosby leads a group through the Schulenberg Prairie at The Morton Arboretum, the location for one of NDAL’s in-person fall events on ecology-based landscape practice. / image: The Morton Arboretum, courtesy of New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL)

There is a good chance that summer temperatures are still very much in effect where you are, but with the passage of Labor Day, many are ready to ramp up for fall by seeking distractions from your end-of-summertime sadness. Looking to fill a few despondent blank spots in your calendar, while listening to a few mid-career perspectives or getting ready for the revamped Landscape Architecture Registration Exam? ASLA has a full slate of virtual events taking place in September and October, nearly all free for ASLA members—check them all out right here.

For even more, see ASLA’s RFQs, Opportunities, and Events page for everything from calls for papers to competitions. Below, we highlight a few upcoming events and calls with deadlines coming up soon. And, one other deadline that is nearly upon us: advance rate registration for the ASLA 2023 Conference on Landscape Architecture ends September 12!

Anyone who would like to share an opportunity may submit information online.

Schoolyard Forest Design Lecture Series
September 7-December 7, 2023
This series, hosted by Green Schoolyards America, will provide technical, design-focused guidance for creating and stewarding high-quality green schoolyards and schoolyard forests. Sessions will feature presentations by subject-area experts including Green Schoolyards America staff, along with time for audience Q&A.

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Vote for Your Favorite Game-Changing Idea

At the start of August, ASLA put out a call for ideas that will change how the field approaches climate action, asking for submissions focusing on an ASLA Climate Action Plan goal. The Climate Action Plan seeks to transform the practice of landscape architecture by 2040 through actions taken by ASLA and its members focused on climate mitigation and adaptation, ecological restoration, biodiversity, equity, and economic development.

Now, it’s time to check out the one-minute video submissions and like your favorite game-changing idea to help decide who will present at this year’s ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Minneapolis! Voting runs for two days only: August 29 – August 30, 2023.

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90 Years of Landscape Architecture: Celebrating TxDOT’s History

by Sandra Chipley, RLA, ASLA

Bluebonnets in Ellis County near Ennis, Texas / image: Michael Amador, TxDOT Photo Library Archives

The Texas Department of Transportation’s landscape architects have been designing safety, comfort, and aesthetics into our Texas roadways for 90 years. In celebration of this monumental 2023 anniversary, TxDOT has produced a short video chronicling their contributions and accomplishments. In 1933, Chief Engineer Gibb Gilchrist hired the Texas Highway Department’s first landscape architect, ‘Jac’ Gubbels, who immediately championed the benefits of roadside beautification to the public, contractors, and highway engineers. Gubbels’ 1938 book, American Highways & Roadsides, promoted his design philosophies on highway alignment road profiles, erosion control, and driver safely. Today, TxDOT’s transportation landscape architects are answering the questions of how best to integrate roads into the environmental context; they are designing with native plantings to reduce heat islands to lessen impacts of a warmer environment as well as designing for improved air and water quality. Share in TxDOT’s celebration by viewing the video!

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What Stories Remain Untold?

The Soil You See…, by Wendy Red Star, in Constitution Gardens on the National Mall / image: Alexandra Hay

For the next month—through September 18, 2023—there is an outdoor art exhibition to explore across National Mall, from the plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial to Constitution Gardens and sites near the Washington Monument. The Trust for the National Mall, National Park Service, and the National Capital Planning Commission, with curator Monument Lab, selected six artists for Beyond Granite: Pulling Together. The goal: to “create a more inclusive, equitable, and representative commemorative landscape on the National Mall.”

The installations offer a striking contrast to the Mall’s permanent memorials. While articles on Beyond Granite abound (The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others, have covered it), it’s worth a visit if you’re in Washington, DC, to experience it for yourself. Written descriptions and photographs never quite capture the Mall, with its mix of tourists and locals enjoying the space and enlivening the monumental expanse, and cannot fully convey the installations’ sound and interactive components. On the sunny Saturday when I visited, the Mall was abuzz, as usual, with tour groups big and small, joggers, rugby players, dog walkers, picnickers… My impression was that many more people stumbled upon the exhibition than specifically sought it out. When you ascend the steps of the National Gallery of Art, or any of the Mall’s other grand structures, you know what you’re in for. But when you have an unexpected encounter with something new in an otherwise familiar landscape or setting, it can be a very different experience of art—one that surprises you into engaging with a perspective you might not have otherwise.

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Preserving Urban Tree Canopies

by Veronica Westendorff, RLA, ASLA

Climate-adaptive parking in Rotterdam, the Netherlands / image: courtesy of Gina Kranendonk via LinkedIn

Preserving Urban Tree Canopies: A Cost-Effective Approach to Mitigating Urban Heat and Climate Change

It’s hot. End of July, early August, humid, southern hot. Not surprising really, but this year we are experiencing smog and air quality issues from more forest fires, heat waves are rolling across the globe, burn units are filling with second degree burn cases from touching the pavement. We build, we cut down, and then we are surprised…

I’ve been following biophilic design on LinkedIn, seeing the comparison of temperatures between solid pavement and permeable pavement with just turf—and a 12° difference in temperature from that single difference in the pavement material. I’ve been researching and writing about urban heat island, how we can use trees to mitigate the heat, and which policies have the greatest success in the opinion of city planners, in order to recommend policies and programs to reduce urban heat island.

Even without the support of research, we know through a lifetime of experiences that we prefer to sit, walk, run, drive, park, and keep our vehicles in the shade of trees. The denser the better, right? And denser shade comes from larger, healthier trees. Older trees. Trees that have space, have been cared for, have been selected to survive in the place that they were planted. Right plant in the right place and all that. I think it’s not difficult to convince people of the importance of saving trees when it’s the beginning of August and our homes are running the air-conditioning non-stop, but development is a complicated thing. After all, we live and work and exist in spaces that were once treed or greened, and we value our lifestyles, our economic growth. I don’t have an answer for that dilemma. I am, however, seeking solutions to these problems, and tree canopy cover is a solution to some of the challenges of increasing temperatures.

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How Do Federal Water Policies Impact Your Work?

ASLA 2022 Honor Award in General Design. West Pond: Living Shoreline. Brooklyn and Queens, New York. Dirtworks Landscape Architecture P.C. / image: Alex Zablocki

Sustainable management of our nation’s water resources is essential to climate mitigation and resilience, biodiversity conservation, and environmental justice. ASLA is working to ensure reliable and robust policies and funding for landscape architects to continue working on water projects, in part by gathering input from landscape architects who plan and design water projects or are water management subject matter experts.

Before Congress wrapped up its legislative business prior to its August recess, both the House of Representatives and Senate acted on water policies key to the work of landscape architects, with both chambers taking action on Interior, Environment, And Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations bills (H.R. 4821 and S. 2605):

Within this legislation, Congress outlined funding levels for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)—one of the largest federal funding sources for landscape architects to plan and design federal water infrastructure projects nationwide. Projects focus on stormwater management, damaged shorelines, and natural landscape protection at parks, campuses, streetscapes, trails, plazas, residences, and more.

The new congressional majority in the House drastically cut the CWSRF and allocated a meager $535 million, while the Senate allocated nearly $1.64 billion for the program. ASLA supports the Senate’s recommended funding for the program and is working to urge its passage.

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How Do Nursery Growers Decide What to Grow?

by Jane Beggs-Joles, Corporate ASLA

Mid-summer production at Prides Corner Farms, Lebanon, CT. / image: Jane Beggs-Joles

It’s August 2023, and growers are deciding on their inventory for 2025.

You read that right: two years out. That’s the best-case scenario, and that’s for flowering shrubs. Sure, perennials will have a quicker turn-around, but trees take even longer. And that two-year forecast? It’s for a three-gallon container. If you like five- or seven-gallon specimens, the timeline gets even longer.

Here are the details:

Right now, growers are looking at what sold this spring and anticipating what will sell through the rest of the year. This tells them both what plants are popular and how much space they have for new crops. They do some math, make some educated guesses about demand, and then order their starter plants (liners) for delivery in spring 2024. Most of those flowering shrubs will need at least a year to grow to a finished size, and that’s how we get all the way to 2025. For slower-growing plants and larger specimens, it will take even longer. If they can’t get the liners until summer or fall, add another few months to the schedule.

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Research on Design that Enhances Transportation Environments

by Christine Colley, RLA, ASLA

TRB AKD40 Committee Members walking a shared-use path near Irvine, California, as part of the 2023 Mid-Year Meeting. / image: Willson McBurney, ASLA, TRB AKD40 Committee Chair

TRB Standing Committee on Landscape and Environmental Design Call for Posters for the Transportation Research Board 103rd Annual Meeting – January 7-11, 2024 in Washington, D.C.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB)’s Standing Committee on Landscape and Environmental Design (AKD40) invites researchers, students, academics, and practitioners to develop posters to be considered for publication and/or presentation at TRB’s 2024 Annual Meeting.

AKD40 welcomes posters on completed and on-going projects from broad landscape and environmental design areas such as Green Streets, roadside environments for pollinators, Complete Streets, transportation design impacts on Main Streets, landscape design to safeguard the public, and art in transportation.

The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2023.

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WxLA Scholarships for Next Generation Leaders

ASLA 2021 Professional Communications Honor Award. WxLA – Champions for Equality in Landscape Architecture. / image: Jeri Hetrick

WxLA, the advocacy initiative for gender justice in landscape architecture, launched their scholarship program in 2019 to reach next-generation practitioners. That first year, they raised more than $30,000 through GoFundMe; with those funds, plus $10,000 of in-kind donations and custom t-shirt sales, the scholarship was off to a roaring start and is still going strong. Since 2019, WxLA has helped 35 emerging professionals attend the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture. Those scholars then give back to WxLA by supporting their events and initiatives—including takeovers, workshops and presentations—to advance awareness and empower womxn in the profession.

This year, Tuesday, August 15 is the deadline for nominations and self-nominations for the WxLA Scholarships for the ASLA 2023 Conference on Landscape Architecture, October 27-30 in Minneapolis.

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Evolution of the Suburban Retail Environment: Cases from Three Different Settings

by Daniel Ashworth, Jr., PLA, ASLA, AICP, and Lauren Patterson, PLA, ASLA

The Winter Park Mall in 1969 / image: Florida Memory | Florida Department of Commerce

The previous article, Evolution and Re-Calibration of the Typical Suburban Retail Environment, was the first one of the Urban Design Professional Practice Network (PPN)’s series on the evolution of the suburban retail environment, which touched on the history of suburban retail and discussed the transformation of retail centers since the turn of the century. Continuing this series, this article presents three case studies that showcase how different municipalities and developers have been looking at the transition of retail centers throughout America. The suburban retail environment is undergoing a “paradigm shift” from car-oriented retail to a new age that supports the changing patterns and lifestyles that have evolved with technology.

Most suburban areas throughout America experienced a time where the indoor mall was a one-stop destination for convenience. Now communities across the country are dealing with the implications of how these large-scale developments function in the new retail age. While there were over 2,000 malls active in the U.S. in the 1980s, there are currently less than 1,000, and that number is falling every year. This article explores how these retail centers have begun a slow transition to adapt to the needs of their communities and transition to profitable centers. The following case studies illustrate different strategies and challenges that occur with suburban redevelopment.

Case Study 1: Winter Park Village

  • Location: Winter Park, Florida
  • Retail Center: Winter Park Mall—525,000 SF | 1964 – 1999
  • Current Condition: Original mall was demolished and transitioned into an outdoor mall in 1999 and is currently a mixed-use center that is continuing to develop.

Winter Park Village is a redevelopment of the Winter Park Mall that was originally built in 1964, and was the first indoor mall in the Orlando region. Located at 432 North Orlando Avenue in Winter Park, FL, the indoor mall was demolished in 1998, and the first redeveloped stores were built and began to open in 1999. The first redevelopment included 350,000 square feet of retail space, including a 20-screen cinema; 115,000 square feet of offices; and 200+ multifamily units, while the original planning documents included more residential uses. The mall’s redevelopment extended Gay Road into the mall redevelopment, and it was designed as a retail main street with a terminated vista on the Regal Cinema.

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Recognizing ASLA Members’ Outstanding Contributions

ASLA member volunteers whose dedication goes above and beyond the call of duty are celebrated at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture. / image: EPNAC

A vibrant community of volunteers are the heart of ASLA’s culture of collaboration: the Society is “devoted to the encouragement of volunteerism and benefiting from the expertise and creativity of members who give their time and energies to advance the Society and the profession.” The ASLA Outstanding Service Award program recognizes ASLA member volunteers who are making notable contributions to or on behalf of the Society at the national level.

Each year, ASLA celebrates volunteers whose dedication goes above and beyond the call of duty at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture, when the awards are presented by ASLA’s president.

ASLA trustees, committee and Professional Practice Network (PPN) chairs and members, ASLA representatives, and other volunteers involved in the work of the Society at the national level are eligible for the award. Below, we highlight recent recipients. In case you feel inspired to get involved after reading this, the call for volunteer service is open through July 31 and ASLA members may sign up to join their Professional Practice Network’s leadership team at any time.

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TRB Standing Committee on Landscape and Environmental Design: Call for Papers

by Christine Colley, RLA, ASLA

TRB AKD40 Committee Members surveying a roadway project near Irvine, California as part of the 2023 Mid-Year Meeting. / image: Willson McBurney, ASLA, TRB AKD40 Committee Chair

The Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Landscape and Environmental Design (AKD40) invites students, academics, researchers, and practitioners to develop papers to be considered for publication and/or presentation at TRB’s 2024 Annual Meeting, January 7-11 in Washington, DC.

The Committee is concerned with design parameters that relate to protecting, conserving, restoring, and enhancing safe, sustainable, and livable transportation systems, facilities, and their associated environments. The Committee promotes research to advance design principles and practices that enhance:

  • safety and traveler experiences,
  • scenic, aesthetic, and visual quality,
  • harmonious integration of facilities within their natural, cultural, and social environments,
  • sustainable solutions and systems, and
  • the quality of life for transportation system users and surrounding communities.

Topics identified by the AKD40 Committee as being critical areas of research include:

  • Energy and Sustainability – design, policies, and practices to protect the planet.
  • Policy needs related to the roadside environment and autonomous vehicle technology.
  • Resilience and Security – preparing for floods, fires, storms, and sea level rise.
  • Transformational technologies that will change how transportation environments could be retrofitted or rebuilt.
  • Roadside design to serve growing and shifting populations.

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, August 1, 2023.

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Call for Volunteers

2018 ASLA Diversity Summit / image: EPNAC

ASLA member volunteers play a leading role in the success of ASLA. Your volunteer service is directly related to how we serve our members and the landscape architecture profession. A strong volunteer workforce of more than 250 members spread over 30 committees and other groups deploys the mission of the Society.

The ASLA 2022 – 2024 Strategic Plan guides and shapes the work of our colleagues and volunteer leaders. It lays out goals and outcomes in five focus areas: Community, Voice, Scale, Connections, and Innovation. We are looking for thoughtful, forward-thinking individuals with diverse experience to bring the ASLA Strategic Plan to life.

To volunteer for service, apply online by Monday, July 31, 2023.

Most committees meet once a month for an hour over Zoom during regular working hours. Some committees have additional meeting requirements for more focused conversations and work. Please review the committee descriptions for more information.

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Where Science Meets Practice

by Larry Weaner, FAPLD, Affiliate ASLA, and Sara Weaner

The Native Plant Garden at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum / image: Susan Day, courtesy of NDAL

New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL) is an educational series dedicated to the art, culture, and science of ecology-based landscape design. NDAL is holding a six-part virtual intensive course on ecology-based landscape practice this July–August, with the first session taking place today, July 11.

Geared toward landscape practitioners in the Eastern and Midwestern U.S., landscape designer Larry Weaner and native plant expert Ian Caton will explore the integration of restoration ecology and fine garden design. Larry’s sessions will cover open and canopied landscapes, from meadows to shrublands to woodlands. Then he will share ideas on how to apply an artistic overlay to these native plant compositions. Ian will follow up with a discussion on specific characteristics of plants applicable to ecology-based design, which are rarely considered in traditional horticulture.

Session 1 – Foundations of Ecology-based Design: Science into Practice
Tuesday, July 11, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT

Session 2 – The Open Landscape: Meadows, Old Fields, & Shrublands
Tuesday, July 18, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT

Session 3 – The Canopied Landscape: Woodlands, Edges, & Hedgerows
Tuesday, July 25, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT

Session 4 – The Artistic Overlay: Making “Wild” Legible
Tuesday, August 8, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT

Session 5 – Plants of the Open Landscape: Meadows, Old Fields, & Shrublands
Tuesday, August 15, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT

Session 6 – Plants of the Canopied Landscape: Woodlands, Edges, & Hedgerows
Tuesday, August 29, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT

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Scale Up

ASLA 2018 Professional General Design Honor Award. Walker Art Center Wurtele Upper Garden. Minneapolis, MN. Inside | Outside + HGA / image: Paul Crosby

Join us in Minneapolis this October 27-30, where we’ll be elevating our craft and scaling up our efforts. Get the early bird rate when you register by July 12, and be sure to add your field session and deep dive tickets now!

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul region is already a park-lovers paradise—add the ASLA Conference’s 100+ education sessions, 19 field sessions, 7 deep dives, 4 LARE Prep sessions, an exhilarating EXPO, and a whole host of special events, and you know exactly where you want to be this October.

Want to learn more about recent ASLA Award-winning projects? Check out sessions like:

A fan of ASLA’s Inside the LA Studio sessions? We’ve got four more coming up, featuring:

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Focusing on Health & Wellness with the WILA PPN

by Lara Moffat, ASLA, with contributions from Subhashini Gamagedara, ASLA, Kristina Snyder, ASLA, Elizabeth Van Sickel, ASLA, and Delaney Zubrick, Associate ASLA

ASLA 2021 Professional Residential Design Award of Excellence. The Sky Garden at 70 Rainey. Austin, Texas. Design Workshop, Inc. / image: Brandon Huttenlocher/Design Workshop, Inc.

The WILA PPN is focusing on the theme of health and wellness for 2023, in all its forms—from finding balance to working on financial wellness and maintaining mental wellness within the busyness of professional life. Below, WILA PPN leaders share resources and what they’ve been reading related to this theme. We hope these links are helpful to you—stay well this summer!

Health & Wellness Tips

Create and craft a smile file. What is a smile file? It is a file, created on your phone or computer (or both), where you place kudos, shout outs, and things that spark joy! Had a rough moment, feeling a bit of imposter syndrome, or lacking motivation? Then open this file to turn your day around. One of the easiest things to do for your immediate well-being!

Take five, and learn about the “Three M’s for Well-Being” with meditation expert Emily Fletcher—#Mindfulness, #Manifestation, and #Meditation will help you live a well-rounded, balanced life and channel your creative prowess. After you’ve relaxed your mind, don’t’ forget to stretch! Here are nine guided exercises to lead through a Desk Stretching Circuit. Try to do these a few times a day to refresh and recharge!

Have a bit longer to focus? How about picking up a copy of The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown. It is a resource to help maintain mental health and wellness amidst work and life.

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Welcome Summer with New Opportunities

ASLA 2022 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Refugio. Santa Cruz, California. Ground Studio. / image: Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA

With the start of summer, you may be seeking new opportunities or projects to take part in to kickstart the season. ASLA’s RFQs, Opportunities, and Events page provides information on everything from calls for papers to competitions. Below, we highlight a few requests for proposals and qualifications, calls for proposals, and ASLA programs with deadlines coming up soon. Anyone who would like to share an opportunity may submit information online.

Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program
Deadline to apply: June 30, 2023

State licensure signifies a level of professional competency and is an important way to achieve greater career and business success. The Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program supports women of color in their pursuit of landscape architecture licensure and increase racial and gender diversity within the profession. Now in its second year, the program will provide 10 women of color with a two-year, personalized experience that includes up to $3,500 to cover the cost of sections of the Landscape Architectural Registration Exam (LARE), along with exam preparation courses, resources, and mentorship from a licensed landscape architect.

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Celebrate Pollinator Week with Native Ruderal Vegetation

by David Hopman, ASLA, PLA

Giant Swallowtail Papilio cresphontes Butterfly on the readily self-seeding native Phlox Pilosa in North Texas / image: David Hopman

All cities in the United States have undesigned areas that develop what is called “spontaneous urban vegetation”—plants that establish themselves without human intervention or planning. These areas can be large, such as abandoned or vacant building lots, former farms and ranches, and river corridors. They can also be small opportunities for plants and plant communities in sidewalk cracks, between paving and buildings, or anywhere enough soil has accumulated to allow the sprouting of seeds, as was the case on New York’s High Line elevated railroad before it was so famously developed into the urban amenity it is today.

In well-developed cities, 5-10% of the total vegetation or more can be spontaneous. In Detroit, the amount of area abandoned to this undesigned vegetation is about 40% as the city has depopulated and thousands of homes have been removed.

Spontaneous urban vegetation has been widely touted by scientists and landscape architects for its environmental benefits that include but are not limited to:

  • excess nutrient absorption in wetlands,
  • heat reduction in paved areas,
  • erosion control,
  • soil and air pollution tolerance and remediation, and
  • food and medicine for people.

However, there has been very little discussion, or appreciation, of the role that this vast amount of urban vegetation can have on native pollinators.

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Pride Month Profiles, Part 2

Clockwise from top left: Natalia Bezerra / image: Caroline Kemp; Matthew Mitsuaki Higa, Associate ASLA; Margot McLaughlin, Associate ASLA / image: Carrie Miller; Shawn Balon, ASLA / image: Kim Peters; Alyssa Gill; Arturo Merino, ASLA

ASLA’s celebration of Pride Month continues on The Field as we share a second set of landscape architect profiles to promote LGBTQIA+ visibility and acceptance in the landscape architecture and architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professions. Last week’s post highlighted the panelists from ASLA’s June 12 webinar, Queer Emergence: An LGBTQIA+ Conversation in Landscape Architecture: Cheri Ruane, FASLA, Kelley Oklesson, ASLA, Max Dickson, Jordan Chiang, Assoc. ASLA, and Sam Dent, ASLA.

Today, we’re sharing the next set of profiles, of Natalia Bezerra, Matthew Mitsuaki Higa, Associate ASLA, Alyssa Gill, Arturo Merino, ASLA, Margot McLaughlin, Associate ASLA, and Shawn Balon, ASLA.

Natalia Bezerra

How has being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community influenced your work in landscape architecture?

As a queer woman, I often think about how people from different backgrounds and experiences, especially those who are “othered” in society, can connect to a place and feel heard during the design process. Marginalization can occur when designers and developers disregard the needs of communities. I started my career working in community design and realized the importance of connecting with communities as your authentic self…finding common ground and interests among groups who are underserved, lack the capacity or funding to seek design and planning services. By actively listening to community groups, I learned to be an advocate for their needs in addition to being a designer. Diversity and inclusion should always be at the forefront of landscape architecture and any discipline that serves the public realm.

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Restoring a Neglected Urban Creek

by Susan Kenzle, ASLA

Restored Waller Creek in Waterloo Park / image: Susan Kenzle

The plan to restore lower Waller Creek in Austin, Texas has been decades in the making, beginning with the City of Austin’s U.S. Bicentennial project in the 1970s. Waller Creek—named after Judge Edwin Waller, who chose this location for the new capital of Texas—is one of two natural waterways that ran through the town of Waterloo, the precursor to the current city of Austin. Waller Creek is the most heavily developed tributary watershed of the Colorado River within the city limits, with over 60% impervious cover surrounding it. Waller Creek’s six-square-mile watershed includes over 3,700 acres of residential, university, commercial, civic, and other land uses. The creek’s location in the heart of the city accounts for its low water quality and highly eroded nature. It’s a prime example of the “urban stream syndrome” characterized by “flashier hydrograph, elevated concentrations of nutrients and contaminants, altered channel morphology, and reduced biotic richness, with increased dominance of tolerant species.”

Austin is in the “Flash Flood Alley” of Central Texas due to its steep terrain, rocky and clay-rich soils, and high rainfall rates. The lower reach of Waller Creek traverses the City’s downtown corridor, where several damaging floods in the past decade inundated large areas along the creek banks. Significant flooding occurred here in 1915, 1938, 1981, and 2015 until the completion of the Waller Creek tunnel, a mile long flood diversion structure, removed 28 acres of downtown from the 100-year floodplain, allowing for various development projects, as well as for the development of a world-class chain of parks and trail system called the Waterloo Greenway.

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An LGBTQIA+ Conversation in Landscape Architecture

Clockwise from top left: Sam Dent, ASLA; Kelley Oklesson, ASLA, at Contee Parago Triangle Park in Baltimore / image: Peter Hoblitzell; Jordan Chiang, Assoc. ASLA / image: Carolina Montero, EDSA; Cheri Ruane, FASLA / image: Farah Dakkak; Max Dickson, OLIN / image: Lily Snyder

From the June issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine and its featured story on nine queer landscape designers to yesterday’s webinar, Queer Emergence, to social media, ASLA’s celebration of Pride Month is well underway. Throughout June, ASLA is sharing profiles of LGBTQIA+ landscape architects for Pride Month and to promote LGBTQIA+ visibility and acceptance in the landscape architecture and architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professions. In case you missed any of these profiles from social media, we are recapping them here on The Field.

The set of profiles below feature the panelists from ASLA’s June 12 webinar, Queer Emergence: An LGBTQIA+ Conversation in Landscape Architecture, which was inspired by an event at LABash 2023 at Kansas State University. The intention of this panel session was to open discussion on greater queer representation in landscape architecture—understanding the strengths and challenges of being a queer professional, and how this can inform not only LGBTQIA+ individuals, but all landscape architectural professionals. Topics covered include “why did it take us so long,” “how are we presenting in our work,” “the importance of networking,” and “what’s next.” The panel consisted of five queer professionals at different stages of their careers, to capture a portion of the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals in landscape architecture.

Cheri Ruane, FASLA
Vice President and Design Discipline Leader, Weston & Sampson

How did you find your way into landscape architecture?

I worked for my cousin’s landscape contracting firm in high school and met someone going to UMass for landscape architecture and learned about it at age 15.

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Lean Project Delivery in Design and Construction

image: Pakorn_Khantiyaporn via

In the design and construction industry, complex problems arise daily. Join us for a course series to gain insight into approaches and tools to:

  • optimize team communication and problem solving
  • find and address hurdles before they slow down workflow
  • provide value to your projects and client

This series was created to help you design, document, and build projects on time and on budget. Lean methodology is aimed at creating more value for the client and eliminating waste occurring from a lack of collaborative planning.

Lean processes are often applied in the design and construction industry by owners, designers, general contractors, construction project managers, and tradespeople. With a Lean mindset, design teams can share information freely and collaboratively to solve difficult problems and make decisions quickly and efficiently.

This knowledge and skill set will help you excel in your role as a landscape architecture professional and contribute to the overall success of projects!


To take advantage of your membership discount use your ASLA member log in and password when you register. Can’t make the live sessions June 13-15? Register today and catch it all on-demand!

Registration includes:

  • Seven courses, including four that offer LA CES-approved professional development hours (3.0 PDH non-HSW, 1.25 PDH HSW)
  • On-demand access to education sessions
  • Access to virtual discussion boards
  • Networking with attendees and speakers

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Consider Participating in the 2023 HALS Challenge

by Douglas Nelson, ASLA

2021 HALS Challenge Winner Golden Gate Village, HALS CA-158 / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The following article highlights the importance of documenting historic landscapes for perpetuity. For the 14th annual HALS Challenge competition, the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) invites you to document Working Landscapes. Historic “working” or “productive” landscapes may be agricultural or industrial and unique or traditional. Some topical working landscapes convey water for irrigation or provide flood control. Please focus your HALS report on the landscape as a whole and not on a building or structure alone. For this theme, the HAER History Guidelines may be helpful along with HALS History Guidelines.

I have participated in eight HALS Challenges and was fortunate to have won first place in the 2021 and 2022 Challenges. If you have an interest in historic landscapes, you should consider submitting an entry. Although you might think it is intimidating to enter a national competition, it is best to think of your entry as a way of documenting a landscape that is meaningful to you. All Challenge entries become part of the permanent record for the Historic American Landscapes Survey that is maintained by the Library of Congress. The 2023 HALS Challenge theme is Working Landscapes. This can be interpreted broadly to include many types of landscapes of industry, commerce, agriculture, infrastructure, and other purposes.

Preparing a HALS Challenge entry does not necessarily require a major effort. You can work with one or more partners. My entries have typically been done within spare time over a week or so. From my experience with previous HALS Challenge submissions, I offer the following advice in preparing a successful entry:

Find a Landscape of Interest to You or One that you Already Know

Your interest and passion in the subject landscape should be reflected in your writing. Landscapes that you know well and have experienced will be easier for you to write about. It also helps if the landscape is geographically near you to allow you to visit, study, and photograph it. For the 2022 Challenge theme of Olmsted Landscapes, I chose California’s North Coast Redwood Parks. I thought that this would be a longshot entry because it is not a traditional Olmsted-designed landscape, but Frederick Olmsted, Jr. played a significant role in the planning and establishment of these parks. I know them well and had an interest in learning more about their establishment. To my surprise, it won first place.

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AECOM Roof Garden: From Corporate Garden to Nature Space Advocacy, Part 3

by Lee Parks, International ASLA, and LIAO Jingjing

Teamwork to revitalize the roof garden / image: courtesy of Chen Liang

This is the final installment in a three-part series on the evolution of AECOM’s green roof in Shanghai. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.

2021 Revitalization, Stage 2

In 2021 the roof garden vision was updated to: “increase amenities, encourage outdoor garden use by employees, increase contact with nature and fresh air.” In line with corporate environmental, social and, and governance (ESG) strategies, the roof garden offered a real opportunity for employees to protect the environment, socially interact, to have equitable access to nature, and to govern the garden for the benefit of people, place, and nature. The increasing biodiversity also demonstrated the roof’s potential as an ecological stepping-stone for a greener community.

Improving the garden included plans for a range of quiet, semi-private spaces and open multi-functional spaces to create more attractive and engaging places for employees. This included new vibrant colored moveable tables and chairs to activate lunchtime use. Additional plant containers were added to increase nectariferous species for greater ecological and social benefits for employees, our community, and for wildlife.

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PPN Zoom Book Club: Schools That Heal

by Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA, Affil. ASLA

Schools That Heal: Schools That Heal: Design with Mental Health in Mind by Claire Latané, FASLA / image: Claire Latané

The ASLA Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (PPN) is pleased to share a recap of the PPN’s second Zoom book club meeting. Hosted on May 9, 2023, 32 attendees eagerly welcomed Claire Latané, FASLA, MLA, SITES AP, author of Schools That Heal: Design with Mental Health in Mind, published in 2021 by Island Press. Written with an exquisite balance of evidence, sensitivity, and compassion, the book is intended for architects, engineers, and interior designers as well as landscape architects. We are grateful that Professor Latané was able to speak with us about the book and her ongoing advocacy work. Before recapping the book club meeting, a bit more about the author of this month’s PPN book selection:

Associate Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, Professor Latané became a Fellow of ASLA in 2022 and was a Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) Fellow for Innovation and Leadership for 2017-2018. Her fellowship focused on high schools and high schoolers, an age when most mental health disorders get diagnosed (if they even get diagnosed). It is a tough time because by age 12, youth are no longer eligible for after school care, and are often left to their own devices. On top of it all, parents are less welcomed to participate in high schools. This period in development was, in Professor Latané’s mind, a bit of a missing piece, and very light on research focused on the mental health benefits of nature in a learning environment.

Beyond her academic role, Professor Latané’s advocacy and commitment to bettering the lives of children is evident in her work as Founder of the Collaborative for Health and Inclusive Learning Environments (CHILE—rhymes with “while”) and as Founder of the Emergency Schoolyard Design Volunteers program for the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative. With mental health challenges amongst children and youth on the rise and compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, never has connecting children with nature been more important. So too is acknowledging that learning environments need to be nature-based places of healing and must be front and center thinking in every school district, everywhere. We need more Professor Latané’s in the world to be the voice for children and youth all of whom must have opportunities to experience the mental health promoting benefits of nature.

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AECOM Roof Garden: From Corporate Garden to Nature Space Advocacy, Part 2

by Lee Parks, International ASLA, and LIAO Jingjing

An AECOM employee waters the new containers in early summer. / image: courtesy of Lee Parks, AECOM

This is the second installment in a three-part series on the evolution of AECOM’s green roof in Shanghai. Click here for Part 1, published last week.

As the plants established during the comfortable spring weather, employee engagement was high. The increase in flowers saw a direct increase in visiting pollinators, mostly bees. Flowers and foliage added visual amenity of the space, with ornamental grasses and flowers combining to create a vibrant display. Employee photo sharing on social media celebrated the beauty to be found in nature, recording wildlife spotted and seasonal highlights. The garden supported a ‘Wellbeing At AECOM’ campaign by encouraging employees to relax and enjoy contact with nature. Friends and families joined in the maintenance and watering. By June the salad and herb garden was productive and bearing results to be enjoyed.

All appeared well until the fiery and crushing July heat became a challenge for gardeners and the garden. Employee engagement quickly faded and only the core Roof Garden Committee members sustained interest to maintain and monitor plants. With no automatic irrigation system, the containers relied on employees to hand water with watering cans or a hose during dry periods.

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