Collaboration with Indigenous Communities to Inform Design for Significant Landscapes

by Brenda Williams, ASLA

Randy Teboe, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) of the Ponca Tribe of Iowa, on site at Xe’ (Blood Run National Historic Landmark, for which Quinn Evans Architects' cultural landscape master plan won a 2018 ASLA Professional Honor Award in Analysis and Planning) with Dale Henning, archeologist, and project landscape architects Stephanie Austin, ASLA, and Brenda Williams, ASLA. / image: Dan Williams, ASLA
Randy Teboe, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) of the Ponca Tribe of Iowa, on site at Xe’ (Blood Run National Historic Landmark, for which Quinn Evans Architects’ cultural landscape master plan won a 2018 ASLA Professional Honor Award in Analysis and Planning) with Dale Henning, archeologist, and project landscape architects Stephanie Austin, ASLA, and Brenda Williams, ASLA. / image: Dan Williams, ASLA

Over the last few years, my team has had the opportunity to focus on several landscapes that are deeply significant to Indigenous communities. This work has involved integrating knowledge of Indigenous communities in planning and design projects. Through efforts to incorporate the perspectives of Indigenous groups, we are learning to step outside mainstream cultural views to enhance placemaking.

Several projects have been greatly enriched through collaborating with individuals and communities whose knowledge of the landscapes span ecological, cultural, and spiritual significance. The resulting planning and design solutions are embedded with aspects that support meaningful cultural connections while also providing opportunities for improved education of the general public about American Indian cultures today and in the past.

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Missing Middle Housing

ASLA 2015 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Sweetwater Spectrum Residential Community for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sonoma, CA. Roche+Roche Landscape Architecture / image: Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA
ASLA 2015 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Sweetwater Spectrum Residential Community for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sonoma, CA. Roche+Roche Landscape Architecture / image: Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA

The wide gap between the diversity of American households and the housing stock available is widely acknowledged and well-documented. Given demographic trends—more households of single individuals, fewer households with children, a growing 65+ population—this disconnect will only become more dramatic if different housing types are not made more readily available.

To that end, there is a growing interest in strategies and policies that remove barriers to and incentivizes building what has come to be known as “missing middle” housing. These are house-like, multi-unit buildings planned within walking distance of retail and amenities. This kind of housing, scaled between single-family homes and apartment buildings, can provide attainable, walkable, and neighborhood-based housing options.

On September 6, 2018, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., hosted a lecture on missing middle housing presented by Daniel Parolek, AIA, of Opticos Design, co-author of Form Based Codes: A Guide for Planners, Urban Designers, Municipalities, and Developers
and a founding board member of the Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI). This program was part of a series complementing the museum’s exhibition Making Room: Housing for a Changing America, extended through January 6, 2019. A publication documenting the exhibition, created in partnership with AARP, is planned for release this fall.

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The Expanding Role of Landscape Architects in Urban Waterfront Design

by Tom Rogers, ASLA

Lowland Park on Detroit’s urban riverfront, is part of the second phase of Milliken State Park, Michigan’s first state park in an urban setting. / Image: SmithGroup

Urban waterfronts throughout the world are transforming from industrial centers and transportation hubs to mixed-use destinations. As population growth shifts to urban centers, greater pressure to redevelop underutilized land at the water’s edge is requiring cities to address complex challenges. The most holistic solutions require a thoughtful approach at an urban scale that melds many disciplines. These waterfront projects involve a variety of stakeholders with diverse needs, and require complex, time consuming processes and significant investments in capital resources.

Landscape architects can and should play an expanded role in these significant opportunities to shape the future of cities. To do so, L.A.s must adapt and develop skillsets beyond their traditional focus to lead integrated, resilient design solutions.

My firm, SmithGroup, hosted a roundtable discussion with clients and colleagues from Rust Belt communities throughout the Great Lakes to discuss the challenges and opportunities for their urban waterfronts. Attendees included representatives from municipal planning departments, regional watershed districts, redevelopment authorities, regulatory agencies, private developers, nonprofits, and the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

While each of the participants represented a unique vantage point, they painted a striking similar picture of the issues; shifts in markets and policy have resulted in economically challenged neighborhoods next to underutilized, often contaminated industrial property near the core of their cities. Many of these properties are located on or near water. The problems involve a tangled web of owners, users, regulators and policies that cannot be addressed solely though site-specific solutions but must be approached at a larger scale to be effective.

Performance, partnerships and equity emerged as key themes and design drivers during our discussion, pointing to the more integrated and resilient solutions required to return our urban waterfronts to the right balance of public use, environmental integrity, and prosperity.

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2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO: Learn and Earn up to 24 PDH

ASLA 2018 Professional General Design Honor Award. Longwood Gardens Main Fountain Garden, Kennett Square, PA. West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture / image: © Noah Devereaux courtesy West 8

The 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO offers many opportunities to learn and network during the largest gathering of landscape architects in the world. This Friday, September 14, is the Advanced Rate deadline—take advantage of discounted rates for registration, housing, workshops, special events, JobLink LIVE, and more!

The meeting offers more than 130 courses, allowing attendees to earn up to 24 professional development hours (PDH). Learning opportunities taking place throughout the meeting include:

While access to the education sessions, general sessions, and EXPO education offerings are included in your meeting registration, field sessions and workshops are ticketed events. Purchase today: prices increase with the Advanced deadline.

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From Slums to Sky Gardens – Singapore’s Public Housing Success

by Erik S. Mustonen, ASLA, CSLA, RLA (CA + MN), CLARB, LEED AP-ND

image: Erik Mustonen

The Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects organized nine technical tours as part of the very well-run 2018 World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). Tour 1, “Remaking Heartlands in Singapore,” was prepared with the assistance of the Housing and Development Board and featured sky gardens, green roofs/walls, and sustainable stormwater management for high-rise public housing in Singapore.

Historical Background

The Republic of Singapore is a multi-ethnic Chinese, Malay, and Indian (mainly Tamil) island city-state connected by two causeways to the southern end of the Malay Peninsula, a 5-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2017 it had a population of 5.61 million (and rising) on 709 square kilometers (274 square miles) for a density of 7,796 per km². By way of comparison, Chicago has a population of 2.7 million (and falling) on 589 square kilometers (227 square miles) for a density of 4,613 per km². (Population density figures may vary depending on whether the water area is included.)

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Call for Research Literature on Plants in Green Infrastructure

by David Hopman, ASLA, PLA

Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) bioswale 2, designed by David Hopman; winter character in January 2018 / image: David Hopman, ASLA, PLA
Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) bioswale 2, designed by David Hopman; winter character in January 2018 / image: David Hopman, ASLA, PLA

On August 12, 2018, I attended a meeting of a new committee created by the Environmental Water Research Institute (EWRI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The task force, comprised of approximately 40 stormwater professionals, is titled: ASLA/EWRI Committee on Plants and Soils Performance in Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI). The committee will produce recommendations over the next few years that will be distributed in a booklet and online. This work will be specifically focused on providing better research-based guidelines for soil performance and plant performance as an overlapping, interrelated system rather than as individualized elements. The committee’s goal is to provide guidance on short-term, medium-, and long-term practices to ensure that systems maximize performance.

Additionally, other sub areas such as biodiversity, maintenance, and soil microbial functions will be considered. The landscape architects on the taskforce will take the lead in addressing aesthetics and other social parameters that can support or impede acceptance of Green Infrastructure as an important component of place making.

The first phase of the task force’s efforts is to create an annotated bibliography as an indicator of where research is headed and to reveal significant gaps that should be addressed. The literature review phase is being organized by Harris Trobman, Project Specialist in Green Infrastructure at the Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience, The University of District of Columbia. The committee needs good research-based literature, especially as it relates to the performance of plants in green infrastructure. If you have a favorite book or article that you would like to share, please send it to me by December 1, 2018, and I will format it for inclusion in the bibliography. Currently, the bibliography is reflective of the vast preponderance of research that has traditionally come from engineers and scientists. Please free to contact me with questions and/or comments as well. If you would like to format the citation yourself, I can send an example.

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Methods of Plant Selection

by Katie Seidenwurm, ASLA

A plant combination: Pride of Madeira (Echium cadicans) and Orchid Rockrose (Cistus x purpureus) / Image: Katie Seidenwurm

As a landscape architect who focusses on residential design, one of my biggest challenges is guiding clients through the plant selection process. Each client comes to the project with different levels of knowledge and interest. I have had clients who are totally involved with the plants and have given me a list of specific plants that they want in their yard with placement ideas. On the other side, I have had clients proclaim that they know nothing about plants and just want something that “looks good and is low-maintenance … and by the way, I love the color purple.” Over the years, I have tried various methods with various degrees of success. Here, I describe some methods I have tried, and list the pros and cons of each. I would be very interested in feedback on this as I am always looking for new ideas.

Take client to a nursery to pick out plants.

Pros:

  • Client gets to see plant for themselves.
  • We can see what plants are available at the nursery and in what quantity and condition.
  • Client feels good about plant selection, because he/she has seen the plants for themselves.

Cons:

  • The plant is immature and in a pot. It’s hard to picture what it will look like installed and in a few years. I find myself motioning a lot to say, “Imagine this plant to be this high.”
  • Contractor may not be purchasing plants from that particular nusery.
  • If it’s winter, the plant selection is thin and the quality of the plants is often poor.
  • The nursery doesn’t have the plants that you were thinking of using in the design.

I have tried this method a few times. One time, I took a client to the nursery and they didn’t have what we were looking for. The nursery was large and one where you drive around to different areas for the various plants. The client got frustrated because we couldn’t’ find the plants that I had in mind, it was getting hot, and she was getting tired. I almost lost the client that day. I suppose, if I had called ahead and had the nursery pull the plants ahead of time, then we could have gone to one place and seen the plants.

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10-Minute Walk Learning Series: Equity in Parks and Recreation

image: Pam Linn

10-Minute Walk Learning Series: Equity in Parks and Recreation Live Q&A
August 30, 2018 at 1:00 PM (EST)

On Thursday, August 30, the National Recreation & Park Association is hosting a live virtual Q&A session as part of the 10-Minute Walk Learning Series. During the Q&A, you will have a chance to ask your peers about their success on topics related to the 10-Minute Walk Campaign, a nationwide movement to ensure there’s a great park within a 10-minute walk of every person, in every neighborhood, in every city across America. The discussion focus is equity, including prioritization models, design, community activation, and more.

Speakers:

  • Joy Kuebler, ASLA, PLA – Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect, PC
  • Pam Linn, FASLA, PLA – Milwaukee Public Schools Department of Recreation and Community Services
  • Som Subedi – City of Portland Parks and Recreation
  • Allison Colman – National Recreation and Park Association

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Tech for Professional Practice

image: Unsplash

ASLA has released two surveys in collaboration with the Professional Practice Committee and Digital Technology Professional Practice Network (PPN):

The Software Utilization Survey aims to gather and share information about what technology and applications landscape architects currently using to operate effectively and efficiently.

The Project Management Technology Use Survey explores the products and services that improves work efficiency and project management skills of our members.

All ASLA members are welcome to take both surveys by Friday, September 7. Each survey should take only 5-7 minutes to complete and your participation is greatly appreciated.

Click here to complete the Software Utilization Survey!

Click here to complete the Project Management Technology Use Survey!

Our Summer Visit to the Thurston Nature Center

Bringing along markers, pencils, crayons, and paper to document their time, Lola and Lucy spend a blissful afternoon at the Thurston Nature Center. / image: Ben Atchison

Can you think of a better way to enjoy a balmy mid-summer afternoon? My dear friend and colleague Ben Atchison recently brought his granddaughters Lola (age 10) and Lucy (age 8) Valentin to the Thurston Nature Center in Ann Arbor, MI. Lush and inviting, the Nature Center is a favorite destination for Papa and the girls. Lola and Lucy are delighted to share their photo journal with you.
– Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA, Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network Co-Communications Director

For those familiar with Ann Arbor, Michigan, the nearly 24-acre Thurston Nature Center is next door to both the Thurston Elementary and Clague Middle Schools. Lola, who is in fifth grade and Lucy, who is in third grade, attend Thurston Elementary School, which makes the Nature Center even that much more special to them.

In 1968, the Nature Center was designated a Conservation Education Reserve by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The space is jointly owned by the Ann Arbor Public Schools and Orchard Hills Athletic Club. Fifty years “young,” the Nature Center is used by the Ann Arbor Schools Environmental Education Program and the greater Ann Arbor community. It is maintained and enhanced by the teachers and students and their families at Thurston Elementary and Clague Middle Schools, with help from devoted neighborhood volunteers. This gracious outdoor oasis is enjoyed by young and old alike.

The space hosts five ecosystems; trails; an 8.4-acre pond and a vernal pond that fish, turtles, and muskrats call home; native plants that attract butterflies and birds; and raccoons and skunks. The Center also contains a hickory-oak woodlot, a rain garden, and vine trellis. In 2015 and 2016, students from the elementary school and community volunteers worked to install a native prairie. Many of the improvement projects that occur at the Center help to support the elementary school’s Green STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) program while simultaneously improving the biodiversity of the area. The Thurston Nature Center is a popular destination for Ann Arbor school field trips and outdoor experiential education. Be sure to add The Thurston Nature Center to your agenda should your travels take you to Ann Arbor!

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The 2018 IFLA World Congress in Singapore

by Erik S. Mustonen, ASLA, CSLA, RLA (CA + MN), CLARB, LEED AP-ND

image: Erik Mustonen

The Republic of Singapore, an island city-state one degree north of the equator, has 5.6 million residents on 700 square kilometers (270 square miles.) Since independence in 1965, land reclamation has increased its size by 23%. With dense development on its small area, only 5% of its historical forests remain, but the creation of nature parks has become a national priority. It is a multi-ethnic community with four official languages—English (most common), Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Most of its people are bilingual. About 74% of the residents are of Chinese descent. It ranks very high in many economic measures and is known to be safe, corruption free, and extremely well organized (some say too organized). While working in nearby Malaysia in the 1980s and 1990s, I often visited Singapore, and I was impressed by how much it has developed since then.

The 2018 International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) World Congress and Trade Exhibition was held from July 18-19, at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. It was organized by IFLA together with the Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects and the (Singapore) National Parks Board. The organizers also offered nine technical tours on July 20.

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Creating an Everyone-Wins Playground Partnership

by Lawrence Raffel, PLA, ASLA

The Mark Twain Elementary School Playground in Wheeling, Illinois / image: Lawrence Raffel

Some say two heads are better than one. The Wheeling Park District discovered this concept applies to public agencies, too.

It makes sense. When agencies establish partnerships, the communities they serve benefit from the collective mission and expertise of each agency. Oftentimes an overarching mission of one agency may support a neglected, yet critical, component of another agency.

Such was the case when the Wheeling Park District partnered with Community Consolidated School District 21 (CCSD21) to design and develop a new playground at Mark Twain Elementary School, and, at the same time, create a neighborhood park within an underserved community. This creative project, a partnership between the Park District and the School District, fosters the goals of both agencies, and, most importantly, the Wheeling community.

In 2010, the Wheeling Park District conducted a Community Attitude and Interest Survey (CAIS) to determine the parks and recreation needs of the Wheeling community. The results of that survey showed an overwhelming need and desire for improved and developed neighborhood parks. In fact, development of neighborhood parks was one of the most selected responses under the category of “Actions Most Willing to Fund with Tax Dollars.” This data has been a driving component of the Wheeling Park District Strategic Plan.

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Join us for the 2018 Student & Emerging Professional SPOTLIGHT Mini-Series

Mark your calendars for two upcoming opportunities to earn professional development hours (PDH) with ASLA’s Student & Emerging Professional SPOTLIGHT mini-series. Each is a two-part presentation, providing access to forward-thinking topics and discussions.

Earlier this year, four emerging professionals were selected to work with Professional Practice Network (PPN) mentors in creating presentations for the SPOTLIGHT mini-series. This program provides valuable mentorship through design critique, effective communication guidance, and building relationships with industry professionals. We’re proud of the work these emerging professionals have put forth, making a name for themselves among their peers, and look forward to their continued volunteer work and leadership with ASLA.

Please join us for the upcoming SPOTLIGHT mini-series presentations Transforming Landscape Through Culture: Dance Principles & Archival Sources as Design Inspiration on August 21 and Adaptation Strategies: Infrastructure Flexibility for Resilient Communities and Autonomous Vehicles on August 28.

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Mentorship Programs for Landscape Architects

by Alison Kennedy, ASLA

A coffee break in Grand Park during the 2017 Women in Landscape Architecture Walk in Los Angeles / image: EPNAC

ASLA’s Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) has heard that many of our members are interested in a mentorship program. We are in the process of pulling together resources to help you find a program you can join, or give you inspiration to start your own program.

Here are few we’ve put together or located so far:

Mentorship Resources:
Women in Design: How to Find a Network of Other Women Designers
Lessons Learned from Mentors
Guidance on Networking & Mentoring for Emerging Professionals
Landscape Architecture Mentoring Programs (2011 report)
Wanted: Examples of Landscape Architecture Mentor Programs

ASLA Chapter Mentorship Programs:
Colorado
Iowa
Minnesota
Northern California
Potomac

Does Your Chapter Support or Work with a Local Mentorship Program?

If you don’t see your chapter’s local mentorship program listed above, please send the link to propractice@asla.org so we can add it to our list. And if you, or someone from your chapter, is interested in writing a short description of the program, please let us know. We’d love to hear from members across the country, especially from areas where landscape architects may be few and far between, and finding a mentor may be more of a challenge. Share your landscape architecture mentorship story!

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Marjory’s Garden Story

by Kyle Jeter

Marjory's Garden / image: BrightView
Marjory’s Garden / image: BrightView

Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA, Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network Co-Communications Director, and Naomi A. Sachs, PhD, ASLA, EDAC, are humbled and grateful to share Kyle Jeter’s story with you.

It was January, 2016. As the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Principal and I watched the heavy machinery level the last of the dilapidated portable classrooms, an idea flitted across my mind. On a whim, I asked if a portion of the land being cleared might be set aside for science/STEM purposes—perhaps a garden? After considering the proposal for a few days, Mr. Thompson generously offered the Science Department an elongated strip of land adjacent to the tennis courts. Not expecting to receive such a large tract (~ 9,000 sq. ft.), I began to sketch out the basic layout of what would become “Marjory’s Garden.”

The environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas was 100 years old when her namesake school opened its doors in 1990 (she lived to be 108!) in Parkland, FL. Her influential book, The Everglades: River of Grass, established her as a champion of the Everglades. Accordingly, science teachers such as Tammy Orilio wanted to ensure from the start that the Garden reflected Stoneman’s values. We also wanted the Garden to be a place of learning. In May of 2016, the Parent Teacher Association voted to give us $1,000 to get the project off the ground, and the Marjory’s Garden project took its first, tentative steps.

Allow me to confess, at that time, I knew absolutely nothing about gardening! The last time I had planted anything was the tree sapling I brought home on Arbor Day in the 5th grade. I am, however, a believer in adopting a growth mindset and this presented a challenge on a much larger scale than anything else I had ever attempted. I am also a major proponent of project-based learning. My colleagues Mr. Sean Simpson (chemistry), Mr. Frank Krar (math), and I had been conducting a high-altitude balloon project, Project Aquila, since 2010, and had witnessed the positive benefits to our students of hands-on learning. We made it a priority to allow students a high degree of freedom in decision-making, and we put digital and physical tools in their hands, and under their control, as often as possible. This created an enormous degree of buy-in on their part and that, to me, is what makes that project successful year after year. We agreed that the Garden would operate under those same norms.

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Take an Umbrella!

By Shanda Davenport, P.E., CFM, AICP

Flooded Ashville Park residential neighborhood / Image: City of Virginia Beach

“Take an umbrella- it might rain!” How many times have we heard that?

These days it seems to be happening more and more. Is it really raining more? Or is it raining heavily more often? In the coastal plain of the east coast, that question keeps coming up. The City of Virginia Beach has been conducting an analysis to develop a plan to protect against the impacts of sea level rise. But, as we worried and fretted as to whether or not we were on the right curve or projection from the myriad of possibilities and probabilities associated with sea level rise, portions of the City were getting flooded by rainfall in ways and in locations that we have not experienced in the past.

We know that sea level rise is a major concern for coastal Virginia and particularly for the Hampton Roads region. The five long-term water level observation stations in southeast Virginia, highlighted in green in the table below, are in the top 10% of the highest relative sea level rise rates in the nation.

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A Park Lover’s Tour of Houston

by Tomás Herrera-Mishler, ASLA

Memorial Park is one of Houston’s most popular walking/jogging destinations. / image: Memorial Park Conservancy
Memorial Park is one of Houston’s most popular walking/jogging destinations. / image: Memorial Park Conservancy

A tour of extraordinary park experiences, made possible through public/private partnerships.

During a recent visit to some of Houston’s premier parks, the city revealed a commitment to extraordinary park experiences made possible through public/private partnerships.

Hermann Park

Hermann Park Conservancy is a mature organization ably led for the past 15 years by Doreen Stoller, a life-long Houstonian who spent her early career in the high tech business before taking on the leadership of the Conservancy. My first awareness of having arrived in the 445-acre park was a glimpse of the park’s name carved in a beautiful limestone planter down the center of a grand, historic entrance into the park known as the Grand Gateway. We arrived at a roundabout with Sam Houston proudly astride a horse on a massive granite plinth. City park workers were busy planting new rose bushes along the handsome entrance boulevard.

My Lyft driver was pleased that I was heading to the Conservancy’s office, where he coincidentally serves as a volunteer. He told me to “let Doreen know that Patrick says hi!” This speaks to the depth of the Conservancy’s role and Hermann Park’s important place in the Greater Houston Community. I was particularly interested in visiting the Hermann Park Conservancy as it was one of the case studies in the landmark report “The Future of Balboa Park: Keeping the Park Magnificent in its Second Century.”

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ASLA 2018 Diversity Summit Report and Videos Now Available

by Dan Li, Student ASLA

2018 Diversity Summit Participants / EPNAC.com

The ASLA 2018 Diversity Summit report, summary, and videos of the presentations are all available online.

Read the ASLA 2018 Diversity Summit Report

Since 2013, the American Society of Landscape Architects has convened an annual Diversity Summit with the goal of developing a deeper understanding of how landscape architecture can better represent the communities and people it serves. For the 2018 Diversity Summit, five professionals from the 2017 Diversity SuperSummit were invited back, and nine new participants were selected from the Call for Letters of Interest to add valuable input to discussions and resource development.

On June 22-24, ASLA hosted the 2018 Diversity Summit at the ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture in Washington, D.C. The goals of the 2018 Diversity Summit were to review benchmarks prioritized from the 2017 Diversity SuperSummit and to create opportunities for participants to research and workshop resources for ASLA’s career discovery and diversity program. Throughout the weekend, participants offered ideas and suggestions for the development of two resources that can assist professionals in implementing diversity and inclusion practices into business strategies and help ASLA National and ASLA Chapters create programs to reach youth and communities.

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Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner Program Application Window Now Open

ASLA 2015 Professional Award of Excellence. At the Hudson’s Edge: Beacon’s Long Dock a Resilient Riverfront Park. Reed Hilderbrand LLC / James Ewing Photography

In June, the ASLA Ecology & Restoration PPN invited Jen Lyndall, Certification Program Coordinator with the Society for Ecological Restoration, to present SER’s Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner program (CERP) via a virtual meeting. All PPN members were invited to participate. The CERP program encourages a high professional standard for those who are designing, implementing, overseeing, and monitoring restoration projects throughout the world.

Investment and support for ecological restoration is growing rapidly all across the globe, but standards are minimal. SER’s certification program provides numerous benefits to the field. Most importantly, the SER certification program is designed to improve the quality of ecological restoration projects on the ground. Two levels of certification are offered:

  • Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioners (CERPs) are senior level practitioners who have achieved the knowledge requirements and have greater than 5 years of full time experience with restoration.
  • Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioners-in-Training (CERPITs) are recent graduates and those practitioners who do not yet have more than 5 years of full time experience with restoration – OR- those practitioners with sufficient experience who are still working on the educational criteria.

The application window is now open through October 12, 2018. Of the current 219 certified professionals, 17 identify as landscape architects. For a list of approved CERPs and CERPITs, see the directory.

For questions about the program contact certification@ser.org

More information on the Ecology & Restoration PPN’s goals, research, leadership, and upcoming events can be found here. If you know someone else who is interested in joining our PPN, they can contact ASLA Member Services at 888-999-ASLA or membership@asla.org.

TRB Committee on Landscape & Environmental Design Mid-Year Meeting

by Willson S. McBurney, RLA, ASLA

The Hilton Dallas/Rockwall Lakefront / image: TRB Committee on Landscape & Environmental Design (AFB40)
The Hilton Dallas/Rockwall Lakefront / image: TRB Committee on Landscape & Environmental Design (AFB40)

Save the Date: September 16-20, 2018
Rockwall, Texas (near Dallas)

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Landscape and Environmental Design (AFB40) will be holding our mid-year business meeting in conjunction with the National Safety Rest Area Conference (NSRAC). NSRAC is a valued program of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Subcommittee on Maintenance. This conference is the premier venue for public rest area planners and landscape architects, public welcome center managers, rest area program managers, facilities maintenance staff, contractors, vendors, and transportation officials from across the United States and Canada to meet and learn best practices. AFB40 is participating in the agenda development so that conference content is pertinent to the mission of the committee.

The committee will be completing current TRB assignments and work products to prepare for the January 2019 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. and will have an excellent opportunity to meet and confer with transportation professionals involved in roadside design from around the nation.

Here is the conference schedule:

September 16: AFB40 members arrive
September 17: AFB40 business meeting, evening reception for all attendees
September 18: Conference Learning Sessions
September 19: AFB40 business meeting in the morning; conference tours in the afternoon
September 20: Conference Learning Sessions

Stay tuned to our website for more information on the final agenda, lodging, and registration.

Willson S. McBurney, RLA, ASLA, is a Senior Landscape Architect at SNC-Lavalin| Atkins and a Transportation Professional Practice Network (PPN) Officer.

Sustainability vs. Resiliency: Designing for a Trajectory of Change

by Keith Bowers, FASLA

Image: Biohabitats

Words matter! And being mindful of the words and terms we use professionally can only help demonstrate landscape architects’ expertise and leadership on these complex topics: sustainability and resiliency.

The Sustainable Design and Development Professional Practice Network leadership recognized the importance for our group to think more deeply about these two important terms and concepts. We put out a call to firms who are demonstrating leadership in this arena to provide their insights, and Keith Bowers, FASLA, of Biohabitats created the post below.

This is worth reading several times and it might possibly change how you think and discuss sustainability and resiliency in your practice.

Lisa Cowan and Kevin Burke, Sustainable Design & Development Field Editors

In our field, resilience and sustainability should mean the same thing, but this means that we need to correct how we talk about sustainability. Perhaps the most striking similarity between our current use of the terms “sustainability” and “resilience” is their frequent application across a wide variety of practices and projects that too often are neither sustainable nor resilient. This is the way of terms of art—they burst onto the scene, meaning something important and specific, but over time their power becomes diluted as they get misused or applied loosely. I argue that if we use the term sustainability correctly, all sustainable projects would also be resilient, i.e. able to accommodate change and recover quickly. But to see why this is the case, we need to examine the concept of “sustainability” within the design profession and see why the term is frequently misapplied.

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Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War

District of Columbia War Memorial / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, HABS DC-857-5
District of Columbia War Memorial / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, HABS DC-857-5

The Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) was created in 2000 to promote documentation of our country’s dynamic historic landscapes. Since 2010, landscape architecture preservation enthusiasts have been challenged to complete at least one HALS short format history to increase awareness of particular cultural landscapes through the annual HALS Challenge competition. The deadline to enter this year’s HALS Challenge—Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War—is July 31, 2018.

We invite you to document a World War I memorial site to honor the centennial of the end of World War I, the war to end all wars. Not only were traditional monuments constructed across the country following the armistice, but “living memorials,” which honored the dead with schools, libraries, bridges, parks, and other public infrastructure, were designed to be both useful and symbolic at the same time.

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Take the ASLA Professional Development Preferences Survey

Please help ASLA national ensure that we develop continuing education content that supports your individual interests and needs by completing a short survey. ASLA is interested in hearing from licensed and non-licensed professionals. Please share your feedback by Tuesday, July 17.ASLA provides a number of ways for landscape architects to earn professional development hours (PDH) through the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™). Professional development hours (PDH) is the term that ASLA and LA CES use to describe how much credit a course carries.

ASLA’s in-person offerings include the: 

ASLA’s online offerings include:

Check out additional resources on ASLA’s Professional Development webpage, such as an up-to-date list of conferences for landscape architects focused on a variety of practice areas.

Eco Parks for Learning and Play

by Chris Roberts, ASLA

This meandering Kellogg Park bioswale, engineered for infiltration and subsurface water recharge, provides accessible passive learning and play along the entire park. / image: Pacific Coast Land Design, Inc.

“Play is the highest form of research.”
– attributed to Albert Einstein

An Unfulfilled Need

In the 1950s I loved exploring nature in an unstructured setting. Nearby windrows, vacant lots, and scrambling on the boulders in nearby hills offered exploration and adventure.

The exploration and investigation of a natural setting is not available to many of today’s urban and suburban youth. This loss—often replaced by cell phones and digital gaming—creates a deficiency unique to this century: nature deficit disorder.

Exploring natural environments is fundamental to providing future adults with the appreciation and knowledge they will need to cope with environmental degradation. Local parks could offer children and families the opportunity to experience, appreciate, and learn how nature works.

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Diversifying the Profession Through K-12 Outreach

by Allison Ong, Student ASLA

Chinook Middle School students used models to communicate their ideas for a new open space on their campus. / image: Allison Ong

In the first year of my MLA, I was assigned a review of Gina Ford, FASLA’s talk, “Into an Era of Landscape Humanism.” Her opening words have stayed with me ever since: “Fifty years ago,” she begins, “the voice of our profession was eerily prescient, undeniably smart, and powerfully inspired. It was also, let’s admit it, almost entirely white and male.” I am often reminded of Ford’s statement, as I continue to observe the lack of diversity she speaks of in firms, classes, conferences, and other spaces. Throughout graduate school, I’ve kept a constant eye open for opportunities to diversify our field. The traditional avenues for engagement presented to me, namely departmental diversity committees, didn’t satisfy my desire to act. I wanted to do something. I just didn’t know what that something was.

About a year ago an opportunity finally presented itself. The Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects at the University of Washington (UWASLA)’s mentorship program assigned me Laura Enman, Associate ASLA, of Swift Company, as a mentor. Meeting for the first time at a coffee shop, we bonded over our shared interest in improving diversity in landscape architecture. In that moment, a light bulb went off for both of us. We imagined an outreach program to empower students from diverse K-12 schools through landscape architecture. Laura was already connected to a non-profit after-school program, Techbridge Girls, whose goal is to “excite, educate, and equip girls from low-income communities by delivering high-quality STEM programming to empower them to achieve economic mobility and better life chances.” Within weeks, through Techbridge Girls and support from WASLA and UWASLA, we scheduled our first outreach opportunity.

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Meet the Transportation PPN Leadership Team

Milwaukie/Main Street TriMet MAX Orange Line Station, Milwaukie, OR. Mayer/Reed | TriMet / image: ©2015 Bruce Forster Photography

The ASLA Transportation Professional Practice Network (PPN) is a forum for landscape architecture issues in transportation policy, planning, design and construction. This group is dedicated to sharing information from a variety of sources and building awareness about the contributions of landscape architects in transportation.

Landscape architects have a strong voice in transportation issues and often bridge the gap between colleagues in planning and engineering. Their work includes developing policies to support livable communities, planning sustainable transportation systems, designing and building streets to encourage active transportation, supporting native plant habitat and effectively manage stormwater, advocating for complete streets and roadway safety, and leading projects and public involvement processes to support transportation decision-making.

In addition to a chair or co-chairs, many PPNs, including Transportation, also have larger leadership teams that include past chairs and PPN officers. Most leadership teams hold monthly calls to keep track of progress on PPN activities, and all PPN members are welcome to join their PPN’s leadership team. To learn more, see ASLA’s PPN Leadership Opportunities page or contact propractice@asla.org.

In this post, we’d like to introduce the Transportation PPN leaders through their answers to the following questions:

  • What is a Transportation Landscape Architect? How do you define / describe what you do?
  • As a landscape architect practicing in the transportation sector, explain how daily practice can/does involve topics addressed in at least three other ASLA PPNs. In your opinion, do you think that practicing in the transportation sector has broadened or specialized your practice?
  • How do you as a landscape architect add value to transportation projects?

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Discover Landscape Architecture

ASLA Discover Landscape Architecture Activity Book for Kids cover / image: James Richards, FASLA

Do you have a friend who is interested in landscape architecture? Do your children like the idea of blending art with the environment? Are you a landscape architecture professional visiting a local school and searching for a fun interactive exercise?

The ASLA Discover Landscape Architecture Activity Books for kids, teens, and adults were designed by ASLA members to inspire and teach anyone interested in landscape architecture and the built environment.

Use the activity books to learn or teach about:

  • the tools and skills needed to become a landscape architect,
  • the many ways landscape architects shape our environment,
  • how landscape architects use hand drawing to formulate ideas and solve complex problems, and
  • how to make beautiful places for people to live, work, and play.

Discover more at asla.org/activitybooks.

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Reimagining the Campus Green Infrastructure Experience!

By Charlene LeBleu, FASLA

Green Infrastructure game box tops designed by MLA students.
AubieGo—Rachel Hamrick, Student ASLA, Yuzhou Jin, Rui Wang, Student ASLA, & Xueting Zhou, Student ASlA.
GI Builder—Jaspuneet Kaur, Radhika Shenoy, Student ASLA, Yuanyuan Gao, Student ASLA, & Looja Shakya, Student ASLA.

Visitors to Auburn University will now have an opportunity to experience campus green infrastructure using two newly designed interactive board games. The board games, AubieGo and GI Builder were created by Landscape Architecture graduate students for the Office of Sustainability to invite visitors, students, faculty, and beyond to learn about the green infrastructure stormwater control measures that are integrated into the campus landscape. The games provide a novel way to introduce and communicate the benefits of campus green infrastructure practices to both young and old.

The graduate students are members of the LAND 7900 Interpretive Design—Redesigning the Visitor Experience class, a three (3) hour directed elective taught by Charlene M. LeBleu, FASLA, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture. “I was asked by the Office of Sustainability and Campus Stormwater Committee to have my students create a brochure for a campus green infrastructure tour,” said LeBleu. “We did design a brochure, but I wanted my students to reimagine green infrastructure education in a different way. Designing and crafting a board game, the playing pieces, and a container to hold all pieces provided a fun and interesting creative challenge!”

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Summer of SITES®

Enrich your summer with the SITES® Accredited Professional exam: Now through September 3, 2018, ASLA is offering a $100 discount off the SITES AP Exam for the first 150 registrants to use the promo code 2018ASLAPROMO.

Click here for registration instructions.

Registrants must be an ASLA member to use the code, and will be required to provide an ASLA member number. Questions? Email sites@asla.org.

An ASLA prepared webinar series to help you study for the exam is available at a discounted rate to members.

The SITES accredited professional exam provides landscape architects with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the profession. It also establishes a common framework to define the profession of sustainable landscape design and development.

Landscape Architects Make the Case

“For me and the firm, incorporating the principles of SITES into our work is something that we have done for years. What the initiative provides is a logical and structured methodology to accomplish a rich diversity of improvements that can be shared with clients and the community. The more thorough a team is with embracing the credits the better the project can be for the public or private users. The structure allows us as designers to do a better job explaining the complexity of what it is we do and the certification allows the team and client to celebrate good work.”

Hunter Beckham, FASLA

SWT Design Novus International Headquarters Campus, St. Louis, Missouri – Three-star Certified Pilot Project

“SITES is the single best crash-course in real landscape sustainability. Certification requires tangible, quantifiable standards and that rigorous challenge both educated and inspired me. Sustainable practices and client education is now an integral part of all my landscape work.”

CeCe Haydock, ASLA, LEED AP

Hempstead Plains Interpretive Center, Garden City, New York  – Two-star Certified Pilot Project

Warm Winter Memories—Cool Neighborhood Park

by Tom Mortensen, PLA, ASLA

An ice skating rink is part of a new public plaza at the Titletown District in Green Bay, Wisconsin. raSmith is providing ongoing site engineering and surveying for this multi-phase, mixed-use development. / image: ROSSETTI, Detroit

People say the memories of certain smells stay with you for a lifetime. Corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, the sterile smell of a dentist’s office, athletic socks in a gym bag or the Xylene-based color design markers I used in the 1980s back in college. Even my ice skates have a familiar smell. Not bad, just familiar—like old leather mixed with slush.

I was driving through the neighborhood near my childhood home where I grew up on the northern edge of Milwaukee County, and I decided to take a slow drive down memory lane. Everything looked smaller than I remembered, except the trees. Eventually I ended up at the neighborhood park where I spent countless hours playing pickup ball games, hanging out with friends, and ice skating.

Yes, ice skating. Every single day. After school, after dinner, and on weekends.

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