PPN Live: Professional Development on the EXPO Floor

Earn PDH right on the EXPO floor at four Professional Practice Network (PPN) sessions for PDH, taking place in PPN Live, and eight PPN EXPO Tours on Saturday and Sunday, October 20-21, 2018, during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO. / images: EPNAC

The 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia this month offers many opportunities to learn and network during the largest gathering of landscape architects in the world. In addition to education sessions, field sessions, and workshops, ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) offer two more ways to earn professional development hours (PDH), right on the EXPO floor:

PPN Meetings for PDH

International Practice PPN Meeting
Rethinking Landscape Interventions During Urban Renewal of Chinese Cities
Saturday, October 20, 9:15 – 10:15 am
1.0 PDH LA CES / HSW

Unleashed urban sprawl propelled by rapid economic development has caused many issues in China during the past 40 years. With growing public awareness and global vision on the environmental quality, social justice, and cultural heritage in China, as well as the ever strict control on land uses across the country, many cities are refocusing on the developed areas and promoting urban renewal efforts. Case studies will be used to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the recent urban renewal efforts in China through the lens of governance, urban planning, and landscape design.

Speakers:

  • Dou Zhang, PLA, ASLA, Sasaki Associates;
  • Ming-Jen Hsueh, ASLA, Sasaki Associates;
  • Yufan Zhu, Tsinghua University

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PPN Live in Philadelphia: Professional Practice Network Meetings Preview

There will be many opportunities to learn, network, and celebrate during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia later this month. In addition to the 130+ education sessions, field sessions, workshops, and special events, be sure to add PPN Live to your annual meeting plans.

Through PPN Live, you can network with colleagues from all 20 ASLA Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) throughout the annual meeting weekend, right on the EXPO floor. PPN membership is not required to attend that PPN’s meeting or the PPN EXPO tours—all are welcome! Already a member of one PPN, but curious about another? Or not sure which PPN to choose (all ASLA members receive one PPN membership for free)? You are welcome to attend as many PPN events as you like!

The schedule of PPN meetings is below, followed by descriptions of what’s planned for each:

Saturday, October 20

9:15 – 10:00 am

9:15 – 10:15 am

10:00 – 10:45 am

12:45 – 1:30 pm

12:45 – 1:45 pm

1:30 – 2:15 pm

Sunday October 21

9:15 – 10:00 am

9:15 – 10:15 am

10:00 – 10:45 am

12:45 – 1:30 pm

12:45 – 1:45 pm

1:30 – 2:15 pm

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Dissecting the Quantum Shifts of Nature to Make Our Industry Approaches Better

by James Sottilo

Nature / Image: James Sottilo

Here’s looking at you, Sustainability.

Today more than ever sustainability is used in our line of work; designing and managing green spaces that reflect the value of the word. It only makes sense that nature remain, as she always has, sustainable.

Over the past several years our team has worked on projects across the United States. These national experiences have exposed us to a variety of natural soils and fauna such as the gumbo clays and wildflower meadows of Southeast Texas, the high silt soils along the Mississippi River, the clay loams of the West Coast and the forests of the Northeast.

Nature by herself always seems to have the answers to the questions we are asking when designing and building new landscapes. It is our job to dissect the ecological behaviors of the landscape, explain them and apply them in our work.

There are times when we believe we have unlocked certain secrets of the Earth and developed efforts unparalleled, but eventually science and/or technology deem these efforts linear or one dimensional when compared to her.

Our efforts are stretching beyond the industrial landscape plane and asking the critical questions to scientists and academics that are not part of the main stream landscape franchise. Foresters for example have a different perspective on certain ecologies, scientists in the management of human microbiology have in-depth knowledge on bacteria and how they grow and respond. Agronomists, who manage thousands of acres of farm land, may look at soil completely different then you and I – yet all of these individuals have insight into the same problems our industry faces such as soil compaction, pH, lack of nutrients, etc.

Soils are the foundation of the landscape and plants are the engineers of the ecosystem. One cannot survive without the other. Questions that we are often faced with include, where does the plant end and the soil begin? Is it realistic to have a specification on soil and second specification on planting? Should both be combined into one specification as a system?

As of now we are still figuring out the answers to those questions but perhaps as we adapt changing paradigms, our soils and plants will shift into performance specifications and eliminate the constant finger pointing when a problem arises with the health of the landscape.

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The Practice of Building Equity Through Design Thinking

Residents of the Lucero del Norte colonia work with [bc] to address stormwater issues. / Image: buildingcommunityWORKSHOP
The ASLA Environmental Justice PPN provides a forum for ASLA members involved in, inspired by, and interested in pursuing environmental justice through education, research, and practice. Throughout 2018, the Environmental Justice PPN has hosted virtual presentations with live Q&A, focused on issues most important to its members. All Environmental Justice PPN members are invited to participate in these monthly events, allowing members to expand their networks, and hear from design professionals who are playing an important role in addressing environmental justice. On August 16, Elaine Morales, Design Manager at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP [bc] joined the conversation on public interest design and equity. 

buildingcommunityWORKSHOP ([bc]) is a Texas based nonprofit community design center seeking to improve the livability and viability of communities through the practice of thoughtful design and making. We enrich the lives of citizens by bringing design thinking to areas of our cities where resources are most scarce. To do so, [bc] recognizes that it must first understand the social, economic, and environmental issues facing a community before beginning work.

Our diverse team employs public interest design methodologies to address these issues with an equity lens. Our practice leverages the diverse skill set of our team—encompassing architects, planners, urban designers, geographers, and policy specialists—to steward initiatives that engage communities, create platforms to discuss challenges, set priorities, and envision the future, whilst elevating underheard voices to celebrate and concretize community identity and building capacity for residents to drive decision-making in the sphere of design and planning. We organize our work around six core methods: analyzing, mapping, activating, informing, storytelling, and making.

A diagram illustrating this collaborative approach. / Image: buildingcommunityWORKSHOP

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Design Week – Connecting Education and Practice

By Kurt Culbertson, FASLA, and Lake Douglas, FASLA

Design Workshop Partner, Mike Albert, reviews student presentations during Design Week at Oklahoma State University. / Image: Design Workshop
From the practitioner’s perspective

In 1998, I had the opportunity to participate in Design Week at my alma mater, Louisiana State University. Design Week, an LSU invention, was conceived as a one-week vertical studio engaging first year students through graduate students in a team project under the leadership of a practicing professional.  As conceived, the professional would assign the student a site and problem for which they had prepared a design. The students then have the opportunity to compare their efforts to that of the practitioner.

While I loved the concept of Design Week, it struck me that a lot of time was being spent by the students on a theoretical exercise.  Couldn’t all of this energy be put to a useful outcome for the public good as well as a learning exercise? I found a sixty-acre site on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River which was a gravel storage facility for barges that had traveled south to Louisiana right across the street from the state capitol complex in Baton Rouge. The property owner graciously agreed to let the student utilize their property as the subject of the study and the students set to work preparing a master plan for mixed use development of the site.  As a result of the student’s work, the property was developed much as the students envisioned.

To simulate the practice environment, a jury was assembled of the city/parish planning director, a state senator, and the property owner. Even the university chancellor dropped by the observe the progress of the work. The teams were judged on three categories: the quality of their design, the quality of their team work, and the quality of their presentation. Awards were given in of these categories and for best overall effort.

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PPN Interview: Ilisa Goldman, ASLA

Child Development Associates, Hilltop Child Development Center Habitat gARTen: On November 15 and 16, 2014, approximately 150 volunteers worked together to build the Habitat gARTen, combining art and nature into a dynamic laboratory for hands on, project based learning. / image: Alex Calegari

Recently, the ASLA Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (PPN)’s Online Learning Coordinator, Principal Ilisa Goldman, PLA, MLA, ASLA, Founder of Rooted in Place, recorded a podcast: I Made It in San Diego: A Place Maker Builds a Business. It is well worth listening to! For now, we invite you to read an interview with Ilisa, whose work with children and those who are marginalized in the San Diego community is truly making a difference.

How has your passion influenced your practice?

I have held the core values of stewardship, social equity, and environmentalism since my teen years. If you had asked me twenty years ago what I would be doing now, I think my answer would have been very similar to the work I do today: fostering community and connecting people to the natural world.

I was introduced to landscape architecture during my senior year at Rollins College. Majoring in environmental studies, I learned environmental issues from cultural, economic, and science based perspectives. During graduate school at North Carolina State University, I sought out classes, mentors, and projects that allowed me to focus my passions. From studying permaculture to the design of children’s environments, I saw the importance of taking an integrated approach to design. Beginning practice in 2002, I looked for meaningful and interesting work. I am grateful to have worked for Spurlock Landscape Architects (formerly Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects). During this time, I was encouraged to bring my knowledge to the table, explore my ideas, and grow as designer, all while learning the realities of landscape architecture and running a practice.

Between 2009 and 2012, while raising my two young daughters, I began volunteering at San Diego Children and Nature, teaching at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, and training in the Pomegranate Method for Creative Collaboration. These experiences showed me how small scale, community-oriented projects were critical in improving the quality of educational and community spaces.

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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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