Help ASLA Create the Future We Are Committed To

Participants at the ASLA 2018 Diversity Summit. This could be you! / image: EPNAC

Have you drawn on ASLA publications such as Climate Action Now: A Landscape Architect’s Guide to Climate Advocacy, The Landscape Architect’s Guidelines for Construction Contract Administration, Principles of Accessibility Design for Landscape Architecture: ADA, ABA, and Other Accessibility Standards and Guidelines, or our public policies for guidance? Have you attended any programs in the SKILL | ED: Education to Build Your Practice series, or made use of ASLA’s LARE Prep materials? Have you been inspired by the education program at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture? Then you are the beneficiary of the work of ASLA’s dedicated corps of member volunteers. (And this series of rhetorical questions offers just a tiny sampling of all that our volunteers do!)

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

ASLA is realigning with our new strategic plan and has evolved our committees to be more effective in achieving our mission through our members’ innovation and expertise. Help us create the future we are committed to.

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

To volunteer for service, please apply online by October 5, 2022.

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The University of Pittsburgh’s Hillside Framework Plan

by Laura Tenny, ASLA

The Green Ribbon concept, connecting U. Pitt’s upper campus to the urban fabric of Pittsburgh. / image: DAVID RUBIN Land Collective

University of Pittsburgh: Hillside Framework Plan, SCUP Honorable Mention Award Winner for “Excellence in Planning for a District or Campus Component”

Most of us are familiar with ASLA national and chapter awards for landscape architecture. Did you know that the Society for College and University Planners (SCUP) awards “Design Excellence” prizes to landscape architecture projects? Selected by a jury of industry professionals, the award-winning projects showcase exceptional planning and design work being done by landscape architects engaged in the realm of higher education campuses. This year, for the Campus Planning & Design PPN’s annual post for The Field on SCUP award highlights, we feature work at the University of Pittsburgh, by DAVID RUBIN Land Collective. I spoke with Founding Principal David A. Rubin, FASLA, and his University project partner, Mary Beth McGrew, to learn more about this transformative project.

Pittsburgh is a city of hills and rivers, and home to the University of Pittsburgh, affectionally known as “U. Pitt.” The Hillside District of U. Pitt comprises more than 400 vertical feet of grade change over a 68-acre site. The steep topography of Hillside distinguishes it from the lower, more urban campus. Despite the dramatic setting, Hillside lacked a strong sense of place or identity before the framework plan. A series of capital projects at U. Pitt brought increased visibility to the challenges of siting buildings that needed to navigate significant grade change, with the accompanying challenges of circulation, access, drainage, and connectivity between the upper and lower parts of campus.

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All New Heights During the 9 to 5

by Chris Mutter, ASLA

One Franklin Park, Franklin, TN – Stormwater management components creatively integrated add to site aesthetics. / image: HGOR

The future of the traditional indoor office space has moved outdoors.

It’s no secret that the world has drastically changed over the past several years. With that disruption of normalcy has come new priorities and novel approaches for landscape architecture and design professionals regarding workplace environments. Most businesses are looking for outdoor spaces to meet various needs and desires formerly delivered by indoor accommodations.

In earlier days, outdoor workspaces seemed only inhabited during planned social gatherings and required additional components, making them suitable for events. They lacked seating areas comfortable enough to work in for long periods, shade structures, and offered little to no immersive experiences that engaged guests.

The past few years’ events have significantly altered and propelled traditional landscape solutions by requiring a much more in-depth level of innovation, creativity, and cutting-edge designs which encompass immersive outdoor environments, social connectivity, and functional collaborative space.

People now want multi-functional spaces, set in nature, spread throughout each aspect of their daily lives, especially during work hours, so that they may benefit from continued health and wellness opportunities. Workers crave direct access to fresh air, sunlight, and natural surroundings to thrive and maintain focus, while companies still uphold the importance of productivity. To accommodate employee demands, businesses are seeking various means of incorporating greenspace in easily accessible courtyards, amphitheaters, and green roofs that provide all the necessary elements to yield high performance. And landscape architects are developing highly imaginative responses to deliver these solutions!

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Get Ready for #ASLA2022

Salesforce Park is one of the stops on the field session San Francisco’s Landscapes in the Sky at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. / image: Marcus Nunez

We are less than two months out from the biggest and brightest gathering of landscape architects—the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture is coming to San Francisco this November 11-14.

While there is so much going on—Climate Week NYC, webinars galore, and DREAM BIG with Design: A Virtual Showcase of Landscape Architecture and PreK-12 Design Learning, to name just a few of things competing for your attention this week—the conference is the profession’s signature event: 6,000 attendees, convening this fall in a city with 220+ public parks to attend 120+ education sessions and other special events. It’s a lot to take in.

Just a few areas of special interest to get excited about:

This Wednesday, September 21, is the last day to save up to $130 with the advanced registration rate!

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A New Portfolio Competition and Micro Grants for Minority Landscape Architects

Check out @nationalamla on Instagram for more from the National Association of Minority Landscape Architects. / images courtesy of NAMLA

Since its 2020 founding and being covered by Landscape Architecture Magazine last year, the National Association of Minority Landscape Architects (NAMLA) has had lots going on, from the formation of student chapters to launching a NAMLA Talk Series. Today on The Field, we’re highlighting two NAMLA opportunities with a deadline of this Sunday, September 18, for submissions. Act fast!

Landscape Architecture Portfolio Competition

NAMLA has announced their inaugural Portfolio Competition, open to landscape architecture students, interns, and apprentices. Winners will receive a cash award and will be featured on NAMLA’s social media platforms.

Submission checklist:

  • Number of images: 20
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 or 4:5 (portrait)
  • Resolution: 150 dpi
  • Format: JPEG
  • Captions for each image (2,000 characters max., including spaces)

Portfolios must be submitted via email by September 18, 2022.

This competition is a collaborative effort with Vectorworks and OJB Landscape Architecture.

Apply for a NAMLA Micro Grant

NAMLA’s seventh Micro Grant opportunity is sponsored by OJB Landscape Architecture. The prompt for applicants to respond to is:

How can minority groups empower one another to help create pathways to leadership opportunities within landscape architecture?

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Get Ready to Dream Big with Design

Registration is open for the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)’s 2022 PreK-12 Summit: DREAM BIG with Design, A Virtual Showcase of Landscape Architecture and PreK-12 Design Learning.

Scheduled for Thursday, September 22, and Friday, September 23, DREAM BIG with Design will highlight the exciting world of landscape architecture with fun sessions and resources for students in grades preK-12. PreK-12 teachers, school counselors, after school leaders, family members, and design professionals are invited to attend.

This year, DREAM BIG will immerse students in design-centered strategies that address some of the most critical issues of our time—green infrastructure, equity in design, climate action, transportation for all, water and stormwater, and more.

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Public Practice in Focus

Image courtesy of Jennifer Shagin

The realm of public practice, including non-profit and governmental work, offers unique opportunities and challenges to practitioners. In an ongoing series for ASLA’s LAND newsletter, members of ASLA’s Public Practice Advisory Committee and other landscape architects showcase those opportunities and share insights on their public practice careers. The committee has published four interviews so far this year—if you haven’t seen them all, here are the latest interviewees:

Jennifer Shagin, ASLA
Landscape Designer, NES
Interview conducted by Om Khurjekar, ASLA, PLA, Principal, Hord Coplan Macht

“My public sector work has been overall less design oriented and more focused on overall community growth and wellbeing. My campaign for trustee for the Town of Berthoud was self-run and managed; I spent every free moment talking with residents and formulating how I could apply what I know about design to improve their livelihood…My work in office as a trustee in a small town was very fulfilling, and I felt that it was democracy in its truest form.”

Kris Sorich, ASLA
Senior Landscape Architect, Chicago Department of Transportation
Interview conducted by Om Khurjekar, ASLA, PLA, Principal, Hord Coplan Macht

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A Global Survey of Practice: What Do Landscape Architects Do?

ASLA 2021 Professional General Design Honor Award. Auckland International Airport. Auckland, New Zealand. SurfaceDesign, Inc. / image: Blake Marvin

The International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) has launched a Global Survey of Practice for Landscape Architecture in partnership with the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB).

The aim is to achieve a better understanding of the practice of landscape architecture around the globe. By identifying similarities and differences in practice regionally and by country, the project seeks to expand the role, definition, and mobility of the landscape architect as well as understand how changes in practice, such as the response to climate change, have forced the profession to evolve.

The Global Survey of Practice launched during the IFLA World Congress in Gwangju, South Korea, last week and all practicing landscape architects globally are encouraged to complete the survey by November 6, 2022.

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INTERSECTIONS: Where Diversity, Equity and Design Meet

Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, VA / image: Suchak, courtesy of the National Building Museum

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., will bring leading Black voices in design, art, and architecture to the Museum for INTERSECTIONS: Where Diversity, Equity and Design Meet, dynamic discussions about culture, equity and representation in the built world through the lens of design. The programming is a part of the Museum’s ongoing signature series, Equity in the Built Environment, which focuses on the relationship between equity, social justice, and our built environment.

Launching September 16 and running through December 14, INTERSECTIONS includes a series of programs led by nationally recognized Black designers, architects, and artists. They will engage participants in conversations centered on actions to promote social justice in the built environment. These participatory experiences are designed to provoke new thinking, spark conversation, enlighten, and empower. The season will also include three workshops and a roundtable discussion.

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Align | Realign: Dialogues between Academic Pursuits and Professional Demand

by David N. Myers, Ph.D., PLA, ASLA

ASLA 2021 Professional Research Honor Award. Ecoregional Green Roofs: Theory and Application in the Western USA and Canada. Bruce Dvorak, ASLA. A representative from CELA participates in ASLA’s professional jury for the selection of the Research Category. In 2022, CELA’s representative was Taner Ozdil, ASLA, from the University of Texas at Arlington. / image: Bruce Dvorak, October 2018

Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Call for Abstracts
Deadline: September 12, 2022

The theme of the CELA 2023 Conference directly involves landscape architecture professionals. Align | Realign: Dialogues between Academic Pursuits and Professional Demand investigates the overlaps and misalignments between what is both taught and researched in academia compared to what the professional market demands.

As you all know, landscape architecture has long been broadly defined as the integration of art and science. Both the profession of landscape architecture and the education of the discipline have historically been dependent upon a constant dialogue between the arts and the sciences.

Recently, the growing role of research within the profession of landscape architecture has created a shift in more scientific thinking to help reinforce evidence-based design decision making. The degree to which scientific research is given emphasis in a design inevitably varies. This variance is generally dependent upon the values and findings within the given research and the specific goals and needs of a given design project. Educators and professionals can also fluctuate in their locations along the art/science continuum, sometimes creating misalignments within what the landscape architecture profession demands and what is being researched or taught in landscape architecture education.

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Olmsted 200 Fall Preview

image: National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP)

Unbelievably, we are at the threshold when summer begins to turn into fall. With the start of September just a week away, now is the time to look ahead to all the events in store as Olmsted 200 continues, with in-person conferences, new installments in the Conversations with Olmsted webinar series (see The Dirt for a recap of the latest conversation. featuring three LAF Olmsted scholars), and many other offerings. The Olmsted 200 website is your source for all things Olmsted; here we highlight three upcoming events as you plan ahead for the new season.

The Olmsteds’ Conservation Legacy
September 9, 2022, 9:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. ET
Washington, DC

Both Frederick Law Olmsted and his son, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., played a significant role in the establishment and creation of our country’s national parks. This conference will explore the Olmsted conservation legacy and historic and current challenges to the public land ideal—including displacement, exclusion, public funding, and climate change.

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Professional Practice Network Leaders Speaking in San Francisco

Elizabeth Van Sickel, ASLA, a volunteer leader for the Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network, at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture. / image: Jason Mallory

120+ education sessions, 8 tracks, 450+ speakers. Have you explored the education program for the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture yet? If not, we’re here to help you get started, with a look at the Professional Practice Network (PPN) leaders speaking in San Francisco, plus a deeper dive into two Deep Dive sessions featuring PPN leaders.

Learn from the best for less—register by September 21 and get the advanced rate.

PPN Leaders Speaking at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture

Kelly A. Farrell, ASLA, Landscape Designer / Ecologist, Sasaki
Ecology & Restoration PPN Leader

Ryan Booth, ASLA, Design Associate, Alta Planning + Design
Transportation PPN Leader

Jack Garcia, Affil. ASLA, Director of Virtual Design & Construction, EDSA, inc.
Digital Technology PPN Leader

Haven Kiers, ASLA, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of California, Davis
Planting Design PPN Leader

Lara Moffat, ASLA, Business Development, Landscape Forms
Women in Landscape Architecture PPN Leader

Emily M. O’Mahoney, FASLA, LEED AP, Partner, 2GHO, Inc. Landscape Architects, Planners, Environmental Consultants
Women in Landscape Architecture PPN Leader

April Philips, FASLA, Founder, April Philips Design Works
Sustainable Design & Development PPN Leader

Andrew Sargeant, ASLA, Landscape Architectural Fellow, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
Digital Technology PPN Leader

Lauren K. Schmidt, ASLA, Design Technology Specialist, Parallax Team
Digital Technology PPN Leader

Lauren Schmitt E. Schmitt, ASLA, AICP
Parks & Recreation PPN Leader

Jean Senechal Senechal Biggs, ASLA, Transportation Planning Manager, City of Beaverton
Transportation PPN Leader

Krista Van Hove, ASLA, Campus Planner, Stanford University
Campus Planning & Design PPN Leader

Matthew Wilkins, ASLA, LEED GA, Associate, KTU+A Planning + Landscape Architecture
Digital Technology PPN Leader

Barbara Wyatt, FASLA, Historian/Landscape Specialist, National Park Service (retired)
Historic Preservation PPN Leader

Dou Zhang, FASLA, LEED AP, SITES AP, Director of Shanghai Office, Sasaki
International Practice PPN Leader

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Liberty Plaza: Implementing Flexibility & Celebrating Freedom

by Lauren Standish, ASLA

Liberty Plaza (Atlanta, GA) – Aerial image of space, as a parking lot, before site improvements. / image: HGOR; base photo from Google Earth

In 2014, the Georgia Building Authority (GBA) decided they needed a new public space close to the Capitol Hill Complex to serve as a forum, a place where all visitors could exercise their freedom of speech and assembly. The downtown area desperately needed greenspace for large gatherings and public events, and existing options for such spaces and gatherings lacked a strong identity. When the GBA reached out to our team at HGOR, where I am a principal and have been part of the team for over two decades, they were searching for an innovative solution.

From the start, I felt our partnership would benefit everyone involved for several reasons. HGOR has an extensive background in creating meaningful spaces across various topographies that represent a voice for the people and consideration for history in and around Atlanta. Many of these projects allowed our team to lend a solid sense of understanding, backed by a respect for social justice, to design a place representing cultural and civic importance. Additionally, our mission to preserve and expand the historic site while complementing the existing campus grounds prepared us for the challenges within the Liberty Plaza project. It also provided valuable hands-on knowledge that served us well with the design of the Nathan Deal Judicial Center, where we performed research on historically iconic public gathering spaces during our time devoted to designing Liberty Plaza.

Our team faced several initial challenges because of the selected location for this proposed new space. It did not provide an easy, pedestrian-safe route to the Capitol grounds that didn’t involve on-site law enforcement monitoring events. Before Liberty Plaza was a designated gathering space, events took place at the western entrance of the Capitol, Washington Avenue, where it was necessary to shut down the streets for pedestrian safety.

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Rejuvenation Out of Disruption: Envisioning a Transportation System for a Dynamic Future

by Christine Colley, RLA, ASLA

Boothbay Harbor Lighthouse, Maine. The 2022 meeting of the Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Landscape and Environmental Design (AKD40) took place at the Schoodic Institute in Maine this June. / image: Christine Colley

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

The Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Landscape and Environmental Design (AKD40) invites submissions of your work as part of a landscape and environmental design poster session at TRB’s 2023 Annual Meeting. The theme of the Annual Meeting is Rejuvenation Out of Disruption: Envisioning a Transportation System for a Dynamic Future.

Please submit your abstract for consideration for presentation at AKD40’s poster session at the TRB Annual Meeting. Topics that emphasize the following, as they relate to transportation, landscape and environmental design, are a priority for AKD40:

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

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

The deadline for submissions—by email to Christine Colley, TRB AKD40 Annual Meeting Poster Coordinator—is September 15, 2022.

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How Would You Change the Field of Landscape Architecture?

The Call for Game Changers for the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture is open through August 22. / image: istockphoto.com, Diane Bentley Raymond

Do you have an idea that will change the field of landscape architecture? Here’s your opportunity to share it at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. We’re seeking presentations for game-changing ideas that can move our profession forward—ideas from different perspectives, voices, and backgrounds. Those big ideas could come from you!

Game Changer presentations are designed to be fast-paced, innovative talks. Presenters will have just seven minutes to share their game-changing idea. The deadline for presentation proposals is noon PT, August 22, 2022.

No matter your speaking experience, this is a great opportunity to share ideas and concepts under development that will drive innovation. Submissions from first-time presenters, students, emerging professionals, and allied professionals are strongly encouraged.

What you need to enter:

  • Your information: Tell us about yourself.
  • Game Changer Written Description: Pitch this talk to attendees with a short answer describing how your idea will change the field (up to 500 characters).
  • Video: Submit a short video (up to one minute; 9:16 aspect ratio) describing your game-changing idea. No fancy production required. Have fun with it! The video must be under one minute to be eligible.

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Transforming Landscapes with Solar Smart Benches

by Malcolm Kay, Affiliate ASLA

Steora Cyclo solar powered bench / image: Archasol

In just a few short years, bench seating has evolved from simply offering a place to sit and relax to high tech community hubs. Benches can now be recharging stations for phones, laptops, e-bikes, and e-scooters; centers for monitoring and recording data on local environment conditions; music centers with Bluetooth speakers; Wi-Fi hotspots; and workstations with 120V power and overhead lighting—all within a compact, self-contained structure, free from any external power.

It was only seven years ago that the first solar powered smart bench with fully integrated solar panels was developed in Europe. The earliest models took the view that this new type of bench should look revolutionary in all respects, so side panels were square steel plate, painted a brilliant white with the seat basically being a flat panel housing PV cells, protected with a thick sheet of glass or polycarbonate.

Since that time, the design of solar powered benches has evolved considerably, with some benches now incorporating PV cells concealed so successfully that they resemble wood slats. Even the backrest of the seats can be used to house PV cells, increasing the power generating capacity without increasing the width or length of the seat.

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RFQs and Opportunities Roundup

Photo of the audience at a WxLA event in San Diego
ASLA 2021 Professional Communications Honor Award. WxLA – Champions for Equality in Landscape Architecture. / image: Jeri Hetrick

With summer swiftly rolling on, now is the time to peruse ASLA’s RFQs and Opportunities page. Rather than go on a hiatus while temperatures are high (often shockingly so), this resource is full of new additions, both from ASLA—the Call for Game Changers, anyone?—and allied organizations and others.

Anyone looking to share an opportunity with landscape architects may do so through the online submission form.

Below, we highlight a sampling of the calls for submissions and competitions listed currently.

Requests for Proposals and Qualifications

Haughville Riverfront Parks Master Plan in Indianapolis, IN
Deadline: August 26, 2022

Multi-Use Pathway Design in Cambridge, MA
Deadline: August 26, 2022

Planning Services for Urban Bike Facilities in Shaker Heights, OH
Deadline: September 1, 2022

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Urban Heat Island: A Non-Transferable Problem Within Cities, Part 2

by Veronica Westendorff, PLA, ASLA, SITES AP

Even narrow spaces can accommodate trees, if the right species are selected. / image: photo by V. Westendorff

Part 2: A Review of Policies and Programs Addressing UHI Across the US

To learn more about the impacts of climate change on our growing cities, I began to research some of the challenges that urban areas are experiencing as they grow. In addition to housing, offices, and shops for consumer goods and services, roads and other infrastructure are needed to support these communities. This brings more heat, and more consumption of energy, goods, and services in a way that is not sustainable. Last week, I took a look at urban trees as a means of reducing the urban heat island effect (UHI) within cities. Here, I’ll be exploring the question: what policies or programs are in place across the United States to reduce UHI in cities using trees?

Resilient Cities

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) created a list of cities in the United States with ordinances that address urban heat island and enhance cities’ energy efficiency, which is an integral part of reducing UHI. I reviewed the 50 cities below, looking at their programs and policies to see which were designed specifically to use trees to mitigate UHI.

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Urban Heat Island: A Non-Transferable Problem Within Cities, Part 1

by Veronica Westendorff, PLA, ASLA, SITES AP

Street trees line pedestrian walkways in Uptown Charlotte, providing cooler spaces for users. / image: photo by V. Westendorff

Part 1: Urban Trees as a Means of Reducing UHI Within Cities

Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S. The largest city in North Carolina, and 22nd largest in the country, Charlotte has an average of 44 new people moving into the metro area each day (Peterson, 2017). Construction within the city and in surrounding towns continues to put pressure on the existing land and ecosystems. This is not unique to Charlotte—all over the United States, development and growth are increasing the size and scale of urban areas, with both beneficial and detrimental effects.

While urbanization increases density, reduces the need for additional infrastructure, creates more efficiencies, and provides jobs, education, and resources, the exchange of land from forests or plains to built surfaces causes a loss of urban ecosystem services. One result is increased heat in urban areas, known as the urban heat island effect (UHI), caused by impervious areas that absorb heat during daylight hours and holds it into the night, releasing it slowly so that the next day starts with higher surface temperatures than the surrounding, less built-up areas. More built areas bring more heat, creating a positive feedback loop that is one of the great challenges cities face.

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See You in San Francisco!

View from Mission Dolores Park, San Francisco / image: istockphoto.com/Chris LaBasco

This November at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, you can meet 6,500 of your peers and choose from more than 130 education sessions, earning all the professional development hours (PDH) you need, at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture.

Register by tomorrow, July 27, to get the early bird rate! 

Field, Education, and Deep Dive Sessions

The conference education program is organized into eight tracks, and is searchable by speaker, type of continuing education credit offered (LA CES, AIA, AICP, ISA, and more), and target audience, from emerging professionals to firm leaders and sole practitioners.

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The Changing Roles of Landscape Design in Nature-Based Solutions, Part 3

by Lee Parks, International ASLA, and LIAO Jingjing

The Singapore-Nanjing Eco Hi-tech Island / image: © Zoom Arch

Exploring of the Changing Roles of Landscape Design in Nature-Based Solutions: A Reflection on Professional Practice over the Last Two Decades

Part 3: A Nature Positive Future

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are actions designed to work with and enhance natural habitats to take advantage of the ability of healthy natural and managed ecosystems to sequester carbon and support biodiversity recovery. The first part of this series focused on greening grey infrastructure; part 2 covered incorporating naturalistic landscape into the public realm. Here in part 3, we continue to explore how NbS can be pushed into the realms of social awareness and everyday recognition by policy makers and the public at large and in turn, support wider and longer term international environmental successes.

4 Towards a Nature Positive Future

4.1 COP26 Advocacy

Prior to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) held in 2021, leading scientists presented a conceptual shift which puts forward Nature (the environment) as the context for all life, human society, and all human activities (including all economic activity). Similarly, at COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Prince of Wales, who has for over fifty years championed action for a sustainable future said: “…after billions of years of evolution, Nature is our best teacher – in this regard, restoring Natural Capital, accelerating Nature-based solutions and leveraging the circular bioeconomy will be vital to our efforts..”

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

by Christine Colley, RLA, ASLA

Sunset at the Schoodic Institute / image: Christine Colley

The Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Landscape and Environmental Design (AKD40) is seeking papers to be considered for publication and/or presentation at the 2023 TRB Annual Meeting. The theme of the Annual Meeting is Rejuvenation Out of Disruption: Envisioning a Transportation System for a Dynamic Future.

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

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

The following categories were identified by the AKD40 Committee as being critical areas of research:

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

The deadline for paper submissions is August 1, 2022.

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The Changing Roles of Landscape Design in Nature-Based Solutions, Part 2

by Lee Parks, International ASLA, and LIAO Jingjing

Constructed wetlands
Taibai Lake District landscape design project, constructed wetlands / image: © Lee Parks

Exploring of the Changing Roles of Landscape Design in Nature-Based Solutions: A Reflection on Professional Practice over the Last Two Decades

Part 2: Incorporating Naturalistic Landscape into the Public Realm

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are actions designed to work with and enhance natural habitats to take advantage of the ability of healthy natural and managed ecosystems to sequester carbon and support biodiversity recovery. The first part of this series—on greening grey infrastructure—was published last week; here in part 2, on incorporating naturalistic landscape into the public realm, we continue to explore how NbS can be pushed into the realms of social awareness and everyday recognition by policy makers and the public at large and in turn, support wider and longer term international environmental successes.

3 Incorporating Naturalistic Landscape into the Public Realm

3.1 NbS for City Green Infrastructure

Qufu, a county-level city in Jining, Shandong Province, is the birthplace of Confucius and Mencius, the great Chinese sages of the Spring and Autumn period. Around 2010, impressions of Jining were of a coal-based economy and a city in need of a transformation. When considering a transformation towards an ecological future, an article published in 2001 by renowned Confucian scholar Tu Weiming, a professor at Harvard University and Peking University, called “The Ecological Turn in The New Confucian Humanism: Implications for China and the World” inspired a landscape concept called the ‘Ecological Turn.’

This concept by Lee Parks promoted an ecological image for a new streetscape, canal, and lake for the southward expansion of Taibai Lake District. It also provided an opportunity to put Nature-based Solutions into practice in Jining.  Taibai Lake District landscape design development covers some 350 hectares where AECOM led the planning and design of a new lake and park, canal parkland, streetscape, and administration center. The project represents a shift away from formal urban streetscape planting in favor of naturalistic swathes of ornamental grasses and perennial communities. A proposed land use plan placed a large new commercial complex over a planned canal—this was challenged by the landscape architect, who subsequently shifted the development parcel 200 meters northwards, re-aligned roads, adjusted the land use plan, and restored the integrity of the planned green and blue infrastructure. Nature-based Solutions were employed to create vegetated canal embankments, provide purification of water, and ensure habitat creation through to the new lake.

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Par-laying Renovations into a Community Transformation

by Bob Hughes, ASLA

Bobby Jones Golf Course before and after renovations / images: Bobby Jones Golf Course

The Bobby Jones Golf Course—Atlanta’s first public golf course, opened in 1932—was previously an underutilized course that suffered from dying trees, invasive plants, and eroded walking trails—it did not live up to the name of Bobby Jones. Marty Elgison, President and Co-Founder of the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation, became involved with the facility so that it might impact the surrounding communities, and was pivotal in pursuing a mission to turn something ordinary into something transformational. HGOR was selected by the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy to revitalize the area, establishing it as a destination where diverse crowds could gather and enjoy the sport while connecting with others.

Initial challenges varied in scope and included a lack of adequate parking and community engagement and the misconception that a renovation meant the removal of surrounding trees. An innovative approach was needed to solve several issues simultaneously.

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The Changing Roles of Landscape Design in Nature-Based Solutions

by Lee Parks, International ASLA, and LIAO Jingjing

Landscape practice of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in the Scottish Highlands: The Howard Doris Centre in Lochcarron is a care center for adults with supported accommodation, social facilities, and day care. The landscape was designed to enjoy views to nature, native planting, and to encourage community gardening for social interaction. / image: © Lee Parks

Exploring of the Changing Roles of Landscape Design in Nature-Based Solutions: A Reflection on Professional Practice over the Last Two Decades

Part 1: Greening Grey Infrastructure

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are actions designed to work with and enhance natural habitats to take advantage of the ability of healthy natural and managed ecosystems to sequester carbon and support biodiversity recovery. Informed by a career dedicated to working with nature, this article explores the evolution of a landscape planning and design approach from single-purpose solutions to systemic thinking and holistic design, together with a change from experiential/qualitative decision making to quantified solutions. This evolution is presented in three phases of professional practice:

  1. greening grey infrastructure,
  2. incorporating naturalistic landscape into the public realm, and
  3. a nature positive future.

Over the next three weeks, each section will explore how NbS can be pushed into the realms of social awareness and everyday recognition by policy makers and the public at large and in turn, support wider and longer term international environmental successes.

1 Introduction

1.1 Nature-based Solutions

Cities are facing an increasing frequency of disruptive events and many sustainable development challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, drought, extreme heat, wildfires, and water security. Our cities need more pioneering approaches to meet sustainability and carbon neutral goals and address biodiversity loss while also benefiting people’s health and well-being.

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Landscape Architecture Education

by Dale C. Davis

ASLA 2021 Professional General Design Honor Award. Orange Mall Green Infrastructure. Tempe, Arizona. COLWELL SHELOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE. / image: Marion Brenner

A friend of mine who is a writer shared this article with me. It highlights how landscape architecture can be seen as a pedagogical term and as a problem-solving method. I think it will be of interest especially for those who are in the research area of our profession.
– Arnaldo Cardona, ASLA

When searching for information about “Landscape Architecture Education” or “Education in Landscape Architecture,” the results show mostly academic programs to study landscape architecture as a career and academic institutions that have degrees in that area.

However, they can be seen as two completely different concepts. While searching for “Education in Landscape Architecture” produces entries about colleges that offer degrees for students to become landscape architects, “Landscape Architecture Education” should really be seen as a pedagogical term. In the same way, “Education in Art” is about becoming an artist and where to study to become one, whereas “Art Education” is a pedagogical term about the study of cognitive gains, skills, and processes involved in art making.

Then, how has “Landscape Architecture Education” been defined?

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Face-to-Face: Making the Return to In-Person Engagement

A screenshot from the Transportation PPN’s Zoom Coffee Chat.

Last month, ASLA’s Transportation Professional Practice Network (PPN) hosted an informal Zoom coffee chat for Transportation PPN members as an opportunity to connect and share their experiences and insights on the selected chat focus: returning to in-person engagement, virtual approaches that are here to stay, and how to center community voices in landscape architecture practice.

Ryan Booth, ASLA, PLA, Design Associate at Alta Planning + Design, kicked off the conversation by sharing ways to bring back and improve in-person engagement events.

While traditional forms of engagement can be resource intensive, not inclusive, and may be dominated by a few vocal participants, other formats can be more inclusive by bringing the information to the community. The first example Ryan looked at was the Lincoln Avenue Complete Street Walk and Talk for a project in Walnut Creek, California.

Walk and Talks are an opportunity to communicate technical information to a broad audience, and to be more creative with in-person events. The format also encouraged the community to share their walking and biking experiences from along the corridor, making this event a real two-way street of information exchange. Go beyond the community meeting in a windowless room. Make them actual events!

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Celebrating 10 Years of The Field

Since 2016, The Field has showcased an ASLA Student Award-winning project as its banner image. The current banner comes from the project Myth, Memory, and Landscape in the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation, an ASLA 2018 Student General Design Honor Award winner. Team: Derek Lazo, Student ASLA; Serena Lousich, Student ASLA. Faculty Advisors: Danika Cooper, ASLA. UC Berkeley. / image: Serena Lousich, Student ASLA

Happy birthday to The Field! Since the launch of The Field the summer of 2012, more than 1,000 posts have been published by ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs), from more than 460 contributors.

This blog was created to take the place of individual PPN newsletters (check out this 2002 Therapeutic Garden Design publication for a blast from the past), with the goal of encouraging collaboration and breaking down boundaries between practice area specialties with this PPN-wide platform for member-to-member information sharing.

ASLA’s Professional Practice team would like to thank all the PPN leaders and ASLA members who have shared their experiences and expertise as authors, editors, and tireless cheerleaders for The Field over the past decade. A few of our most prolific Field authors (all of whom are also current or past PPN leadership volunteers):

The most productive PPN: Children’s Outdoor Environments, with 117 posts! Other high-achieving PPNs:

In celebration of The Field‘s tenth birthday, here are the top 10 most-viewed posts.

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Olmsted and the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection

by Chris Stevens, ASLA

Fairsted, HABS MA-1168, Brookline, Massachusetts. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The following article highlights the importance of documenting historic landscapes for perpetuity. For the 13th annual HALS Challenge competition, the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) invites you to document Olmsted Landscapes. 2022 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, social reformer and founder of American landscape architecture. By documenting Olmsted landscapes for HALS, you will increase public awareness of historic landscapes and illuminate Olmsted’s living legacy. Any site designed or planned in part or in full by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., his firm, and the firm continued by his sons, John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Junior, is eligible. 

The Olmsted Landscapes HALS Challenge deadline is quickly approaching. Short format histories should be submitted to HALS at the National Park Service no later than July 31, 2022. Surprisingly, there are not many Olmsted-related sites within the HALS Collection at the Library of Congress. Your entries will not only help celebrate Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.’s 200th birthday, but they will help round out the collection with more Olmsted documentation.

The Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) was created in 2000 to document our country’s significant landscapes. The National Park Service oversees HALS; the American Society of Landscape Architects provides professional guidance and support; and the Library of Congress preserves the documentation and makes it available to the public. The Historic American Building Survey (HABS, established in 1933) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER, since 1969) are older programs and thus have much more documentation.

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Last Call for ASLA SKILL | ED: Project Management for Landscape Architects

There’s just a few hours to go before the start of SKILL | ED! On June 21-23, ASLA is hosting a live webinar each day from 2:00 to 3:15 p.m. ET for this practice management series. Today’s topic: Ready for Primetime? Create a Project Management Plan to Take the Lead!, presented by Christine E. Pearson, ASLA.

Packed schedule this week? Not to worry—register now, and you’ll have access to all three live session recordings on-demand through July 31. What your SKILL | ED registration includes:

  • On-demand access to education sessions through July 31
  • 3.0 professional development hours (LA CES / non-HSW)
  • PDF download of the ASLA Standard Form Contracts package
  • Access to virtual discussion boards
  • Networking with attendees and speakers

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