Black in Design Conference: Reflections from Two Women of Color

image: Black in Design

The Black in Design Conference is a biennial event that focuses on uncovering the complex dialogues related to the intersection of design and black identity. Hosted at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University by the African American Student Union (AASU), the conference highlighted the works of emerging and seasoned design professionals, activists, artists, and educators whose common goals challenge Eurocentric methods of design, education, and engagement to create spaces and places for all people. The 2017 conference, entitled “Designing Resistance, Building Coalitions,” specifically focused on design as a social justice and activism tool that promotes equity and equality in spaces around the country that oppress or erase black and brown presence. For more information, visit the Black in Design website to watch the entire conference, and for the 2019 conference announcement.

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The 2018 HALS Challenge

World War I Monument, Memorial Square, Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island (HABS RI-387) / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, HABS RI-387

The Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) was created in 2000 to promote documentation of our country’s dynamic historic landscapes. Much progress has been made in identifying cultural landscapes but more is needed to document these designed and vernacular places.

The 2018 HALS Challenge theme will be Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War. For the 9th annual HALS Challenge, 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.

For some inspiration you may browse the World War I Memorial Inventory Project and the National WWI Museum and Memorial Centennial Commemoration website. Also check out some of the WWI Sites in the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection, including:

Flanders Field American Cemetery & Memorial, HALS US-7, HALS US-7-A, HALS US-7-B

Pershing Park, HABS DC-695

District of Columbia War Memorial, HABS DC-857

World War I Monument, Memorial Square, HABS RI-387

Liberty Memorial, HABS MO-1936

Public Square (Buildings), North Walnut, HABS IL-252

Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Memorial Bridge, HAER PA-456

Fitzsimons General Hospital, Memorial Tablet, HABS CO-172-CB

Liberty Memorial Bridge, HAER ND-7

Greene Street Historic District, HABS GA-269

Perhaps you know of another monument, park, or public institution that is unrecognized. These sites are in all areas of the country, often hidden in plain sight. We challenge you to find them and document them.

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ASLA Call for Presentations: 2018 Annual Meeting and EXPO

The ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO will take place October 19-22, 2018 in Philadelphia

ASLA is now accepting proposals for the 2018 Annual Meeting and EXPO education program, taking place October 19-22, 2018 in Philadelphia. If you are interested in presenting and sharing your knowledge with the landscape architecture profession, we encourage you to submit a proposal through our online submission site.

The goal of the annual meeting education program is to provide professional development opportunities which address the diversity of practice types in the profession. Help to ensure your voice is heard and your practice area is represented by submitting a proposal!

In order to successfully submit a presentation for consideration, the following items are needed for each presentation: speaker names with a biography, a session title, marketing statement, learning objectives, outline, and sources. Submissions should speak to panel diversity and audience engagement. Additionally, all presenters must sign the speaker terms and agreement prior to the January 31 submission deadline.

Please visit the submission site for detailed information, including speaker policies, tactical tips, sample submission materials, and a timeline of the selection process.

ASLA members are invited to log in to the online system using their unique ASLA ID.

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Planting Design Choices for Year-Round Interest

ASLA 2017 Professional General Design Honor Award. Merging Culture and Ecology at The North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC. Surface 678 / image: Art Howard

With winter weather fast approaching, December is a good time to take a look back at ASLA’s Professional Practice Network (PPN) members’ favorite plants to add interest in all seasons. Highlighted below are responses that appeared more than once. While some members noted that their answer depended on the location, many others had a tough time picking just one answer:

“Don’t have a single favorite plant. Plants belong in communities.”

“I love all plants—they all have their place. No favorites.”

“The one that catches my eye on a walk on any day.”

“Trees that evoke an emotional response or help build memories.”

Here are a few ways our members keep their planting designs visually engaging throughout the year. The most popular picks, each mentioned five or more times:

  • Dogwoods, including Red Twig, Red Osier, and June Snow™
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Amelanchier (Serviceberry), including Shadblow and Autumn Brilliance
  • Ornamental grasses, including Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem), Muhlenbergia capillaris, and Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

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Rhode Island Passes SITES® Bill

Hempstead Plains Interpretive Center, Hempstead, NY / image: Friends of Hempstead Plains

The state of Rhode Island continues to lead by example in establishing sustainable energy and green building policy. This past fall the Rhode Island legislature passed a bill to expand the state’s eight-year legacy of green public buildings policy to include public lands. The Senate passed S-0952A/H-5427A amending its Green Building Act to include public lands and specifying Sustainable SITES Initiative® (SITES) and LEED for Neighborhood Development as applicable rating systems for certification. Governor Gina M. Raimondo signed the bill into law on Thursday, October 5. This move makes Rhode Island the first state in the nation to reference the SITES rating system in public policy.

Since 2010, the state has been applying LEED in its newly constructed state-funded facilities, but starting immediately, state and local governments working on new projects that address the space between buildings through public parks or landscapes will also consider applying SITES and LEED ND to sites adjacent to public facilities. LEED and SITES are complementary and can be used independently or in tandem, earning credits that count toward both rating systems.

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The Ripple Effect: Diversity in Design

The Diversity and Design panel at the ASLA Texas Chapter’s annual conference / image: Diana Fernandez

Diversity in design and urban policy has long been an issue the architecture and engineering industry has struggled with. In 2016, ASLA curated a keynote for the Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans focusing on diversity in design and urban policy (the full general session, Designing for Diversity and Diversity in Design, can be viewed online).

Building upon numerous ASLA efforts, the panelists—Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2009-2011; Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, CEO, OLIN; Mark Rios, FASLA, Principal, Rios Clementi Hale Studios; Diana Fernandez, ASLA, Associate, Sasaki; and Kona Gray, FASLA, Principal, EDSA—each brought their own perspectives on how designers can rise to the challenge of meeting the needs of constituents whom have historically been underrepresented in the discussion for urban policy and city making. The conversation was continued on the EXPO floor, where attendees participated in a lively question and answer session focusing on topics such as education, design practice, and policy changes.

Unbeknownst to the panelists was the ripple effect the keynote had on the local ASLA chapters in attendance. Following the national conference, the panelists were approached by the Texas and Florida chapters to bring the topic of diversity in design to their local communities. Melissa Henao-Robledo, ASLA, a Landscape Forms Business Development Representative for Central and Southern Texas and a past Diversity Summit participant, worked with the ASLA Texas Chapter to organize a panel on Diversity and Design and what comes next. The panel compiled for the Texas conference sought to emphasize the demographic trends affecting the way we practice as designers. Similarly, Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA, a partner at Gentile Glas Holloway O’Mahoney & Associates, Inc., worked with the ASLA Florida Chapter to create a keynote for the chapter conference focusing on diversity in design in practice and education. Each conference provided varied opportunities to discuss the topic of diversity in design and urban policy within a regional and national context.

The impact of the 2016 keynote on diversity in design and urban policy has had a profound effect on our profession at the national and local level. From inspiring panels on the topic to creating the space for the topic to be discussed, it is a reminder of how landscape architecture can be a leading voice and presence in solving our society’s most pressing needs.

The following excerpts were taken from individual interviews of the participants and organizers of the presentations.

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Landscapes for All Seasons

Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC earlier this November / image: Alexandra Hay

With autumn colors still vividly in mind (though fading fast or already gone) and Thanksgiving nearly here, it’s the perfect time to take a look at what ASLA’s Professional Practice Network (PPN) members had to say about places they love to visit at any time of year. We picked out a few key themes and responses below. While quite a few members felt that “all landscapes are amazing in all seasons,” many had favorite spots that are as stunning in the dead of winter as the peak of summer, and at every point in between: “Every place is always changing throughout the year. You can’t experience them and understand them without being there in the moment.”

National Parks

Acadia National Park, ME – “It offers so many ecosystems—ocean, lake, river, bog, mountain. You are above the tree line, in a cave, you name it, and you can experience wild nature combined with some of the most sophisticated designed landscapes in America, all within one fairly small island.”

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ – “Always majestic, sublime, and different.”

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC and TN – “Continuous habitat diversity.”

Olympic National Park, WA – “Raw beauty and strength.”

Yosemite National Park, CA – “The quiet, magnificent rock formations and trees coupled with the light changes, the air is clean and fresh any time of the year and fragrance of pines, coupled with hundreds of miles of hiking trails that you can discover for the first time.”

Zion National Park, UT

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The Children’s Outdoor Environments and Healthcare & Therapeutic Design Meeting in Review

Joanne Hiromura, ASLA, presents during the joint meeting of the Children’s Outdoor Environments and Healthcare & Therapeutic Design PPNs that took place during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Los Angeles last month. / image: Alexandra Hay

The 2017 ASLA Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (COE PPN) meeting took place with a new twist this year. Recognizing a synergy between PPNs, we held a joint meeting with our colleagues from the Healthcare & Therapeutic Design (HTD) PPN on Saturday afternoon during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Los Angeles last month. If attendance is an indicator, this new direction was a positive one—an unofficial count of 73 makes it the biggest PPN meeting of the conference. For those of you who attended in person, we thank you for coming!

The meeting began with short summaries of the past year from leadership of both the COE and HTD PPNs. Amy Wagenfeld, Affiliate ASLA, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA, transitioned from current to past co-chair, with Ken Hurst, PhD, MLA, RLA, ASLA, CLARB, CPSI, stepping into the co-chair role with Brenna Castro, PLA, ASLA, CPSI. Amy, along with Chad Kennedy, PLA, ASLA, CPSI, LEED AP BD+C, will be serving as communications co-directors for the PPN. Over the past year, we have continued to be busy. The COE PPN logged nine blog posts for The Field, hosted three Online Learning webinars (one jointly with the HTD PPN), and have averaged three new posts per month for the PPN LinkedIn group. And, Ken Hurst was a mentor for one of the Student & Emerging Professionals SPOTLIGHT presentations that took place this summer.

While we are busily organizing several great webinars and Field posts for the upcoming year, we extend an open invitation for you to consider sharing your knowledge by presenting a webinar or writing a blog post (or several!).

Following these PPN updates, Joanne Hiromura, ASLA, RLA, Director of Landscape and Outdoor Playspace Design at studioMLA Architects in Brookline, MA, and Naomi Sachs, PhD, ASLA, EDAC, Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, provided keynote presentations.

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The 2017 HALS Challenge Winners

Lee Park (HALS VA-78). The bronze statue of General Robert E. Lee serves as the centerpiece of Emancipation Park in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, HALS VA-78

The results of the 8th annual Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge, Documenting City or Town Parks, were announced at the HALS Meeting of the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO on Saturday, October 21, 2017 in Los Angeles. Congratulations to the winners!

1st Place: Lee Park (Emancipation Park), HALS VA-78
Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Virginia
By Liz Sargent, FASLA, Liz Sargent HLA, and Jennifer Trompetter, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects

2nd Place: McKinley Park, HALS CA-133
Sacramento, Sacramento County, California
By Douglas Nelson, ASLA, RHAA Landscape Architects

3rd Place: Enright Park, HALS PA-31
Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
By Angelique Bamberg

Sponsored by the National Park Service, cash prizes were awarded to the top 3 submissions. This challenge resulted in the donation of 27 impressive HALS short format historical reports from 15 states to the HALS collection. The list is below. This year’s theme was selected in keeping with the 2016 National Park Service Centennial and the FIND YOUR PARK campaign. Find Your Park is about more than just national parks! It’s also about local parks and the many ways that the American public can connect with history and culture and make new discoveries. With more than 80% of Americans living in urban areas, urban parks are becoming more important than ever. Again, Landscape Architecture Magazine graciously provided full page ads for the 2017 HALS Challenge in the April and May issues.

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Urban Design Professional Practice Network Survey Results

Our recent Urban Design Professional Practice Network discovery survey sheds light on elements necessary for successful urban design and definitions that best represent our members’ views of urban design as a profession. Our total PPN membership is almost 1,800, and we had 125 respondents, representing 7% of members. As an informal survey, it gives us insight into how our members view urban design. This now offers us a tool as we begin to look to the future of our PPN, finding ways to maximize the collective creativity and knowledge we have within our ranks.

The first question asked willing participants to rate a list of pre-selected design elements based on importance in the successful design of urban places. No definitions were provided for each of these elements; participants were left to define, and ultimately rate, each element on their own.

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The Los Angeles Women in Landscape Architecture Walk

image: Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA

Four Los Angeles landscape architecture projects were highlighted during the 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting’s Women in Landscape Architecture Walk, organized by Stephanie Psomas, ASLA, of Pamela Burton & Company, and the local host chapter, ASLA SoCal. Nearly 80 participants braved the early start time on the final day of the meeting and were rewarded with the rare treat of watching light break over the historic and modern cityscape of downtown Los Angeles.

1: Biddy Mason Park

The crowd of began gathering at the centrally located Biddy Mason Park. This L-shaped pocket park is distinctly urban and makes up the interior space of nearly an entire city block. Despite being immediately adjacent to the popular local and tourist stop of Grand Central Market, the park entrance is subtly marked and the space is quiet.

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PPN Live in Los Angeles: The 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Review

images: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)

With the 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO now behind us, it’s time to review the array of events and gatherings that took place throughout the meeting weekend through PPN Live. Attendees had numerous opportunities to network with colleagues from all 20 of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) by:

  • participating in the PPN meetings that took place in PPN Live,
  • attending a PPN-themed, exhibitor-led tour of the EXPO floor,
  • and networking with PPN peers at the EXPO Reception featuring the PPNs.

Meetings in PPN Live

PPN meetings took place throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, October 21-22, and were open to all attendees, giving them the chance to meet fellow PPN members and explore different practice areas.

The EXPO’s PPN Live space offered meeting rooms, the PPN Lounge for networking, and a larger presentation space called Griffith Park Stage, which hosted our largest PPN meeting to date: the joint meeting of the Children’s Outdoor Environments and Healthcare & Therapeutic Design PPNs, which featured presentations by Joanne Hiromura, ASLA, and Naomi Sachs, ASLA.

During the PPN meetings that took place, new PPN leadership volunteers were identified for many PPNs, along with members interested in submitting posts for The Field or presenting an ASLA Online Learning webinar. Want to learn more about getting involved? Check out the PPN leadership positions to consider and send an email to propractice@asla.org if anything strikes you, or if you have any questions about the PPNs. We look forward to building on the momentum of the PPN meetings in Los Angeles!

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Landscapes by Day & Night

ASLA 2010 Professional General Design Honor Award. The Brochstein Pavilion at Rice University, Houston, TX. The Office of James Burnett / image: Paul Hester

When we asked ASLA Professional Practice Network (PPN) members what landscape they find just as spectacular at night as during the day, a few responded that any landscape looks just as amazing no matter the time of day, while others felt that no landscape looks quite as good at night as during the day. Between these two extremes were another set of contrasts: the magic of places without light pollution, where people can take in the “beauty of the natural night sky,” and how vibrant cities can be at night. Both types of settings dominate the most popular responses:

  • New York City, with Central Park and Bryant Park mentioned most often
  • The National Mall in Washington, DC, with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial mentioned
  • Chicago, specifically the waterfront, North Shore Drive, and Millennium Park
  • Paris, especially the courtyard of the Louvre
  • Beaches
  • Deserts

While the skillful use of lighting and the presence of water were key motifs among the most popular nighttime settings, some members praised enjoying the evening no matter where you are: “Mystery and theatrical power are enhanced at night.” We also asked members what made these spaces so captivating, whether seen by night or by day.

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Oh, For the Love of Butterflies (and Children)!

The Bayscape Garden at Pot Spring Elementary School, Baltimore County, MD – May 29, 2017 / image: Tobi Louise Kester

Every year, Pot Spring Elementary School in Baltimore County, Maryland is faced with what seems to be a big problem. Their Bayscape Garden, where the kids are given hands-on experience with plants, insects, birds, and butterflies, looks something like this:

The Bayscape Garden at Pot Spring Elementary School, Baltimore County, MD – April, 2016 / image: Tobi Louise Kester

Located immediately adjacent to the school’s back door, the garden’s proximity to the pre-K, kindergarten, and 1st grade classrooms is no accident…it’s meant to be a part of the learning environment of the school. But each spring, after the snow melts and the mostly herbaceous plants have been dormant for many months, the Bayscape is a far cry from the vibrant, colorful, and exciting place of adventure the students might imagine when they think of gardens. It looks abandoned and forlorn, a mess that is almost lost in the open space of the school yard. It looks like it doesn’t have much potential for anything besides becoming a bigger mess!

But, as a landscape architect, I know better. I can envision the possibilities of lush vegetation, brimming with life. I see a pathway that leads through the garden, and maybe even a hideaway for quiet viewing of ecology in action (and the blending of science and artistic expression) on a personal scale. I can see children smelling the brightly colored flowers, hearing the birds, touching the delicate (yet somehow tenaciously strong) leaves, and excitedly watching the caterpillars eating the milkweeds, then forming their chrysalises, and transforming into delicate butterflies. I can see it because I’ve helped the School staff, other volunteers, and children of Pot Spring create it before!

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Annual Meeting Education Session Highlights, Part 2

Santa Monica’s Tongva Park, featured in the ASLA Annual Meeting field session Connecting Across the I-10 Divide: Tongva Park and the Colorado Esplanade / image: Alexandra Hay

The 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO begins tomorrow, October 20! In addition to the events planned for PPN Live, each Professional Practice Network (PPN) Leadership Team also reviews the Annual Meeting education program to highlight sessions relevant to their practice areas. With over 130 courses, allowing attendees to earn up to 21 Professional Development Hours (PDH), it is an extensive program to explore, and you can do so through the Annual Meeting website and mobile app by title, speaker, topic area, and PDH type (LA CES/HSW, LA CES/non-HSW, AIA, AICP, CMAA, FL, GBCI CE, GBCI SITES, ISA, NY, etc.).

Below, we run through the second half of these education highlights (see the sessions picked by ASLA’s 10 other PPNs in our previous post):

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Annual Meeting Education Session Highlights, Part 1

The view of Los Angeles’ City Hall from Grand Park / image: S. Greg Panosian

The 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO begins this Friday! In addition to the events planned for PPN Live, each Professional Practice Network (PPN) Leadership Team also reviews the Annual Meeting education program to highlight sessions relevant to their practice areas. With over 130 courses, allowing attendees to earn up to 21 Professional Development Hours (PDH), it is an extensive program to explore, and you can do so through the Annual Meeting website and mobile app by title, speaker, topic area, and PDH type (LA CES/HSW, LA CES/non-HSW, AIA, AICP, CMAA, FL, GBCI CE, GBCI SITES, ISA, NY, etc.).

Below, we run through the first half of these education highlights (stay tuned for sessions picked by ASLA’s 10 other PPNs this Thursday):

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Professional Practice Network Meetings Preview

The Professional Practice Networks at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO / image: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)

The 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO is nearly here! Here’s a look at what’s planned for the Professional Practice Network (PPN) events in Los Angeles. Through PPN Live, you will get a chance to network with colleagues from all 20 Professional Practice Networks throughout the annual meeting weekend in a central location on the EXPO floor. Make the most of your PPN experience at the meeting by setting your own agenda:

  • Participate in a PPN Live session – PPN meetings take place on the EXPO floor throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, and include a variety of formats: invited speakers, fast-paced presentations, networking sessions, and more.
  • Attend a PPN EXPO Tour – Returning this year, don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to learn more about our exhibitors’ services and design solutions in tours led by subject matter experts around the EXPO floor. See the tour schedule here!
  • Network with your PPN peers at the EXPO Reception featuring the PPNs on Sunday from 4:30 – 6:00 pm. It’s free to all registered annual meeting attendees, and non-PPN members are welcome to attend.

PPN Meetings

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 as you like! All PPN meetings take place in PPN Live on the EXPO floor, and are open to all attendees.

Saturday, October 21

9:15 – 10:00 am

10:00 – 10:45 am

12:45 – 1:30 pm

1:30 – 2:15 pm

Sunday October 22

9:15 – 10:00 am

10:00 – 10:45 am

12:45 – 1:30 pm

1:30 – 2:15 pm

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Special Events at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO

The 2016 Women in Landscape Architecture Walk in New Orleans, part of the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO. This year’s WILA Walk in Los Angeles will take place on Monday, October 23 – don’t miss it! / image: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)

In addition to a full slate of Professional Practice Network (PPN) Meetings and PPN EXPO Tours set to take place during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Los Angeles, here are two special events to add to your annual meeting plans: the EXPO Reception featuring the PPNs on Sunday, October 22, and the Women in Landscape Architecture (WILA) Walk on Monday, October 23.

EXPO Reception featuring the PPNs
Sunday, October 22, 4:30 – 6:00 pm
Free for all meeting registrants. Meeting badge required. Non-registrants may purchase an EXPO-only pass at onsite at registration or on the ASLA mobile app ($85, professionals; $20, students, with valid student ID).

Networking doesn’t just happen online! Join fellow PPN members in person to make connections with friends and colleagues and discuss how they are contributing to the landscape architecture profession.

Two PPN EXPO Tours are also scheduled for 4:30 – 5:30 pm during the reception—Parks & Recreation and Planting Design. These are show floor tours designed to highlight PPN topic areas, offering attendees the opportunity to learn about new and improved techniques and how these improvements and services can assist in creating a successful design project. Tours will provide one professional development hour (PDH) for attendees. Tour sign-up and departure take place at PPN Live on the EXPO floor, and tours will be available to the first 30 participants to sign up. See our previous Field post for more information on all 9 PPN EXPO Tours scheduled to take place October 21-22.

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Coming Up in Los Angeles: PPN EXPO Tours

Tiffany Kafka, of Kafka Granite, presents to the Ecology & Restoration PPN EXPO Tour in New Orleans at the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO. Attendees learned about the options for landscape architects to consider when selecting pathway materials for trails, walkways, and bike paths. / image: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)

Returning this year after a successful debut in New Orleans in 2016, don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to learn more right on the EXPO floor at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Los Angeles. The Professional Practice Network (PPN) EXPO Tours are show floor tours designed to highlight PPN topic areas. The tours offer attendees the opportunity to learn about new and improved techniques and how these improvements and services can assist in creating a successful design project.

Tours will take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 21-22, during EXPO hours and will provide one professional development hour (PDH) for attendees. Tour sign-up and departure will take place at PPN Live on the EXPO floor, and tours will be available to the first 30 participants to sign up.

ASLA will offer annual meeting attendees 9 PPN EXPO Tours this year, each for 1.0 PDH LA CES/HSW:

Saturday, October 21

Sunday, October 22

See below for more information on each tour, or click the tour title above to jump ahead to that tour’s information.

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Places with Potential

ASLA 2017 Professional Research Honor Award. Rendering Los Angeles Green: The Greenways to Rivers Arterial Stormwater System (GRASS), Los Angeles, CA. 606 Studio Cal Poly Pomona / image: 606 GRASS I Team, Cal Poly Pomona

When we asked ASLA’s Professional Practice Network (PPN) members what place has the most potential to be transformed by landscape architecture, the top answer was perfectly clear: cities came up again and again in the responses. Specific cities that were mentioned include Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Memphis, New Orleans, Atlanta, St. Louis, Seattle, Oakland, Utica, Washington, DC, and Hong Kong.

Many responses also called out specific urban areas that are especially good places for landscape architects to rethink:

“Cities, particularly vacant/underused publicly owned land.”

“Cities/brownfields and other abused urban spaces.”

“Historic landscapes of urban centers.”

“Inner city housing.”

“Leftover urban spaces: rights-of-way, utility easements, artificial drainage ‘improvements.’”

“Old, worn-out city parks.”

“Urban streetscapes.”

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HALS Documentation: An Unexpected Discovery

Examining the stone abutments under the Japanese House on Mallard Island, 2017. / image: David Driapsa and Deborah Dietrich-Smith

During the summers of 2016 and 2017, preservation professionals took up residence on Mallard Island in northern Minnesota to document its cultural landscape. David Driapsa, FASLA, brought these groups together after first visiting the island in 2010, and subsequently preparing a Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS MN-06) of the island and submitting it to the Library of Congress.

The island was the home of Ernest C. Oberholtzer for a half century. Ober, as he was known, was an early student of landscape architecture at Harvard under the tutelage of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and James Sturgis Pray, where he became captivated with wilderness planning. As a young man, he moved from Davenport, Iowa, to Rainy Lake, Minnesota, a large lake along the international border with Ontario, Canada, to conduct an ethnological study of the Ojibwe Indians. In his exploration of the international boundary wilderness, Ober recognized the Ojibwe as a natural part of that wilderness, and saw that both this ancient culture and the wilderness were vanishing from North America. Ober devoted the rest of his life to leading the battle to preserve the international boundary wilderness. His fight to preserve the wilderness is very interesting and has been written about by others, such as by Joe Paddock in his book Keeper of the Wild. However, there are still interesting aspects of his life story that remain untold.

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Call for Presentations: The Many Faces of Play

image: US Play Coalition

A couple of years ago I attended this conference as a speaker to discuss the developmental needs of children in play environments. I went into the conference as an instructor but quickly became the pupil. All of the attendees were professionals dedicated to play and children’s outdoor environments, who have, and are, doing great things. This three-day conference is a great experience for anyone involved with design and management of outdoor play environments.
–Chad Kennedy, ASLA, Officer and Past Co-Chair of the Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN

2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play
Call for Presentations Deadline: 11:59 PM EST, Sunday, October 15, 2017

The US Play Coalition is now accepting proposals for Educational Sessions, Poster Presentations, and the Play Research Symposium at the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play. The conference will be held April 8-11, 2018 at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina. “The Many Faces of Play” will explore play from across the globe and address universal issues of access, accessibility, inclusion and more.

At the Conference on the Value of Play, we have long relied on scholars, practitioners, and industry leaders to share their expertise on various aspects of play. Submit your application to present in one of the following theme tracks (detailed on the call website):

  • International/Global Play
  • Multi/Intergenerational & Adults at Play
  • Accessible & Inclusive Play
  • Health, Recreation & Play
  • Nature Based & Outdoor Play
  • Education & Play
  • Designing for Play
  • Emerging Trends in Play
  • Nuts & Bolts

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University of Rhode Island Campus Tree Inventory

A crowd-sourced tree inventory session held on campus during the fall 2016 semester / image: Kyle Zick/KZLA

The URI Kingston Campus is the 1,200-acre flagship campus of the University of Rhode Island (URI), located in the rural town of South Kingstown, Rhode Island. The first of several campuses, the original 140 acres of farmland was purchased in 1888 for the newly chartered Agricultural Experiment Station and Agricultural School of Rhode Island. In 1894, the Boston-based landscape architecture firm Olmsted, Olmsted, and Eliot began to plan the development and organization of the campus, which provided for the base presence of botanically interesting and historically significant trees.

Over the years, several efforts at tree inventory have been initiated, with varying levels of success. In 1989 a former professor and college dean created endowments to support the development and maintenance of the University’s arboretum. A walking tour pamphlet was created that contains information about each significant tree and some of the campus history. In 2004 and 2009, non-digital collections of tree information were developed that help keep track of diagnosed diseases and the history of maintenance applications. The identification tags for the arboretum are different from the tags associated with the ‘04-‘09 inventory data, in that the arboretum tags provide the botanical name, common name, family, and country of origin, as well as the tree number. The ‘04-‘09 inventory tags only indicate the tree identification number.

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PARK(ing) Day 2017 Recap

Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture’s parklet turned a parking space into a pollinator garden for the day / image: Alexandra Hay

Last Friday, September 15, you may have seen a few revamped parking spaces magically appear just for the day. Pop-up sitting areas, pocket parks, play spaces, picnic areas, art installations, or any number of alternate uses suddenly took the place of parked cars—all for PARK(ing) Day 2017.

Taking place the third Friday in September since 2005, PARK(ing) Day began with a single parking space re-imagined as a temporary public place by the San Francisco art and design studio Rebar. For more on PARK(ing) Day’s origins and story, check out Rebar’s PARK(ing) Day Manual. Creators of parklets this year included many chapters of ASLA, students, landscape architecture and design firms, small businesses, nonprofits, and many more.

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Call for Parklets at the 2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Experience the Gateway to Trails and Forests!, sponsored by Nature Explore, U.S. Forest Service, Arbor Day Foundation, and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation / image: Shawn Balon

ASLA and the Local Government Commission (LGC) will lead the sixth annual Parklets Initiative at the 2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. ASLA is looking for local organizations and design firms to participate in the design and installation of the parklets, advocating for urban green space and activated public space throughout our cities. Planning for Parklets 6.0 will begin in late September, gearing up for the conference on February 1-3, 2018.

ASLA and the Local Government Commission (LGC) will lead the sixth annual Parklets Initiative at the 2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. ASLA is looking for local organizations and design firms to participate in the design and installation of the parklets, advocating for urban green space and activated public space throughout our cities. Planning for Parklets 6.0 will begin in late September, gearing up for the conference on February 1-3, 2018. The Parklets Initiative is modeled after the PARK(ing) Day movement, which inspires the transformation of vehicular parking spaces into temporary urban parks. We bring this urban green space movement indoors, with installations located adjacent to the conference session rooms easily accessible by conference attendees. See The Field recap of the 2017 Parklets 5.0 initiative.

Parklet participants:

  • Participate in planning calls
  • Provide materials and design for a 10’x20’ parklet space
  • Share potential resources and ideas with other parklet participants
  • Provide a title and description for their parklet, which will be included on the website and printed program booklet

Parklet participants receive:

  • One (1) full conference registration
  • Name/logo on website and printed program booklet
  • Name/logo on Parklet 6.0 poster, located prominently throughout conference space
  • Special thanks in the printed program booklet
  • Mention in event summary in ASLA’s online blog, The Field

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Join us for PPN Live in Los Angeles

PPN Live at the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO / images: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)
PPN Live at the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO / images: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)

There will be many opportunities to learn, network, and celebrate during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Los Angeles next month. In addition to the 140+ education sessions, field sessions, workshops, and special events, be sure to add PPN Live to your annual meeting plans. And, remember to register by the Advanced Deadline this Friday, September 15—registration and many ticketed events increase in price after that deadline.

Through PPN Live, you can network with colleagues from all 20 ASLA Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) throughout the annual meeting weekend. This is all part of PPN Live:

  • Participate in a PPN Live session. PPN meetings take place on the EXPO floor throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, and include a variety of formats: invited speakers, fast-paced presentations, networking sessions, and more.
  • Attend an exhibitor-led tour of the EXPO floor focused on a PPN topic area (1.0 PDH LA CES/NON-HSW).
  • Network with your PPN peers at the EXPO Reception featuring the PPNs on Sunday from 4:30 to 6:00 PM. It’s free for all registered annual meeting attendees, and non-PPN members are welcome to attend.

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ASLA Panel on Security Design

ASLA 2008 Professional General Design Honor Award. Washington Monument, Washington, DC. Olin Partnership. / image: ©Peter Mauss/Esto

ASLA hosted a panel of landscape architects to discuss the security design of public places on August 31, 2017. In view of recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Barcelona, and London, the panel examined the urgent need to ensure the public’s safety on public, government, and institutional properties. Key design goals and challenges were also addressed from various angles, with a special focus on how to provide an adequate balance between addressing threats and the beauty of the public realm. The virtual panel was recorded and can be viewed here.

The panel was moderated by Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, Executive Vice President and CEO, ASLA, Washington, D.C., and featured three speakers: Bernie Alonzo, ASLA, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Seattle; Leonard Hopper, FASLA, Weintraub Diaz, LLC, Nyack, N.Y.; and Richard Roark, ASLA, OLIN, Philadelphia.

Below we highlight a few of the key discussion topics and takeaways, plus additional resources on security design.

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Transportation Research Board Call for Posters

ASLA 2011 Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award. Monumental Core Framework Plan, Washington, DC. AECOM, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the U. S. Commission of Fine Arts / image: McCann Illustrations

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Landscape and Environmental Design (AFB40) is now accepting application submissions to present poster displays at TRB’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC (January 7-11, 2018). This year’s annual meeting theme is Moving the Economy of the Future. The submission deadline for poster displays is September 15, 2017. Additional information can be found on the TRB AFB40 website.

Posters should detail research and projects that included innovative transportation landscape and environmental design practice. Examples of relevant research include:

  • technical approaches used during resource assessment, impact analysis, or similar environmental processes,
  • technical approaches used for integrating natural resources and transportation,
  • unique planning, regulatory compliance, and permitting approaches,
  • successful mitigation and enhancement applications,
  • environmental stewardship,
  • lessons learned and other landscape design-related aspects of project development, including visual impact assessment and documentation methods,
  • technical approaches used for integrating social, economic, or environmental considerations into transportation projects.

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2017 SPOTLIGHT Mini-Series Recap

From left to right: images from presentations by Elyana Javaheri, Associate ASLA, Bridget Ayers Looby, Associate ASLA, SITES AP, Tricia Keffer, Student ASLA, and Rachel Katzman, Associate ASLA

The 2017 Student & Emerging Professionals SPOTLIGHT mini-series concluded last week, with two webinars presented live on August 23 and 24. These opportunities for attendees to earn professional development hours (PDH) featured four presentations, two per webinar, by Student and Associate ASLA members, providing access to forward-thinking topics and discussions. Our presenters were selected after responding to a Call for Proposals earlier this year, providing an outline of their presentations and a portfolio of their work.

Over the past two months, the presenters worked with Professional Practice Network (PPN) mentors—volunteers from ASLA’s PPN leadership teams—to create their presentations for the SPOTLIGHT mini-series. Below, we recap  highlights from each. These presentations were also recorded, and are available for viewing through ASLA’s Online Learning website. The recordings are free for Student ASLA members to view; special discounts apply for full and Associate ASLA members.

First, we’d like to thank this year’s PPN mentors:

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Trends We Could Do Without

A bike path in need of some help
A bike path in need of some help. Poor maintenance was one trend ASLA’s PPN members would like to resolve. / image: Alexandra Hay

While some of the best designs are the result of transcending whatever style happens to be in fashion, there are some trends that are pretty much unavoidable if you take a look at more than a handful landscape architecture projects. To see which of these recurring themes have overstayed their welcome, we asked Professional Practice Network (PPN) members: What trend in landscape architecture annoys you the most?

Though some respondents have had enough of designers’ tendency to wear all black or the conflict of “deciding between RLA or PLA on [my] signature,” the most frequently mentioned trend was the ubiquity of “sustainability.” Members highlighted the frequent overuse or misuse of the word when applied to “shallow sustainability,” and the fact that it’s nothing new for landscape architects:

“Sustainability—was trained to do that 40 years ago! Not a new term!”

“Sustainability—creating the world smartly; what we have been doing forever.”

Other responses that appeared more than once include:

Geometric designs, including stripes and “contemporary gardens with lots of square corners that photograph well.”

Green roofs, green walls, and “GREEN anything.”

Greenwashing.

Loss of horticultural expertise.

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