Specification Updates Impacting the Field

by Phillip L. McDade, FASLA

Park stage diagram
ASLA 2022 Professional General Design Award of Excellence. Palm Springs Downtown Park, Palm Springs, CA. RIOS / image: RIOS (diagram), Millicent Harvey (photo)

Updates from the ASLA MasterSpec Landscape Architecture Review Committee

ASLA MasterSpec Landscape Architecture Review Committee (MLARC) members volunteer their time in support of MasterSpec®, a product of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The MLARC is one of a handful of review committees charged by AIA with the review of MasterSpec sections and related materials in an advisory role to AIA and Deltek. The committees review specification sections scheduled for updating, new sections, and other selected documents developed by Deltek for distribution to MasterSpec Licensed Users. Deltek is the company that produces MasterSpec, while rights to MasterSpec are owned by AIA. In addition to architects, review committees consist of mechanical and electrical engineers from across the country.

The 2020-2022 ASLA MLARC committee members included:

Phillip L. McDade FASLA, Chair

Patty King, ASLA
Wight and Company

Glen Phillips, ASLA
AECOM

Thomas Ryan, FASLA
Ryan Associates

Gaylan Williams, ASLA
Design Workshop

Jennifer Wong, ASLA
Central Park Conservancy

MasterSpec specification sections must be responsive to the changing needs of the design professions and to the changing technology of the construction industry, according to the discipline represented in each section. The MasterSpec library contains 11 sections designated as landscape architectural specifications as well as 14 others that touch on aspects of landscape architecture.

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Designing Beyond the Binary

by Jake Minden, Associate ASLA

image: courtesy of Jake Minden

Survey for Designing Beyond the Binary: Building Empathy and Gender-Inclusive Tools for Equitable Built Environments

Your input is needed for a survey on gender equity in design. This survey seeks to understand the place-based lived experiences of trans, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, queer individuals and communities as they navigate the places and spaces of daily life (home, work, school, public space, recreation, etc.). Your contribution will help generate tools for equitable design and support urban designers, architects, landscape architects, and interior designers in the co-creation of equitable and inclusive places.

The survey asks demographic questions, but no identifiable information is collected. All responses are anonymous. The survey will take less than 20 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey, there is an opportunity to enter a drawing to win a $100 gift card. (You will be asked to use an email address to enter the drawing, but your email will be unattached from any data you provide and discarded after the drawing.) For each response, up to 1,000 responses, we will be donating $1 to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQIA2+ youth.

Take the survey. Your participation is greatly appreciated! The survey will remain open until the end of January.

While everyone is encouraged to take the survey, we are specifically encouraging participation by trans, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, queer individuals, and communities. Please share this survey widely among your personal and professional networks by sharing this post and survey link with your networks; a PDF poster with a QR code is also available to share with others. For more information on the research, visit our Instagram page. For questions about the research, contact beyondthebinary@mithun.com.

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ASLA 2022 Conference in Review: Professional Practice Network Highlights from San Francisco

The Digital Technology PPN event at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. / image: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography

Practice Basecamp at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Francisco earlier this month was the EXPO’s hub for a range of practice-focused programming, including fast-paced Game Changer talks and presentations on ASLA’s Climate Action Plan. Today we are taking a look back at the campfire sessions and presentations organized by ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). These events were opportunities to meet and network with other ASLA members and conference attendees, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing. (And if this sounds like something you’d be interested in taking part in, not just at the conference but throughout the year, then consider joining your PPN’s leadership team!)

If you missed the conference this year, we hope the photos below provide a glimpse of some of Practice Basecamp’s goings-on. For those interested in watching recordings of education sessions that took place in San Francisco, 40+ sessions will be available on-demand via ASLA Online Learning in the coming weeks.

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A Conversation on Trauma Responsive Design Thinking

The Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN campfire session took place on November 12, 2022, in San Francisco at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture. / image: Alexandra Hay

ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture Recap: The Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN Campfire Session on Trauma Responsive Design 

Kat Lewis, ASLA – Moderator
Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA – Campfire Lead
Lisa Casey, ASLA – Campfire Facilitator
Chad Kennedy, ASLA – Campfire Facilitator

The Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (PPN) hosted their campfire session on Saturday afternoon of the conference. PPN leaders were joined by an enthusiastic group of around twenty individuals who participated in the discussion. Our session was opened by Kat, who gave a brief overview of the purpose, with the focus not being on a single solution but to explore the complexity and considerations of trauma responsive design. But first, we needed to establish that there is no clear definition of trauma responsive design and little to no evidence-based research to support it, but there needs to be!

Amy and Lisa went through a series of questions about what trauma is, and whether there is a difference between childhood and adult trauma to engage the group and get the conversation going. They went on to talk about stress and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and how toxic stress feeds ACEs and collectively changes the child’s brain structure and negatively alters their development.

This became a call to action that launched into some brainstorming about landscape architects partnering with healthcare professionals to study the impact of landscape projects on reducing the impacts of child trauma.

We had a strong turnout for this discussion and there were many interested in joining or learning more about the Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN. Even if you were not able to join us in San Francisco, we encourage you to join the Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN and considering becoming a PPN leader.

Children, Nature, and Health Reference List

At our campfire session, it came up in conversation that having a list of child and nature-focused articles would be helpful. What follows is a reference list organized by topic (some articles appear in multiple sections). It is intended to be representative of recent and seminal publications and by no means covers all the amazing literature that has been published, so let’s think of this list as an evolving resource. Please share your favorite articles in the comments section and we will keep the list growing. We plan to add an expanded version to the PPN’s Resources webpage in the future.

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Call for Volunteers: Professional Practice Network Leadership

The Campus Planning & Design PPN event at the 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture featured presentations on inclusive landscapes for higher education campuses by Taylor Wilson, Student ASLA, MLA candidate at North Carolina State University, and April Riehm, Student ASLA, MLA & City and Regional Planning candidate at Clemson University, followed by breakout discussions facilitated by PPN leaders. / image: Alexandra Hay

Call for Professional Practice Network (PPN) Leadership Volunteers

For those who attended the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture last weekend, the PPN events in Practice Basecamp were a wonderful way to see the PPNs in action and get a sense of what these practice area-focused groups are all about—namely, providing opportunities to members for networking, peer-to-peer learning, and knowledge-sharing.

Interested in the call for PPN leadership volunteers, but want to know more before you sign up? Here’s a PPNs 101 overview:

ASLA offers 20 Professional Practice Networks that represent major practice areas within the profession of landscape architecture.

All ASLA members may join one PPN for free, and each additional PPN for $15 per year. Log in to asla.org to check which PPN(s) you’re in.

Any member of a PPN may volunteer to join their PPN’s leadership team.

PPN leaders provide input on specific practice area needs and ASLA programming. Appointments are for one year, and all ASLA members are welcome to volunteer. Most leadership teams meet once a month via Zoom during regular working hours. Come nerd out with like-minded professionals about your practice area niche!

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A Designer’s Dream Delivered at Assembly Atlanta

by Chris Mutter, ASLA

The Assembly, Doraville, GA – Phase I of the project will deliver over 1,000,000 total square feet of film stages, production and administrative offices with dining areas, mill space, warehouse buildings, private production bungalows, and back lots. / image: HGOR

As a designer, one of the main things you hope for are opportunities where your experience, creative ideas, and outside-the-box thinking lend themselves to creating human experiences that make people stop and wonder. Upon initial brainstorming sessions with Assembly Atlanta developers, I knew this project would present that opportunity.

The prime goal of Assembly Atlanta is to bring a mixed-use mega-entertainment hub, unlike any other, to the metro-Atlanta area. And that is EXACTLY what is happening. In September of 2023, the team of Gray Television, The Gipson Company, Smith Dalia Architects, Kimley-Horn, and landscape architecture and planning firm HGOR will be delivering such a destination.

Designing landscapes suited for filming and producing major motion pictures and TV was previously associated with Hollywood, California. Eventually, it made its way to the quaint coastal region of the Carolinas because of scenic versatility and the need for lower production costs. Creating a Tinsletown-like hub in land-locked Atlanta was previously not a priority, even though filmmakers have utilized the state’s geography for years. Picturesque landscapes in Georgia, adorned with oak trees, bright city lights, small-town charm, and mountainous terrain, have been backdrops for films like The Hunger Games, Driving Miss Daisy, The Blind Side, and Smokey and the Bandit. Subsequently, the Georgia film industry has grown substantially over the past decade to position the state as the worldwide leader in film production.

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Open Call: We Want Your BIM Data!

by Radu Dicher, LFA, ASLA

image: rawpixel.com, CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a project execution and delivery process articulated entirely around data. Taking a step back to gain perspective, it’s hard to underestimate how critical data is in the world at large at this point in time. Truly, what is reality anymore?…Within the architecture, engineering, construction, operation, and facility management (AECO-FM) industry, a process having accelerated during the past couple of decades renders the current status of the field essentially scaffolding around a data-centric framework. I like to frame the issue by explaining that the 3D geometry—the most conspicuous exhibit of BIM product, the “model” everyone’s thinking of when thinking of BIM—is just one of the byproducts of the data embedded in the digital project.

Entering the landscape architecture practice: in a sense, our trade is one of the last to join the paradigmatic shift. A pertinent point to be made is that a certain understanding of the “BIM” acronym—where “building” is not understood as a process (the latter being the preferred interpretation today) but as the noun—explicitly all but excludes our trade entirely. This is also the reason why some professionals in the field, including myself, petition for replacing the word “building” with “project,” such as in using the “digital project” concept. But essentially all current projects are BIM—which sets their underlying structure, articulates the deliverables of most trades, and, most frequently, delivers a comprehensive normative standards framework to the project.

But along this “assimilation” process, one of the typical expectations from the rest of the trades in absorbing us as full participants is the actual informational contribution, we, as landscape architects, can pitch into the project data pool. It’s the question I’ve been asked most as a landscape architecture practice BIM manager.

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ASLA 2022 Conference Education Session Highlights

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

The 2022 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture begins this Friday! In addition to the events planned for the EXPO’s Practice Basecamp, each Professional Practice Network (PPN) leadership team also reviews the conference education program to highlight sessions relevant to their practice areas. With more than 120 sessions offering professional development hours (PDH), it is an extensive program to explore, and you can do so through the conference website and mobile app by track, speaker, and PDH type offered (LA CES/HSW, LA CES/non-HSW, FL, NY, AICP, GBCI, ISA, and more).

If you can’t make it to San Francisco this year, a number of education sessions will be recorded and shared as Online Learning webinars so you can still learn about the latest in landscape architecture and earn PDH on-demand.

Below, we run through education highlights by PPN practice area:

See below for the education sessions related to each PPN practice area, or click the PPN name above to jump to that section.

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Community Design Snapshot

Willoughby Corner in Lafayette, Colorado. / image: BCHA, Norris Design, and HBA Architects, courtesy of Don Ryan

This fall, ASLA’s Community Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) solicited updates from our members from across the country to give us a snapshot of community design trends in 2022. While past posts have featured members from the PPN’s leadership team, this time our goal was to hear from members and other professionals working in community design through contributions to this collaborative post.

Landscape architects play a pivotal role in community design—we are the connectors! Our designs convey vision in built form within the public realm around us, allowing people to experience unique spaces each and every day. Designers have a significant impact on new communities, redevelopment, and infill projects. As this post reveals, community design trends are ushering in increased density and smaller living footprints, which ultimately requires a balance of space for people to live outside their residences. This challenge presents us with the opportunity to be placemakers, creating authentic and enduring landscapes that allow life to happen. As we emerge from the pandemic shift, we’re tasked with strengthening the community experience that fosters connections between people and the places we live. The following content highlights observations from designers focused on community design every day, presenting a terrific snapshot of the current trends shaping the communities we live in.

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The Women in Landscape Architecture Walk is Coming to San Francisco

San Francisco’s Rincon Park is a stop on the Women in Landscape Architecture Walk on November 14. / image: Wendy Mok, ASLA

Getting excited for the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture yet? The Field is highlighting a sampling of conference events over the next two weeks to help you plan your schedule.

After a few days of education sessions, deep dives, exploring the EXPO, and PPN events in Practice Basecamp, you may be ready for some fresh air. The Women in Landscape Architecture Walk will be just the thing you need to jumpstart the final day of the conference, taking place bright and early Monday morning on November 14.

Continuing a tradition that began at the 2009 ASLA conference in Chicago when Angela Dye, FASLA, was ASLA President, this year the ASLA Northern California Chapter’s WILA Walk will explore the SOMA district, including the East Cut neighborhood, San Francisco’s new Downtown, and Yerba Buena District, the original cultural and civic institutional hub at SOMA. We will see and discuss an energetic mix of sleek residential and commercial high rises, repurposed live-work historic buildings, small businesses, corporate headquarters, new streetscapes, and public green spaces as well as a revitalization plan for the original cultural hub.

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Practice Basecamp Preview: Professional Practice Network Events in San Francisco

image: Jason Mallory

Practice Basecamp at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture is the EXPO’s hub for a range of practice-focused programming, including:

  • Engaging campfire sessions organized by ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs)
  • Fast-paced Game Changer presentations
  • Presentations from ASLA’s Climate Action Committee

Curious about the call for PPN leadership volunteers, but want to know more before you sign up? If you’re going to San Francisco, then you are in luck—Practice Basecamp is an ideal spot to see the PPNs in action and get a sense of what these practice area-focused groups for ASLA members are all about. The PPN-organized campfire sessions will be conversation-focused, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing—the primary aims of the PPNs.

Want to make the most of your PPN experience at the conference? Explore what’s planned and get ready to make new connections in San Francisco:

Saturday, November 12

1:00 – 1:45 pm

Sunday, November 13

11:00 – 11:30 am

  • International Practice

11:00 – 11:45 am

12:00 – 12:45 pm

1:00 – 1:45 pm

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Natchitoches in the Red River Valley: A Confluence of Cultures

by Rebecca Flemer, Affiliate ASLA

Alliance group at the Natchitoches Train Depot / image: Martin Holland

A Recap of the 2022 Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation Annual Conference

The Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation (AHLP) held its annual meeting in Natchitoches, Louisiana, from May 18-21 this year. Twice postponed because of COVID, the conference was entitled Natchitoches in the Red River Valley: A Confluence of Cultures. Over the three days we heard presentations and visited sites in Natchitoches and the surrounding area. From tenant cabins, to “juke-joints,” to churches and cemeteries, we learned about the unique culture of the Red River Valley and the Cane River.

The Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation is an interdisciplinary professional organization which provides a forum for communication and exchange of information among its members. It is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of historic landscapes in all their variety, from formal gardens and public parks to rural expanses. The conference, usually held every year, are a great way to learn about historic landscapes and experience in-depth exploration of the locations where they take place.

Our meetings were held at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), on the campus of Northwestern State University of Louisiana. NCPTT offices and some laboratories are located in historic Lee H. Nelson Hall, a former gymnasium. We learned about the history of the gymnasium and the long road to its preservation. Jason Church and Vrinda Jariwala, of NCPTT, conducted tours of the labs.

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Ruhrbanity: Fostering Landscapes for an Uncertain Future

by Sebastian Schlecht and Chih-Wei G.V. Chang, ASLA

image: © lala.ruhr/Ravi Sejk

The Landscape Laboratory of Ruhr Metropolis and the First Biennale of Urban Landscape

Ruhr Region: A Continuous Transformation 

For most landscape architects in the US, the Ruhr region of Germany is best known for its successful post-industrial renovation projects, such as Duisburg North Landscape Park or IBA Emscher Park. But its story of transformation did not stop there. Being one of the biggest metropolitan areas in Europe, the Ruhr region is still facing complications and challenges from its past and present. Its sprawl and polycentric urban form make energy, mobility, and infrastructure upgrades less straightforward. With the unthinkable re-opening of coal power plants due to the European energy crisis, the region is once again at the center of focus: What will Ruhr do in an uncertain future?

It is fair to say that its industrial past brings not only challenges, but also unique niches and capacities for the structural transformation of its landscape. With more land area in between the network of smaller post-industrial cities, special emphasis is placed on the adaptation to climate change effects, ecological restoration, and function as a key to economic and social progress. This of course includes the transformation of industrial heritage, the necessary livability of neighborhoods, and integrated urban landscape revitalization. The region is calling for new ideas, and exploring the opportunities and new qualities of its possible futures.

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A Few Fun Playgrounds In and Around San Francisco, Part 2

by Roger Grant, ASLA, PLA

Dennis the Menace Park’s suspension bridge / image: Roger Grant

Last week, we explored San Francisco’s Koret Children’s Quarter and playground, the Tot Lot at Portsmouth Square Park, Willie “Woo-Woo” Wong Playground, and Presidio Tunnel Tops in Part 1. Today in Part 2, we are moving slightly further afield to Dennis the Menace Park, located on California’s Central Coast.

Dennis the Menace Park
El Estero Park, 777 Pearl Street
Monterey, CA 93940

A couple of hours south of San Francisco, a small town on Monterey Bay is home to a park that represented the forefront of creative children’s outdoor play when it was opened 65 years ago and is still going strong today. Its namesake is the famous cartoon character Dennis the Menace, and the creator of this mischievous comic character helped make this project a reality. A quick Google search shows that the park was originally built before any notion of children’s safety standards existed. It had numerous fabricated steel pieces that were engineering marvels that kids could climb on, slide down, and even spin, elevated approximately 15’ above the ground, on. There have been various park renovations, but the essence of the park is intact and it still feels like a wild and unique play space.

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A Few Fun Playgrounds In and Around San Francisco, Part 1

by Roger Grant, ASLA, PLA

The play space at San Francisco’s Presidio Tunnel Tops—this new park is the focus of one of the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture’s (already sold out!) field sessions. / image: Roger Grant

As a landscape architect with four young children, I enjoy visiting unique and dynamic playgrounds wherever I travel. This summer, I had the good fortune of traveling to San Francisco, and I wanted to share my thoughts on a few playgrounds I visited for anyone thinking about the topic of children’s outdoor play as they head to San Francisco for the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and hopefully my experiences will be a motivating factor for others to get out and explore unique outdoor spaces in the Bay Area and beyond.

Koret Children’s Quarter and Playground
320 Bowling Green Drive (southeast corner of Golden Gate Park)
San Francisco, CA 94199

Originally opened in 1888, some claim that this is the oldest children’s playground in the US. It was remodeled and reopened in 2007, and has some unique, artistic, and fun features that make it stand out. The play area is about an acre and mostly open, with a sunny exposure. Pathways lead to sand areas with age sensitive manufactured playground equipment.

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RFQs and Opportunities Roundup

This year’s Landmark Award celebrates “Crissy Field: An Enduring Transformation” by Hargreaves Jones for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Located in San Francisco’s famed Presidio, the site features restored coastal habitat, recreational amenities and historical interpretation. / image: Hargreaves Jones

While you may still be recovering from the eye candy sugar rush of the ASLA Professional and Student Awards announcements, there’s plenty more going on this fall. Before you and everyone you know get swept up in all the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture excitement, pay a visit to the RFQs and Opportunities page to peruse what else might be out there, from courses to calls for papers and submissions. 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.

Maryland Department of Transportation Walktober Webinar Series
Multiple dates October 6-27, 2022

Request of Proposals: Fargo, ND Growth Plan
Deadline: November 4, 2022

Environment and Health: Global/Local Challenges and Actions – Call for Proposals for the 2023 Annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association
Deadline: December 2, 2022

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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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