Sometimes it helps to step back and actually think about what we are doing – in our profession and at our schools and universities. Landscape Forms periodically hosts landscape architects to do just that. This year I participated in a group that went to Arizona and discussed the issues facing our campuses and their landscape future. Sharing with peers is certainly one way to test and take stock of what we routinely do on a day to day basis.
The result of the meet-up was a White Paper on Campus Planning. The themes addressed included the following:
- Sustainability: Addressing energy use, resource conservation, maintenance, and adaption of structure and spaces over time.
- Preservation: Renovating and repurposing existing structures and spaces including “places of memory.”
- Growth: Accommodating institutional growth and high-cost, space intensive research facilities.
- Technology: Providing infrastructure for new learning and innovation made possible by universal access.
- Collaborative Learning: Creating spaces that support collaboration within and between disciplines, among individuals and across diverse populations on campus
While one and a half days was not enough time for great depth in any one of these subjects, it was enough time to share different experiences and impressions about the present and ultimately the future, to agree, to disagree, and to possibly learn something new. The world of technology is changing the way business is done so quickly, it stands to reason that our need for information exchange should try to keep up. Maybe one way to do that is simply more “old fashioned” talking.
This and past roundtable reports can be found on the Landscape Forms website.
If you have specific problems or issues that you or your campus is struggling with, I encourage you to think about organizing other round table discussions, either in person or electronically. I would venture to guess that if you are grasping at how to find the new paradigm, so are your peers.
by Cathy Blake, Chair of the Campus Planning and Design PPN