The Renewable Natural Resources Foundation (RNRF) held a Congress earlier this month at the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on the subject of Coastal Resilience and Risk, an issue that already has a significant impact on most of the United States’, and the world’s, numerous coastal communities. Home to more than half of the nation’s population, the United States’ coasts are especially vulnerable. Currently, there is no shared vision or unified national program to reduce flood risk, and the issue is further complicated by a lack of funding for comprehensive flood mapping programs and a widespread lack of understanding of the risks that flooding entails.
Congratulations to the 2013 HALS Challenge Winners!
The results of the 4th annual HALS Challenge, Documenting the Cultural Landscapes of Women, were announced at the HALS Subcommittee and Chapter Liaisons Meeting during the ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo in Boston on Saturday, November 16, 2013. Sponsored by the National Park Service, cash prizes were awarded to the top 3 submissions. This challenge resulted in the donation of 30 impressive HALS short format historical reports and 2 HALS drawing sets to the HALS collection!
1st Place: Gaiety Hollow HALS OR-5, Salem, OR
by Laurie Matthews
2nd Place: The Arizona Inn HALS AZ-9, Tucson, AZ
by Gina Chorover, Jennifer Levstik, and Helen Erickson with University of Arizona Student Researchers: Jae Anderson, Crystal Cheek, and Ryan Sasso
3rd Place: Gypsy Camp for Girls, HALS AR-5, Siloam Springs, AR
by Benjamin Stinnett and Kimball Erdman
The ASLA Annual Meeting in Boston had several informative presentations and exciting events on children’s outdoor environments. As always, the conference ends too soon. If you missed it this year or overlooked one or two of the presentations, see highlights below.
Field Session: Outdoor Classrooms Designed for Learning
This field session included an afternoon of touring three different schools: Harvard-Kent School, Russell School, and Perry School. The Boston Schoolyard Initiative has invested over $20 million in projects over the past 18 years with a total of 32 outdoor classrooms constructed. Over 850 teachers have been involved with the project and at least 30,000 school children are affected each year by the Boston Schoolyard Initiative’s work.
The notes for this session can still be downloaded here.
As co-chair of the Sustainable Design and Development PPN, I work with other officers and ASLA staff to develop topics of interest and input from landscape architects and other allied professionals for this blog. Project economics are an important, but immensely challenging, topic in making the case for sustainable design. At the suggestion of Dena Kennett, ASLA, who worked on ASLA’s behalf to develop a green infrastructure workshop for the 2013 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference and worked directly with my colleague, Martha Sheils, a resource economics professional, to address this issue, we are trying something new here—adapting a PowerPoint presentation to this format to provide SDD members with access to information that resonated with conference attendees.
When our company, Studioverde, was in its formative stages, I had many fruitful discussions with Martha—a friend and colleague from when we worked together in another multidisciplinary firm—about the importance of ecosystem services and the economic case for sustainable design, implementation, and maintenance. Martha has an uncanny ability to identify, distill, and communicate heady research outside of the landscape architecture profession that applies to our work. These early discussions and Martha’s research led us to the Sustainable Sites Initiative back in 2007, and she is currently working on education and outreach to help municipalities and professional organizations understand the benefits of integrated stormwater management models. –Lisa Cowan, PLA, ASLA
“Play is the child’s work. The world is his laboratory, and he is the scientist.”
-M. Paul Friedberg, 1970, Play and Interplay, p. 35
Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1991 followed by the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design has ushered in an increasing awareness of accommodating people with physical challenges and has fostered an emphasis on accessibility and play for children of all abilities. In the spring of 2012, a user count study was undertaken in a suburban North Texas community to test a hypothesis that play environments built to a higher standard of accessibility, rather than the minimum requirements of ADA, are often more popular and receive more use than playgrounds meeting basic ADA standards.