Network and Learn at New Partners for Smart Growth

Citygarden, St. Louis, 2011 Professional ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category image: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
Citygarden, St. Louis, MO, 2011 Professional ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category
image: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects

Registration is now open for the 16th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth: Practical Tools and Innovative Strategies for Creating Great Communities Conference, held February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, MO. The conference will explore practical strategies for identifying and overcoming barriers to more sustainable development in the St.Louis region and the rest of the nation and will feature tools, strategies, focused training, and new technologies that will help communities now.

Early-bird rates are available now through November 30, 2016. This year’s conference will feature 80+ conference sessions – plenaries, breakouts, implementation workshops, focused training – and much more over three full days. Visit www.newpartners.org to register today!

ASLA, along with the Local Government Commission (LGC) will once again be leading the effort for Parklets 5.0 at the conference. Planning is underway to create several interactive spaces showcasing how a parklet can transform an under-utilized parking space (or two) into exciting opportunities for creating more vibrant spaces in communities. For additional information, check out Parklets 4.0 from the 15th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Portland, OR.

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Advice for Emerging Professionals

The Power Station, 2016 Professional ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category image: Adolfo Cantu-Villareal
The Power Station, 2016 Professional ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category
image: Adolfo Cantu-Villareal

Given the question What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? in a 2014 survey,  members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) responded with a wealth of insights into the profession and sound advice for emerging professionals. Among the topics mentioned most frequently were the importance of business management and marketing skills, and also being an effective communicator. In addition, several other key themes emerged, highlighting both the highs and lows of a career in landscape architecture.

Skills to Focus On

“How important communications are to being a good professional.”

“The best idea in the world is worthless unless it can be communicated to an audience.”

“How important/beneficial sketching can be and to take more art classes to hone that skill.”

“How to draw really well and how to take top-notch photographs.”

“The importance of collaboration with other trades (architects, engineers, sociologists, developers) and how to communicate better in multidisciplinary teams.”

“The importance of marketing skills for personal success in the profession.”

“The importance of public speaking and professional writing.”

“Artistic expression and creativity aren’t the only things you need. Writing, organization, and management skills are just as important.”

“It is very important to have good people skills and business skills. Our whole profession is based on selling ideas to people and managing people.”

“The business aspect of running a firm. So much of our work is trying to win new work.”

“I wish I had a better understanding of the business side of things, accounting, proposal writing, fee estimation, client coordination, etc.”

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Wonder for the Outdoors

The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood, by Kathryn Aalto image: Timber Press
The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood, by Kathryn Aalto
image: Timber Press

Book Review of The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh by Kathryn Aalto

Although I have read Winnie-the-Pooh and grew up watching the Disney movies, a book on the forest that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh seemed a stretch for design application, even with children’s outdoors environments. But it isn’t. Winnie-the-Pooh’s 100 Acre Forest was based on the real Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, England. Preservationists have kept it much the same as it was when A.A. Milne wrote the stories so it can be visited today. Kathryn Aalto’s approach to her subject is nuanced and thorough. It provides a perfect case study for children spending time in nature.

Divided into three parts, the book starts with a short biography of A.A. Milne and the illustrator E.H. Shepard as well as the creation of the story. The youngest and most precocious of three sons, Milne could identify words before age three. With two parents who were teachers and the nature around Hampstead in the late 1800s, he thrived. His father told the children, “Keep out of doors as much as you can, and see all you can of nature: she has the most wonderful exhibition, always open and always free.” [2] It is hard to imagine the breadth of the territory that he explored with his nine-year-old brother as they wandered through the British countryside. The text includes Milne’s essay on their three-day walking tour through the country and villages. This narrative fits well with Louise Chawla’s research that most people who care about the environment had either an adult modeling a love of nature or spent extensive time in nature as a child. [1] Milne had both.

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Design Tools: Sketching vs. Digital

Left: Michigan Avenue Streetscape: 20 Years of Magnificent Mile Blooms, 2016 Landmark Award / Right: The Digital & The Wild: Mitigating Wildfire Risk Through Landscape Adaptations, 2016 Student ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category image: Hoerr Schaudt / Jordan Duke, Student ASLA
Left: Michigan Avenue Streetscape: 20 Years of Magnificent Mile Blooms, 2016 Landmark Award / Right: The Digital & The Wild: Mitigating Wildfire Risk Through Landscape Adaptations, 2016 Student ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category
image: Hoerr Schaudt / Jordan Duke, Student ASLA

In addition to where landscape architects spend most of their time—in the office or out on site—the primary media used to create and carry out designs, perform research, and manage projects also vary from one practitioner to the next. In a 2014 survey of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs), members were asked how they prefer to work: on a computer or sketching ideas out by hand.

Overall, sketching proved to be the more popular choice: 46 percent of respondents love to sketch, 31 percent prefer to work on a computer, and 23 percent favor a “hybrid approach,” using the “computer for efficiency” and the “hand for creativity,” as one respondent put it. Several key themes highlighting the pros and cons of each emerged in respondents’ comments.

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Announcing the New ASLA Online Learning Website

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ASLA’s new online learning website continues to provide information on new and evolving practices and products, offering a convenient and affordable way to earn the Professional Development Hours (PDH) needed to meet state licensure requirements. PDH are approved by the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) and can be earned after viewing a presentation by completing and passing a self-study exam. Your online learning profile will keep a record of webinars purchased and PDH certificates received, giving you the opportunity to view at your own pace, on your schedule.

Online Learning Opportunities

Over 100 recorded presentations are available for on-demand viewing, including:

  • ASLA annual meeting education session recordings,
  • The Professional Practice Network (PPN) Online Learning series,
  • The Student & Emerging Professionals SPOTLIGHT mini-series,
  • Sustainable SITES Initiative™ (SITES®) Education, and
  • Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE) Prep.

Browsing among these presentations is now easier than ever, with 22 Topic Areas to choose from, including: Accessibility/ADA, Ecology and Restoration, International Practice, Project Management, Resilient Design, Transportation/Complete streets, and more!

Live Presentations

The ASLA Online Learning series also provides the opportunity to tune in live to ask experts questions, while earning PDH.

The next live presentation is coming up on Wednesday, November 16. Hosted by ASLA’s Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (PPN), Integrating and Planning for Children with Sensory Processing Disorders in Outdoor Play Environments (1.0 PDH LA CES / HSW) will be presented by PPN Co-Chairs Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, CAPS, FAOTA, Affiliate ASLA, co-author of Therapeutic Gardens: Design for Healing Spaces and Assistant Professor at Western Michigan University, and Chad Kennedy, P.L.A., CPSI, LEED®AP BD+C, ISA, ASLA, Principal Landscape Architect at O’Dell Engineering.

NEW! Associate and Student Member Pricing

ASLA members, Associate ASLA members, and Student ASLA members are discounted at least 75% below non-member prices.

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The 2016 HALS Challenge Winners

The Wilcox Park (HALS RI-1) short form historical report is the first Historic American Landscapes Survey documentation for Rhode Island. image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, HALS RI-1
The Wilcox Park (HALS RI-1) short form historical report is the first Historic American Landscapes Survey documentation for Rhode Island.
image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, HALS RI-1

The results of the 7th annual Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge, Documenting National Register Listed Landscapes, were announced during the HALS Meeting at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO on Saturday, October 22, 2016 in New Orleans. Congratulations to the winners!

1st Place: Empire Ranch, HALS AZ-19
Greaterville vicinity, Pima County, Arizona
By Gina Chorover, MLA, Heritage Conservation Program, University of Arizona; Helen Erickson, MLA, Drachman Institute, University of Arizona; Robin Pinto, Ph.D., Consultant; and University of Arizona Heritage Conservation Program Student Researchers: Abrar Abdullah H. Alkadi, Heather Leigh Havelka, Armando Lagunas, Gabrielle Miller, Taira Lynn Newman, Genna Renee Vande­Stouwe, Jessica Paola Estrada, Rachelle Hornby, Nicole Lavely, Kathryn Elizabeth McKinney, and Chelsea Parraga

2nd Place (Tie):
Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, Garden, HALS GA-4
Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia
By Daves Rossell, Ph.D., Professor of Architectural History, Savannah College of Art and Design, and his students: Anthony Nicholas, Stephanie Heher, Carleigh Hessian, Ricardo Chiuz, Paul Fritz, Chelsea Lyle, and Lois Watts

Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Commemorative Groves, HALS VA-66
Along the Potomac River from McLean to Mount Vernon, Virginia
By Paul Kelsch, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture Program, Virginia Tech, Washington Alexandria Architecture Center

3rd Place: Lincoln Park, Lily Pool, HALS IL-15-A
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
By Melanie Bishop and Meredith Stewart, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Historic Preservation Program with Faculty Sponsor Charles Pipal, AIA

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The 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting in Review: PPN Live in New Orleans

Nancy Buley, Hon. ASLA, of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., speaks to Planting Design PPN EXPO Tour attendees on October 22, 2016 in New Orleans. image: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)
Nancy Buley, Hon. ASLA, of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., speaks to Planting Design PPN EXPO Tour attendees on October 22, 2016 in New Orleans.
image: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)

With the action-packed ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans this October now behind us, we can take a look at all the events and gatherings that took place throughout the meeting weekend through the new PPN Live format. Meeting 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 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 22-23, and were open to all attendees, giving them the chance to meet fellow PPN members and explore different practice areas (all ASLA members receive one PPN membership for free, and additional PPNs for $15).

The EXPO’s new PPN Live space offered meeting rooms, the PPN Lounge area for networking, and a larger presentation space called City Park Stage, which hosted our largest PPN meeting to date: the joint meeting of the Campus Planning & Design and Education & Practice PPNs, which featured a series of short presentations on the theme How has technology changed the nature of the university campus?

During the PPN meetings that took place, new PPN leadership volunteers were identified for the Children’s Outdoor Environments, Design-Build, Ecology & Restoration, Environmental Justice, Historic Preservation, International Practice, Parks & Recreation, Planting Design, Transportation, Urban Design, and Women in Landscape Architecture PPNs. Interested in learning more about getting actively involved in a PPN? Check out the 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 continuing to grow the PPN leadership teams, building on the momentum of the PPN meetings in New Orleans!

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Why Are Women Leaving (Landscape) Architecture?

The 2016 WILA Walk in New Orleans during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO last month image: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)
The 2016 WILA Walk in New Orleans during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO last month
image: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)

A response to the article ‘Why Are Women Leaving Architecture?‘ by Beth R. Mosenthal, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Courtesy Building Dialogue, June 2016

The Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) leadership team thought that this article holds relevance to our field in landscape architecture. Is there gender equity in landscape architecture? I believe that it is much the same as in architecture, though their numbers appear to be more drastic than ours. Take a look at the article, Why Are Women Leaving Architecture?, from the June 2016 issue of Building Dialogue, and know the following stats for landscape architecture:

We continue to try and understand what happens to women in the workplace and the different career paths (or mommy paths) that are taken. What is the percentage of women who own companies or are principals in firms? Our (WILA) gut feeling is that numbers such as these would be low. How many women leave the workforce and never re-enter? And if they re-enter, what is their career path? How do we even track that? We should gather trends from the extensive work of AIA in their Equity by Design initiative and Diversity in the Profession of Architecture Report, and learn from our sister organization.

The WILA PPN has developed a survey that we would like you to take, both men and women—we would like your help in collecting information on the demographics of the field of landscape architecture. Please take 10 minutes to participate in our survey:

WILA PPN Survey

We aim to collect several hundred responses from both MEN and WOMEN all over the country to be statistically representative of the field. We anticipate this survey to be the start a more in depth study of the field akin to the recent study in the field of architecture called The Missing 32%. Folks often assume that landscape architecture fares similarly to architecture or other allied fields in terms of demographics; a study like this will help discover if that is in fact the case.

We hope to have preliminary data by World Landscape Architecture Month 2017. Once complete, an infographic summarizing the information will be developed and shared.

by Emily O’Mahoney, ASLA, WILA PPN Officer and Past Chair, and the WILA PPN Leadership Team