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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