Architecture and Design Pop-Up Play

by Chad Kennedy, ASLA

Children used left-over paper tubes, rope, and other materials to design chairs, cabins, and other cool things during the Modesto Architecture Festival
Children used left-over paper tubes, rope, and other materials to design chairs, cabins, and other cool things during Modesto Architecture & Design Week. / image: Chad Kennedy

Most autumn Saturday mornings at the downtown library in Modesto, California are decorated with shoppers and families enjoying artisan organic foods and searching for hidden gems and trinkets at a seasonal farmer’s market along a closed-off section of 17th Street. There is always plenty of music, food, and social dialogue, and everyone enjoys themselves. Once a year, however, this same location is overtaken with laughter, giggles, and smiles as hundreds of families and children swarm the area, overshadowing the events of the farmer’s market, to participate in an annual pop-up play event meant to raise awareness within the community about the design industries.

This pop-up play family event was developed by members of the local ASLA and the AIA chapters as a way to involve children and families in the wildly popular Modesto Architecture Festival, a week-long festival celebrating local architecture and design (now branded as MAD Week). The hope was that over time, more of the community would become familiar with the design professions and enjoy what they have to offer. The pop-up play family event is consistently held on the third Saturday of September each year, and this past year was the eighth consecutive year it was held. For months prior to the event, a team of landscape architects, engineers, library staff, architects, and volunteers coordinate and determine how to bring their skills and passions together to best showcase how fun design can be. Those same professionals donate their time and resources as they gather on the day of the event to mentor, guide, and help families learn, play, and enjoy their time together.

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Examining Green Roofs at Kansas State University

by Lee R. Skabelund, ASLA

Green roof across the seasons
The Seaton Hall Upper Green Roof at Kansas State University / images: K-State

The Kansas State University Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning hosted a colloquium this past fall on Examining Green Roofs at Kansas State University with the Aim of Improving Design, Implementation & Management.

Associate Professor Lee Skabelund’s Mary K. Jarvis Chair research in Manhattan, Kansas has focused on understanding the performance and dynamics of five living roofs on the K-State campus. These efforts have been supported by the excellent work of three graduate students (Allyssa Decker, Priyasha Shrestha, Student ASLA, and Pam Blackmore), undergraduate student Marcos Aleman, Student Affiliate ASLA, faculty, staff, and students from several other colleges and entities at K-State, visiting scholar Jialin Liu, and other green roof researchers.

This research provides essential baseline knowledge for long-term green roof research and monitoring of the K-State Memorial Stadium Green Roofs (implemented in 2015 and 2016), and the K-State APDesign Experimental Green Roof (constructed in 2017). These efforts complement Professor Skabelund’s ongoing long-term observations, data collection, and hands-on management of a number of green infrastructure systems within local communities.

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Register Now for LARE Prep Week

Exam prep workshop presenters and participants
images: EPNAC

ASLA LARE Prep Week: February 4-8, 2019, 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)

Planning to start taking the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE)? Already started, but need some extra help? Join us for LARE Prep Week 2019, a week of webinars that will share information on the licensure and LARE exam process. The webinars will explore study strategies and test-taking tips that apply to each section of the exam. Register now and bring your questions for the seasoned and newly-licensed landscape architects after the presentations.

Registration cost per webinar:

  • Student ASLA Member: $20
  • Associate ASLA Member: $30
  • Full ASLA Member: $40
  • Non-members: $100

Once on the registration page, sign in with your ASLA member ID and password to receive the member discount.

ASLA wants to help guide you through the exam process and ultimately succeed in becoming a licensed landscape architect. In addition to the many resources we provide, ASLA is excited to offer a series of webinars to cover overall aspects of the exam, and the strategies to assist you with passing all four parts:

Demystifying the LARE – What to Expect and How to Study
Monday, February 4, 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Speakers: Eric Gilbey, ASLA, and Madeline Steigerwald, ASLA

Looking to start taking the LARE? This webinar will share information on the licensure and LARE exam processes. It will also explore study strategies and test-taking tips that apply to all four sections of the exam.

Section 1 Review
Tuesday, February 5, 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Speakers: Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA, Robert Hewitt, ASLA, and Thomas Nieman, FASLA

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Time to Grow Up: The Landscape Architect-Nursery Grower Relationship

by Michael Keenan, ASLA

Maple trees at the University of Chicago
The timeline for growing the Redpointe® Maple (Acer rubrum ‘Frank Jr.’) trees in the Crerar Science Quad at the University of Chicago is approximately 15 years from propagation by J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. Their young trees were grown to maturity by Kaneville Tree Farms, Inc., of Illinois, and selected for the project by Terry Ryan, FASLA. / image: Jacobs/Ryan Associates Landscape Architects

While plants are a primary color in the landscape architect’s palette, we often fail to grasp the complex challenges, laborious processes, and good luck it requires to bring healthy nursery stock to the market and ultimately to our projects. At the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philly, the Planting Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) met to discuss the ever-important relationship between the landscape architect and the nursery grower. We heard from four nursery professionals to learn about the realities of nursery production, incoming production shortages, and how to foster a better relationship with your grower.

We were joined by:

Nancy led off with an insightful presentation of the tree growing process. We all know that trees are an investment in time, but we may not fully appreciate the dedicated efforts that go into growing the trees we specify.

As Nancy says,  “Growing trees is an exercise in patience and faith in the future. It takes a long time and many skilled hands to grow beautiful, resilient, durable trees that will cast shade for future generations. Bringing new and improved trees to the marketplace is a collaborative, multi-generational effort that takes even longer.”

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Don’t Miss These Fast-Approaching ASLA Deadlines

The ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture will take place November 15-18, 2019, in San Diego.

With several important deadlines in the next few weeks, here is a roundup of American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) opportunities closing soon. Help to ensure your voice is heard, that you and your colleagues are recognized for your work and leadership, and that your practice area is represented by taking part in one or more of these open calls—for participants, nominations, presentations, and exemplary projects.

Call for Presentations for the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture
Deadline: Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST

Diversity Summit Call for Letters of Interest
Deadline: Friday, January 25, 2019

Council of Fellows Nominations
Deadline: Thursday, January 31, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST

Honors Nominations
Deadline: Friday, February 1, 2019

Professional Awards Call for Entries
Deadline for entry fees: Friday, February 15, 2019
Deadline for submissions: Friday, March 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST

Student Awards Call for Entries
Deadline for entry fees: Friday, May 10, 2019
Deadline for submissions: Friday, May 17, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST

Click the links above or keep reading for more information on each of these opportunities.

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Inclusivity and the Design Process in the American College Town

by Jessica Fernandez, Ph.D, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP ND

Town and Gown Collaboration
Town and Gown Collaboration / illustration: Brett Ryder, modified

“The clear evidence is that…we can organize our institutions to serve both local and national needs in a more coherent effective way. We can and must do better.”
Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities, 1999

The physical edge between a higher education campus and its neighboring community often serves as a place for tradition, celebration, and the joining of town and gown. However, this is not always the case. Edges can also create a wedge between these two entities through issues such as traffic and parking changes, unsightly views, and changes in the socio-economic structure of the campus surrounds. In recent years American colleges and universities have seen rising student enrollments, exacerbating these issues as the campus built environment rapidly changes and even expands. In response to these forces there has been a proliferated call for collaboration between campus and community, particularly related to the built environment design and planning process.

One obvious place for campus and municipal designers to join efforts is at the campus-community edge, where changes often significantly influence both sides. However, researchers describe that when town and gown work together, there are often dichotomous collaborative efforts where the university is in control. This is especially the case in American college towns, where the physical, economic, and social structure is by nature heavily influenced by the institution. A recent study out of Clemson University explores how collaborative efforts in the built environment design process might serve to make a more even playing field.

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The 2019 Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge

by Chris Stevens, ASLA

Left to right: HABS LA-1319-26; HABS GA,123-AUG,56–1; HABS ARIZ,10-TUCSO,30–1; and HALS MD-1-19 / image: National Park Service 2019 HALS Challenge Banner

For the tenth annual HALS Challenge, the Historic American Landscapes Survey invites you to document historic streetscapes. Many cities have come to appreciate the cultural and commercial value of their historic streets. Disneyland and Walt Disney World have welcomed arriving visitors with an idealized, nostalgic representation of Main Street U.S.A. since their inception. Main Street programs across the nation have encouraged the revitalization of commercial historic districts, and now the Complete Streets movement is sweeping the design world.

What makes your favorite historic street(s) unique? Does your local Historic Preservation Commission protect the streetscape characteristics and features of historic districts along with the contributing buildings? You may increase historic landscape awareness with your local governments and preservation commissions by documenting historic streetscapes for HALS and illuminating these significant pieces of America’s circulatory system.

Please choose an individual street or a contiguous network or grid of streets to document and pay particular attention to the landscape features, including: benches, bollards, bus stops, circles, context, crosswalks, curbing, drainage, facades, fencing, festivals, fountains, gutters, islands, lampposts, medians, meters, monuments, paving, pedestrian malls, parades, parking, planters, plazas, porches, public art, ramps, setbacks, sidewalks, signage, significance, squares, steps, stoops, street trees, traffic lights, trolley tracks, and utilities.

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Stormwater Management Park in Your Future?

by George R. Frantz, AICP, ASLA

Houtan Park Shanghai, June 2017. / Image: George Frantz

Stormwater management approaches in the US are evolving dramatically.  For most of the past three decades, the standard approach was to store water and control its rate of runoff into the environment.  In the past decade, the treatment of stormwater for urban runoff pollutants has gained traction as the impact of such pollutants has become apparent.  Throughout the country, developing green infrastructure to treat stormwater pollution is moving from the fringe of the practice to mainstream acceptance.

New York strongly encourages the adoption of green infrastructure approaches to stormwater management to reduce urban runoff pollutants. The New York State Stormwater Management Design Manual released in 2015 sets as design objectives (1) the capture and treatment the full water quality volume of runoff; ( 2) the capacity to remove 80 percent of total suspended solids (TSS) and 40 percent of total phosphorous (TP); (3) mechanisms for the pre-treatment of stormwater; and (4) an acceptable operational lifespan for stormwater systems.

One issue that New York and other states and municipalities fail to address, however, are regulations that dictate a hodge-podge of small, privately owned and maintained (or not) stormwater management systems.  General regulatory practice is that stormwater must be managed and treated on the parcel that generates it.  This has resulted in a landscape of single-function detention or retention “craters” in developed areas, with little aesthetic appeal or function beyond stormwater management.

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Conservation Finance: Follow Up to the 2018 ASLA Ecology & Restoration PPN Meeting

By Daniel Martin, Associate ASLA

The Ecology & Restoration PPN Meeting featured presentations by Michael Sprague, President and Founder of Trout Headwaters, Inc., and Damian Holynskyj, M.C.P., Director of the Eastern Region for Great Ecology, hosted by Daniel Martin, Associate ASLA, PPN Co-Chair (2016-2018). / Image: EPNAC
ECOLOGY & RESTORATION PPN MEETING IN PHILADELPHIA

For the annual Ecology & Restoration PPN meeting in October 2018, we were joined by Michael Sprague, President and Founder of Trout Headwaters, Inc., and founding Board Member of the National Environmental Banking Association, as well as Damian Holynskyj, M.C.P., Director of the Eastern Region for Great Ecology. Our discussion covered the big picture of what conservation finance is, how it is situated within the larger economy, and the role landscape architecture fills within the industry.

The conversation that was had between Mr. Sprague, Mr. Holynskyj, and Ecology & Restoration PPN leadership and members is summarized in this document, to serve as a reference for those who were not able to attend, and a jumping-off point for those landscape architects who would like to pursue this topic further.

WHAT IS CONSERVATION FINANCE?

Conservation finance takes many forms, but in the simplest sense it is a way to create economic incentives for conservation and restoration projects. When an economic incentive exists, it opens the door for many different people and organizations to become involved with environmental projects who otherwise might not be. This increases the amount of work that can be done and leverages the specialties of a broad range of professions towards shared goals.

Shared goals; it has become so common to view economy and ecology as two separate entities, related in a fashion which necessitates the degradation of one for the benefit of the other. This is an unfortunate misconception, which Mr. Sprague discussed at length. Looking at the root meanings of ecology and economy, a truer relationship begins to show. Ecology means study of the house and economy means management of the house, so in that sense it can be understood that what is truly good for one ought to be good for the other. In other words, you can’t understand what you don’t study, and you can’t manage what you don’t understand.

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