The Wild City

by Sarah Bartosh

The Wild City
image: Sarah Bartosh

Sarah Bartosh is currently a master’s of landscape architecture student at the University of Washington. She received her Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and then went on to work for Growing Up Boulder, Boulder’s child- and youth-friendly city initiative. She also worked with the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program to lead Seattle’s Playful Learning Landscapes Pilot Project.
– Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA, Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network Co-Communications Director

With one quarter left of my MLA, I would like to pose this question to our profession: how can we challenge the way that we think about designing for children’s connection with nature in our increasingly urban environments?

Just as we are challenging many other spaces we design, I believe it is time we begin to do the same for nature play. As landscape architects, we are some of the most progressive and game-changing thinkers. We are constantly questioning the role of built environments, how they can address pressing climate issues, and how they can foster relationships between humans and the world around them. Yet, when it comes to children’s environments, we often settle for adding a few logs in a park, and call it “nature play.” I recognize and respect that this is a result of the many legal barriers that prevent us from creating bolder, designated spaces for children to connect to nature. This article suggests a way to think beyond these barriers.

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The ASLA Guide to Universal Design

Tongva Park
ASLA 2018 Professional General Design Honor Award. Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square, Santa Monica, California. James Corner Field Operations LLC / image: James Corner Field Operations

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has published a new guide to universal design, the latest in a series of guides that include hundreds of freely-available case studies, research studies, articles, and resources from non-profit organizations around the world.

Everyone navigates the built environment differently, with abilities changing across a person’s lifespan. Universal design means that everyone, regardless of ability or age, can access and participate in public life.

ASLA’s guide provides a comprehensive view of which communities are underserved by the built environment. It also offers a set of new universal design principles that address the needs of deaf or hard of hearing, blind or low vision, autistic, neurodevelopmentally and/or intellectually disabled, and mobility-disabled adults and children, as well as concerns for older adults.

The new design principles identified ensure that public spaces are:

  • Accessible
  • Comfortable
  • Participatory
  • Ecological
  • Legible
  • Multi-Sensory
  • Predictable
  • Walkable / Traversable

Universal design projects and solutions in the guide are organized around different types of public space that landscape architects and planners design:

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Battle for the Soul of Point Reyes National Seashore

by Douglas Nelson, ASLA, LEED AP

B Ranch, Point Reyes
The Point Reyes Peninsula Dairy Ranches Historic District’s B Ranch / image: Doug Nelson

Public Comments on the Point Reyes National Seashore Plan

The public review and comment period is open until September 23, 2019. To learn more or comment, visit parkplanning.nps.gov or write to:

GMP Amendment, c/o Superintendent Point Reyes National Seashore, 1 Bear Valley Road, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

The National Park Service will host two public meetings to share information and gather public feedback:

  • Tuesday, August 27, 2019, 5 to 7 p.m., at the West Marin School, 11550 Shoreline Highway, Point Reyes Station.
  • Wednesday, August 28, 2019, 5 to 7 p.m., at the Bay Model Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito.

A multi-year battle for the future of Point Reyes National Seashore may soon be coming to a head—however, the controversy is likely to persist into the park’s future. The future of historic ranches and their cultural landscapes within the park is at stake. The National Park Service (NPS) has recently released an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the future management of the ranches. The public review and comment period is open until September 23.

The 71,000-acre national seashore is located on the Point Reyes Peninsula in California’s Marin County, north of San Francisco. The park was established in 1962 and is administered by the National Park Service. Starting in 1970, existing dairy and cattle ranches within the park’s legislative boundary were purchased from willing families by the National Park Service with a guarantee to lease-back the lands to the families to continue dairy and ranching operations for at least 25 years. The ranches were established beginning in the 1850s and the early settlers found areas of rolling grasslands that were likely the result of thousands of years of landscape management by Native Americans using fire to keep lands open. Without the use of fire, and now grazing, the lands would quickly revert to the densely-vegetated coastal scrub plant community. In 2018, the 17 ranch properties were listed on the National Register of Historic Places, collectively as the Point Reyes Peninsula Dairy Ranches Historic District.

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An Invitation to All Professional Practice Network Members

PPN leaders and members at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture
ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) meet during the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture / images: EPNAC

All ASLA members can contribute and participate on a national level through ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). Participation could mean:

In addition to a chair or co-chairs, many PPNs have larger leadership teams that include PPN officers and past chairs. Most teams hold monthly calls to keep track of progress on PPN activities, and all PPN members are welcome to join their PPN’s leadership team.

If you are passionate about your practice area within landscape architecture and want to increase your participation and expand your professional network, volunteering for PPN leadership is a great place to start. The commitment would be a short monthly call with like-minded professionals and volunteering to support one of the PPN’s resources.

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Urban Landscapes as Building Blocks of Cities’ Resilience

by Chih-Wei G.V. Chang, ASLA

Riverfront Park
Resilient design at Wuhan Yangtze Riverfront Park / image: SASAKI

Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities through the Design of Innovative and Inclusive Urban Landscapes: a summary of the panel discussion at the 10th Global Forum on Urban Resilience
Bonn, Germany | June 26-28, 2019

For a decade, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability has been providing a global forum on urban resilience where local governments, researchers, businesses, NGOs and citizens could meet as equals, contributing and sharing with their first-hand experiences and know-how. Past years’ themes have included disaster risk reduction, insurance financing, urban food systems, refugee reception, and digitalization. To mark 10 years of experience and expertise-building in supporting cities to thrive in the face of challenges, this year the Resilient Cities Conference aimed to present a comprehensive view on delivering urban resilience: pathways towards implementing resilience; innovation in the realm of urban resilience; and building cohesive, healthy, and resilient communities. With the above goals in mind, for the first time the congress curated a special panel, “Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities through the Design of Innovative and Inclusive Urban Landscapes,” focusing on landscape architecture and how the profession delivers nature-based solutions in urban resilience building.

Why landscape architecture? At the forefront of shaping resilient urban environments, landscape architects are often challenged to translate complex site-specific risks into tangible transformation. This unique position requires deep an understanding of urban ecology, place-making, and stakeholder engagement to deliver impactful solutions. For many local governments and inter-governmental institutions, landscape architects’ trans-disciplinary working process could be an excellent model to inspire innovative pathways and holistic approaches.

To cover the theme from different perspectives, the congress invited two landscape practitioners, one city representative, and two landscape researchers to participate. They are: Michael Grove, ASLA, from Sasaki; Kotch Voraakhom, ASLA, from Porous City Network; Lee-Shing Fang from Kaohsiung City; Chih-Wei G.V. Chang from Gravity Praxis University of Cologne; and Antje Stokman from HafenCity University. The panel was moderated by Daniela Rizzi, Officer of Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions at the ICLEI European Secretariat.

The panelists shared their first-hand experience in resilience building in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. By engaging with the panelists and their processes of design thinking, the panel highlights insights on collaborative, design-driven problem-solving as a means of finding solutions for complex urban challenges and building more resilient cities.

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Environmental Justice Survey Findings

by Chingwen Cheng, PhD, ASLA, and Tom Martin, Associate ASLA

A Student's Guide to Environmental Justice Version 1.3
ASLA 2018 Student Communications Honor Award. A Student’s Guide to Environmental Justice Version 1.3. Kari Spiegelhalter, Student ASLA; Patricia Noto, Student ASLA; Tess Ruswick, Student ASLA | Faculty Advisors: Joshua F. Cerra, ASLA / image: Roane Hopkins

The mission of the ASLA Environmental Justice Professional Practice Network (EJ PPN) is to provide a forum for ASLA members involved in, inspired by, and interested in pursuing environmental justice through education, research, and practice.

This spring, the Environmental Justice PPN conducted a survey in order to learn about landscape architects’ understanding of and interests in environmental justice. Input from ASLA members is critical in shaping the EJ PPN and moving our profession forward. Landscape architects also have the opportunity to serve as a community-focused linchpin on multidisciplinary project teams, crafting designs in response to community input and inviting all stakeholders to the table to engage in the planning and design process. With allied professions and organizations, including the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Architects, updating their codes of ethics and professional conduct to reflect stronger support for environmental justice, we wanted to hear from landscape architects for their perspective.

The survey responses will aid in future communications with local ASLA chapters, projects such as a practitioner’s guide to environmental justice, and establishing a platform for EJ dialogue and resource sharing. As we continue working on those initiatives, we wanted to share a recap of the survey results and a few highlights and insights from the more than 170 responses received.

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SITES and Landscape Performance at the 2019 ASLA Conference

Soil penetrometer field demonstration
Soil penetrometer field demonstration, from the A Landscape Performance + Metrics Primer for Landscape Architects: Measuring Landscape Performance on the Ground LATIS paper by Emily McCoy, ASLA / image: Andropogon Associates

New this year, the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture will include three-hour deep dive sessions on Friday, November 15. These interactive, in-depth sessions allow attendees to the unique opportunity to spend time in an extended education session facilitated by subject matter experts.

We are currently finalizing a course around ASLA’s latest Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series (LATIS) report, A Landscape Performance + Metrics Primer for Landscape Architects: Measuring Landscape Performance on the Ground, authored by Emily McCoy, ASLA. This session will present methods that every landscape architect or design firm can use to assess multiple aspects of site performance. Specifically, starting with data sampling basics and including metrics used towards attaining select pre-requisites and credits from the SITES Rating System.

To ensure the most successful learning outcomes and inform discussions during the group breakouts, we are seeking input from our members to help fine-tune the presentation talking points and inform discussions during the group breakouts, including which performance metrics and tools are most relevant and useful to the potential audience:

Take Survey Button

Please complete the survey by Friday, August 30.

Deep Dive Session DD-001: Boots on the Ground: Measuring Landscape Performance in the Field

Speakers:

  • Emily R. McCoy, ASLA, Design Workshop
  • Danielle Pieranunzi, SITES AP, Green Business Certification, Inc.
  • Michele Adams, LEED AP, Meliora Design
  • Kathleen Wolf, University of Washington

How You Can Take Part in LAAB’s Accreditation Standards Review

ASLA 2018 Professional Award of Excellence in Communications. 100 Years of Landscape Architecture at The Ohio State University. Landscape Architecture Section, Knowlton School, The Ohio State University. / image: Phil Arnold

The Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) is the official accrediting body for first professional programs in landscape architecture. Every five years, the LAAB conducts a formal, comprehensive review of the accreditation standards. Later this fall, LAAB will host a public comment review period for the 2016 LAAB Accreditation Standards. In preparation, ASLA’s Committee on Education and the Education & Practice Professional Practice Network (PPN) invite you to attend a live webinar on Thursday, August 22, at 3:00 p.m. ET. Kristopher Pritchard, ASLA’s director of accreditation and education programs, will discuss the current LAAB Accreditation Standards and how you can contribute to the review process during the webinar.

LAAB Accreditation Standards – 2019 Public Comment Period Overview
Thursday, August 22, 2019
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET

Register for the webinar button

The LAAB accreditation process evaluates each program based on its stated objectives and compliance to externally mandated minimum standards. The program conducts a self-study to assess how well it is meeting its educational goals. LAAB then provides an independent assessment, which determines if a program meets accreditation requirements. Programs leading to first professional degrees at the bachelor’s or master’s levels in the United States are eligible to apply for accreditation from LAAB. See a list of programs accredited by LAAB.

Share Your Point of View: Alternative Practice Areas for Landscape Architects

Everyone brings a unique experience to the public realm.
ASLA 2017 Student Honor Award in Communications. Tactile MapTile: working towards inclusive cartography. Jessica Hamilton, Student ASLA | Faculty Advisors: Thaisa Way, ASLA; Anat Caspi; Ben Spenser. University of Washington. / image: Jessica Hamilton

Landscape architecture is an ideal educational foundation for a wide range of creative career opportunities. Increasingly, landscape architects are discovering and pursuing alternative career paths outside of traditional studio professional roles. The ASLA Public Practice Advisory Committee wants to hear about your professional practice needs and interests. This information helps us create valuable resources for public practitioners and those members interested in alternative practice areas.

Your responses will assist with:

  • Outreach efforts spotlighting the important roles landscape architects play in public policy and design of public space.
  • Sharing successes and challenges of pursuing alternative career options for landscape architects.
  • Developing tools necessary to pursue work effectively in government and non-profit roles.
  • Increasing the public’s knowledge of public sector landscape architects.
  • Providing students and emerging professionals with pertinent career development information.

The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Thank you very much for your time and feedback:

Take the survey!

Please complete the survey by Friday, August 16.

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