Resources for Distance Learning: Grow Your Ability to Adapt

image: Slava Keyzman on Unsplash

Keep learning, wherever you are.

In ASLA’s 2017 Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) member survey, one question asked members to share one key piece of business advice on how to do well in landscape architecture. Among the top responses: cultivating a lifelong love of learning and adaptability. In times of disruption, those two characteristics may be more important than ever. Speculation is rampant, but no one knows how the next few weeks and months will unfold. Now is the time to expand your knowledge base and diversify what’s in your toolkit in order to make yourself more resilient when confronted with extreme uncertainty.

Sharpening existing skills and adding new ones can help make you a more valuable team member and give you the flexibility to best respond to whatever may come your way. Landscape architects are used to dealing with change—it is an integral part of practice. Given the disruptions currently taking place, now is the time to build on that existing versatility and grow your ability to adapt to whatever we may find going forward.

The Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System

Landscape architects and other design professionals can access information on continuing education courses from more than 250 approved providers through the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™).

Check the “Search for Distance Education courses only” box under For Professionals: Find a Course for webinars and other online offerings you can do from home. You can also sign up to receive email alerts about new courses.

As a LA CES education provider, ASLA provides a number of ways to earn LA CES-approved professional development hours (PDH) online: by participating in a live webinar (all of the upcoming April webinars are FREE for ASLA members!), watching a recorded presentation, or reading a peer-reviewed technical paper, you can earn PDH online, wherever you are and whenever you can.

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Greenways and Climate Change Resilience: A Call to Action at the Ecology & Restoration PPN Meeting

by Ingrid Morken, ASLA, and Sohyun Park, ASLA

Vaughn Rinner, FASLA, speaking at the Ecology & Restoration Professional Practice Network (PPN) meeting during the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego. / image: Sohyun Park

Greenways to “Gene-ways”

Designing and planning for climate change resilience occurs at many scales, and at the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture, the Ecology & Restoration Professional Practice Network (PPN) meeting focused on how greenways can provide both ecological and recreational benefits at a landscape, regional, and even national scale.

Vaughn Rinner, FASLA, Director of VRLA, Chuck Flink, FASLA, founder of Greenways, Inc., and Keith Bowers, FASLA, President of Biohabitats, gave a presentation titled “Greenways to Gene-ways: A Call to Action” at the PPN meeting, building off their education session on the topic. The three speakers addressed the historical context of greenways and the increasingly important ecological role they play in the context of climate change. Greenways function as “gene-ways” by providing a connected landscape network to support the movement and migration of plants and animals to places where they can continue to evolve and adapt to new conditions. Given this important ecological function, the presenters put out a “call to action” to landscape architecture practitioners to implement design strategies and support policy initiatives that promote the protection and expansion of greenway networks throughout the nation.

Greenways as an Ecological Imperative

In her introduction, Ms. Rinner emphasized the urgency of responding to climate change due to impacts to biological communities and ecological functioning. Given the influential role of human activities on the planet, we may be entering an unprecedented Anthropocene era, a time when animals and plants are struggling to adapt to accelerated changes in temperature. Changes in phenological events like the timing of flowering and animal migration are among the most sensitive biological responses to climate change. Phenology refers to the timing of seasonal biological events, such as when trees flower in the spring, when a robin builds its nest, or when leaves turn color in the fall. Across the world, many spring events are occurring earlier and fall events are happening later than they did in the past. However, not all species are changing at the same rate or direction, leading to mismatches. By facilitating movement of plant and animal species across the landscape, greenway corridors can increase their resilience to a changing climate and changing phenologies.

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Out of Office: Remote Work 101

Home office
image: Domenico Loia on Unsplash

For many, remote work is the new reality for the foreseeable future. For some landscape architects, this is a whole new world; for others, the past few weeks have been a time of rapidly ramping up existing offerings to allow staff to work from home full-time. While staying as safe and healthy as possible takes priority over most more workaday concerns, a host of questions related to the sudden shift to remote work are also top of mind for many:

  • How to ensure your clients that you can seamlessly communicate with them.
  • How to maintain lines of communication amongst staff and project teams to continue design and planning work.
  • How to adjust to the “new normal.”

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and Landscape Architecture Magazine is pulling together tips and resources as we all work together to find our footing in this new terrain. We’ll continue to reach out to our committees, members, and leaders from across the profession to gather additional ideas to share. Stay tuned for updates going forward.

To hear directly from your peers in the profession, join us on March 31 for Out of Office: Tools, Team, and Togetherness for WFH, a webinar with three practitioners in conversation around the new urgency for setting up your team for success while working remotely. [The webinar recording, along with the presentation slides and a summary, are now available on ASLA’s COVID-19 Resources page.]

IT tools to maintain productivity when working remotely

While the IT tools you select and use will vary depending on your needs and setting, ASLA is offering general guidance below. It is ultimately up to our members and landscape architecture and design firms to implement what they are able to do in each case for themselves and their offices to help keep business going in this very challenging situation.

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A Brief History of Playground Design, Part 2

by Naomi Heller

ASLA 2012 Professional Honor Award in Communications. Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation. Sharon Danks, Bay Tree Design, Inc. / image: © 2010 by Sharon Danks

We are very pleased to share the second part of this highly informative article about the history of play, written by Naomi Heller.
– Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA, Affil. ASLA, Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network

The first part of this brief history of playground design concluded with the shift from more standardized “model playgrounds” to the more open-ended, imagination-focused play of “novel playgrounds.” Beginning in the 1960s, in response to the Cold War, these novelty playgrounds took on space ship-themed structures. Described in a 1963 issue of Life Magazine, these satellite, rocket, and submarine playgrounds could be seen popping up around the world (here’s just one example: Scott Carpenter Park in Boulder, CO).

During this period, the manufacturing process for playground equipment also advanced. Originally constructed by hand or assembled from kits, novelty playgrounds shifted to more elaborate and standardized pieces. In addition, large firms specializing in designing, building, and maintaining playground equipment began to emerge (Verni, 2015).

In 1978, a one-year-old boy was climbing a 12-foot tall “tornado slide” in Chicago’s Hamlin Park when he slipped between the railings and the steps and fell on his head on the asphalt below. On January 14, 1985 a judge awarded him a minimum of $9.5 million for severe head injuries (Mount, 1985). Similar lawsuits created a need for playground safety regulation. Thus began the era of the “standardized playground,” with the codification of safety regulations and a re-design of manufactured playground equipment.

In 1981, the Consumer Product Safety Commission published the Handbook for Public Playground Safety, which has since been adopted across the US. The new regulations led to the shrinking size and height of new equipment, fewer climbing opportunities, and more guardrails installed on playgrounds. The regulations also addressed safety materials and specified hard plastic or splinter-free wood equipment, vinyl coating, rounded edges, and rubber safety surfaces.

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Resources for Building Equity in the Workplace

by the WILA PPN Leadership Team

image: You X Ventures on Unsplash

This article is part of a guide the Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) Leadership Team is releasing this month titled How To Reach Gender Equity in Your Workplace: A Guide for Landscape Architects. For more information about the guide and why we developed it, check out our first article, Introducing the WILA PPN’s Gender Equity Guide: A Toolkit for Landscape Architects.

The American Society of Landscape Architects’ Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) Leadership Team, led by PPN Co-Chair TJ Marston, has curated a list of resources to help businesses and individuals tackle four important workplace issues that affect gender equity in landscape architecture: flexibility, caregiving, pay inequity, and discrimination:

Startup Pregnant is a five star-rated podcast about reinventing work and parenthood, looking at deep human questions around what it means to become a parent, grow a business, deal with success, and learn from failure.

  • Why we love it: You don’t have to run a start-up or be pregnant to find this podcast helpful. Regular listeners will find the stories from entrepreneurial women and leaders cut to the core of issues facing parents and women in today’s workforce.
  • Fun fact: The founder, Sarah Peck, is a former landscape designer who received her MLA from the University of Pennsylvania. While she keeps the focus on her new business ventures, she knows our industry and the demands it takes. Plus, she has a great radio voice that you’ll find easy to listen to on your commute or in your free time!

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A Brief History of Playground Design, Part 1

by Naomi Heller

N.Y. Playground, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

We are so pleased to share this informative two-part article about the history of play, written by Naomi Heller. Naomi is a playground designer focused on creating spaces and objects that provide children the freedom to think, act, and play in creative ways. Naomi received her Master of Science in Architecture from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and her Bachelor of Architecture from the Boston Architectural College. She is employed at StudioMLA in Brookline, MA.
– Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA, Affil. ASLA, Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network

The concept of play as a vital part of human development is newer than we may imagine, emerging only towards the end of the nineteenth century. Before that time, children were required to work in fields or factories and were not given designated time for play. Public playgrounds did not exist (O’Shea, 2013).

The first public play space was introduced in Germany by Friedrich Froebel, founder of the kindergarten. Building on the work of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and educator Johann Pestalozzi, Froebel recognized the importance of a stimulating environment and how it could positively impact children (Pound, 2011). Promoting the value of free and nature play, he emphasized the need for contact with natural materials such as sand and water.

Motivated by Froebel’s ideas, sand bergs (piles of sand) were placed in Berlin’s public parks in the 1850s. A more designed sand play was popularized in 1889 when Froebel published plans for building a sandbox (Levine, 2003). The article prompted the use of sandboxes across Germany, in schools and homes.

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Tools to Tackle Gender Inequity in the Workplace

by TJ Marston, ASLA, and the WILA PPN Leadership Team

2017 Women in Landscape Architecture Walk attendees in Los Angeles’ Grand Park. / image: EPNAC

This article is part of a guide the Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) Leadership Team is releasing this month titled How To Reach Gender Equity in Your Workplace: A Guide for Landscape Architects. For more information about the guide and why we developed it, check out our first article, Introducing the WILA PPN’s Gender Equity Guide: A Toolkit for Landscape Architects.

What can you DO to support women in the workplace?

The American Society of Landscape Architects’ Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) Leadership Team, led by PPN Co-Chair TJ Marston, has curated a list of tools and tips to help businesses and individuals tackle four important workplace issues that affect gender equity in landscape architecture: flexibility, caregiving, pay inequity, and discrimination.

Tools:

  • EDGE Certification is the leading global assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender equality. The methodology was designed for medium to large organizations with a minimum of 200 employees, but they do accept inquiries from smaller companies.
  • The JUST program is a voluntary disclosure tool which helps organizations optimize policies that improve social equity and enhance employee engagement. Organizations can use the label on their website or marketing to demonstrate their commitments to these issues. While larger firms like Mithun and Sasaki have used this program with great success, the JUST program also has a sliding scale for pricing based on the size of your business. Anyone can do it, no matter the size!

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Share Your Game-Changing Ideas

Miami Beach Soundscape
Miami Beach Soundscape by West 8. / image: photo by Robin Hill ©

The American Society of Landscape Architects is accepting proposals for Game Changer sessions for the 2020 Conference on Landscape Architecture through March 23.

Do you have an idea that will change the field of landscape architecture? Here’s your opportunity to share it at the 2020 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Miami Beach.

We’re seeking presentations for game-changing ideas that can move the profession forward—ideas from different perspectives, voices, and backgrounds. Those big ideas could come from you.

Game Changer sessions are designed to be fast-paced, innovative talks. Presenters will have just 20 slides that advance automatically every 20 seconds to share their game-changing idea. The deadline for presentation proposals is 12:00 p.m. PT on Monday, March 23.

Submit your proposal >

No matter your speaking experience, this is a great opportunity to share ideas and concepts under development that will drive innovation. Submissions from first-time presenters, students, emerging professionals, and allied professionals are strongly encouraged.

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Introducing the Women in Landscape Architecture PPN’s Gender Equity Guide

by TJ Marston, ASLA

The 2019 Women in Landscape Architecture Walk in San Diego, during the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture. / images: ASLA

The Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network’s Gender Equity Guide: A Toolkit for Landscape Architects

Would you like to improve gender equity in your workplace?

The American Society of Landscape Architects’ Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) leadership team has crafted a series of posts that will appear here on The Field over the course of March, Women’s History Month, providing tools, tips, and resources for firms and individuals looking to tackle gender inequity in their workplace.

This information will then be compiled as a downloadable PDF, available on the WILA PPN’s Resources page.

Why is the WILA PPN leadership team providing this guide?

While women are entering our field at unprecedented rates, articles like “The Big Time. The Bigger Time.” in Landscape Architecture Magazine last April showed us that we still have work to do to support the advancement of women in our profession.

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