Prepare for the L.A.R.E. with ASLA’s Virtual Workshops

Preparing for the Landscape Architect Registration Exam

Are you planning to take the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) this December or in 2021, but don’t feel fully prepared? If you need some extra help, ASLA has you covered! This November, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) will host virtual L.A.R.E. Prep Workshops for Section 1 and Section 2 of the L.A.R.E.

Workshop instructors, comprised of ASLA L.A.R.E. Prep Committee members, will review the content and format of the exams, share study strategies and test-taking tips, and engage in Q&A with the participants. Instructors include seasoned professionals that have long been engaged in L.A.R.E. prep support, as well as recent L.A.R.E. test takers.

Section 1 Live Virtual Workshop: Project and Construction Management
Friday, November 13, 12:00 p.m. ET (90-minute session)
Cost: $34.99

Section 2 Live Virtual Workshop: Inventory and Analysis
Friday, November 13, 2:00 p.m. ET (90-minute session)
Cost: $34.99

Register now for one or both workshops!

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Making Mud Pies

by Missy Benson, ASLA, and Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA

Mud pie
Mud pie / image: Missy Benson

Expanding sensory opportunities in outdoor spaces for children is always important, but even more so during a pandemic like we are experiencing now. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us the United States lived as an indoor society with little connection with nature, especially in our low-income, under-served neighborhoods. Research tells us rich outdoor sensory experiences provide both stress release and can help build positive memories that last a lifetime—both are much needed now!

Stories of Therapeutic and Sensory Rich Outdoor Spaces

Living with Dementia
When my mother lived in a retirement community, I was lucky to work with Jack Carman, FASLA, of Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc. and Design for Generations, LLC, to provide a new sensory courtyard design for their residents and staff. When I interviewed staff to understand their needs of the space, I heard much more than the standard wish list of benches, shade, water feature, raised garden beds, and such. The staff, deeply dedicated to patients with dementia, also expressed how some of their patients lived only in the past—but with happy memories of being outdoors. Yet, others they observed lived in a painful past fraught with sad memories.

In talking with the nursing staff, I learned that most of them felt sure that the memories their patients have of being outdoors remain helpful throughout their lives, especially during times of stress. This same memory bank may serve all of us well. While there is little evidence to support whether, for individuals with dementia, limited past access to nature is associated with diminished happiness in older adulthood (now, this is a great idea for research!), there is ample evidence that for older adults, being in sensory rich gardens—touching, smelling, viewing, listening to, moving about, and tasting the plants—can evoke positive memories, improve health and well-being, and is restorative. A brief snapshot of references that supports these benefits follows at the end of this post. Please do feel free to share other pertinent articles with all of us in the comments section below.

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White Paper: In Defense of Licensure in Virginia

McIntire Botanical Garden
From the white paper’s cover. 2019 ASLA Professional Honor Award in Analysis and Planning. McIntire Botanical Garden: Masterplan for Resiliency and Healing. Mikyoung Kim Design. / image: Mikyoung Kim Design

Last month, in response to the Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation’s study of the regulatory status of landscape architects, the Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA Virginia) released a white paper on the Justification of Continued Licensure of Landscape Architects in Virginia.

Advocacy is a critical component of ASLA Virginia. The chapter’s Government Affairs Committee is dedicated to monitoring issues related to the practice of landscape architecture in the Commonwealth of Virginia and to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of the public and environment.

Virginia’s Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation (BPOR) is conducting a study to determine if landscape architects should continue to be licensed. The study will be completed in December 2020, after a call for public comments closed on September 30.

ASLA Virginia and ASLA Potomac mobilized Virginia and Potomac chapter members and all landscape architects in the region to submit comments and to contact their clients, allied professionals, and others who value the work of licensed landscape architects to encourage them to submit their comments and declare their support for continued licensure of landscape architects.

The white paper prepared by ASLA Virginia with support provided by the Potomac Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA Potomac), the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), and the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB), supported the ASLA Virginia’s overall advocacy efforts.

With more than 200 pages of meticulously gathered documentation, the white paper is a valuable resource for landscape architecture licensure defense in every state.

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International Projects Post-COVID: One Expat’s Perspective

by Edward Flaherty, ASLA

image: Edward Flaherty

I can’t deny the romantic attraction of the places where I have worked and lived:

Tangier, where on the Strait of Gibraltar, Europe meets Africa. Tangier lesson learned: waterfront tourist district. I learned the hard way how important free access to multidisciplinary project information is.

Istanbul, where on the Bosphorus Strait, Europe meets Asia. Turkey lesson learned: 200km motorway connecting Europe and Asia. I learned how to scale ‘making a difference’ when working with senior engineers whose career had been on horseback.

Saudi Arabia, on the Red Sea in a port called Yanbu, where for centuries people have made their way to Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia lesson learned: new town in the desert on the Red Sea coast. I learned the hard way how small the landscape infrastructure is compared to the energy, port, primary industries, transportation, jobs, and telecom are to a city being built from zero.

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Perpetual Adaptation

by Chris Hardy, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP ND

reVISION ASLA 2020

This has been an unprecedented year in so many ways for our lives and profession. During this fall’s reVISION ASLA, our team is sharing how our respective practices have been impacted this year, strategies and decisions we have made to navigate these times, and plans for moving into 2021. We are also sharing surveys and trends on the impacts for graduating professionals in both this recession and 2008.

The original title of this presentation was to be “Knock on Wood: Learning from the Great Recession,” where Rene Bihan, FASLA, of SWA, Molly Bourne, ASLA, of MNLA, and Chris Hardy of Sasaki, were going to share how our firms navigated 2008-2011, and preparations we were making for a future recession.

Since then, we have shifted our title to “Perpetual Adaptation: The Design Business in 2020 and Lessons from the Great Recession.” We have added Michael Grove, ASLA, the Chair of Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Ecology at Sasaki, to our panel, and refocused on a critical analysis of the differences between these recessions, what ideas are successful, and how this recession is structurally unique across practice sectors.

In preparation for this session, we are asking firm leaders to share their thoughts as well, on our survey here.

We are also reaching out to recent graduates and young professionals, including both those who were impacted by the Great Recession from 2008-2010, and the classes of 2020 and 2021, to gather their experiences and advice through this survey.

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Ancient History Revisited, Part 3

by Alec Hawley, ASLA

Existing opening space in San Francisco / image: San Francisco General Plan, Recreation and Open Space Element, Map 1, page 3

Revisiting the lost plans of Frederick Law Olmsted and the history of San Francisco’s most iconic park to imagine what might be

For the first two installments in this series, please see Ancient History Revisited and Ancient History Revisited, Part 2, published on The Field last month. For more about the series, check out the October 1 edition of the San Francisco radio show Roll Over Easy for an interview with author Alec Hawley and also Luke Spray of the San Francisco Parks Alliance in the show’s second half. Alec discusses his strange findings about San Francisco’s initial parks system bid by Olmsted and how they imply amazing things for the city right now.

“The conclusion to which these considerations lead, is obviously that whenever a pleasure ground is formed in San Francisco, it should have a character which the citizens will be sure to regard with just pride and satisfaction. It should be a pleasure ground second to none in the world—a promenade which shall, if possible become so agreeable to its citizens, that when they go elsewhere they will remember it gratefully, and not be obliged to consider it a poor substitute for what is offered them by the wiser policy of other cities.”

– Frederick Law Olmsted. Preliminary report in regard to a plan of public pleasure grounds for the City of San Francisco. Olmsted, Vaux & Co. 1866

So, what can we as contemporary San Franciscans do? What can our elected officials push for that will make for a more equitable and green city for all that takes into account how they managed to do the ‘impossible’ but also missed systematic opportunities in open space planning from San Francisco’s beginning as a city?

Looking at a map of San Francisco, it is easy to see the historical inequity and poor planning. While the ‘impossible’ Golden Gate Park did unfurl over a series of decades, the process that Olmsted outlined—asking for a series of small parks connected by avenues free from the dust and noise of the city—was completely missed.

And, I believe this is where there is still hope. There is no straightforward way that a park on the scale (1,017 acres, 20% larger than Central Park) and shape of Golden Gate Park can be made today. There just isn’t the undeveloped space to accommodate its dimensions (barring very serious disasters); but there are lots of avenues, and these are quickly becoming the places of respite from the dust and noise of the city that hold great potential.

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Equity in the Built Environment

Opening day of the Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus. / image: courtesy of Ujijji Davis Williams, ASLA

On October 14, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) with the Black Landscape Architect’s Network (BlackLAN) will inaugurate the National Building Museum’s Equity in the Built Environment series. These conversations will focus on how buildings, landscapes, interiors, and streets can be the cause of—and, more important, the cure for—social and racial disparities.

Equity in the Built Environment: Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (Eastern)
The recording is now available online.

Learn how the Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus is helping to reverse the negative impacts of economic disinvestment, political neglect, and natural disasters that have eroded community pride and participation in New Orleans’ Central City, a once-thriving hub of African American civic and commercial life. Austin Allen, Ph.D., ASLA, associate professor of practice in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas Arlington; Chief Tyrone Casby, now retired, former Principal of Landry High School in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Matt A. Williams, ASLA, urban planner, City of Detroit, will discuss their roles in establishing this culturally significant site. The program is moderated by Ujijji Davis Williams, ASLA, a landscape architect, urban planner, and associate with SmithGroup.

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Cultural Diversity through the Latin American Landscape

ASLA 2019 Professional General Design Honor Award. Sundance Square Plaza, Fort Worth, Texas. Michael Vergason Landscape Architects. / image: Sundance Square

ASLA’s celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month continues today with the second event in a free, four-part webinar series led by Latin American landscape architects:

The Spectacular Nature of the Ancient Mexico
Thursday, October 1, 2020, 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Recording now available

The series continues with On Social Urbanism and Reframing Spatial Design in Latin America on October 8 and Climate Change, Landscape, Cultural and Natural Heritage on October 15.

For more information on these webinars and our presenters and moderators—Ricardo Austrich, ASLA, María Bellalta, ASLA, Lina Escobar, Dr. Saúl Alcántara Onofre, and Ricardo Riveros—please visit ASLA’s Hispanic Heritage Month webpage.

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