Seven years after five university students were killed at a house party in Calgary, Alberta, a memorial park designed to honor them opened recently in the local South Glenmore Park. The design of the area, now known as the Quinterra Legacy Garden, was informed by sensitivities surrounding the planning process and shaped by the steps taken to support the families’ design vision for the creation of the park.
The tragedy happened in April 2014 on “Bermuda Shorts Day,” a time which used to be a celebration of the end of the university school year. After several years of mourning, in 2019, we were contacted by the Quinterra Group, set up by family and friends of those lost, to meet with them to understand their aspirations.
In short, the Group’s vision was for a peaceful, contemplative, and vibrant outdoor community space for people to be inspired, to heal, and to connect with nature. They also wanted it to be a special place to celebrate the students’ lives and bring a positive light to the tragedy. With each of the students being known for their love of music, art, and the community, this had to be at the core of the legacy garden.
Do you have an idea that will change the field of landscape architecture? Here’s your opportunity to share it at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture.
We’re seeking presentations for game-changing ideas that can move a profession forward—ideas from different perspectives, voices, and backgrounds. Those big ideas could come from you. You don’t need to present on-the-boards projects—just your big idea!
Game Changer sessions are designed to be fast-paced, innovative talks. Presenters will have just seven minutes to share your game changing idea.
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.
What you need to enter:
Your information: Tell us about yourself.
Short description: Pitch this presentation in two sentences. How will your idea change the field?
Video: Submit a short (one-minute), cell phone-quality video describing your Game Changer session. No fancy production required. Most importantly, have fun with it! The video must be under one-minute to be eligible.
Selected Game Changer presenters will receive 30% off a full registration to the 2021 Conference.
Allied professionals are encouraged to both submit and speak, but they are not required to be members of ASLA.
To help you get started, the ASLA Professional Practice Networks leadership teams have created a list of inspirational game changer topics that you might consider exploring.
Campus Planning & Design
What’s one silver lining from COVID that has changed how campus open spaces are used—and is it here to stay? COVID has changed how open spaces are planned and used. What will future open spaces look like?
The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on U.S. transportation. Remote work and unemployment dramatically reduced commuting trips for all transportation modes. Significant declines in transit ridership across the country has been the subject of many headlines. As vaccination rates increase and businesses (hopefully) re-open, what does the future hold for public transit?
U.S. transportation systems, including transit, are designed around the home-to-work commute. This is true despite that fact that most trips do not originate from a home and end at work. Travel to work trips are more likely to occur during “peak demand” or rush hour. The rise in telecommuting has made these early morning/late afternoon trips susceptible to long term (and possibly permanent) decline.
Mass vaccinations and declines in infection rates have eased travel restrictions and social distancing mandates in many states. As a result, travel demand has rebounded to near post-COVID levels relatively quickly. Experts are predicting that this trend will continue after the pandemic is truly over, unless the shift toward telecommuting persists.
In 2018, the percentage of workers telecommuting was around 6% nationally, or triple the rate of telecommuting in the 1980s. Technological advances since the 1980s have made telecommuting possible even if not all were on-board with the practice. Companies reluctant to allow telecommuting pre-COVID suddenly were forced to allow staff to work from home. The extended duration of the pandemic habituated remote work for many. This, combined with advancements in teleworking technologies, potential benefits to the corporate bottom line, and increased employee satisfaction and retention, has caused some experts to predict a more significant and lasting adoption of telework. The result may be a ‘flattening of the peak’ volume during historically traditional rush hours. [See “A Little More Remote Work Could Change Rush Hour A Lot,” by Emily Badger for The New York Times.]
On November 8, 2018, the town of Paradise, California, was destroyed in a matter of hours as the Camp Fire tore through the region, making history as the state’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire event ever recorded. Over the past 50 years, California and much of the Western United States and Canada have experienced a dramatic increase in catastrophic wildfires.
Today, the average fire season in these areas is two and a half times longer than it was in 1970. In California, six of the state’s 20 most destructive wildfires have burned in 2020 alone, with associated costs projected to eclipse 20 billion dollars. Experts caution that due to climate change, we have entered a new era of perennial megafires that will only become more destructive and costly in the coming decades. In California, these impending challenges have been magnified by the rapid proliferation of new housing along the outermost edges of metropolitan regions. These areas, known as the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), represent the fastest growing land use category in the United States, and are currently home to more than 11 million Californians (about a quarter of the state’s total population).
In Paradise and other WUI communities, these parallel risk factors—climate change and increased rural development—have been compounded by the state’s strict enforcement of federal fire suppression policies, aimed at eliminating wildfire from the landscape altogether. While these policies have been relatively effective at minimizing the impacts of wildfire throughout the past century, they have inadvertently created an increasingly hazardous oversupply of fuel in today’s forests. As a result, wildfires are becoming larger and more destructive than ever before, triggering a cascade of challenges related to firefighting operations and urban planning.
Despite a rich, broad, and mature literature that has emerged over the past few decades, the concepts of sustainability and resilience are still sometimes used interchangeably. Even among experts the terms are considered somewhat difficult and lack generally agreed-upon definitions. Here, I provide some thoughts on workable definitions, and a sense of how the concepts of sustainability and resilience—specifically in an urban context—resonate but might also differ.
I have just attended (and presented at) the Cities in a Changing World: Questions of Culture, Climate and Design conference, hosted by the New York City College of Technology (City Tech), CUNY. The event featured many international presentations relating to urban sustainability and/or resilience within the context of an emerging era of post-COVID green recovery. Although there were very few landscape architects in attendance, I believe our community could have much to offer, as our cities move towards less carbon-dependent and more socially equitable futures. Therefore, a further consideration of nomenclature around key terms of sustainability and resilience—building on Sustainability vs. Resiliency: Designing for a Trajectory of Change, a Field post by Keith Bowers, FASLA, from 2018—is timely.
Congratulations to this year’s SCUP 2021 Excellence in Landscape Architecture winners! This national award is given annually by the Society for College and University Planning to recognize outstanding campus design and planning projects. ASLA’s Campus Planning and Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) celebrates our colleagues who are working in the higher education environment.
Jury’s Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement in Integrated Planning and Design
Wellesley College 1998 Wellesley College Master Plan and Implemented Projects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates; Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects (MSME); Elizabeth Meyer; Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, Inc.; H Plus Incorporated
Excellence in Landscape for General Design
Fairleigh Dickinson University FDU Spirit Bridge Viridian Landscape Studio; BEAM Ltd.; Maser Consulting; ICI Consultants, Inc.; Roofmeadow; Bruce Brooks Associates; Big R Bridge
Excellence in Landscape for Open Space Planning
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Virginia Tech Infinite Loop and Green Links Sasaki; HG Design Studio; Accessibility Consultants, Inc.
[See the Campus Planning and Design PPN’s summer 2019 newsletter for a member spotlight of Jack Rosenberger, ASLA, Campus Landscape Architect at Virginia Tech.]
We wanted to dig a little deeper into these fantastic campus projects, so for this Field post, we (virtually) sat down with principal Tavis Dockwiller, ASLA, and project manager Victor Trujillo of Viridian Landscape Studio of Philadelphia, PA, to learn more about their FDU Spirit Bridge project.
As an integral part of community life, public space is essential to the social, physical, mental, and economic health of cities. From urban plazas and community parks to city sidewalks and corners, public space creates a collective sense of community and allows for enhanced social inclusion, civic participation, sense of belonging, and recreation.
But what happens when we’re told that those spaces are no longer safe? Since March 2020, COVID-19 has challenged the civic right to public space and connection, creating a flux in access and experience that will clearly have long-lasting impacts on how landscape architects work within the public realm. As we step out of initial knee-jerk reactions and into yet another wave, what is the role of urban design within the context of this “new normal”?
To see how different cities are responding and how firms and practitioners are adapting and exploring innovative ways to leverage the pandemic and shape the built environment of the future, we asked a cross section of Urban Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) members to share their pandemic experiences and ways in which the industry is rethinking the approach to public space design.
Maren McBride, ASLA — Seattle, WA/Vancouver, BC
In both Seattle and Vancouver, it has been inspiring to see a clear shift in the way that communities have collectively, and proactively, embraced public space—no longer seen as something nice to have, but essential to health and wellbeing. It’s a strong reminder of the incredible responsibility we have, as landscape architects, to create an equitable, sustainable, and resilient public realm that fosters human connection and joy, even in times of crisis.
Land use in the U.S. is largely governed at the local level. Since infrastructure is on everyone’s lips right now, it’s a great opportunity to talk locally about green infrastructure, and interdisciplinary, integrated approaches to sustainable and resilient site development.
A great way to begin local discussion is by proposing landscape guidelines to be adopted by local town councils.
A Case Study in Community Orchard-Playground Design
In Suwanee, a small suburb north of Atlanta, Georgia, lies a one-acre public park combining edible fruiting plants with child-friendly play features. Suwanee has a small but popular parks network that includes a seven-acre site with an organically maintained community garden, stream, trails, and a lawn that was a former pasture. In 2012, a local landscape architect met with City staff to discuss the potential to convert the former pasture area into a new kind of park for the City—an “orchard-playground.” The concept was intended to combine the enjoyment of edible fruit with play features rooted in the natural playground movement. After several years of both volunteer- and employer-supported efforts, the City approved a final design, and the Orchard at White Street Park was constructed and officially opened in the fall of 2017.
The notion of a public orchard where fruit is grown for free harvest by the community is a logical extension of the community gardening movement that is increasingly being explored throughout the country. During the design process, there was little information regarding public orchards, but as of now, there are numerous efforts in Georgia and around the US. Some go by the name of “food forest,” which can be a combination of orchard and annual fruit and vegetable growing, and some follow the concept of “permaculture,” which relies on dynamic and symbiotic relationships between edible plants and their allies to develop a long lasting and self-sustaining harvest. While these concepts were explored during the design process, the planting design was simplified for the initial phase based on available budget and anticipated maintenance capacity. Thus, the outcome was creation of a combination of pathways, benches, fences, play features, lawn areas, and mulched fruit tree, shrub, and vine areas.