Sustainability, Sustainable Landscape Metrics, and SITES

Grant Park Gateway, Atlanta, GA / image: The Sustainable SITES Initiative®

Take a survey to show your sustainable landscape knowledge!

A research team is looking to understand landscape architecture professionals’ knowledge, interest, and participation in sustainable landscape design and sustainable landscape metrics.

They’ve released an anonymous survey and are hoping that you will weigh in. The survey explores the relationship between professionals’ interest in sustainable landscapes and knowledge of and participation with sustainable landscape metrics.

The research team includes:

  • Sohyun Park, ASLA, SITES AP, Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, ASLA Ecology & Restoration Professional Practice Network (PPN) Co-Chair
  • Michael Ross, ASLA, SITES AP, Assistant Professor, School of Landscape Architecture, The University of Tennessee – Knoxville
  • Kathryn Nelson, ASLA, SITES AP, Instructor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Texas Tech University
  • Olivia Sievers Ross, SITES AP, Hinoki Designs

You may notice that those involved are SITES APs. In fact, the survey partially focuses on the SITES certification. The SITES certification promotes sustainable and resilient landscape development. It can be used for development projects located on sites with or without buildings to enhance their sustainability, implement green infrastructure strategies, and improve resilience.

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ASLA 2021 Conference Education Session Highlights, Part 2

Blevins Japanese Garden / image: courtesy of Cheekwood

The 2021 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture begins this Friday in Nashville! In addition to the events planned for the EXPO’s Practice Basecamp, each Professional Practice Network (PPN) leadership team also reviews the conference education program to highlight sessions relevant to their practice areas. With more than 100 sessions offering professional development hours (PDH), it is an extensive program to explore, and you can do so through the conference website and mobile app by track, speaker, and PDH type offered (LA CES/HSW, LA CES/non-HSW, FL, NY, AICP, GBCI, ISA, and more).

Below, we run through the second half of these education highlights (see the sessions picked by ASLA’s 10 other PPNs in our previous post):

See below for the education sessions in each PPN topic area, or click the PPN name above to jump to that section.

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ASLA 2021 Conference Education Session Highlights, Part 1

Nashville’s Cumberland Park / image: Kenny Clayton

The 2021 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture begins this Friday in Nashville! In addition to the events planned for the EXPO’s Practice Basecamp, each Professional Practice Network (PPN) leadership team also reviews the conference education program to highlight sessions relevant to their practice areas. With more than 100 sessions offering professional development hours (PDH), it is an extensive program to explore, and you can do so through the conference website and mobile app by track, speaker, and PDH type offered (LA CES/HSW, LA CES/non-HSW, FL, NY, AICP, GBCI, ISA, and more).

If you can’t make it to Nashville this year, a number of education sessions will be recorded and shared as Online Learning webinars so you can still learn about the latest in landscape architecture and earn PDH on demand.

Below, we run through the first half of these education highlights by PPN practice area (stay tuned for sessions picked by ASLA’s 10 other PPNs this Thursday):

See below for the education sessions related to each PPN practice area, or click the PPN name above to jump to that section.

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Practice Basecamp Preview: Professional Practice Network Events in Nashville

Practice Basecamp at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville will be the EXPO’s hub for a range of practice-focused programming:

  • Engaging campfire sessions organized by ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs)
  • Continue the Conversation with select education session presenters
  • Fast-paced Game Changer presentations
  • Presentations from ASLA’s Climate Action Committee and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS)

Many of these events are designed to be opportunities to meet and network with other ASLA members and conference attendees. The Professional Practice Network (PPN)-organized campfire sessions, for instance, will be conversation-focused, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing. Perhaps best of all: no one has to remember to unmute in order to participate.

Want to make the most of your PPN experience at the conference? Explore what’s planned and get ready to make new connections in Nashville.

Saturday, November 20

12:30 – 1:00 pm

1:00 – 1:45 pm

3:15 – 3:45 pm

Sunday, November 21

11:30 am – 12:15 pm

1:00 – 1:45 pm

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Revitalizing an Urban Village: The Example of the Sterling Community

by Thomas Schurch, ASLA

A master plan for a portion of the Sterling Neighborhood depicts street upgrades, public spaces including a memorial square at a highpoint of the site, townhouses inspired by historic mill houses, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Inclusive of the plan is geothermal and solar renewable energy, green stormwater management, and public safety using principles of CPTED. Click here to view at a larger scale. / image: Sterling Community Design Studio, Clemson University, 2018

The Sterling Community in Greenville, South Carolina, is a significant, legacy Black neighborhood in the Southeast. With its remarkable emergence in the 1890s through establishment of a high school for young Black Americans by Reverend Daniele Melton Minus, a tradition for education and excellence was begun. The son of former slaves, Reverend Minus was supported by philanthropist Mrs. E.R. Sterling, for whom the school and later the neighborhood were named. Sterling High School was ultimately adopted by the public school system, a new and prominent building was built, and it became a center of educational, social, and spiritual life in the community and neighborhood.

The neighborhood’s significance in the Civil Rights Movement during and prior to the 1960s and beyond is particularly noteworthy, as partially evidenced by the prominence of Jesse Jackson, who was raised there. In 1967, at a time of integration, Sterling High School was mysteriously burned to the ground—a great loss for the community. With organized efforts within the Movement, Sterling High School’s student body implored the Greenville County School Board to maintain the school’s integrity. It remained a viable institution until 1970, when integration was fully implemented.

In intervening years, outmigration of residents, subsequent neighborhood decline, and recent gentrification of surrounding areas did not diminish Sterling’s place in history as a center of African American life and vitality—a tribute to its legacy and importance. The Sterling Community Trust, formed by Sterling High School graduates in partnership with the City of Greenville, the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority (GCRA), and the Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, represented a broad coalition for neighborhood revitalization.

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The National Trust Includes Historic Cultural Landscapes on the 2021 List of 11 Most Endangered Historic Properties

by Barbara Wyatt, ASLA

Boston Harbor Islands / image: Boston Harbor Now

It may not have been deliberate, but the National Trust’s 2021 list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Properties includes five cultural landscapes. The National Trust has become an excellent champion of properties reflecting the nation’s diversity, and efforts to stretch the nation’s historic preservation consciousness to encompass landscapes is reaping results. None of the five are designed landscapes, but each reflects an important moment in American history, and each is a distinct landscape type. Several reflect a diversity that was absent in the early years of the preservation movement. Kudos to the National Trust for encompassing sites that reflect many of America’s people and the landscapes they occupied.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation began identifying threatened sites more than 30 years ago by publishing the annual 11 Most Endangered list. Competition can be keen to garner a place on the list because the publicity and advocacy has saved properties. Typically, properties on the list are threatened by destruction or neglect. It is not unusual for landscapes to appear on the list, including designed landscapes, but five on one list seems like a win.

A summary of the significance and threats to the properties on the 2021 list that encompass significant landscapes follows, drawn from information on the National Trust website. And, the National Trust is accepting Letters of Intent for the 2022 list through November 12, 2021—you’ll find more on the nomination process below.

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LEED to SITES Readiness Tool Now Available

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes, Pittsburgh, PA / image: Paul G. Wiegman

Did you know that LEED projects may qualify for up to 65 points toward SITES certification? ASLA members might be particularly interested in this, given the sustainable landscape feats that can be achieved through SITES, a comprehensive certification system for creating sustainable and resilient land development projects.

The SITES and LEED rating systems are complementary and can be used independently or in tandem. The new tool—an update to the 2016 document Synergies between SITES and LEED—streamlines LEED credits that have synergies with SITES credits, and has been created to assist LEED project teams to quickly assess their readiness (and gaps) toward achieving SITES certification, based on the LEED credits achieved or anticipated. The tool provides a quick scorecard view of the available synergies between the two programs and includes newly identified credit synergies.

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