The 2021 ASLA Conference in Review: Professional Practice Network Highlights from Nashville

The 2021 Women in Landscape Architecture Walk / image: Alexandra Hay

Practice Basecamp at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville earlier this month was the EXPO’s hub for practice-focused programming, including fast-paced Game Changer talks and presentations from ASLA’s Climate Action Committee and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (stay tuned for announcements of the 2021 HALS Challenge winners and the 2022 HALS Challenge theme, coming to The Field soon!).

Today we are taking a look back at the campfire sessions organized by ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). These conversation-focused events were opportunities to meet and network with other ASLA members and conference attendees, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing. In case you missed the conference this year, we hope the photos below provide a glimpse of all the goings-on in Practice Basecamp.

For those interested in watching recordings of education sessions that took place in Nashville, many sessions will be available on-demand via ASLA Online Learning in the coming weeks.

PPN Campfire Sessions and Continue the Conversations

The Digital Technology PPN hosted a Continue the Conversation after the education session Mapping Equity: Illustrations of a Just Future, with speakers Andrew Sargeant, ASLA, Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Digital Technology PPN leader, Matthew J. Wilkins, ASLA, LEED GA, Sr. Landscape Architect at KTUA Planning + Landscape Architecture and Digital Technology PPN leader, and Christine Ma, Urban Planning Practice Lead at Esri, moderated by Eric Gilbey, ASLA, Vectorworks – Digital Technology PPN Co-Chair. / image: Jason Mallory
Ecology & Restoration PPN leaders Sohyun Park, ASLA, and Elyna Grapstein, Student ASLA, facilitated a discussion on what’s new and what’s next in this landscape architecture practice area. The Ecology & Restoration PPN leadership team is also conducting a survey to determine the backgrounds, interests, and ecology/restoration-related needs of its members. All PPN members are encouraged to complete this short survey! / image: Jason Mallory
At the Ecology & Restoration PPN campfire session / image: Jason Mallory
The Education & Practice PPN and Chair Bill Estes, ASLA, with the Landscape Architecture Foundation, hosted a series of short presentations from Green New Deal Superstudio participants about their experiences translating the GND into planning and design projects at regional and local scales. Guest speakers included: Megan Barnes, ASLA, Kevin Robert Perry, FASLA, Brian Tseng-Nicodemus, Student Affiliate ASLA, L. Irene Compadre, ASLA, and Adam Scott, Associate ASLA. / image: Alexandra Hay
The Parks & Recreation PPN campfire session focused on funding and implementation mechanisms for parks and park maintenance, from impact fees and land development code updates, to partnering with developers and homeowner associations. Attendees shared their experiences, challenges, and insights during this informal, collaborative discussion. / image: Alexandra Hay
Women in Landscape Architecture PPN Co-Chairs Lara Moffat, ASLA, and Sahar Teymouri, ASLA, led a session on “From Mentorship to Sponsorship: Friendship is the Key!” Attendees explored how professional relationships contribute to a flourishing career. / image: Jason Mallory
The Sustainable Design & Development PPN hosted a Continue the Conversation after the education session Collaboration on Nature-based Solutions Is Key to Resilient City Infrastructure, with speakers Lisa Beyer, PLA, ASLA, Urban Water Infrastructure Manager for the World Resources Institute and a Sustainable Design & Development PPN leader, and Sarah M. Minick, Utility Planning Division Manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, moderated by Joshua Sloan, ASLA, of VIKA MD, LLC, and Sustainable Design & Development PPN Co-Chair. / image: Alexandra Hay
The Campus Planning & Design PPN campfire session featured breakout groups and conversations the future of the American campus. / image: Jason Mallory
The Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN campfire session, led by PPN leader Chad Kennedy, ASLA / image: Jason Mallory
The Community Design PPN and PPN Co-Chair Stacey Weaks, ASLA, discussed opportunities to innovate around landscape architecture’s impact on community design. / image: Jason Mallory
The Water Conservation PPN and guest speaker Kurt K. Thompson hosted a presentation building on the topics introduced during the PPN’s September webinar, Landscape Design with Irrigation Focus (But First, “The Basics”). / image: Jason Mallory
The Environmental Justice PPN and PPN leader Chingwen Cheng, ASLA, LEED AP, Associate Professor and Program Head at Arizona State University, hosted a presentation from David Padgett, PhD, an Associate Professor of Geography and Director of the Geographic Information Sciences Laboratory at Tennessee State University in Nashville. Dr. Padgett serves as served as a Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Partner and Trainer and specializes in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Environmental Justice. / image: Alexandra Hay
The Historic Preservation PPN session began with PPN Chair Brenda Williams, FASLA, AHLP, Quinn Evans, interviewing Maura Rockcastle, ASLA, TEN x TEN. TEN x TEN has worked collaboratively with Quinn Evans on several projects that have deep significance as cultural landscapes, including one of this year’s ASLA Honor Award recipients, Indian Mounds Cultural Landscape Study and Messaging Plan. Maura talked about how incorporating the cultural landscape process has enhanced planning and design for projects by broadening perspectives and developing a deep understanding of historic and cultural meaning. / image: Alexandra Hay
At the Transportation and Planting Design PPNs’ joint session, the conversation focused on best practices to incorporate pollinator habitats along transportation corridors and approaches to fight back against invasive species. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, check out the reading & resources list prepared by Planting Design and Transportation PPN leaders. / image: Alexandra Hay

The Women in Landscape Architecture Walk

Bright and early the morning of November 22, the last day of the conference, 70 attendees joined the Tennessee Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects early Monday morning to explore downtown Nashville spaces designed by, worked on by, or featuring women. Thank you to WILA Walk leaders Sarah Newton, ASLA, and Lindsey Bradley, ASLA, and speakers Mary Vavra, ASLA, Katie Rudowsky, ASLA, Kim Hawkins, ASLA, Jennifer Smith, Laura Schroeder, ASLA, and Carol Ashworth, ASLA, and all the Tennessee Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects volunteers for a fantastic event.

See the conference website for more about the 2021 WILA Walk, including project photos and a Google map with links to videos about the projects visited.

The WILA Walk in Frankie Pierce Park / image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA /
Noble Park in the Gulch / image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA /
Noble Park in the Gulch / image: Alexandra Hay
Noble Park in the Gulch / image: Alexandra Hay
image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA /
Taking a look at plans from the design of Deaderick Street, a complete street, and Anne Dallas Dudley Park / image: Alexandra Hay
The WILA Walk by the Tennessee State Capitol / image: Alexandra Hay
At Nashville’s Public Square / image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA /
At Fort Nashborough / image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA /
West Riverfront Park and the sculpture Light Meander, by HADDAD|DRUGAN / image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA /
image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA /

ASLA thanks all our PPN volunteer leaders for organizing these conference events, continuing to share their experiences and expertise, and guiding their PPNs forward, through times of fires, floods, pandemic, and, occasionally, pandemonium this past year+. Thank you!

If these conference highlights have sparked your interest in becoming a more active Professional Practice Network (PPN) member, consider joining your PPN’s leadership team. Any member of a PPN may volunteer to be a PPN leader. Commitment would be a short monthly call with like-minded professionals (i.e., other awesome nerds who love their PPN practice area) and volunteering to support one of the PPN’s resources. Sign up to be a PPN leader.

Lastly, for any hand lettering fans out there, Practice Basecamp’s hand lettered signage!

One thought on “The 2021 ASLA Conference in Review: Professional Practice Network Highlights from Nashville

Leave a Reply