Presentations from ASLA’s Climate Action Committee
Curious about the call for PPN leadership volunteers, but want to know more before you sign up? If you’re going to San Francisco, then you are in luck—Practice Basecamp is an ideal spot to see the PPNs in action and get a sense of what these practice area-focused groups for ASLA members are all about. The PPN-organized campfire sessions will be conversation-focused, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing—the primary aims of the PPNs.
Want to make the most of your PPN experience at the conference? Explore what’s planned and get ready to make new connections in San Francisco:
A Recap of the 2022 Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation Annual Conference
The Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation (AHLP) held its annual meeting in Natchitoches, Louisiana, from May 18-21 this year. Twice postponed because of COVID, the conference was entitled Natchitoches in the Red River Valley: A Confluence of Cultures. Over the three days we heard presentations and visited sites in Natchitoches and the surrounding area. From tenant cabins, to “juke-joints,” to churches and cemeteries, we learned about the unique culture of the Red River Valley and the Cane River.
The Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation is an interdisciplinary professional organization which provides a forum for communication and exchange of information among its members. It is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of historic landscapes in all their variety, from formal gardens and public parks to rural expanses. The conference, usually held every year, are a great way to learn about historic landscapes and experience in-depth exploration of the locations where they take place.
Our meetings were held at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), on the campus of Northwestern State University of Louisiana. NCPTT offices and some laboratories are located in historic Lee H. Nelson Hall, a former gymnasium. We learned about the history of the gymnasium and the long road to its preservation. Jason Church and Vrinda Jariwala, of NCPTT, conducted tours of the labs.
by Sebastian Schlecht and Chih-Wei G.V. Chang, ASLA
The Landscape Laboratory of Ruhr Metropolis and the First Biennale of Urban Landscape
Ruhr Region: A Continuous Transformation
For most landscape architects in the US, the Ruhr region of Germany is best known for its successful post-industrial renovation projects, such as Duisburg North Landscape Park or IBA Emscher Park. But its story of transformation did not stop there. Being one of the biggest metropolitan areas in Europe, the Ruhr region is still facing complications and challenges from its past and present. Its sprawl and polycentric urban form make energy, mobility, and infrastructure upgrades less straightforward. With the unthinkable re-opening of coal power plants due to the European energy crisis, the region is once again at the center of focus: What will Ruhr do in an uncertain future?
It is fair to say that its industrial past brings not only challenges, but also unique niches and capacities for the structural transformation of its landscape. With more land area in between the network of smaller post-industrial cities, special emphasis is placed on the adaptation to climate change effects, ecological restoration, and function as a key to economic and social progress. This of course includes the transformation of industrial heritage, the necessary livability of neighborhoods, and integrated urban landscape revitalization. The region is calling for new ideas, and exploring the opportunities and new qualities of its possible futures.
Last week, we explored San Francisco’s Koret Children’s Quarter and playground, the Tot Lot at Portsmouth Square Park, Willie “Woo-Woo” Wong Playground, and Presidio Tunnel Tops in Part 1. Today in Part 2, we are moving slightly further afield to Dennis the Menace Park, located on California’s Central Coast.
Dennis the Menace Park
El Estero Park, 777 Pearl Street
Monterey, CA 93940
A couple of hours south of San Francisco, a small town on Monterey Bay is home to a park that represented the forefront of creative children’s outdoor play when it was opened 65 years ago and is still going strong today. Its namesake is the famous cartoon character Dennis the Menace, and the creator of this mischievous comic character helped make this project a reality. A quick Google search shows that the park was originally built before any notion of children’s safety standards existed. It had numerous fabricated steel pieces that were engineering marvels that kids could climb on, slide down, and even spin, elevated approximately 15’ above the ground, on. There have been various park renovations, but the essence of the park is intact and it still feels like a wild and unique play space.
As a landscape architect with four young children, I enjoy visiting unique and dynamic playgrounds wherever I travel. This summer, I had the good fortune of traveling to San Francisco, and I wanted to share my thoughts on a few playgrounds I visited for anyone thinking about the topic of children’s outdoor play as they head to San Francisco for the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and hopefully my experiences will be a motivating factor for others to get out and explore unique outdoor spaces in the Bay Area and beyond.
Koret Children’s Quarter and Playground
320 Bowling Green Drive (southeast corner of Golden Gate Park)
San Francisco, CA 94199
Originally opened in 1888, some claim that this is the oldest children’s playground in the US. It was remodeled and reopened in 2007, and has some unique, artistic, and fun features that make it stand out. The play area is about an acre and mostly open, with a sunny exposure. Pathways lead to sand areas with age sensitive manufactured playground equipment.