ASLA 2022 Conference in Review: Professional Practice Network Highlights from San Francisco

The Digital Technology PPN event at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. / image: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography

Practice Basecamp at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Francisco earlier this month was the EXPO’s hub for a range of practice-focused programming, including fast-paced Game Changer talks and presentations on ASLA’s Climate Action Plan. Today we are taking a look back at the campfire sessions and presentations organized by ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). These events were opportunities to meet and network with other ASLA members and conference attendees, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing. (And if this sounds like something you’d be interested in taking part in, not just at the conference but throughout the year, then consider joining your PPN’s leadership team!)

If you missed the conference this year, we hope the photos below provide a glimpse of some of Practice Basecamp’s goings-on. For those interested in watching recordings of education sessions that took place in San Francisco, 40+ sessions will be available on-demand via ASLA Online Learning in the coming weeks.

PPN Campfire Sessions and Presentations

35 PPN leaders facilitated 14 PPN events at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. Here are a few highlights:

Campus Planning & Design

The Campus Planning & Design PPN event at the 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture featured presentations on inclusive landscapes for higher education campuses by Taylor Wilson, Student ASLA, MLA candidate at North Carolina State University, and April Riehm, Student ASLA, MLA & City and Regional Planning candidate at Clemson University, followed by breakout discussions facilitated by PPN leaders Stan Szwalek, ASLA, PLA, Krista M. Van Hove, ASLA, David Cutter, ASLA, SITES AP, and Tony Catchot, ASLA.

The Campus Planning & Design PPN event at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. / image: Alexandra Hay
image: Alexandra Hay

Children’s Outdoor Environments

See last week’s Field post for a summary of the PPN’s campfire session on trauma responsive design thinking, facilitated by PPN leaders Kat Lewis, ASLA, Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA, Lisa Casey, ASLA, and Chad Kennedy, ASLA. The post concludes with a reference list on children, nature, and health for those interested in learning more.

The Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN event at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. / image: Alexandra Hay

Sustainable Design & Development

PPN leaders Joshua Sloan, ASLA, AICP, SITES AP, Lisa Beyer, PLA, ASLA, and Jodie Cook, ASLA, SITES AP, discussed where the SDD PPN has been, what we’re doing now, and how we should prioritize initiatives for the future.

The Sustainable Design & Development PPN event in San Francisco / image: Alexandra Hay
PPN leader Joshua Sloan, ASLA, AICP, SITES AP speaking / image: Alexandra Hay

Urban Design

Urban Design PPN leaders Sara Hadavi, ASLA, Taner R. Ozdil, ASLA, and Maren McBride, ASLA, hosted a conversation on “Urban Design Beyond Pandemic: What is Next for Urban Landscapes?” The facilitated discussion focused on the value of restorative urban design practices during and after the pandemic, and the role of landscape architects in taking next steps in designing the next generation of urban landscapes. Attendees talked about urban design strategies, temporary and permanent interventions, tactical urbanism, and pedestrian-focused streetscape transformations to inform future practice, education, and service in landscape architecture.

image: Alexandra Hay
image: Alexandra Hay

Historic Preservation and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS)

2022 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, social reformer and founder of American landscape architecture. The results of the 2022 Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge, Olmsted Landscapes, were announced in San Francisco (stay tuned for the upcoming Field post highlighting the winners). The National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) also awarded three prizes for the best entries in the following categories: submission by a college or graduate student, work of the Olmsted Firm in Ohio, and non-park work of the Olmsted Firm.

Chris Stevens, ASLA, at the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) in San Francisco. / image: Alexandra Hay

Environmental Justice

PPN leaders Chingwen Cheng, PhD, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP, and Sarah Kwon, Affil. ASLA, were joined by guest speaker, Stephen Gray, Associate Professor of Urban Design at Harvard University and founder of Boston-based design firm Grayscale Collaborative for the Environmental Justice PPN’s campfire session.

The focus was the Community First Toolkit, collaboratively developed by the High Line Network – a resource to help practitioners, park managers, government entities, non-profits, and communities to embed equity into public spaces in all phases of park planning and management.

Environmental Justice PPN event attendees completing a worksheet for the campfire session. / image: Alexandra Hay

Digital Technology

Digital Technology PPN leaders Radu Dicher, LFA, Jack Garcia, Affil. ASLA, Eric D. Gilbey, ASLA, Andrew Sargeant, ASLA, Lauren K. Schmidt, ASLA, and Matthew J. Wilkins, ASLA, hosted an interactive conversation about technology as applied to our practice, featuring speakers from the conference sessions FRI-D09: Updating Workflows: Pragmatic Perspectives on New(ish) Technologies and MON-DD-002: Data Driven Design: Insights from the ASLA BIM Working Group.

The Digital Technology PPN event at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. / image: Alexandra Hay
image: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography

Planting Design

PPN leaders Jodie Cook, ASLA, SITES AP, Haven Kiers, ASLA, Nancy Buley, Hon. ASLA, and Maria Maurer, ASLA, organized an informal roundtable “Using Native Plants Effectively: Designing Authentic Gardens for People, Plants, and Wildlife.” What is an authentic landscape? Are there ethical dilemmas in planting design and how do we solve them? How can we effectively utilize native plants on projects? Attendees talked about how to effectively integrate planting design theory with ecological research to create native plant gardens that attract pollinators, create habitat, and promote human health and well-being.

The Planting Design PPN drew a crowd for their campfire session on using native plants effectively to create authentic gardens. / image: Alexandra Hay
image: Alexandra Hay

Water Conservation

PPN leader Mike Igo took a look at the work of the Water Conservation PPN over the past year, providing the ASLA community discussions on irrigation training, efficiency, financial models, corporate social responsibility, and the state of landscape architecture. Attendees shared their thoughts on where to promote water efficiency next.

Water Conservation PPN leader Mike Igo / image: Alexandra Hay

Education & Practice

“Pathways to Becoming Academic Educators,” facilitated by Education & Practice PPN leaders William Estes, II, ASLA, LEED AP, and Chingwen Cheng, PhD, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP, introduced attendees to how the academic system functions and university expectations for academic units, along with various paths to teaching. This was followed by a discussion of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Standing Committee on DEI’s commitment to the recruitment of a diversity of practitioners and educators.

image: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography
Education & Practice PPN event speakers Chingwen Cheng, PhD, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP, Marc Miller, and David N. Myers, Ph.D., PLA, ASLA / image: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography
Education & Practice PPN leader William Estes, II, ASLA, LEED AP (left) / image: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography

Design-Build / Residential Landscape Architecture

The PPNs hosted an open discussion on the need, opportunities, and benefits for landscape architects in residential design-build. Several questions sparked an engaging conversation: Do contractors control the market? How do landscape architects get in the lead position? What are the benefits of the landscape architect being the prime contractor? What are the financial risks and rewards of residential design-build?

The Design-Build / Residential Landscape Architecture PPNs event / image: Alexandra Hay

Parks & Recreation

Steph Thisius-Sanders, PLA, ASLA, and Lauren E. Schmitt, ASLA, AICP, led the Parks & Recreation PPN’s informal roundtable discussion of “Designing Parks for Perpetuity—Built to Last.” Attendees talked about how park design ideas on the drawing board affect long term maintenance, durability, and ultimately the viability of our park and recreation systems. From underground utilities to towering play structures, to all aspects of earth, water, hardscape, and plants—each decision affects everyday maintenance, grounds crews, and even recreation programming. Participants heard about make-or-break experiences from the public sector and saw how that amazing concept may not be so marvelous in practice.

image: Alexandra Hay

Women in Landscape Architecture

The Women in Landscape Architecture (WILA) PPN invited members of ASLA’s Women in the Profession/Equity Task Force to take part in their campfire session. The group introduced their planned resource center for equity in the profession, while attendees shared what kinds of things they need to support equity in their firms and offices.

The Women in Landscape Architecture PPN event in Practice Basecamp. / image: Alexandra Hay

Practice Basecamp events sponsored by DuMor, Inc.

The Women in Landscape Architecture Walk

100+ participants joined the ASLA Northern California Chapter’s WILA Walk to explore San Francisco’s SOMA district, including the East Cut neighborhood, San Francisco’s new Downtown, and Yerba Buena District, the original cultural and civic institutional hub at SOMA. Attendees saw an energetic mix of sleek residential and commercial high rises, repurposed live-work historic buildings, small businesses, corporate headquarters, new streetscapes, and public green spaces as well as a revitalization plan for the original cultural hub.

image: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography

Thank you to WILA Walk leaders, speakers, and volunteers for a marvelous event!

WILA Walk Organizers:

WILA Walk Speakers:

  • Julia Gutierrez
  • Cheryl Barton, FASLA
  • Jamie Phillips, ASLA
  • Lisa Daye, ASLA
  • Carrie Rybczynski, ASLA
  • Zoee Astrachan, ASLA
  • Meghen Quinn, ASLA
  • Robin Carmichael, ASLA
  • Mary Sager McFadden, ASLA

The route, which you can explore through the Google map on the walk webpage, highlighted urban spaces, streetscapes, public art, architecture, and master plans that were planned, designed by, and/or influenced by women.

Stay tuned for a post with more photos from the walk!

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