As the year draws to a close, we would like to thank all the Professional Practice Network (PPN) leaders and members who shared their experiences and expertise as authors for The Field blog, as hosts, presenters, and engaged audience members for Online Learning webinars, and at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Francisco last month.
We hope that all who contributed to this shared body of knowledge have forged new connections and felt inspired by your peers in landscape architecture.
The PPNs’ 2022 in Review showcases the year’s top 10 most-viewed posts from The Field, all the webinars and virtual events hosted by the PPNs, plus ASLA Conference highlights. In case you missed the conference this year, 45 education session recordings are available through ASLA Online Learning, with a 25% off discount for members if you get four or more!
Below, we highlight the top five Field posts and this year’s webinars; for the full recap, please see the PPNs’ 2022 in Review.
Year in Review: The Field
The Field was established to give members in the field of landscape architecture a place to exchange information, learn about recent work and research, and share thoughts about emerging developments. Contributions are by members and for members, and we encourage all ASLA members with an idea or an experience to share to contribute to The Field.
Fresh content appears twice a week, and 100 posts were published in 2022.
Fellowship is among the highest honors ASLA bestows on members and recognizes the contributions of these individuals to their profession and society at large based on their works, leadership and management, knowledge, and service.
Nominations may be made by the executive committee of a chapter, the executive committee of ASLA, or the executive committee of the Council of Fellows in one of four categories:
During the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture, over 6,000 participants joined together to visualize the futures we want to see—sharing case studies and best practices among the profession and across disciplines to design a better future.
45 recorded conference education sessions are now available on-demand through ASLA Online Learning for Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™)-approved professional development hours (PDH).
You can purchase individual sessions or bundle and save—ASLA members can take advantage of a 25% discount when purchasing four or more conference recordings!
Those outside the landscape architecture field often think the role of a landscape architect equates to the enhancement of greenspaces within parks, office complexes, and various urban areas. Those within the field and affiliated industries realize it involves so much more.
A landscape architect typically provides planning, analysis, and creative design for all outdoor areas. The broad scope of ALL they do increases the quality of physical well-being for the local population, giving people more options for recreation, relaxation, healing, learning, and working, along with opportunities for social connection with others using the space.
A landscape architect’s role is also to play a vital part in helping to address global challenges— by thoughtfully integrating green infrastructure elements and other environmental preservation strategies whenever AND wherever possible. These methods involve the integration of natural, enhanced, and engineered assets. Natural assets, such as meadows, parks, tree canopies, soil, and wetlands, include the living and organic tools of the trade. Enhanced assets—which fall under low-impact development, including green roofs, bioswales, urban tree planting, and stormwater ponds—are utilized in various landscapes, ranging from workplace to multifamily to park environments. Engineered assets include permeable pavement, cisterns, and infiltration trenches.
Using their expertise, landscape architects provide holistic approaches to planning and managing the built environment, and landscape architecture design solutions regularly address common industry challenges we face. Many of these projects enable the shift to a carbon-neutral future by integrating innovative and occasionally all-new radical solutions. These projects include dense, walkable, mixed-use communities that connect to larger urban footprints and workplace environments, promoting functional outdoor work and physical activity—all of which help reduce emissions from transportation and urban sprawl.
While part 2 below covers a few case studies, please see part 1 of this post, published last week, for more on the scientific underpinnings of living walls.
Living Walls in Workplaces
For corporate workplaces where people spend a significant amount of time inside, living walls could vitalize the working environment, add aesthetic pleasure, and play important roles in positively impacting people’s health. According to a scientific report published by Nature, urbanization in Western cities has resulted in a lack of exposure to environmental microbes due to the increased level of hygiene, loss of biodiversity, and irregular contact with soil, which has been linked to many immune mediated diseases. Indoor green walls in urban offices can affect health-associated commensal skin microbiota and enhance immune regulation among employees . Indoor plants in the workplace were found to correlate with less sick leave, better task performance, and quicker restoration from mental fatigue [2-3].
Workplaces are embracing the idea of bringing nature inside through living walls that maximize space utilization and provide numerous biophilic features. Living walls help to achieve many goals as required by the WELL Building Standard—Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, & Mind . Duolingo, a leading tech company in the language education industry, has recently integrated several green walls that have become new attractions in their Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania headquarters.
Recent technology development makes living wall structures more flexible and designable beyond “just a green wall.” GBBN Architects’ Cincinnati office experimented with digital fabrication and augmented reality (AR) technology in their living wall design and installation. According to an interview with the living wall designers Mandy Woltjer and Troy Malmstrom, the design concept was to encourage plants to grow out of an irregular trellis that increases multi-dimensional volumes. Therefore, the plants were installed first in an AR space where the designer could precisely locate the plants in the designated position.
Results of the 13th annual HALS Challenge, Olmsted Landscapes, were announced at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture on Sunday, November 13, 2022. Congratulations to the winners! Sponsored by the National Park Service, cash prizes were awarded to the top 3 submissions. The National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) also awarded three framed certificate 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. This challenge resulted in the donation of 17 impressive HALS short format historical reports to the HALS collection for sites in twelve different states from coast to coast.
2022 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, social reformer and founder of American landscape architecture. By documenting Olmsted landscapes for HALS, entrants increased public awareness of historic landscapes and illuminated the Olmsteds’ living legacy. Any site designed or planned in part or in full by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., his firm, and the firm continued by his sons, John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Junior, were eligible (see Master List of Design Projects).
First Place: California’s North Coast Redwood Parks, Job No. 08335, HALS CA-166
Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, California
By Douglas Nelson, ASLA, Landscape Architect
California’s North Coast Redwood Parks are significant for preserving the best examples of magnificent redwood forests and the world’s tallest trees. It took foresight and stewardship to recognize that these forests would be lost to logging if active conservation efforts were not undertaken in the early twentieth century. Conservationists, including the founders of the Save the Redwoods League, saw the immense value and benefits of preserving these extraordinary natural places for future generations. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. played a key role by providing recommendations for the acquisition, management, and conservation of these parks, and for preserving the economic vitality of the region through sustainable yield forestry practices in areas outside of the parks.
The term biophilia was coined by German psychologist Erich Fromm to describe the physiological tendency towards all living-beings—the “passionate love of life and of all that is alive” . Later, E.O. Wilson and Stephen Kellert’s groundbreaking introduction of the Biophilia Hypothesis to the design disciplines helped reveal the mechanism of humans’ inherent inclination to nature and other lifelike processes from the biologistic and evolutionary perspectives . It is widely encouraged to have direct contact with nature in outdoor settings, such as roaming in the woods, gardening, or simply watching nature from a park bench. A recent scientific study found that visiting nature more than once a week was significantly associated with better health and higher quality of life . Unfortunately, most of the world’s population now lives in urban environments, with up to 95% of their lives spent on indoor activities . Luckily, there are ways to establish nature connectedness from interior spaces, such as via indoor plants and nature views .
The Multifaceted Benefits of Living Walls
According to Stephen Kellert and colleagues’ biophilic design framework, the integration of daylight, natural materials, and vegetation are the fundamental applications that reconnect people to nature. While incorporating a courtyard could be constrained by spatial programming or financial limitations, a vertical greening system could be a great substitute . A vertical greening system, also known as a vertical garden, a living wall, or simply a green wall, provides numerous benefits to the indoor occupants and the environment at large.
As outlined by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), there are different types of living wall systems. Green facades support climbing vines or cascading ground covers that are rooted in soil beds at the bottom or different levels of the structure. Living walls are pre-vegetated modules that are affixed to a vertical structure that support a much lusher mixture of plant species. Living walls can be broadly classified into three systems—the panel system, felt system, and container and/or trellis system .
Updates from the ASLA MasterSpec Landscape Architecture Review Committee
ASLA MasterSpec Landscape Architecture Review Committee (MLARC) members volunteer their time in support of MasterSpec®, a product of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The MLARC is one of a handful of review committees charged by AIA with the review of MasterSpec sections and related materials in an advisory role to AIA and Deltek. The committees review specification sections scheduled for updating, new sections, and other selected documents developed by Deltek for distribution to MasterSpec Licensed Users. Deltek is the company that produces MasterSpec, while rights to MasterSpec are owned by AIA. In addition to architects, review committees consist of mechanical and electrical engineers from across the country.
The 2020-2022 ASLA MLARC committee members included:
Phillip L. McDade FASLA, Chair
Patty King, ASLA
Wight and Company
Glen Phillips, ASLA
Thomas Ryan, FASLA
Gaylan Williams, ASLA
Jennifer Wong, ASLA
Central Park Conservancy
MasterSpec specification sections must be responsive to the changing needs of the design professions and to the changing technology of the construction industry, according to the discipline represented in each section. The MasterSpec library contains 11 sections designated as landscape architectural specifications as well as 14 others that touch on aspects of landscape architecture.
Your input is needed for a survey on gender equity in design. This survey seeks to understand the place-based lived experiences of trans, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, queer individuals and communities as they navigate the places and spaces of daily life (home, work, school, public space, recreation, etc.). Your contribution will help generate tools for equitable design and support urban designers, architects, landscape architects, and interior designers in the co-creation of equitable and inclusive places.
The survey asks demographic questions, but no identifiable information is collected. All responses are anonymous. The survey will take less than 20 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey, there is an opportunity to enter a drawing to win a $100 gift card. (You will be asked to use an email address to enter the drawing, but your email will be unattached from any data you provide and discarded after the drawing.) For each response, up to 1,000 responses, we will be donating $1 to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQIA2+ youth.
Take the survey. Your participation is greatly appreciated! The survey will remain open until the end of January.
While everyone is encouraged to take the survey, we are specifically encouraging participation by trans, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, queer individuals, and communities. Please share this survey widely among your personal and professional networks by sharing this post and survey link with your networks; a PDF poster with a QR code is also available to share with others. For more information on the research, visit our Instagram page. For questions about the research, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.