Continue Your Practice Management Education with SKILL | ED

The deadline to submit your application to ASLA’s three-month SKILL | ED Workshop is Tuesday, February 28, 2023.

SKILL | ED offers a wide cross-section of landscape architecture professionals the practice management education that is not always gained in day-to-day work.

ASLA’s ongoing SKILL | ED programming kicked off in June 2021 with a three-day virtual practice management program, during which more than 400 landscape architecture professionals and students came together to invest in their career development. 20 sessions from SKILL | ED 2021, highlighting skills crucial to career growth, are available on-demand via ASLA Online Learning, covering topics from business development, marketing, and professional contracts to billable rates, construction administration, and effective team collaboration.

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RFP: Buffalo Olmsted Parks System National Register Nomination Update

Fall color at South Park Arboretum in Buffalo, NY / image: Margaret Lapp, courtesy of Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC) has issued an RFP for a qualified consultant or consultancy team to conduct an update to the Buffalo Olmsted Parks System nomination document to the National Register of Historic Places.

The original survey was completed in 1979; then in 1981, the Olmsted Parks & Parkway National Register Thematic District was listed on the State Register of Historic Places and in 1982 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After four decades, the documentation is outdated and lacks a complete list of the many resources the Conservancy and City of Buffalo have restored and enhanced during that time and specific information on resource types and a comprehensive history. As such, BOPC is looking for a consultant or consultancy team who will produce a document to support the Conservancy’s preservation planning work by facilitating and enhancing the project review process which protects the historic integrity of the Olmsted Parks System.

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Avenues for Expanding the Field of Landscape Design

by Larry Weaner, FAPLD, Affiliate ASLA, and Sara Weaner

image: Mark Weaner

New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL) is pleased to announce its March-April Virtual Education Series. This accomplished group of presenters will include Julianne Schrader Ortega and Keith Green of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, landscape designer Laura Kuhn, pollinator expert Douglas Sponsler, Bill Thomas of Chanticleer, and NDAL Founder and landscape designer Larry Weaner. All will explore avenues for expanding the field of landscape design.

LA CES professional development hours will be available for several events in the series:

Every Garden is an Intervention: Rejecting the Eco-Purity Pledge and Embracing Compromise to Foster Resilience
March 9, 2023

The Art of Gardening at Chanticleer
March 21, 2023

Simple by Design: Landscapes for Deep Social Impact
March 29, 2023

The Bower: Native Plant Landscape and Sculpture Park
March 23, 2023

Novel Plant Communities: A Real World Approach to Managing Spontaneous Vegetation
March 31, 2023

Wild Solutions on an Urban Pre-K-12 School Campus
April 13, 2023

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Tell Your Story at ASLA 2023

Boom Island Park, Minneapolis, MN / image: Lane Pelovsky, courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

There’s one week left for the Call for Presentations for the ASLA 2023 Conference on Landscape Architecture in Minneapolis! Help us shape the education program by submitting a proposal by Wednesday, February 22, 2023, at 12:00 PM NOON CT.

If you’re an ASLA member, make sure you have your unique ASLA Member ID or username handy—you should use it to log into the submission system. If you’ve not yet logged into the submission site, we strongly encourage you to do so this week. Once you start your submission, you can edit your proposal until the deadline. Proposals cannot be submitted until all speakers accept the speaker terms and agreement.

Explore the track descriptions for topic ideas to help you get started (though you are by no means limited to the examples listed, of course). The Annual Conference Education Advisory Committee selected these seven tracks as priority areas for the 2023 Conference education sessions: Biodiversity; Changing the Culture in Practice; Climate Action; Design and the Creative Process; Design Implementation; Leadership, Career Development, and Business; and Planning, Urban Design, and Infrastructure.

Our session submission guides, linked below, provide detailed information on what you need to include, with expert tips on putting together a winning proposal:

  • Education Sessions: Education sessions are 60-, 75-, and 90-minute sessions that deliver a selection of relevant and timely topics. Session includes a minimum 50 of minutes of instruction followed by 10/15 minutes of Q&A, maximum three speakers.
  • Deep Dive Sessions: Deep dive sessions are interactive, in-depth, 2.5-hour programs that explore specific landscape architecture topics, maximum five speakers.
  • Field Sessions: Multiple speakers offer education combined with a field experience, highlighting local projects. Field sessions are organized through the local chapter.

Education session speakers selected from this process will receive a full complimentary registration to the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture.

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Championing Climate Positive Design

ASLA 2021 Professional Urban Design Honor Award. Xuhui Runway Park, Shanghai, China. Sasaki / image: Insaw Photography, Sasaki

ASLA recently launched the call for entries its 2023 Professional and Student Awards Program, with a new addition to the Professional Awards’ Analysis & Planning category: the ASLA / IFLA Global Impact Award. New for 2023, the ASLA / IFLA Global Impact Award will be presented to a project that demonstrates excellence in landscape architecture by addressing climate impacts through transformative action, scalable solutions, and adherence to ASLA’s and the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)’s climate action commitments.

The ASLA / IFLA Global Impact Award grew out of several discussion between IFLA and ASLA leadership. In August 2021, IFLA presented their Climate Action Commitment, in which they committed to collaborate with others “to champion climate positive design.” In September of the year, IFLA requested that ASLA ratify the association’s commitment to actions contained in the statement. Around the same time, IFLA’s strategic plan recommended partnering with member associations to advance awareness of the profession and its exemplary work, including associating with programs and awards. During this same time, ASLA was developing the Climate Action Plan. The confluence of the two climate documents, commitments to actions, ASLA’s interest in raising awareness of climate as part of the awards program, and IFLA’s desire to partner with associations on awards led to the formation of the ASLA / IFLA Global Impact Award.

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Viewshed Analysis for Visual Impact Assessment

by Liia Koiv-Haus, ASLA, AICP

The Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire / image: Dyndez, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visual Impact Assessments (VIAs) are a technical resource report produced for transportation projects that require consideration of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). VIAs evaluate visual resources—scenic views or vistas—in a project study area and develop mitigation measures to reduce or mitigate a project’s negative impacts on visual resources. Because they require landscape design, revegetation and grading expertise, these reports are often completed by landscape architects. For example, a wildlife overpass might be designed to blend in with surrounding vegetation and topography as the result of mitigation commitments established by the VIA.

NEPA is generally required for projects involving federal lands, federal dollars, or a federal agency permit. Different federal agencies have different methods for visual assessment; the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and United States Forest Service (USFS) all have varying requirements and guidance.

The 2015 FHWA Guidelines for the Visual Impact Assessment of Highway Projects provides nationwide guidance for Departments of Transportation (DOTs) completing VIAs. These guidelines state that “With the ever-increasing sophistication of computer modeling, adding vegetation and structures to [a] corridor’s topographic information to establish actual physical constraints will become increasingly possible and is preferred for the VIA.” The computer modeling discussed here is referred to as a “viewshed analysis.” A viewshed analysis is a computer algorithm or analysis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software that shows what area is visible from a certain location, taking into consideration obstructions like buildings, trees, and topography. The visible area is called a viewshed and is typically depicted on a map.

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Funding Opportunities for Environmental Justice Projects

ASLA 2022 Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award. Preparing the Ground: Restorative Justice on Portland’s Interstate 5, Portland, OR. ZGF Architects / image: ZGF Architects

This past year, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) created new funding opportunities for transportation and green infrastructure projects. ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) are working to share information to support landscape architects thinking about growing your practice in transportation. See below for a few ways to learn more about these new sources of funding.
– Jean Senechal Biggs, ASLA, Transportation Professional Practice Network (PPN) leader

Increase Access to Transit in Low-Income Neighborhoods

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration announced $20 million in competitive grants to help improve public transit in rural and urban areas experiencing long-term economic distress.

This grant is a part of the Areas of Persistent Poverty Program, which aims to build modern infrastructure and an equitable, climate-secure future. Specifically, the program supports increased transit access for environmental justice populations, community outreach and public engagement, and the transition to low- and no-emission vehicles and associated charging equipment.

For projects eligible under the Areas of Persistent Poverty Program, applicants should reference:

  • FTA Circular 8100-1D – Program Guidance for Metropolitan Planning and State Planning and Research Program Grants and
  • FTA Circular 9030.1E – Urbanized Area Formula Program: Program Guidance and Application Instructions.

The deadline to apply is March 10, 2023. 

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