Being the Change

by Gina Ford, FASLA, Cinda Gilliland, ASLA, Rebecca Leonard, Jamie Maslyn Larson, ASLA, and Steven Spears, FASLA

Gina Ford, FASLA, presenting during the 2018 ASLA annual meeting
Gina Ford, FASLA, presenting during the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting / image: EPNAC

Regardless of your political perspective, we can all agree that 2016 was an interesting year for our nation. Since, we have seen women, in particular, participating in civic action and protest in record numbers. Accordingly, last fall, the midterm election of 2018 resulted in a wave of “firsts”—with a history-making number of women, people of color, LBGTQ leaders, and women of color breaking onto the national scene in politics not just as candidates, but being voted in as representatives of their constituents.

A similar shift is happening in the practice of landscape architecture. In the years of 2016 and 2017, we—Gina Ford, Cinda Gilliland, Rebecca Leonard, and Jamie Maslyn Larson—all highly recognized, talented female landscape architects and planners—broke away from their signature roles in traditional national award-winning firms—Sasaki, SWA, Design Workshop, and West 8, respectively—to lead or start new practices, some after decades of practice in those offices. In October of 2018, concurrent with our panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities of female leadership at the national ASLA conference, moderated by Steven Spears, we published the Women’s Landscape Equality (re)Solution online at www.change.org, outlining actions for leveling the playing field for women in our profession.

The Resolution provides some context about the state of the profession as it relates to gender equality, a charge for change and a specific set of commitments to be made by signatories. We are asking supporters of it and its recommended commitments for the following:

  • Sign the (re)Solution.
  • Share your commitment to the (re)Solution by posting it on your firm’s website and on social media with the hashtag #landscapeequalitysolution and other relevant hashtags;
  • Review your firm’s policies and salaries for opportunities to make positive change right away; and
  • Engage in conversations with your colleagues on how to more actively enlist women and minorities into your firm’s work, culture and leadership.

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Submit Your Ideas for the ASLA 2019 Conference on Landscape Architecture

San Diego's Waterfront Park
San Diego’s Waterfront Park, by Hargreaves Associates. The 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture will take place November 15-18 in San Diego, CA. / image: Ron Thomas and Patty Thomas, iStock

The American Society of Landscape Architects is accepting proposals for the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego, November 15-18.

The conference education program provides professional development opportunities that address the diversity of practice types and cross-sector collaborations most relevant to the practice of landscape architecture today. If you are interested in presenting and sharing your knowledge with the landscape architecture profession, please submit a proposal through our online system. Proposals must be submitted by Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

New Session Formats for 2019

60- or 75-Minute Education Session
The standard education session with 50/60 minutes of presentation followed by 10/15 minutes of Q&A, maximum three speakers.

90-Minute Education Session
Education session with 60 minutes of presentation followed by 30 minutes of Q&A, maximum three speakers.

Professional Practice Network (PPN) Education Session
PPNs represent the major practice areas within the landscape architecture profession and provide networking and mentorship opportunities. A PPN session is a 60- or 75-minute session with 50/60 minutes of presentation followed by 10/15 minutes of Q&A. Up to four sessions will be selected. PPN sessions must be submitted and delivered by at least one member of the selected PPN. See more information on PPN sessions below.

Deep Dive Session
In-depth, three-hour technical programs that dig deep into specific landscape architecture topics.

Field Session
Education combined with a field experience. Field sessions are organized through the host chapter. Please contact the host chapter committee leaders at asla2019fieldsessions@gmail.com.

Introducing Professional Practice Network (PPN) Education Sessions

New for 2019: members of ASLA’s PPNs are invited to submit a proposal for a PPN education session, emphasizing your particular practice area within the landscape architecture profession, and providing a forum to make connections outside your market. Up to four proposals will be selected for one-hour sessions with a maximum of three speakers. At least one member of the selected PPN must be included in the proposal.

We encourage you to submit a presentation of your own and to reach out to members of your PPN to develop a presentation proposal. Consider the unique view on the profession your fellow PPN members have to offer!

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Books by ASLA Members: ASLA’s Online Bookstore

by Ian Bucacink, M.A., M.L.I.S.

Header image
image: catherinecronin / Flickr

With the holiday season in full swing, what could be a better gift than a book authored by one of ASLA’s members? At one time, ASLA operated a brick-and-mortar bookstore out of our national headquarters, but these days we leave it to the professionals at Amazon to handle the ordering and fulfillment. ASLA does receive money from customers that we direct to books on Amazon, but only when people use the special URLs on the ASLA website.

From the Books by ASLA Members landing page, the books are divided into seven categories:

  • Landscape Architecture: Landscape architecture design and coffee table books, histories, and analyses
  • Sustainability: The Sustainable SITES Initiative® (SITES®) and sustainable design planning, design, implementation, and maintenance how-to books
  • Gardens and Gardening: Garden design and coffee table books, histories, and analyses
  • Plants, Trees, and Flowers: Guides for how to plant and maintain plants, trees, and flowers in different landscapes
  • Biographies: Histories and visual records of works by living and deceased landscape architects
  • Urban Planning and Design: Planning and design and how-to books related to climate change, sustainable urban development, sustainable transportation, community involvement, and other urban topics
  • Drawing and Design: Drawing and software modeling how-to books by expert landscape architect practitioners

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Nominate Your Peers for Recognition: 2019 ASLA Honors

by Makeeya Hazelton

ASLA Honorees accepting their awards

ASLA Honors are prestigious awards that recognize individuals and organizations for their lifetime achievements and notable contributions to the profession of landscape architecture.

The deadline for all 2019 ASLA Honors nominations is February 1, 2019.

Honors nomination categories are:

The ASLA Medal

The ASLA Medal is ASLA’s highest honor, bestowed upon a landscape architect whose lifetime achievements and contributions to the profession have had a unique and lasting impact on the welfare of the public and the environment.

Recent ASLA Medal winners: Linda Jewell, FASLA; Charles Birnbaum, FASLA; Kurt Culbertson, FASLA; M. Paul Friedberg, FASLA; Richard Bell, FASLA

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Shanghai Landscape Forum Focuses on International Efforts in China

by Dou Zhang, ASLA

The latest Shanghai Landscape Forum, focused on Landscape and Infrastructure, took place September 20, 2018. / image: Sasaki
The latest Shanghai Landscape Forum, focused on Landscape and Infrastructure, took place September 20, 2018. / image: Sasaki

Initiated by Sasaki, AECOM, and SWA, and joined by other leading international landscape architecture practices such as ASPECT Studios and SOM, Shanghai Landscape Forum is now a summit for the international design community in Shanghai, China.

On September 20, 2018, Shanghai Landscape Forum hosted its fourth event at Shanghai AIO Space. Hosted by ASPECT Studios, designers from SOM, ATKINS, Sasaki, SWA, AECOM, and HASSELL presented on and discussed the theme “Landscape and Infrastructure.” The presentations explored topics such as how to integrate infrastructure harmoniously with nature and site, how to make infrastructure work efficiently, and how to improve and bring new life to old infrastructures via creative design principles and pioneering design approaches.

The mission of the Forum is to pioneer new practices that result in design innovation and influence policy transformation, raise public awareness of landscape architecture’s vital contributions, and bring landscape architecture into the mainstream by advocating for the profession as a driving force for social progress.

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Transportation Professional Practice Network Annual Meeting Recap

by Christine Colley, ASLA, RLA, and the Transportation PPN Leadership Team

The view toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art down Benjamin Franklin Parkway / image: EPNAC
The view toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art down Benjamin Franklin Parkway / image: EPNAC

The Transportation Professional Practice Network (PPN) meeting at the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia last month was well attended and chock-full of content. Incoming PPN Co-Chair Jean Senechal Biggs, ASLA, opened the session by introducing the PPN leadership team (read more about the team here). She described the PPN’s mission and referenced associated practice networks and ASLA initiatives, including the New Mobility and Emerging Technologies Subcommittee (previously Autonomous Vehicles) of ASLA’s Professional Practice Committee. The PPN’s Online Learning sessions, newsletter, and website were also discussed.

In keeping with the Transportation PPN’s annual tradition, ASLA’s Director of Federal Government Affairs, Roxanne Blackwell, Esq., Hon. ASLA, provided a legislation update. Roxanne was pleased to report no threats to funding for major federal programs relevant to landscape architects at this time. She noted that the very popular TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program had been renamed. The new BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) Transportation Discretionary Grants program maintains the TIGER program’s singular focus on surface transportation infrastructure investments by offering competitive grants that favor projects with significant local or regional impacts. The funding level for the BUILD grants has been set at $1.5 billion dollars.

Another promising legislative action is H.R. 5158. This bill was unanimously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in September. The bi-partisan bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to reopen the nomination process for National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads. Roxanne reminded those in attendance that live social media alerts on H.R. 5158 had been sent out to members. She urged everyone to contact their Representative(s) to express support for the bill. The goal is to get as many co-sponsors in this Congress as possible—a show of bipartisan support—before Congress transitions in 2019. ASLA members continue to report using funds from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Scenic Byway program. ASLA would consider it an incredible coup if program funding was re-established.

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Parks, Play, and People: Equity and Community in Recreation

by Missy Benson, ASLA

The joint meeting of the Children’s Outdoor Environments and Parks & Recreation Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) in Philadelphia / image: EPNAC
The joint meeting of the Children’s Outdoor Environments and Parks & Recreation Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) in Philadelphia / image: EPNAC

The 2018 Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN Meeting in Review

The ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO’s joint meeting of the Children’s Outdoor Environments and Parks & Recreation Professional Practice Networks (PPNs), which offered attendees 1.0 PDH, focused on the topic of “Parks, Play, and People: Equity and Community in Recreation” with short presentations by, from left right in the photo above: Joy Kuebler, ASLA, Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect, PC; Andrew Spurlock, FASLA, Spurlock Landscape Architects; and Diane Jones Allen, ASLA, The University of Texas at Arlington and DesignJones, LLC. (For a recap of all PPN events that took place during the meeting, see the overall PPN Live in Review Field post.)

We measure success at our events when we have a great turnout of people interested in our topics—and indeed we had standing room only during our joint event in Philadelphia! Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN leadership was well represented among the 70+ attendees (and several attendees also signed up to join the PPN leadership team!). Here is a summary of the three presentations that took place.

Diane Jones Allen spoke about “The Challenge of Park Equity in Communities with Environmental Challenges,” including Sankofa Wetland Park in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Diane explained the technique “Mining the Indigenous” as described in Design as Democracy to bring together community knowledge typically overlooked and left unmined, to the detriment of projects. For example, local residents shared extensive knowledge of the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle from childhoods spent in these wetlands. Contributions from locals provided a better understanding of the fauna, including alligators, snakes, and insects, and flora, such as edible plants and the historical uses of existing vegetation. Diane described examples of bio-retention facilities designed to alleviate neighborhood flooding during heavy rainfall, with native vegetation and walking paths to promote educational and recreational opportunities for community residents and other users.

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The 2018 Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge Results

by Chris Stevens, ASLA

Golden Gate Park, Heroes’ Grove and Gold Star Mothers’ Memorial Boulder, HALS CA-49-B, San Francisco, California / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Results of the ninth annual Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge, Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War, were announced at the HALS Meeting in Philadelphia during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO on Saturday, October 20, 2018. Congratulations to the winners! Sponsored by the National Park Service, cash prizes were awarded to the top three submissions. This challenge resulted in the donation of 17 impressive HALS short format historical reports and a few measured drawings and large format photographs to the HALS collection. This competition marks the 100th Anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, on November 11, 1918.

2018 HALS Challenge: Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War
Sponsored by HALS-National Park Service

First Place: Golden Gate Park, Heroes’ Grove and Gold Star Mothers’ Memorial Boulder, HALS CA-49-B
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California
by Cate Bainton with large format photographs by Les Tabata and Cate Bainton

Second Place: American Academy in Rome, Thrasher-Ward Memorial, HALS US-10-A
Rome, Italy (Please check with the NPS HALS Office before documenting foreign sites to make sure they meet the criteria to be considered a Historic American Landscape.)
by James O’Day, ASLA

Third Place: Monument Terrace, HALS VA-79
Lynchburg, Campbell County, Virginia
by Laura Knott, ASLA, RLA, MSHP

Honorable Mention: Liberty Row, HALS OH-13
Passing through Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and Shaker Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
by P. Jeffrey Knopp, ASLA

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Exploring Social & Sensory Barriers That Impede Play in Public Spaces

Chad Kennedy, ASLA, speaking at TEDx Modesto / image: TEDx

TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading,” has popularized short, engaging talks from thought leaders since its founding in 1984 as a conference on Technology, Entertainment and Design. Since then, TED has expanded with the TEDx program to support local, independently organized events that bring communities together to share ideas and spark conversation.

TED speakers have included Walter Hood, ASLA, Kate Orff, ASLA, Janette Sadik-Kahn, Honorary ASLA, and Jeff Speck, Honorary ASLA. This past September, Chad Kennedy, ASLA, P.L.A., CPSI, LEED® AP BD+C, joined the TED speaker cohort at TEDxModesto, which combined TED Talks videos and live presentations by local thinkers and doers on the theme “What makes your life more colorful?”

Chad is Principal Landscape Architect at O’Dell Engineering, and he is also serving as Chair of ASLA’s Professional Practice Network (PPN) Council this year, after serving as co-chair and officer for the Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN. Chad is an advocate for and designer of recreational spaces that are created specifically to enrich the lives of all those who visit them. (See “Processing Through Play,” from the June 2018 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, for more on Chad’s focus on play spaces for children with sensory disorders.)

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Women in Landscape Architecture (WILA) Annual Meeting Recap

by Alison Kennedy, ASLA

The Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) Meeting in Philadelphia / image: EPNAC

The 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO was a landmark meeting for the Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN). Not only did our PPN host two well-attended events as part of the conference, we were also pleased to see women in our profession more equally represented amongst education session panels. 20 WILA PPN members spoke, moderated sessions, and led field sessions on a wide variety of topics over the course of the meeting.

The PPN’s Women in Leadership Roundtable took place on the PPN Live stage in the EXPO hall on Saturday morning. With more than 90 attendees in the standing-room-only audience, we can safely say that this is one of the best, if not the best, turnouts we have ever had at our PPN Live meeting. Roundtable participants Wendy Miller, FASLA, Vanessa Warren, ASLA, Haley Blakeman, ASLA, and Magdalena Aravena, ASLA, shared their paths to leadership positions  and lessons learned along the way.

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PPN Live in Philadelphia: The 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Review

image: EPNAC

With the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO behind us, it’s time to recap the array of Professional Practice Network (PPN) events that took place throughout the meeting weekend in PPN Live.

PPN meetings, including three collaborative joint meetings that PPN pairs planned together, took place on Saturday and Sunday, October 20-21, drawing nearly 700 participants to PPN Live on the EXPO floor. PPN events were open to all attendees, giving them the chance to meet fellow PPN members and explore different practice areas.

During the PPN meetings—which ranged from panels to quickfire presentations to interviews, among other formats—new PPN leadership volunteers were also identified for many PPNs, along with members interested in submitting posts for The Field or presenting ASLA Online Learning webinars. If you would like to learn more about getting involved, check out the ways to engage and PPN leadership positions to consider.

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FHWA Updates to CSS/CSD Practice

by Christine Colley, ASLA, RLA

ASLA 2013 Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award. Townscaping an Automobile-Oriented Fabric: Farmington, Arkansas. University of Arkansas Community Design Center / image: University of Arkansas Community Design Center

Context Sensitive Design (CSS) is having a moment. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has recently released three new publications on Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) and Context Sensitive Design (CSD). The documents are excellent resources for seasoned and novice transportation landscape architects:

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) and Context Sensitive Designs (CSD) are not new. The concept was first introduced in the 1997 FHWA publication A Guide for Achieving Flexibility in Highway Design and further defined during the May 1998 workshop Thinking Beyond the Pavement: A National Workshop on Integrating Highway Development with Communities and the Environment. CSS is a decision-making tool that emphasizes multidisciplinary, collaborative approaches to the planning and design of transportation infrastructure. Ideally, when following a CSS decision-making process, the result is a transportation facility uniquely suited to its setting. CSS is achieved by maintaining and enhancing scenic, aesthetic, historical, community, and environmental resources while simultaneously improving or maintaining safety and mobility.

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Effective Conservation in a Changing World

A view from Crissy Field in the Presidio / image: Alexandra Hay

2018 US/ICOMOS Symposium
November 13-14, 2018
The Presidio, San Francisco, California

Join thought leaders from the U.S. and around the globe in advancing the connections between cultural and natural heritage for more sustainable conservation. This symposium, Forward Together: A Culture-Nature Journey Towards More Effective Conservation in a Changing World, builds on the recognition that integration of cultural and natural heritage conservation and stewardship across professional boundaries and disciplines is essential to improving conservation outcomes.

The symposium kicks off a week of conference activities in San Francisco, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

ASLA members participating in the US/ICOMOS Symposium and PastForward include:

Welcome from symposium partners
Michael Boland, ASLA
, Chief of Park Development and Visitor Engagement, Presidio Trust

Re-envisioning the Cultural Landscape Report: Straddling the Nature/Culture Divide at Pecos National Historical Park
Theme: Taking a landscape approach to integrating nature and culture
Robert Melnick, FASLA
, Senior Cultural Resource Specialist, MIG, Inc.

Protecting Mendocino Woodlands: Lessons from a Landscape of Natural and Cultural Significance
Theme: Linking resilience, sustainable heritage and community livelihoods
Laurie Matthews, ASLA, Director of Preservation Planning + Design, MIG, Inc. (presented by Robert Melnick, FASLA)

Identifying Tangible and Intangible Cultural Relationships in a Rapidly Changing Region of Turkey
Theme: Stewardship of biocultural landscapes in the 21st century: the role of traditional knowledge and practices
Terry Clements, FASLA, Professor and Program Chair, Virginia Tech Landscape Architecture Program

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Annual Meeting Education Session Highlights, Part 2

Spruce Harbor Park at night, Penns Landing, Philadelphia / image: Jon Lovette / Alamy Stock Photo

The 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO begins tomorrow, October 19! In addition to the events planned for PPN Live, each Professional Practice Network (PPN) leadership team reviews the annual meeting education program to highlight sessions relevant to their practice areas. With more than 130 courses, allowing attendees to earn up to 24 professional development hours (PDH), it is an extensive program to explore, and you can do so through the meeting website and mobile app by title, speaker, topic area, and PDH type (LA CES/HSW, LA CES/non-HSW, AIA, AICP, CMAA, FL, GBCI CE, GBCI SITES, ISA, NY, etc.).

Below, we run through the second half of these education highlights (see the sessions picked by ASLA’s 10 other PPNs in our previous post):

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Annual Meeting Education Session Highlights, Part 1

Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square / image: Jon Lovette / Alamy Stock Photo

The 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO begins this Friday in Philadelphia! In addition to the events planned for PPN Live, each Professional Practice Network (PPN) leadership team also reviews the annual meeting education program to highlight sessions relevant to their practice areas. With more than 130 courses, allowing attendees to earn up to 24 professional development hours (PDH), it is an extensive program to explore, and you can do so through the meeting website and mobile app by title, speaker, topic area, and PDH type (LA CES/HSW, LA CES/non-HSW, AIA, AICP, CMAA, FL, GBCI CE, GBCI SITES, ISA, NY, etc.).

Below, we run through the first half of these education highlights (stay tuned for sessions picked by ASLA’s 10 other PPNs this Thursday):

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PPN Live: Professional Development on the EXPO Floor

Earn PDH right on the EXPO floor at four Professional Practice Network (PPN) sessions for PDH, taking place in PPN Live, and eight PPN EXPO Tours on Saturday and Sunday, October 20-21, 2018, during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO. / images: EPNAC

The 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia this month offers many opportunities to learn and network during the largest gathering of landscape architects in the world. In addition to education sessions, field sessions, and workshops, ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) offer two more ways to earn professional development hours (PDH), right on the EXPO floor:

PPN Meetings for PDH

International Practice PPN Meeting
Rethinking Landscape Interventions During Urban Renewal of Chinese Cities
Saturday, October 20, 9:15 – 10:15 am
1.0 PDH LA CES / HSW

Unleashed urban sprawl propelled by rapid economic development has caused many issues in China during the past 40 years. With growing public awareness and global vision on the environmental quality, social justice, and cultural heritage in China, as well as the ever strict control on land uses across the country, many cities are refocusing on the developed areas and promoting urban renewal efforts. Case studies will be used to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the recent urban renewal efforts in China through the lens of governance, urban planning, and landscape design.

Speakers:

  • Dou Zhang, PLA, ASLA, Sasaki Associates;
  • Ming-Jen Hsueh, ASLA, Sasaki Associates;
  • Yufan Zhu, Tsinghua University

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PPN Live in Philadelphia: Professional Practice Network Meetings Preview

There will be many opportunities to learn, network, and celebrate during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia later this month. In addition to the 130+ education sessions, field sessions, workshops, and special events, be sure to add PPN Live to your annual meeting plans.

Through PPN Live, you can network with colleagues from all 20 ASLA Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) throughout the annual meeting weekend, right on the EXPO floor. PPN membership is not required to attend that PPN’s meeting or the PPN EXPO tours—all are welcome! Already a member of one PPN, but curious about another? Or not sure which PPN to choose (all ASLA members receive one PPN membership for free)? You are welcome to attend as many PPN events as you like!

The schedule of PPN meetings is below, followed by descriptions of what’s planned for each:

Saturday, October 20

9:15 – 10:00 am

9:15 – 10:15 am

10:00 – 10:45 am

12:45 – 1:30 pm

12:45 – 1:45 pm

1:30 – 2:15 pm

Sunday October 21

9:15 – 10:00 am

9:15 – 10:15 am

10:00 – 10:45 am

12:45 – 1:30 pm

12:45 – 1:45 pm

1:30 – 2:15 pm

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PPN Interview: Ilisa Goldman, ASLA

Child Development Associates, Hilltop Child Development Center Habitat gARTen: On November 15 and 16, 2014, approximately 150 volunteers worked together to build the Habitat gARTen, combining art and nature into a dynamic laboratory for hands on, project based learning. / image: Alex Calegari

Recently, the ASLA Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (PPN)’s Online Learning Coordinator, Principal Ilisa Goldman, PLA, MLA, ASLA, Founder of Rooted in Place, recorded a podcast: I Made It in San Diego: A Place Maker Builds a Business. It is well worth listening to! For now, we invite you to read an interview with Ilisa, whose work with children and those who are marginalized in the San Diego community is truly making a difference.

How has your passion influenced your practice?

I have held the core values of stewardship, social equity, and environmentalism since my teen years. If you had asked me twenty years ago what I would be doing now, I think my answer would have been very similar to the work I do today: fostering community and connecting people to the natural world.

I was introduced to landscape architecture during my senior year at Rollins College. Majoring in environmental studies, I learned environmental issues from cultural, economic, and science based perspectives. During graduate school at North Carolina State University, I sought out classes, mentors, and projects that allowed me to focus my passions. From studying permaculture to the design of children’s environments, I saw the importance of taking an integrated approach to design. Beginning practice in 2002, I looked for meaningful and interesting work. I am grateful to have worked for Spurlock Landscape Architects (formerly Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects). During this time, I was encouraged to bring my knowledge to the table, explore my ideas, and grow as designer, all while learning the realities of landscape architecture and running a practice.

Between 2009 and 2012, while raising my two young daughters, I began volunteering at San Diego Children and Nature, teaching at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, and training in the Pomegranate Method for Creative Collaboration. These experiences showed me how small scale, community-oriented projects were critical in improving the quality of educational and community spaces.

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Collaboration with Indigenous Communities to Inform Design for Significant Landscapes

by Brenda Williams, ASLA

Randy Teboe, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) of the Ponca Tribe of Iowa, on site at Xe’ (Blood Run National Historic Landmark, for which Quinn Evans Architects' cultural landscape master plan won a 2018 ASLA Professional Honor Award in Analysis and Planning) with Dale Henning, archeologist, and project landscape architects Stephanie Austin, ASLA, and Brenda Williams, ASLA. / image: Dan Williams, ASLA
Randy Teboe, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) of the Ponca Tribe of Iowa, on site at Xe’ (Blood Run National Historic Landmark, for which Quinn Evans Architects’ cultural landscape master plan won a 2018 ASLA Professional Honor Award in Analysis and Planning) with Dale Henning, archeologist, and project landscape architects Stephanie Austin, ASLA, and Brenda Williams, ASLA. / image: Dan Williams, ASLA

Over the last few years, my team has had the opportunity to focus on several landscapes that are deeply significant to Indigenous communities. This work has involved integrating knowledge of Indigenous communities in planning and design projects. Through efforts to incorporate the perspectives of Indigenous groups, we are learning to step outside mainstream cultural views to enhance placemaking.

Several projects have been greatly enriched through collaborating with individuals and communities whose knowledge of the landscapes span ecological, cultural, and spiritual significance. The resulting planning and design solutions are embedded with aspects that support meaningful cultural connections while also providing opportunities for improved education of the general public about American Indian cultures today and in the past.

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Missing Middle Housing

ASLA 2015 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Sweetwater Spectrum Residential Community for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sonoma, CA. Roche+Roche Landscape Architecture / image: Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA
ASLA 2015 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Sweetwater Spectrum Residential Community for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sonoma, CA. Roche+Roche Landscape Architecture / image: Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA

The wide gap between the diversity of American households and the housing stock available is widely acknowledged and well-documented. Given demographic trends—more households of single individuals, fewer households with children, a growing 65+ population—this disconnect will only become more dramatic if different housing types are not made more readily available.

To that end, there is a growing interest in strategies and policies that remove barriers to and incentivizes building what has come to be known as “missing middle” housing. These are house-like, multi-unit buildings planned within walking distance of retail and amenities. This kind of housing, scaled between single-family homes and apartment buildings, can provide attainable, walkable, and neighborhood-based housing options.

On September 6, 2018, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., hosted a lecture on missing middle housing presented by Daniel Parolek, AIA, of Opticos Design, co-author of Form Based Codes: A Guide for Planners, Urban Designers, Municipalities, and Developers
and a founding board member of the Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI). This program was part of a series complementing the museum’s exhibition Making Room: Housing for a Changing America, extended through January 6, 2019. A publication documenting the exhibition, created in partnership with AARP, is planned for release this fall.

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2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO: Learn and Earn up to 24 PDH

ASLA 2018 Professional General Design Honor Award. Longwood Gardens Main Fountain Garden, Kennett Square, PA. West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture / image: © Noah Devereaux courtesy West 8

The 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO offers many opportunities to learn and network during the largest gathering of landscape architects in the world. This Friday, September 14, is the Advanced Rate deadline—take advantage of discounted rates for registration, housing, workshops, special events, JobLink LIVE, and more!

The meeting offers more than 130 courses, allowing attendees to earn up to 24 professional development hours (PDH). Learning opportunities taking place throughout the meeting include:

While access to the education sessions, general sessions, and EXPO education offerings are included in your meeting registration, field sessions and workshops are ticketed events. Purchase today: prices increase with the Advanced deadline.

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From Slums to Sky Gardens – Singapore’s Public Housing Success

by Erik S. Mustonen, ASLA, CSLA, RLA (CA + MN), CLARB, LEED AP-ND

image: Erik Mustonen

The Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects organized nine technical tours as part of the very well-run 2018 World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). Tour 1, “Remaking Heartlands in Singapore,” was prepared with the assistance of the Housing and Development Board and featured sky gardens, green roofs/walls, and sustainable stormwater management for high-rise public housing in Singapore.

Historical Background

The Republic of Singapore is a multi-ethnic Chinese, Malay, and Indian (mainly Tamil) island city-state connected by two causeways to the southern end of the Malay Peninsula, a 5-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2017 it had a population of 5.61 million (and rising) on 709 square kilometers (274 square miles) for a density of 7,796 per km². By way of comparison, Chicago has a population of 2.7 million (and falling) on 589 square kilometers (227 square miles) for a density of 4,613 per km². (Population density figures may vary depending on whether the water area is included.)

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Call for Research Literature on Plants in Green Infrastructure

by David Hopman, ASLA, PLA

Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) bioswale 2, designed by David Hopman; winter character in January 2018 / image: David Hopman, ASLA, PLA
Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) bioswale 2, designed by David Hopman; winter character in January 2018 / image: David Hopman, ASLA, PLA

On August 12, 2018, I attended a meeting of a new committee created by the Environmental Water Research Institute (EWRI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The task force, comprised of approximately 40 stormwater professionals, is titled: ASLA/EWRI Committee on Plants and Soils Performance in Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI). The committee will produce recommendations over the next few years that will be distributed in a booklet and online. This work will be specifically focused on providing better research-based guidelines for soil performance and plant performance as an overlapping, interrelated system rather than as individualized elements. The committee’s goal is to provide guidance on short-term, medium-, and long-term practices to ensure that systems maximize performance.

Additionally, other sub areas such as biodiversity, maintenance, and soil microbial functions will be considered. The landscape architects on the taskforce will take the lead in addressing aesthetics and other social parameters that can support or impede acceptance of Green Infrastructure as an important component of place making.

The first phase of the task force’s efforts is to create an annotated bibliography as an indicator of where research is headed and to reveal significant gaps that should be addressed. The literature review phase is being organized by Harris Trobman, Project Specialist in Green Infrastructure at the Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience, The University of District of Columbia. The committee needs good research-based literature, especially as it relates to the performance of plants in green infrastructure. If you have a favorite book or article that you would like to share, please send it to me by December 1, 2018, and I will format it for inclusion in the bibliography. Currently, the bibliography is reflective of the vast preponderance of research that has traditionally come from engineers and scientists. Please free to contact me with questions and/or comments as well. If you would like to format the citation yourself, I can send an example.

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10-Minute Walk Learning Series: Equity in Parks and Recreation

image: Pam Linn

10-Minute Walk Learning Series: Equity in Parks and Recreation Live Q&A
August 30, 2018 at 1:00 PM (EST)

On Thursday, August 30, the National Recreation & Park Association is hosting a live virtual Q&A session as part of the 10-Minute Walk Learning Series. During the Q&A, you will have a chance to ask your peers about their success on topics related to the 10-Minute Walk Campaign, a nationwide movement to ensure there’s a great park within a 10-minute walk of every person, in every neighborhood, in every city across America. The discussion focus is equity, including prioritization models, design, community activation, and more.

Speakers:

  • Joy Kuebler, ASLA, PLA – Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect, PC
  • Pam Linn, FASLA, PLA – Milwaukee Public Schools Department of Recreation and Community Services
  • Som Subedi – City of Portland Parks and Recreation
  • Allison Colman – National Recreation and Park Association

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Tech for Professional Practice

image: Unsplash

ASLA has released two surveys in collaboration with the Professional Practice Committee and Digital Technology Professional Practice Network (PPN):

The Software Utilization Survey aims to gather and share information about what technology and applications landscape architects currently using to operate effectively and efficiently.

The Project Management Technology Use Survey explores the products and services that improves work efficiency and project management skills of our members.

All ASLA members are welcome to take both surveys by Friday, September 7. Each survey should take only 5-7 minutes to complete and your participation is greatly appreciated.

Click here to complete the Software Utilization Survey!

Click here to complete the Project Management Technology Use Survey!

Our Summer Visit to the Thurston Nature Center

Bringing along markers, pencils, crayons, and paper to document their time, Lola and Lucy spend a blissful afternoon at the Thurston Nature Center. / image: Ben Atchison

Can you think of a better way to enjoy a balmy mid-summer afternoon? My dear friend and colleague Ben Atchison recently brought his granddaughters Lola (age 10) and Lucy (age 8) Valentin to the Thurston Nature Center in Ann Arbor, MI. Lush and inviting, the Nature Center is a favorite destination for Papa and the girls. Lola and Lucy are delighted to share their photo journal with you.
– Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA, Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network Co-Communications Director

For those familiar with Ann Arbor, Michigan, the nearly 24-acre Thurston Nature Center is next door to both the Thurston Elementary and Clague Middle Schools. Lola, who is in fifth grade and Lucy, who is in third grade, attend Thurston Elementary School, which makes the Nature Center even that much more special to them.

In 1968, the Nature Center was designated a Conservation Education Reserve by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The space is jointly owned by the Ann Arbor Public Schools and Orchard Hills Athletic Club. Fifty years “young,” the Nature Center is used by the Ann Arbor Schools Environmental Education Program and the greater Ann Arbor community. It is maintained and enhanced by the teachers and students and their families at Thurston Elementary and Clague Middle Schools, with help from devoted neighborhood volunteers. This gracious outdoor oasis is enjoyed by young and old alike.

The space hosts five ecosystems; trails; an 8.4-acre pond and a vernal pond that fish, turtles, and muskrats call home; native plants that attract butterflies and birds; and raccoons and skunks. The Center also contains a hickory-oak woodlot, a rain garden, and vine trellis. In 2015 and 2016, students from the elementary school and community volunteers worked to install a native prairie. Many of the improvement projects that occur at the Center help to support the elementary school’s Green STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) program while simultaneously improving the biodiversity of the area. The Thurston Nature Center is a popular destination for Ann Arbor school field trips and outdoor experiential education. Be sure to add The Thurston Nature Center to your agenda should your travels take you to Ann Arbor!

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The 2018 IFLA World Congress in Singapore

by Erik S. Mustonen, ASLA, CSLA, RLA (CA + MN), CLARB, LEED AP-ND

image: Erik Mustonen

The Republic of Singapore, an island city-state one degree north of the equator, has 5.6 million residents on 700 square kilometers (270 square miles.) Since independence in 1965, land reclamation has increased its size by 23%. With dense development on its small area, only 5% of its historical forests remain, but the creation of nature parks has become a national priority. It is a multi-ethnic community with four official languages—English (most common), Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Most of its people are bilingual. About 74% of the residents are of Chinese descent. It ranks very high in many economic measures and is known to be safe, corruption free, and extremely well organized (some say too organized). While working in nearby Malaysia in the 1980s and 1990s, I often visited Singapore, and I was impressed by how much it has developed since then.

The 2018 International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) World Congress and Trade Exhibition was held from July 18-19, at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. It was organized by IFLA together with the Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects and the (Singapore) National Parks Board. The organizers also offered nine technical tours on July 20.

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Creating an Everyone-Wins Playground Partnership

by Lawrence Raffel, PLA, ASLA

The Mark Twain Elementary School Playground in Wheeling, Illinois / image: Lawrence Raffel

Some say two heads are better than one. The Wheeling Park District discovered this concept applies to public agencies, too.

It makes sense. When agencies establish partnerships, the communities they serve benefit from the collective mission and expertise of each agency. Oftentimes an overarching mission of one agency may support a neglected, yet critical, component of another agency.

Such was the case when the Wheeling Park District partnered with Community Consolidated School District 21 (CCSD21) to design and develop a new playground at Mark Twain Elementary School, and, at the same time, create a neighborhood park within an underserved community. This creative project, a partnership between the Park District and the School District, fosters the goals of both agencies, and, most importantly, the Wheeling community.

In 2010, the Wheeling Park District conducted a Community Attitude and Interest Survey (CAIS) to determine the parks and recreation needs of the Wheeling community. The results of that survey showed an overwhelming need and desire for improved and developed neighborhood parks. In fact, development of neighborhood parks was one of the most selected responses under the category of “Actions Most Willing to Fund with Tax Dollars.” This data has been a driving component of the Wheeling Park District Strategic Plan.

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Join us for the 2018 Student & Emerging Professional SPOTLIGHT Mini-Series

Mark your calendars for two upcoming opportunities to earn professional development hours (PDH) with ASLA’s Student & Emerging Professional SPOTLIGHT mini-series. Each is a two-part presentation, providing access to forward-thinking topics and discussions.

Earlier this year, four emerging professionals were selected to work with Professional Practice Network (PPN) mentors in creating presentations for the SPOTLIGHT mini-series. This program provides valuable mentorship through design critique, effective communication guidance, and building relationships with industry professionals. We’re proud of the work these emerging professionals have put forth, making a name for themselves among their peers, and look forward to their continued volunteer work and leadership with ASLA.

Please join us for the upcoming SPOTLIGHT mini-series presentations Transforming Landscape Through Culture: Dance Principles & Archival Sources as Design Inspiration on August 21 and Adaptation Strategies: Infrastructure Flexibility for Resilient Communities and Autonomous Vehicles on August 28.

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Mentorship Programs for Landscape Architects

by Alison Kennedy, ASLA

A coffee break in Grand Park during the 2017 Women in Landscape Architecture Walk in Los Angeles / image: EPNAC

ASLA’s Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) has heard that many of our members are interested in a mentorship program. We are in the process of pulling together resources to help you find a program you can join, or give you inspiration to start your own program.

Here are few we’ve put together or located so far:

Mentorship Resources:
Women in Design: How to Find a Network of Other Women Designers
Lessons Learned from Mentors
Guidance on Networking & Mentoring for Emerging Professionals
Landscape Architecture Mentoring Programs (2011 report)
Wanted: Examples of Landscape Architecture Mentor Programs

ASLA Chapter Mentorship Programs:
Colorado
Iowa
Minnesota
Northern California
Potomac

Does Your Chapter Support or Work with a Local Mentorship Program?

If you don’t see your chapter’s local mentorship program listed above, please send the link to propractice@asla.org so we can add it to our list. And if you, or someone from your chapter, is interested in writing a short description of the program, please let us know. We’d love to hear from members across the country, especially from areas where landscape architects may be few and far between, and finding a mentor may be more of a challenge. Share your landscape architecture mentorship story!

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