An Invitation to All Professional Practice Network Members

PPN leaders and members at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture
ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) meet during the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture / images: EPNAC

All ASLA members can contribute and participate on a national level through ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). Participation could mean:

In addition to a chair or co-chairs, many PPNs have larger leadership teams that include PPN officers and past chairs. Most teams hold monthly calls to keep track of progress on PPN activities, and all PPN members are welcome to join their PPN’s leadership team.

If you are passionate about your practice area within landscape architecture and want to increase your participation and expand your professional network, volunteering for PPN leadership is a great place to start. The commitment would be a short monthly call with like-minded professionals and volunteering to support one of the PPN’s resources.

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Urban Landscapes as Building Blocks of Cities’ Resilience

by Chih-Wei G.V. Chang, ASLA

Riverfront Park
Resilient design at Wuhan Yangtze Riverfront Park / image: SASAKI

Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities through the Design of Innovative and Inclusive Urban Landscapes: a summary of the panel discussion at the 10th Global Forum on Urban Resilience
Bonn, Germany | June 26-28, 2019

For a decade, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability has been providing a global forum on urban resilience where local governments, researchers, businesses, NGOs and citizens could meet as equals, contributing and sharing with their first-hand experiences and know-how. Past years’ themes have included disaster risk reduction, insurance financing, urban food systems, refugee reception, and digitalization. To mark 10 years of experience and expertise-building in supporting cities to thrive in the face of challenges, this year the Resilient Cities Conference aimed to present a comprehensive view on delivering urban resilience: pathways towards implementing resilience; innovation in the realm of urban resilience; and building cohesive, healthy, and resilient communities. With the above goals in mind, for the first time the congress curated a special panel, “Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities through the Design of Innovative and Inclusive Urban Landscapes,” focusing on landscape architecture and how the profession delivers nature-based solutions in urban resilience building.

Why landscape architecture? At the forefront of shaping resilient urban environments, landscape architects are often challenged to translate complex site-specific risks into tangible transformation. This unique position requires deep an understanding of urban ecology, place-making, and stakeholder engagement to deliver impactful solutions. For many local governments and inter-governmental institutions, landscape architects’ trans-disciplinary working process could be an excellent model to inspire innovative pathways and holistic approaches.

To cover the theme from different perspectives, the congress invited two landscape practitioners, one city representative, and two landscape researchers to participate. They are: Michael Grove, ASLA, from Sasaki; Kotch Voraakhom, ASLA, from Porous City Network; Lee-Shing Fang from Kaohsiung City; Chih-Wei G.V. Chang from Gravity Praxis University of Cologne; and Antje Stokman from HafenCity University. The panel was moderated by Daniela Rizzi, Officer of Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions at the ICLEI European Secretariat.

The panelists shared their first-hand experience in resilience building in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. By engaging with the panelists and their processes of design thinking, the panel highlights insights on collaborative, design-driven problem-solving as a means of finding solutions for complex urban challenges and building more resilient cities.

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Environmental Justice Survey Findings

by Chingwen Cheng, PhD, ASLA, and Tom Martin, Associate ASLA

A Student's Guide to Environmental Justice Version 1.3
ASLA 2018 Student Communications Honor Award. A Student’s Guide to Environmental Justice Version 1.3. Kari Spiegelhalter, Student ASLA; Patricia Noto, Student ASLA; Tess Ruswick, Student ASLA | Faculty Advisors: Joshua F. Cerra, ASLA / image: Roane Hopkins

The mission of the ASLA Environmental Justice Professional Practice Network (EJ PPN) is to provide a forum for ASLA members involved in, inspired by, and interested in pursuing environmental justice through education, research, and practice.

This spring, the Environmental Justice PPN conducted a survey in order to learn about landscape architects’ understanding of and interests in environmental justice. Input from ASLA members is critical in shaping the EJ PPN and moving our profession forward. Landscape architects also have the opportunity to serve as a community-focused linchpin on multidisciplinary project teams, crafting designs in response to community input and inviting all stakeholders to the table to engage in the planning and design process. With allied professions and organizations, including the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Architects, updating their codes of ethics and professional conduct to reflect stronger support for environmental justice, we wanted to hear from landscape architects for their perspective.

The survey responses will aid in future communications with local ASLA chapters, projects such as a practitioner’s guide to environmental justice, and establishing a platform for EJ dialogue and resource sharing. As we continue working on those initiatives, we wanted to share a recap of the survey results and a few highlights and insights from the more than 170 responses received.

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SITES and Landscape Performance at the 2019 ASLA Conference

Soil penetrometer field demonstration
Soil penetrometer field demonstration, from the A Landscape Performance + Metrics Primer for Landscape Architects: Measuring Landscape Performance on the Ground LATIS paper by Emily McCoy, ASLA / image: Andropogon Associates

New this year, the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture will include three-hour deep dive sessions on Friday, November 15. These interactive, in-depth sessions allow attendees to the unique opportunity to spend time in an extended education session facilitated by subject matter experts.

We are currently finalizing a course around ASLA’s latest Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series (LATIS) report, A Landscape Performance + Metrics Primer for Landscape Architects: Measuring Landscape Performance on the Ground, authored by Emily McCoy, ASLA. This session will present methods that every landscape architect or design firm can use to assess multiple aspects of site performance. Specifically, starting with data sampling basics and including metrics used towards attaining select pre-requisites and credits from the SITES Rating System.

To ensure the most successful learning outcomes and inform discussions during the group breakouts, we are seeking input from our members to help fine-tune the presentation talking points and inform discussions during the group breakouts, including which performance metrics and tools are most relevant and useful to the potential audience:

Take Survey Button

Please complete the survey by Friday, August 30.

Deep Dive Session DD-001: Boots on the Ground: Measuring Landscape Performance in the Field

Speakers:

  • Emily R. McCoy, ASLA, Design Workshop
  • Danielle Pieranunzi, SITES AP, Green Business Certification, Inc.
  • Michele Adams, LEED AP, Meliora Design
  • Kathleen Wolf, University of Washington

How You Can Take Part in LAAB’s Accreditation Standards Review

ASLA 2018 Professional Award of Excellence in Communications. 100 Years of Landscape Architecture at The Ohio State University. Landscape Architecture Section, Knowlton School, The Ohio State University. / image: Phil Arnold

The Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) is the official accrediting body for first professional programs in landscape architecture. Every five years, the LAAB conducts a formal, comprehensive review of the accreditation standards. Later this fall, LAAB will host a public comment review period for the 2016 LAAB Accreditation Standards. In preparation, ASLA’s Committee on Education and the Education & Practice Professional Practice Network (PPN) invite you to attend a live webinar on Thursday, August 22, at 3:00 p.m. ET. Kristopher Pritchard, ASLA’s director of accreditation and education programs, will discuss the current LAAB Accreditation Standards and how you can contribute to the review process during the webinar.

LAAB Accreditation Standards – 2019 Public Comment Period Overview
Thursday, August 22, 2019
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET

Register for the webinar button

The LAAB accreditation process evaluates each program based on its stated objectives and compliance to externally mandated minimum standards. The program conducts a self-study to assess how well it is meeting its educational goals. LAAB then provides an independent assessment, which determines if a program meets accreditation requirements. Programs leading to first professional degrees at the bachelor’s or master’s levels in the United States are eligible to apply for accreditation from LAAB. See a list of programs accredited by LAAB.

Share Your Point of View: Alternative Practice Areas for Landscape Architects

Everyone brings a unique experience to the public realm.
ASLA 2017 Student Honor Award in Communications. Tactile MapTile: working towards inclusive cartography. Jessica Hamilton, Student ASLA | Faculty Advisors: Thaisa Way, ASLA; Anat Caspi; Ben Spenser. University of Washington. / image: Jessica Hamilton

Landscape architecture is an ideal educational foundation for a wide range of creative career opportunities. Increasingly, landscape architects are discovering and pursuing alternative career paths outside of traditional studio professional roles. The ASLA Public Practice Advisory Committee wants to hear about your professional practice needs and interests. This information helps us create valuable resources for public practitioners and those members interested in alternative practice areas.

Your responses will assist with:

  • Outreach efforts spotlighting the important roles landscape architects play in public policy and design of public space.
  • Sharing successes and challenges of pursuing alternative career options for landscape architects.
  • Developing tools necessary to pursue work effectively in government and non-profit roles.
  • Increasing the public’s knowledge of public sector landscape architects.
  • Providing students and emerging professionals with pertinent career development information.

The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Thank you very much for your time and feedback:

Take the survey!

Please complete the survey by Friday, August 16.

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Transportation Research Board Call for Posters on Landscape and Environmental Design

by Willson S. McBurney, ASLA, PLA

Posters on display at the 2018 TRB Annual Meeting
The 2018 TRB Annual Meeting / image: Willson McBurney

Call for Posters: 99th TRB Annual Meeting
January 12-16, 2020
Washington, D.C.
AFB40 abstract submission deadline: September 16, 2019

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Landscape and Environmental Design (AFB40) invites submissions of your work as part of a landscape and environmental design poster session at TRB’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in January 2020.

Please submit your abstract for consideration for presentation at the TRB Annual Meeting’s Landscape and Environmental Design (AFB40) poster session. Topics that emphasize the following as they relate to transportation and environmental design are a priority for AFB40:

  • Energy and sustainability—design, policies, and practices to protect the planet.
  • Policy needs related to the built environment that should be developed prior to full adoption of autonomous vehicle technology.
  • Resilience and security—preparing for floods, fires, storms, and sea level rise.
  • Transformational technologies that will change how transportation environments should be retrofitted or rebuilt.
  • Design to serve growing and shifting populations.

AFB40 also welcomes completed and on-going projects from broad landscape and environmental design areas such as Green Streets, roadsides for pollinators, Complete Streets, transportation design impacts on Main Streets, landscape design to safeguard the public, and art in transportation, as they relate to the scope of this committee. More information on AFB40 can be found on the committee’s website.

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Move to Battery-Powered Lawn Equipment to Help us all Breath (and Hear!) Easier

by David Hopman, ASLA, PLA

Examples of gasoline-powered yard equipment
Gasoline-powered yard equipment in Arlington, Texas / images: David Hopman

One of the best parts of my morning routine is to take a brisk-paced walk with my wife through our leafy suburban neighborhood in Arlington, Texas. It is a great chance to catch up on events, enjoy the changeable weather patterns in North Texas, greet and (occasionally) get caught up with our neighbors, enjoy the mature vegetation, and get the blood moving before a busy day. The neighborhood has very low non-arterial traffic flow that allows people and cars to comfortably coexist on the asphalt streets that are without sidewalks. However, at several points along our route, it invariably happens—the rise of the machines! Our morning reverie is interrupted with deafening sounds and billows of pollution and dust from gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment (GPLGE).

These “machines in the garden” are ever with us, as was recently confirmed by a visit to Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island near Seattle. Bloedel is one of my favorite places to return to and I always take the opportunity when I am in Seattle. Unfortunately, my aesthetic reverie at Bloedel was impacted by power equipment during my visit this summer and then became one of the incitements for this post.

As landscape architects, we are often responsible for designing the landscapes that are maintained by these environmentally and aesthetically abusive machines. Many people have written over the years about lower-maintenance alternatives to lawns and hedges, but adoption has been painfully slow. There is also surprisingly little emphasis on the effects of GPLGE on environmental quality by ASLA and by regulators. In Texas, the primary regulator for emissions is The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Their website has many suggestions for improving air and water quality. Drilling down to Voluntary Tips for Citizens and Businesses to improve air quality will eventually lead to a webpage devoted to lawn and garden care. On this page there are tips for harvesting and saving water, organic gardening, native plants, using trees to save energy, using less pesticides and herbicides, etc. GPLGE is very conspicuously absent.

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The First Project to Earn SITES, LEED, and TRUE Zero Waste Certifications

Bioswale interpretive signage
image: courtesy of OCC Recycling Center

Orange Coast College Recycling Center becomes first project in the world to earn SITES, LEED, and TRUE Zero Waste certifications

The Orange Coast College (OCC) Recycling Center—already a LEED Gold certified building—has taken sustainability initiatives to a new level by recently achieving SITES Gold and TRUE Zero Waste Platinum certification. The center is also the first project in California to earn SITES v2 certification. Over the past 5 years, a team of sustainability experts has been working on plans to develop the outside space at the recycling center, which has served the OCC and its surrounding community for over 45 years.

The resulting project was truly a collaborative community effort. To prepare for the design, the local community was polled and asked about what types of programs and amenities they wanted the recycling center to include. They shared an interest in use of native plants, public art, interpretive signage, community opportunities and tours, as well as a desire for information on how to be more sustainable and make living spaces greener, organic gardening, and native plant programs.

The results were integrated into the design of the landscape, which focused on incorporating environmentally friendly elements while also increasing public environmental education and active demonstrations of sustainability. The project boasts a wide variety of environmental education opportunities and serves as a great example for how sustainable landscapes can enhance learning and the world around us.

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A Healing Garden in a Therapeutic Landscape

by Rebecca W. Flemer, Affiliate ASLA

William Hamilton (1745-1813) was born in Philadelphia to a wealthy family of colonial lawyers and politicians. Hamilton was an eminent botanist and plant collector, and made The Woodlands a New World model of contemporary English landscape gardening techniques. / image: William Russell Birch (1755-1834). “Woodlands, the Seat of Mr. Wm. Hamilton, Pennsylvania,” from Country Seats of the United States, 1808.

Visit any hospital or healthcare facility in North America and you are likely to find a “healing garden.” This may be a revamped courtyard or a purposely composed landscape designed to benefit patients and their caregivers. Preliminary plans are underway in the Dell area of Woodlands Cemetery in West Philadelphia for a healing garden and green burial site. At first glance, a healing garden in a cemetery may appear to be counterintuitive. However, the institution’s founders and early patrons believed in the therapeutic influence of nature and current plans build on those ideals. Close to the city and multiple healthcare facilities, the garden will serve as a place to learn, heal, and reflect. Aaron Wunsch, Associate Professor in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jessica Baumert, Executive Director, have been discussing this plan with Cherie Eichholz, PhD, a social worker at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center. Outlines for such a scheme also appear in the cemetery’s 2015 master plan.

The Woodlands, a 54-acre historic cemetery and estate, is located near the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia VA Hospital (The Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center). The surrounding neighborhood is a mixture of students and professors, with a daily influx of patients and visitors to the nearby medical complexes.

At just under an acre, the ruggedly overgrown north-eastern corner of the Woodlands is known as “The Dell.” Steep sloping ground—20 feet in depth—discouraged burials here. A stream, Middle Run, ran through the area and held a water collection tank which fed an early irrigation line. The area is part of a buffer around the cemetery protecting the grounds from the surrounding commotion of city traffic and noise.

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Capturing a City’s Vision for a Dynamic Public Plaza

by Shane Friese, ASLA

Colleyville Plaza rendering / image: Freese and Nichols, Inc.

City Hall in Colleyville, Texas, looks out on a 140-by-140-foot flat area of lawn with no trees or distinguishing features. But not for long.

City leaders envisioned turning that unadorned lawn into a dynamic public space with a critical linkage to City Hall and the Public Library. The goals included creating a signature gathering place for residents of this city of 25,000 residents near Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and making retail/office/residential development adjacent to City Hall an even more enticing location.

The new Colleyville Plaza is set to break ground this year. When the project is completed, it will provide a welcoming community centerpiece with amenities that include a covered stage for small concerts and events, string lighting to brighten a new pedestrian corridor, benches and tiered seating for casual or formal use, attractive plantings, a signature fountain and an open area for gatherings such as the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration. During events, food trucks will be able to set up on the new pedestrian corridor in front of City Hall.

Our experience in working closely with the City to design the plaza underscored valuable lessons for meeting a client’s strategic goals with a plan that embraces and reflects local character.

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The Greening of Schoolyards: Campus Master Plans are Vital Tools

by Jane Tesner Kleiner, ASLA, PLA

Hough Elementary School’s outdoor classroom
Students practicing their year-end play in Hough Elementary School’s outdoor classroom / image: Jane Tesner Kleiner

I recently attended lunch recess at a local elementary school. With a bright orange measuring tape and a can of white marking paint in hand, I made my way to the far corner of the playground. It was a typical elementary school setting: lots of grass, a few trees, pavement play, and manufactured play structures. There was not much else, including shade, and it was pretty warm already. Before I knew it, though, a small cluster of kids trailed behind me, asking the classic, “Whatcha doing?” When I said I was marking the location for their new Butterfly, Sensory, and Strawberry Garden, they told me they were going to help. And as we talked, I gave them the BIG PICTURE of what we wanted to change on their campus. I shared with them the campus Master Plan.

Greening of Schoolyards (GOSY) projects can involve many things, but central to them all are access for everyone and user safety. Of course, in a world of sanitized “play structures” and manufactured authenticity, adding natural areas can come with concerns, many of which stem from lack of experience on the part of stakeholders. They aren’t uncreative…they just haven’t redesigned large, open spaces. When it comes to schools, thoughtful master planning encompasses two main objectives: enhancing the campus and building buy-in among numerous constituent groups.

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How GROW is Changing BrightView, One Woman at a Time

by Kate Douglas Kestyn, Affiliate ASLA

A recent regional conference called GROW Live!
A recent regional conference called GROW Live! in Blue Bell, PA / image: Kate Douglas Kestyn

The American Society of Landscape Architects was founded by 11 people. Do you know how many were women? One.

Beatrix Farrand studied the art and science of landscape before any formal academic programs existed. In the late 1800s women were excluded from public projects, but that didn’t stop Beatrix from gaining prominence. She began her career designing private residential gardens, but her later work is likely better known to you. It includes the National Cathedral, White House gardens, Princeton, and Yale.

She was the first. Since then, woman have come to serve a broad range of roles in the landscape industry. But we are still outnumbered by men. That’s why BrightView—the nation’s largest landscape company—founded GROW (Growth in Relationships + Opportunities for Women), the company’s first Employee Resource Group (ERG), with the goal to attract, retain, and promote women in the company.

Caring for our people is part of BrightView’s culture. The new corporate reality since BrightView went public is that shareholders have certain expectations and cultivating diversity is among them. “Being the largest landscape company in the country carries certain obligations as a leader in the industry,” said CEO Andrew Masterman. “The GROW initiative is just one way we can achieve that.” He added, “the women of BrightView are making history, changing the way landscaping is delivered, and leading the design, development, maintenance, and enhancements of some of the country’s most recognizable environments.”

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Documenting Historic Streetscapes

Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore
Mount Vernon Place, Charles & Monument Streets, Baltimore, MD (perspective view looking northeast at the north street side of East Mount Place; view includes the statue “Force”) / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, HALS MD-1-19

The mission of the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) is to document historic landscapes of the United States. Since 2010, landscape architecture preservation enthusiasts have been challenged to complete at least one HALS short format history to increase awareness of particular cultural landscapes through the annual HALS Challenge competition. Past themes have been: Cultural Landscapes of Childhood, Cultural Landscapes of Diversity, the American Latino Landscape, Cultural Landscapes of Women, Landscapes of the New Deal, Modernist Landscapes, National Register-Listed Landscapes, City and Town Parks, and Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War.

For the tenth annual HALS Challenge, the National Park Service invites you to document a historic streetscape—either an individual street or a contiguous network or grid of streets. The deadline to enter is July 31, 2019.

What makes your favorite historic street(s) unique? Does your local Historic Preservation Commission protect the streetscape characteristics and features of historic districts along with the contributing buildings? You may increase historic landscape awareness with your local governments and preservation commissions by documenting historic streetscapes for HALS and illuminating these significant pieces of America’s circulatory system.

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China’s Urban Revival: Lessons Learned

by Ming-Jen Hsueh, ASLA, and Dou Zhang, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C, SITES AP

Suzhou Creek, Shanghai
Suzhou Creek, Shanghai / image: Sasaki

The following article was originally published on Sasaki Associates, Inc.’s blog on June 7, 2019. Reposted with permission. The article is also available in Chinese via Sasaki’s blog.

Beginning in the late nineteenth and extending into the mid-twentieth century, many American cities found themselves embroiled on either side of a hot-button issue that had an immense impact on American life. Urban renewal strategies employed by cities all over the country endeavored to make cities more livable, yet the rebuttal was sharp: “More livable for whom?”

In China, similar urban regeneration experiments have played out rapidly as China’s development took off during the last few decades—with similar regrets and lessons learned following in kind. The greatest difference, however, is that urban renewal in China has been interwoven with its unprecedentedly swift urbanization over the past forty years. With these two complex development patterns happening simultaneously, there have been few moments along the way to hit pause and reflect on these changes until fairly recently.

What Now? Learning From Our Mistakes

In both China and the United States, once communities and city leaders reflected on the impacts of their urban renewal projects, the picture was not always rosy. On both sides of the globe, city-led and developer-fueled overhauls of urban districts received vocal criticism from impacted communities. They frequently disrupted communities with strong ties to the existing urban fabric—with immigrant, the poor, minorities, and other disadvantaged communities bearing the brunt of sacrifice and upheaval. Entire histories were razed to make way for other populations ready to write new stories in their place. Much was lost in social, cultural, historical, and ecological terms in the zealous march toward modernity.

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Reclaiming Land for Downtown Parks in Dallas

by Taner R. Özdil, Ph.D., ASLA

Downtown Dallas skyline
Downtown Dallas / image: Taner R. Özdil

Vision is Green in Urban Design: Reclaiming Land for Downtown Parks in Dallas

21st century cities are being challenged by significant land and resource allocation and optimization issues requiring balance between the natural and built environment especially in high-density urban areas. Concerns such as population growth, rapid urbanization, climate change, natural resource depletion, extraneous consumption behaviors, and hasty ecological and environmental degradation are increasing new urbanites’ appreciation of the value of nature, land, and open and green space within cities. Recent population trends show that cities now house more than 82% of the population in the United States (The World Bank, 2017). Integrating parks in 21st century downtowns, as part of urban design practice, has become highly desirable, but is often contested by stakeholders. However, it is perhaps the most valuable strategy for reshaping the built environment in urban areas.

Since the turn of the century, increasing environmental awareness coupled with social and economic trends has dramatically affected where people choose to live, work, and play in United States. Downtowns, after half a century of neglect, have become more attractive to members of the aging Baby-Boomers, Gen X, and Millennial generations and young families. There is a growing interest (at least for some segments of the population) and need to return to the traditional centers with smaller housing units and compact environments that have architectural character, pedestrian friendly walkable streets, and the essential elements of a livable community. More importantly, today’s urbanites seem to want both “access to nature” and a “room with a view” within walking distance of employment, housing, and essential services such as parks, grocery stores, schools, and “third places” like restaurants and coffee houses (Reconnecting America, 2017; Florida, 2002).

Even cities like Dallas, the fifth best economically performing large city in US (Jackson et.al., 2019), are not immune to these changes and challenges as available land to provide such amenities and services for future residents is rapidly becoming a scarce commodity. Indeed, the City of Dallas is ranked a dismal 49th out of 100 in the US for park availability/access (Trust for Public Land, 2018). Up until 2013, its downtown has offered only about 8.3 acres of park land per 1,000 residents, whereas the greater city of Dallas offers 22.6 acres of park land for every 1,000 residents (EPS, 2015; Hargreaves Associates, 2013).

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Professional Development Resources for Landscape Architects

Professional development resources for landscape architects offered by ASLA include: ASLA Online Learning webinars, LATIS papers, and conference education recordings.

The official start of summer and the mid-year point of 2019 are just about here—if you need PDH, ASLA has you covered!

Professional license expiring soon? Need professional development hours (PDH) right away? Check out our on-demand education offerings: over 200 Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™)-approved online learning presentations and reports, making it easy to meet your continuing education requirements for state licensure.

ASLA Online Learning

Members have access to discounted prices on ASLA Online Learning live and recorded webinars. Throughout the year, ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks host courses on topics from sustainable design to business practices.

If you missed this week’s Pollinator Week webinar, Promoting Pollinators Through Landscape Architecture: Strategies to Improve Habitat Value & Landscape Performance, the recording is now available.

Our next live presentation, co-hosted by the Environmental Justice and Transportation Professional Practice Networks, takes place on Thursday, June 27: Developing an Equity Framework – A Case Study: Los Angeles Metro.

To see discounted prices, log in using your existing ASLA username and password.

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High School Architecture Programs Need Landscape Architects

by Barbara Peterson, ASLA

Student final project presentation
Fourth-year student final project presentation in front of design professionals, former program students, and fellow classmates. / image: Chris Carson

When did you first hear about landscape architecture? Was it before, during, or after college?

When I asked fellow landscape architects that question, their answer was frequently while in college, often in an architecture program, or after they had graduated with a degree in business, finance, horticulture, art, interior design, or, like me, biomedical science. But their common interests included art, nature, the outdoors, working with their hands, and creating things. So, why didn’t someone suggest landscape architecture before they went to college?

Perhaps because most people don’t understand what a landscape architect is or does: landscaper—yes; but landscape architect—no. Participation in workshops, summer programs, and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Landscape Architecture Merit Badge help spread the word to youth, but what about high school architectural design programs?

Wait…you didn’t know that some school districts offer architecture as part of their high school curriculum? I had no idea either, until flipping through a course catalogue with my son when he entered the ninth grade. He liked architecture and wanted to try the program to be sure.

The four-year program is taught by a registered architect. Students from the district’s five high school campuses are bussed to a central Career Center for a half-day, studio-style class. They learn drafting, hand-lettering, sketching, AutoCAD, Revit, and SketchUp; make cardboard, basswood, and 3D models; and research, design, and learn critical thinking. Projects focus on architecture but each has a landscape design and, sometimes, a planning component.

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Headed for New Heights: Employing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Resiliency Evaluation

by Emily Schlickman, ASLA

Aerial photos of Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston
Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston during and after Hurricane Harvey in 2017 / images: Jonnu Singleton

Over the past four decades, the United States has experienced 241 distinct climate and weather-related disasters, each incurring over $1 billion dollars in damage. From catastrophic wildfires and landslides in the West, to hail storms and tornados in the Midwest, to unexpected freezes and destructive hurricanes in the Southeast, these events are becoming more common and more expensive. While the overall average since 1980 has been 6.2 billion-dollar events per year, the average for the last five years has doubled, to 12.6.

In response to this trend, landscape architects, urban designers, and urban planners are not only embedding resiliency-focused strategies into their work, they are also assessing the performance of their built work in the face of these events. To do this, they are expanding the traditional designer toolbox to include emerging devices that might help with this assessment. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) represent one type of tool currently being tested for resiliency analysis.

Commonly known as drones, UAVs have a complicated history rooted in the military. For over 150 years, they have been used both on the defensive, for reconnaissance, and on the offensive, with predatory exercises. In the last 10 years, though, with the rise of the consumer drone, applications for UAVs have significantly increased. For the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, many professionals have been experimenting with UAVs to document built work, focusing primarily on marketing and promotional functions.

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Paul Dolinsky – Four Decades of Preservation Through Documentation

by Christopher Stevens, ASLA

Dumbarton Oaks Park recording project
The Historic American Buildings Survey conducted the Dumbarton Oaks Park recording project (HABS DC-571) as part of an ongoing effort to create standards for documenting historic landscapes in 1989 (NPS HDP, 1989). Paul Dolinsky, HABS principal architect, served as project leader. Thomas Ford on bridge; Paul Dolinsky, Jakub Zemler, and Andrew Wenchel (behind). / image: NPS HDP

On Friday, April 12, 2019, Paul D. Dolinsky, ASLA, retired from an almost 40-year career with the National Park Service (NPS) Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP), where he served as Chief of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) from 1994 to 2005; Chief of the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) from 2005 to 2019; and Acting Chief of HDP from 2018 to 2019.

HDP administers HABS, the Federal Government’s oldest preservation program, and its companion programs: the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). Documentation produced through HABS/HAER/HALS constitutes the nation’s largest archive of historic architectural, engineering, and landscape documentation. Records on more than 40,000 historic sites (consisting of large-format black and white photographs, measured drawings, and written historical reports) are maintained in a special collection at the Library of Congress, available to the public copyright free in both hard copy (at the Library of Congress) and via the Library’s website. It is the most heavily used collection at the Library of Congress’ Division of Prints and Photographs.

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Leading Landscape Design Practices for Cost-Effective Roadside Water Management – A Review

by Christine Colley, ASLA, RLA, and Lucy Joyce, ASLA

cover images from the Leading Landscape Design Practices For Cost-Effective Roadside Water Management / images: Nevada Department of Transportation, New York City Department of Environmental Protection report
Leading Landscape Design Practices For Cost-Effective Roadside Water Management / images: Nevada Department of Transportation, New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Does your state Department of Transportation (DOT) have standards for green infrastructure (GI)? A recent study from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) investigated how transportation agencies are applying the principles and practices of GI. The study—Leading Landscape Design Practices for Cost-Effective Roadside Water Managementwas requested by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and prepared by a team of experts that included Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and DOT staff from across the country (California, Minnesota, Washington, Maine, Louisiana, and Nevada). The team scanned existing state DOT GI regulations, targeted regional, city, and DOTs with robust GI programs, and conducted a deep dive into GI standards and specifications. The intent was to suss out successful and unsuccessful practices with an eye toward developing guidelines for state and other public agencies to use when creating GI programs.

The study defined green infrastructure as roadside stormwater management, low impact development (LID), and hydromodification or watershed actions that conserve water, buffer climate change impacts, improve water quality, water supply, and public health, and restores and protects rivers, creeks, and streams as a component of transportation development projects and operations. Despite substantial documentation on GI design, buy-in from all levels of government (federal, state, and local), ample research, and a plethora of knowledgeable consultants, the team found that state DOTs do not consistently employ GI techniques and often only use them when required by regulatory agencies. The study was developed to help inform public agencies on the components of successful GI programs.

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Celebrate Pollinator Week this June 17-23

Dolores Street Pollinator Boulevard in San Francisco
ASLA 2018 Student Honor Award in Student Community Service. Dolores Street Pollinator Boulevard in San Francisco, CA. Julia Prince, Student ASLA, Benjamin Heim, Associate ASLA, University of California Berkeley. / image: Julia Prince

The third week in June is National Pollinator Week, established in 2006 by the U.S. Senate and the Pollinator Partnership to spotlight the manifold benefits pollinators provide and the urgent need to preserve and create more pollinator-friendly landscapes. Landscape architects play an integral role in designing spaces that foster healthy pollinator habitats, using their ingenuity to create vibrant, well-designed landscapes that support the pollinator population.

To celebrate Pollinator Week, ASLA’s Government Affairs team is co-hosting a congressional reception with the Pollinator Partnership at the ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture later this month. There will also be an ASLA Online Learning presentation on June 18, hosted by the Ecology and Restoration Professional Practice Network (PPN) and presented by Anthony Fettes, ASLA, PLA, SITES AP, Senior Associate at Sasaki Associates, Inc.:

Promoting Pollinators Through Landscape Architecture: Strategies to Improve Habitat Value & Landscape Performance

Tuesday, June 18, 2:00-3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
1.0 PDH (LA CES/HSW)

Pollinators are an imperative part of biodiversity and also vital to our well-being, contributing to one-third of global food production, and yet their populations and habitats are sharply declining. This presentation explores how pollinators can be supported at multiple scales by the collective effort between conservation ecologists and landscape architects. Join us to learn about the importance of understanding your ecoregion, ways to identify research opportunities, and how to develop a design strategy that includes foraging resources, safe locations, and materials for shelter and nesting sites (or host plants for butterflies and moths).

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ADA Access: Project Retrofits and Upgrades

by Nate Lowry, ASLA

ADA-compliant residential boardwalk and ramp / image: Coastal Engineering Company, Inc.

Providing access and inclusion, to accommodate people of all abilities, continues to be a challenging proposition with many previously developed spaces. In 2013, the United States Access Board drafted guidelines for federally developed projects to harmonize with the International Building Code and to follow up on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The criteria developed from this process became mandatory in late 2013 and were incorporated into the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) accessibility standards. Amenity areas covered by these access requirements include camping facilities, picnic facilities, viewing areas, trails, and beach access routes. The requirements were not limited to only federal lands, but also covered federally funded projects.

Criteria and ideals developed during this process are great for addressing new projects, but what about previously developed spaces and retrofitting access and infrastructure to conform to the new standards?

Upgrading previously developed projects to meet codes and regulations of new construction can be an arduous task and tough to achieve in retrofit projects. Site constraints, costs, available revenues, end user input, and key stakeholder input can influence programming and inform which existing facilities are or are not upgraded. Inclusion goals and providing ADA access to previously developed sites can also vary widely from one municipality to another, and one region to another.

One constant is that individuals with disabilities are well aware of which facilities were designed for inclusion and which ones have not been upgraded for ADA access, inclusion, and mobility.

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To Vend or Not to Vend

by Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA

A typical vending machine station
A typical vending machine station / image: Amy Wagenfeld

I have been thinking about vending machines since last year when I attended and presented at the National Children’s Youth Gardening Conference hosted at Cornell University. What is my inspiration? Located in the lobby of the Mann Library is a vending machine loaded with fresh apples. Graduate students in the Horticulture Program pick the apples from the Cornell and Horticulture Section’s Lansing Orchards and keep the machine well stocked. Proceeds from sales benefit the Society for Horticulture Graduate Student Association.

What a surprise! I had never seen anything like it. My experiences with vending machines are those full of soft drinks and not-so-healthy snacks. One thing led to another, and I began taking pictures of vending machines, making note of where they were located and what their contents included. Then I started to do a bit of a search for research on their impact on children’s health. Here I share a few thoughts about how landscape architects committed to promoting children’s health and wellness can contribute to a conversation about vending machines.

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A New Manassas Street, Safe for Bikes and Pedestrians

by Daniel Ashworth, Jr., PLA, ASLA, AICP

image: Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) / Memphis Flyer

In an effort to re-balance excess car space for people space, Alta Planning + Design redesigned Manassas Street in Memphis from five to three lanes to make way for separated bike lanes on nearly a mile of the street through the Memphis Medical District.

This was the second phase of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative‘s interim design improvements program for the Medical District, which is adjacent to downtown Memphis. The project provides separation of bicyclists and pedestrians from the travel lanes with parked cars and bike lane buffers containing wheel stops and delineators. The project also included bumpouts with concrete domes and planters to shorten the crossing distances for pedestrians and slow vehicle speeds by narrowing the travel space with the vertical bumpout elements. Cat Peña, a local artist, provided the design and installation for an artistic mid-block crossing between Health Sciences Park and the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center.

The project was designed with the guidance from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)’s Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide and in conjunction with the Memphis City Engineering staff’s advice. The ultimate goals of the project are to encourage active transportation, support the healthy lifestyles goals of the district’s medical institution anchors, and to encourage more mixed-use and multifamily residential development in the district.

If you are interested learning more about the project, I will be presenting on Manassas Street as part of a panel with Susannah Barton of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and Memphis artist Cat Peña at the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego. The panel is titled Manassas Street, A Tactical and Artistic Urban Street Transformation in Memphis and will be held on Friday, November 15, 1:30 – 3:00 PM.

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The Fifth Shanghai Landscape Forum in Review, Part 2

by Dou Zhang, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C, SITES AP

Manfred Pan presenting at the Shanghai Landscape Forum
来自ASPECT Studios的演讲嘉宾潘格非对感知进行诠释 |
© Shanghai Landscape Forum & Manfred Pan

第五届上海景观论坛——感知 活动回顾与干货分享

See the first installment of this recap of the fifth Shanghai Landscape Forum for a summary of Session A: Momentum and Session B: Memory.

Session C: 日新月异 Expectation

主题:城市中的独特感官
Uniqueness of Sensation in the Urban Environment
公司名:ASPECT Studios
演讲嘉宾:潘格非 Manfred Pan

从重复的住宅单元,到单调的办公楼幕墙,在当今的城市环境中,单调无感知的环境正在主导着我们的城市空间,令生活其中的人们倍感厌倦。ASPECTS Studios的景观设计师潘格非为我们分享了以人类最原始的感知力为出发点的感官设计哲学。ASPECT Studios运用独特的体验和敏锐的感官,带给人们意想不到的城市感知设计。

From repeating residential units to monotonous office tower curtain walls, a monoculture of sensationless environments is over represented in urban environments today. People are bored and tired of this duplicated world. Landscape architect Manfred Pan from ASPECT Studios shared the landscape design philosophy of human-oriented thinking. Starting from the most basic point—how humans experience the world—APSECT Studios use the unique experience and keen sensitivity to strive for the unexpected and uniqueness in urban projects.

首先,视觉感知的呈现。在项目皖投万科天下艺境中,石榴这一地域文化图腾,在设计师独特视角下的分解,并采取超尺度的再演绎。人们无需了解背景知识,就能获得自己独特的理解与感知。

The presentation discussed visual perception first. For a project in Hefei, China, the pomegranate was a special regional symbol. As a starting point, the pomegranate was disassembled from the unique perspective of the designer and then reinterpreted at a super-sized scale. People do not need to know the background to glean their own unique understanding and perception.

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Mentor Map: Design Lineage at NC State College of Design

by Virginia Fall, Student ASLA

Mentor Map, North Carolina State University Department of Landscape Architecture Faculty
Mentor Map, North Carolina State University Department of Landscape Architecture Faculty / image: Virginia Fall

While the profession of landscape architecture is relatively old in practice, the contemporary network of professionals remains a small group of people with shared links in academic and professional lineages. In the same way that we value our understanding of ourselves relative to our biological heritage, it is equally as important to examine and identify our professional lineage, stemming from our beginnings in academia. This examination lends to reflection on how we, as students and practitioners, decidedly embrace or revoke the design thinking and practices of our predecessors and mentors.

During my time at North Carolina State University (NCSU), I often heard brief stories about faculty that collaborated with notable professionals, or of an individual that studied under particularly admirable instructors. As the number of stories and names grew, I realized that other people might benefit from making this information accessible, and I decided to document this information in a singular place. This project ultimately stems from a selfish endeavor to understand the extent of experience housed within our department, and to understand how my perspectives in landscape architecture are shaped through generations of education and practice.

When I initially mentioned this project to faculty, I emailed to ask them if they were willing to share and to identify their academic institutions with meaningful mentors from their academic and professional experiences. I had several faculty members enthusiastically respond, and some asked for a meeting to better understand the objective of the document. I tried not to put any parameters on what defines a mentor, and let their own interpretations shape the document. In the end, the graphic feels like a celebration of our faculty, recognizing the wealth of experience and exposure we have at NCSU.

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The Rhode Island Landscape Survey: An Overview

by Elena M. Pascarella, RLA, ASLA, and Jennifer Robinson

Kingscote
Richard Upjohn’s perspectival illustration of Kingscote, circa 1840. / image: Avery Architectural Library, Columbia University. NYDA.1000.011.00761.

In October 2017 Brent Runyon, Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society, assembled an ad hoc committee representing various historic organizations and groups in Rhode Island. The committee was comprised of:

  • Brent Runyon, Executive Director, Providence Preservation Society
  • Rachel Robinson, Director of Preservation, Providence Preservation Society
  • Jim Donahue, Curator of Historic Landscapes & Horticulture, The Preservation Society of Newport County
  • Kaity Ryan, Deputy Chief of Staff, The Preservation Society of Newport County
  • Elena Pascarella, RLA, ASLA, Landscape Architect and Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Liaison for the Rhode Island Chapter of ASLA
  • Karen Jessup, PhD, Landscape Architectural Historian and former professor at Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

The purpose of this committee was to develop ideas for initiating a new survey of Rhode Island landscapes. The most recent survey of Rhode Island landscapes was Historic Landscapes of Rhode Island, compiled in the 1990s and published in 2001 by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission.

Given recent demands for developing open spaces, particularly in the Rhode Island cities of Providence and Newport, the committee felt an updated survey of significant landscapes was warranted.

The purpose of such a survey or inventory would be educational, helping owners or stewards of significant historic open spaces and landscapes to understand their properties and to apply appropriate maintenance and improvement schemes. Endangered landscapes could be identified, and potentially result in Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) documentation. The survey would be initially focused on Newport and Providence to establish a template from which other community surveys could be developed at a future time. Larger initiatives may also result, including:

  • An Historic Landscape Trail (working with RI tourism)
  • A statewide What’s Out There®-type public program similar to that of The Cultural Landscape Foundation

In 2018, Ms. Jennifer Robinson was awarded an Historic Landscapes Research Fellowship by The Preservation Society of Newport County. Her project represents the Society’s first collaborative fellowship with the Providence Preservation Society. I interviewed Ms. Robinson at the new visitor center at The Breakers mansion in Newport, RI.

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Experimentation: The Nature of Design

by Mark Dennis, ASLA, PLA, AICP

Residential planting design in winter
image: Austin Eischeid

An Interview with Austin Eischeid, Planting Designer

Describe your background a bit, and how you came to do planting design?

I started out experimenting in the vegetable garden as a kid. My parents wanted to show my sister and I where our veggies came from and I took a liking to it. I began experimenting with roses and found out how much work they were. I wasn’t willing to put in the time for dead-heading, watering through droughts, and treating them chemically. I was amazed to see entire sedum plants grow from a couple of cut stems, but I grew tired of them very quickly as my garden became overrun by sedum! I began experimenting with adding more annuals, perennials, and grasses, and the learning never ended. It was the only thing I could imagine going to college for, and it seemed I was destined to go to Iowa State University for a BS in Horticulture with an emphasis on landscape design.

While at Iowa State I heard Roy Diblik speak on perennials. His plantings were so vivid and inspiring, like nothing I’d ever seen before, and this was when I knew I had to become a planting designer. He spoke about his ‘Know Maintenance‘ approach to design, how there would always be some degree of maintenance, but that you had to really know your plants to build a sustainable plant community. Roy then became my mentor and introduced me to strong, hardy, long-lived perennials. For Roy, using perennials was about much more than just the flower; it was about overall texture and form for visual interest, winter structure, seasonality, and whether it behaved itself or not (for example, spreading or over-seeding).

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The Fifth Shanghai Landscape Forum in Review, Part 1

by Dou Zhang, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C, SITES AP

The Fifth Shanghai Landscape Forum took place on April 21, 2019.
© Shanghai Landscape Forum

第五届上海景观论坛——感知 活动回顾与干货分享

上海景观论坛是由Sasaki, AECOM 和 SWA 三家设计公司于2017年联合发起的主题性景观行业分享盛会。随着SOM, ASPECT Studios, HASSELL, TLS等多家国际性景观公司的加入逐渐壮大。论坛以”开拓新的实践,以催化设计创新、影响政策变革;提升公众对于景观重要贡献的认识;倡导景观行业,使之汇入社会进步的主流推动力“为使命,旨在提升景观行业的影响力,并推进行业的可持续发展。

The Shanghai Landscape Forum is a themed event for landscape professionals initiated by Sasaki, AECOM, and SWA in 2017. With the participation of SOM, ASPECT Studios, HASSELL, TLS, and many other international landscape companies, the forum has grown rapidly. The forum’s aim is to pioneer new practices that result in design innovation and influence policy transformation, raise public awareness of landscape architecture’s vital contributions, bring landscape architecture into the mainstream by advocating for the profession as a driving force for social progress, and build a more sustainable tomorrow. The forum covers all aspects of the landscape design industry.

The fifth Shanghai Landscape Forum was held at the AIO Space on the afternoon of April 21, 2019. It was also an ASLA International Practice Professional Practice Network (PPN) event.

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