Warm Winter Memories—Cool Neighborhood Park

by Tom Mortensen, PLA, ASLA

An ice skating rink is part of a new public plaza at the Titletown District in Green Bay, Wisconsin. raSmith is providing ongoing site engineering and surveying for this multi-phase, mixed-use development. / image: ROSSETTI, Detroit

People say the memories of certain smells stay with you for a lifetime. Corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, the sterile smell of a dentist’s office, athletic socks in a gym bag or the Xylene-based color design markers I used in the 1980s back in college. Even my ice skates have a familiar smell. Not bad, just familiar—like old leather mixed with slush.

I was driving through the neighborhood near my childhood home where I grew up on the northern edge of Milwaukee County, and I decided to take a slow drive down memory lane. Everything looked smaller than I remembered, except the trees. Eventually I ended up at the neighborhood park where I spent countless hours playing pickup ball games, hanging out with friends, and ice skating.

Yes, ice skating. Every single day. After school, after dinner, and on weekends.

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Australia’s Morialta Playspace

by Amy Wagenfeld, Affiliate ASLA, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA

Morialta Conservation Park, Nature Playspace Concept Plan / image: Peter Semple Landscape Architect (PSLA)
Final concept plan, Morialta Nature Playspace / image: courtesy of Peter Semple Landscape Architect (PSLA)

Recently, while on a trip to Australia, my colleagues and I had the pleasure of stopping in at a brand-new nature playspace just outside of Adelaide. Located within the 2,058 square-mile Morialta Conservation Park, the Muka Muka Rrinthi nature playspace is nothing short of dazzling. Not to mention, the footprint of the playspace is huge. While designed to be best suited for children ages 5-15, I saw many younger tykes happily creating their own play opportunities. It is easily a full-day, take-a-picnic-lunch destination for families looking for something wonderful to do with their children.

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The LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership

Alpa Nawre, ASLA, presents to community members in India / image: Tsz Wai Wong

In a time of ceaselessly shifting cycles (of news, weather, economic ups-and-downs, and never-ending debates on seemingly every topic imaginable), taking time out to focus on building transformative leadership and advancing ethically-motivated ideas is a refreshing break from the norm. The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership aims to nurture and inspire landscape architecture professionals to pursue “ideas that have the potential to bring about impactful change to the environment and humanity and increase the visibility and leadership role of landscape architecture.”

On May 17 in Washington, DC, LAF hosted an event for their inaugural class of fellows. The Symposium was the culmination of the year-long fellowship, which supports senior-level, mid-career, and emerging professionals as they develop and test new ideas that will drive innovation and transformation. Each fellow gave a short presentation on their work, the diversity of which demonstrates the breadth of the profession and the transformative potential of landscape architecture’s expansive scope.

Brice Maryman, ASLA, began with a critical look at the misalignment between myths about homelessness and what data shows. Contrary to frequently-repeated observations on the prevalence of substance abuse, mental illness, and other apparently common causes, the one underlying trauma found in nearly all situations is in fact a lack of affordable housing. Citing Richard Rothstein’s 2017 book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Maryman went on to the impact of zoning regulations on today’s widening wealth gap and the marked concentration of larger homeless populations in a handful of coastal urban areas.

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Help Us Shape the Political Landscape

U.S. Capitol / image: EPNAC
U.S. Capitol / image: EPNAC

The ASLA 2019-2020 Federal and State Legislative Priorities Survey will help determine ASLA’s federal legislative agenda for the upcoming 116th Congress and shape your Chapter’s state legislative activities.

All members of ASLA are invited to share their input through this short 11-question survey. May 31 is the deadline for responses.

ASLA achieved critical legislative successes last year, including working with chapters to successfully stave off state attacks on licensure, upgrade state licensure laws, and achieve licensure in the District of Columbia. On the federal side, ASLA helped to pass legislation to support the National Park Service, promote green infrastructure in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects, and protect and preserve the Land and Water Conservation Fund. ASLA Government Affairs also continues its fight against proposed environmental and climate change rollbacks in federal law.

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Montecito Wildfire and Mudslide Damaged Lovelace Garden to be Restored

by Chris Pattillo, FASLA

Harold S. Gladwin Residence (Jon B. and Lillian Lovelace Residence), Montecito, CA (HALS CA-129) / image: Stephen Schafer © 2017 schafphoto.com

Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Documents to Be Used to Restore Garden

The 2017 fire season in drought-stressed California ravaged whole residential neighborhoods in Napa and Sonoma Counties in Northern California and devastated Santa Barbara County in Southern California. A few months later the damage was compounded in Southern California when heavy rains triggered massive mudslides, causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country—Montecito. As I watched the news on the evening broadcast I feared what might be happening at the Lovelace estate where my firm, PGAdesign, had recently completed HALS documentation of Isabelle Greene’s landscape masterpiece. As it turned out I had to wait several days even to find out, as the area of devastation and evacuees was policed and firmly cordoned off. Finally, crews were allowed in to begin mud and debris clearing there, and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

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Boulder Scramble: A Creative Natural Playground Feature

by Davis Harte, PhD

The Village School Boulder Scramble / image: Davis Harte

Davis Harte is a wellness design educator at the Boston Architectural College who bridges evidence and practice with work in children’s places, trauma-informed spaces, and also birth units. Visit Paradigm Spaces’ website for more information. We are very pleased to have Davis share her thoughts about the Village School’s boulder scramble—a place for young children to play and be creative, while simultaneously providing a solution for serious erosion issues.
– Amy Wagenfeld, Affiliate ASLA, Co-Communications Director and Past Co-Chair, Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (PPN)

Arriving at around lunchtime, I find ruddy-cheeked and joyful children playing on the Village School’s natural playground. The day is unseasonably warm, feeling more like late spring instead of mid-winter in the Willamette Valley. Rex Redmon, the landscape architect who designed the nature playground at the school, and father of two girls who attend this Eugene, Oregon K-8 public charter school, greets me near the entrance. Despite being 18 years old, the school has been in its current location for only two years. The building housing the school on the current campus is the oldest school building in Eugene, dating back to 1920. The property edges a hillside, studded with Douglas firs, ponderosa pines, and speckled in sections with poison oak near the parking lot.

Landscape designer Leslie Davis joins Rex and me as we pore over the master plan for this natural playground. Our focus today is the boulder scramble, located on the northwest side of a large graded field, book-ended by a fenced-off beehive and a wooden playhouse built by third graders and volunteer parents for a previous theater production. The unique landscape design feature is the needed partner to a 3-foot wide, 15-foot long metal slide, which echoes this section’s slope.

Leslie Davis and her partner and husband Aaron Davis, of Whole Gardens, conceived of and implemented the boulder scramble as the primary star in this particular story. It serves the purpose of erosion control and dry access, as well as a place to play. The slide was a ‘must-have’ for a 1st/2nd grade teacher, whose classroom door opens a few steps away from the top of the slide. The sloped area spans about 210 feet across, and was covered in invasive ivy before the transformation. The whole slope was underutilized until the slide was added last autumn just before the 2017/2018 school year began. The boulder scramble was added during winter break.

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Call for Comments: LAAB Announces Proposed Revisions of Accreditation Standards

by Kristopher Pritchard, Accreditation & Education Programs Manager, ASLA

ASLA 2013 Student Collaboration Honor Award. X-Scape. Brett Berger, Student ASLA; Aaron Choi, Student Affiliate ASLA; Christine Phu, Student Affiliate ASLA; and Diego Valencia, Student ASLA, Arizona State University. Faculty Advisor: Philip Horton / image: Student Team

The Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) invites comments on its proposed revisions to the LAAB Accreditation Standards. LAAB last approved revisions to the standards in 2016 as part of its periodic review of its standards. LAAB conducts a formal, comprehensive review of the accreditation standards every five years (page 4, LAAB Accreditation Procedures). The proposed revisions are posted on the LAAB website under LAAB News & Actions.

LAAB currently accredits first professional programs at the bachelor’s and master’s level in the United States and its territories. Of these programs, all are traditional programs housed within universities and colleges throughout the United States. While some courses within a few programs are offered via distance education, there are no LAAB-accredited programs that currently offer a large portion or all of their curriculum online. However, as more students enroll in online courses and programs during their time in higher education, the demand for an LAAB accredited online program will likely grow. About 5.8 million students were enrolled in at least one distance learning course in a U.S. institution in fall 2014—up 3.9 percent from the previous fall, according to Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States, an annual report by the Babson Survey Research Group. Additionally, a majority of calls received at ASLA regarding landscape architecture education involves the availability of online programs.

Therefore, LAAB has undertaken the process to review its standards relative to the delivery of online courses in landscape architecture. This review began in February 2017 and its timeline is included below.

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The Thrasher-Ward Memorial at the American Academy in Rome, an Historic American Landscape

by James O’Day, ASLA

Dedication Ceremony, Thrasher-Ward Memorial, 1925, American Academy in Rome, Italy / image: Photo Archive, American Academy in Rome, photographer unknown, used with permission
Dedication Ceremony, Thrasher-Ward Memorial, 1925, American Academy in Rome, Italy / image: Photo Archive, American Academy in Rome, photographer unknown, used with permission

Since 2010, landscape architecture preservation enthusiasts from every state have been challenged to complete at least one Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) short format history to increase awareness of particular cultural landscapes. The 2018 HALS Challenge theme is Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War. The submission deadline is July 31, 2018.

The First World War had a profound effect on the American Academy in Rome, and the Thrasher-Ward Memorial bears witness to its impact upon the institution and its Fellows. Europe was already immersed in the conflict when the academy held a dedication ceremony on October 1, 1914 for its new home on the Janiculum Hill. Despite the dire circumstances and the Trustees’ concerns, the academy remained open even after Italy joined the conflagration in the spring of 1915. Eventually, the Fellowships were upended when America entered the war in the spring of 1917. The academy was closed, the Fellows were dispersed, and its buildings were repurposed to serve the Italian Red Cross.

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Therapeutic Gardening for an Adult Inpatient Psychiatric Unit

by Nancy Wicks, OTR/L

image: Nancy Wicks

Two days before the start of the 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO, Nancy Wicks, OTR/L, an occupational therapist at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at the University of California Los Angeles, hosted Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA, Affiliate ASLA, and Melody Tapia, Student ASLA, then a landscape architect student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The goal of the visit: to participate in a therapeutic garden group with patients on the adult inpatient unit.

The therapeutic garden group takes place each week on the adult inpatient psychiatric unit. It is an integral part of programming for acutely ill patients in recovery from a range of psychiatric diagnoses including schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.

The program was started as a quality improvement project through the 4 East Unit Practice Council, which is multidisciplinary (Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers) using a quality improvement methodology called A4 Lean, which is one of the quality improvement tools used at UCLA. This methodology gives clinicians a structure to assess the current state of service provision and then implement changes.

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Pop-Up Playspaces Become Permanent Playspaces to Create Healthier and Happier Communities

by Missy Benson, ASLA

image: Playworld

Play is transformative and essential for us to thrive. Unique pop-up play areas can show us how to bring everyone together and live more playful lives. A new book about play describes how this is possible. Just published by the Design Museum Foundation, Design & Play is based on the nationally-traveling exhibit Extraordinary Playscapes and explores playground design, the importance of play to childhood development and social equity.

I am thrilled to be part of this book and to share this story. Two years ago, I was part of the exhibit team to provide a pop-up playspace in Chinatown Park, one of the parks created by Boston’s Big Dig project, called the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Designed by Carol R. Johnson Associates, Chinatown Park contains the Chinatown Gate, which both towers over a flurry of commuter and tourist activity, and provides a gateway into this culturally rich community.

Chinatown Park is full of activity everyday with groups practicing tai chi and playing chess on outdoor tables. Yet, there was not a place for families to play together until the installation of the pop-up PlayCubes. The pop-up PlayCubes are cuboctahedrons designed by architect Richard Dattner in the early 1960s and redesigned in 2016 by Dattner and Playworld with eight triangular faces and six square faces. Each face has a circular cutout so kids, teens, and adults can climb on top or get inside.

This iconic shape is sculptural and replicates nature—possible reasons why people of all ages are here playing together. As Richard Dattner explains, “PlayCubes are part of nature, albeit on a crystalline or molecular level. Archimedes, Kepler, and others have discovered and re-discovered this form over millennia, but it took Playworld and me to find a way to incorporate play. Stacking spheres ‘naturally’ take this cuboctahedron form, as Bucky Fuller discovered in his investigations.”

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Smarter Parks, Smarter Cities

by Kelsey Jessup

image: Yalp Interactive

Today, there are increasingly more cities, parks departments, and real estate developers asking designers to create smart parks. The definition of what makes a park “smart” is still evolving and, up until now, there hasn’t been a comprehensive, reliable source to learn about smart parks precedents and the technology that exists specifically for parks and public spaces. SMART Parks: A Toolkit is exactly what has been needed. It provides landscape architects and planners everything they need to know and how to be ready for the next client that asks for a smart park.
– Ed Krafcik, ASLA, Parks & Recreation Professional Practice Network (PPN) Officer

“Advancements in technology impact every aspect of our lives—how we work, play, and live,” says the City of Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel. And cities like Chicago are becoming “smarter,” using technology to enhance livability, workability, and sustainability. Yet, some aspects of cities are being left out of planning, most blatantly: public parks. To help address this, the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation recently released SMART Parks: A Toolkit, a compilation of technologies that can be used in parks to increase environmental sustainability, visitor enjoyment, and maintenance efficiency.

The Luskin Center unites UCLA scholars with forward-looking civic leaders to address the most pressing issues confronting our community, nation, and world. Parks are a critical part of urban infrastructure and have been a Luskin Center priority. Staff and students have created multiple reports on how to increase and enhance community green spaces, including a toolkit on parklets (small innovative parks), how to transform underutilized alleys into multi-functional “green” alleys, and never-before-told case studies and lessons learned from successfully-implemented development projects along the LA River greenway. This research helps municipalities, nonprofits, and communities reinvent, regenerate, and rethink their cities and park spaces.

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Introducing the Campus Resilience Series

by Katharyn Hurd, Associate ASLA

Students in a new course at the Stanford Educational Farm called Liberation Through Land: Organic Gardening and Racial Justice meet under the oak trees with visiting alumni. / image: L.A. Cicero via Stanford News Service

The Campus Planning & Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) is kicking off a blog and Online Learning webinar series on campus resilience. We want to hear your ideas, concerns, and strategies for approaching this broad and complex topic. Please share with us by contacting PPN Co-Chairs Laura Tenny, ASLA, and Katharyn Hurd, ASLA. We’d love to bring you all into the discussion on this important and timely topic.

Many universities have begun discussions around sustainability and creating a more resilient physical campus. Defining resilience is the first, and often most difficult, step. For many campuses, resilience is defined by developing long-term strategies to respond to climate change impacts. It also may include goals to reduce reliance on precious resources and vulnerable infrastructure. Working toward these objectives is essential to the long-term survival of an institution.

We’ve seen the catastrophic impacts of natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, mudslides, and wildfires within the past year. These events have been a jarring wake-up call for those of us working on campuses. Universities, in particular, are typically rooted in their locations for the very long term. It’s rare for a university campus to pick up and move somewhere else. Therefore, planning for both known and unknown future impacts is a critical survival strategy for any institution that intends to remain in place and operate effectively.

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Women in Design: How to Find a Network of Other Women Designers

by Christa Schaefer, ASLA, and Tanya Olson, ASLA

Scenes from the Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network‘s annual gathering / image: EPNAC

You’ve reached that point in your professional life where you find yourself looking for people to connect professionally and create networks with. These special individuals provide a unique dynamic to the depth of our professional lives and may be peers or mentors. They make us feel self-assured and connected, and sometimes become great friends or even business partners. They can be male or female, but there are benefits to finding connection with others of the same sex. Here are two stories from the Women in Landscape Architecture (WILA) leadership team on how they found a network of Women in Design (WID).

WID-Wisconsin – Christa Schaefer, ASLA

I finished my MLA in the Twin Cities and moved back home to Waukesha, WI for job opportunities and to stay connected with family. When I moved I found myself leaving my professional connections behind and felt disconnected from landscape architects in my new home. I wondered who and where they were.

Job opportunities helped me develop a few professional connections, but few were with other women in design fields. I reached out and became engaged with the Wisconsin Chapter of ASLA (WI-ASLA), but still found minimal female connections. Ultimately those opportunities through WI-ASLA expanded my leadership skills and I did finally make some very valuable female connections. These connections have helped support me finding my way through the very male-dominated world I currently work in.

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Icons of Healthcare & Therapeutic Garden Design: Clare Cooper Marcus

by Lisa Bailey, ASLA

A healing garden should be: visible and easily accessed from the main foyer, predominantly green, and should have a path that tempts you to explore and semi-private seating niches off to the side. St Joseph Memorial Hospital, Santa Rosa, CA / image: Clare Cooper Marcus

Healthcare & Therapeutic Garden Design Interview Series: Clare Cooper Marcus

Clare Cooper Marcus, Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, in the College of Environmental Design’s Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, has studied and been the grand champion for healthcare and therapeutic gardens since the time of her retirement from UC Berkeley in the 1990s. She taught for 24 years and authored several books, including Healing Gardens: Therapeutic Benefits and Design Recommendations, co-authored with Marni Barnes in 1999, and Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces, co-authored with Naomi Sachs, ASLA, in 2013. Though not a landscape architect, Clare’s interest is in the social aspect of design and in what the people who are using designed spaces think and feel about them. She combines this background with her passion for gardening in her own backyard.

The following interview was conducted at Clare’s home and garden in Berkeley by Lisa Bailey, ASLA, sole proprietor of BayLeaf Studio and a consultant with Schwartz and Associates, a landscape design-build firm in Mill Valley, CA.

How did you become THE person who studied healing gardens?

Well, of course the person who started it all was Roger Ulrich with his famous study, “View through a window may influence recovery from surgery.” Roger is a good friend and colleague and I was inspired by his work. Then Marni Barnes and I conducted the first (I think) post-occupancy evaluations (POEs) of hospital gardens.

I was further motivated when, a few months after retirement, I was diagnosed with cancer. I was treated at the Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center where there is a green space in the center with three ancient 150-year-old Valley Oak trees protected by law. That became an oasis for me during treatment. When people came to visit me, we would walk through the green space on balmy evenings in the summer. It was doubly important to me to have green space when dealing with the stress of a life-threatening illness. It had a very personal meaning.

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ASLA 2017 Annual Meeting and EXPO Session Recordings Now Available

The 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Los Angeles / image: EPNAC

Thirty-five of the 120 education sessions that took place during the 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Los Angeles were recorded and are now available to view on the ASLA Online Learning website, learn.asla.org. Topics covered range from climate adaptation and habitat design to radical water conservation and residential design.

ASLA Online Learning presentations provide information on new and evolving practices and developments in design. These distance learning opportunities are also a convenient way to earn the professional development hours (PDH) needed to meet state licensure requirements. PDH are approved by the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™) and can be earned after viewing a presentation by completing and passing a self-study exam. Be sure to check state mandatory continuing education requirements to ensure that LA CES courses are compatible with your state requirements.

More than 175 recorded presentations are available for on-demand viewing, including:

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What Exactly is a Transportation Landscape Architect?

by Jeff Lormand, ASLA

Interstate 15 South Design/Build Project, Las Vegas, NV. Contractor: Las Vegas Paving. Landscape Architect: Stantec. Design Oversight: NDOT/Parsons / image: Jack Sjostrom, Parsons

When I respond to new acquaintances’ customary question “…and what do you do?” I tell them I am a Transportation Landscape Architect. They look at me flummoxed and then add the follow-up question, “And just what, exactly, is a Transportation Landscape Architect?” So, I thought I would dedicate this post to a description of what a Transportation Landscape Architect is, exactly, and what I do to earn this title.

First, let me say that the term “Transportation Landscape Architect” is relatively new, and mostly used by those that deal with this industry sector (ok, really it is a self-designation). I use it in response to the American Society of Landscape Architects’, our national organization, nearly exclusive hyper-focus on the flashy gardens of homes, museums, or suburban office complexes. Don’t get me wrong, these are great projects. It’s fun to see what a large budget and good maintenance can achieve. But for those of us working daily in the trenches to create public spaces with little budget, very little anticipated maintenance, and a desire to create a more sustainable world, one can start to feel underappreciated and overlooked; hence the need to create a distinctive designation.

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Housing for a Changing America

ASLA 2016 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. The Rivermark, Sacramento, CA. Fletcher Studio / image: Mariko Reed

There is a wide gap between the diversity of American households and the housing stock, much of which is homogeneously geared toward nuclear families. Designers working in housing and community design are taking steps to address this disparity in innovative ways, from adapting older building types to make spaces more flexible to rethinking density and the scale of residences. With a changing population, an array of housing models is needed to address all residents’ needs, including those of the most vulnerable populations.

On February 7, 2018, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., hosted a talk on supportive housing solutions, featuring presentations by Rosanne Haggerty, President, Community Solutions; Debbie Burkart, National Vice President, Supportive Housing, National Equity Fund, Inc.; and Jennifer Schneider, Associate Director of Housing Development, SOME (So Others Might Eat).

This program was part of a series complementing the museum’s new exhibition Making Room: Housing for a Changing America, open through September 16, 2018.

The exhibition offers a snapshot of the country’s housing needs, with some statistics that community designers, leaders, and policymakers should take into account as they imagine new ways to meet evolving demands. For instance, a dramatic shift in American households has taken place since 1950—nuclear families were the leading category then, at 43% of households. That percentage has dropped to 20%, while 28% of households are single people living alone—now the largest category.

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2018 Diversity Summit Call for Letters of Interest

The Call for Letters of Interest to participate in the 2018 ASLA Diversity Summit is open through March 7, 2018 / image: EPNAC

ASLA will host the 2018 Diversity Summit from June 22-24 at the ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture in Washington, D.C. The six new professionals from the 2017 Diversity SuperSummit have been invited back, and ASLA is looking to invite six new participants to add valuable input to discussions and resource development. The goals of the 2018 Diversity Summit are to review benchmarks prioritized from the 2017 Diversity SuperSummit and create opportunities for participants to research and workshop resources for ASLA’s career discovery and diversity program.

Eligibility & Deadline

If you are a landscape architecture professional of color in the United States with at least two years of professional experience and are interested in applying, please complete the 2018 ASLA Diversity Summit Call for Letters of Interest by Wednesday, March 7.

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Landscape Architects’ Favorite Spots on Campus

Harvard Yard / image: Lance Katigbak via Flickr

Taking a look back at our 2016 Professional Practice Network (PPN) survey, the first question asked members to think back to their time as a student: what was your absolute favorite spot on campus?

The most popular responses—the quad, the student union, and, no surprises here, the studio—highlighted places central both to all students’ experiences, and spaces of special significance to future landscape architects. Besides the studio, nearly all responses touched on outdoor spots, from arboreta on campus to duck and turtle ponds and residential courtyards.

Perhaps the most interesting subset of answers might be those given by the Campus Planning & Design PPN members, as the campus specialists. Here are their top picks for favorite campus locales:

Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Kansas State University

Harvard Yard – “Old version, not new redone one.”

Hornbake Plaza, University of Maryland

“Intimate, off the beaten path seating area, surrounded by walls.”

“Spot on quad for people watching.”

Studio

The banks of the Providence River at RISD

The UW-Madison Memorial Union Terrace

“The various under-traveled pedestrian ways.”

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Changes for EPA’s National Stormwater Calculator

ASLA 2017 Professional General Design Honor Award. Workplace as Landscape – Facebook MPK20, Menlo Park, CA. CMG Landscape Architecture / image: Marion Brenner

Updates have been rolled out for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Stormwater Calculator (SWC), including a Low Impact Development (LID) cost estimation module and mobile web application version that can be used on both mobile devices and desktop computers.

A Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program webinar on January 31 introduced these new features and demonstrated example applications. The presentation, by U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) landscape architect Jason Bernagros, will be made available as a recording, and the next free webinar in the series is scheduled for February 28, 2018 on “Village Blue Project: Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring in the Baltimore Harbor.”

EPA developed the SWC to help support local, state, and national stormwater management objectives and regulatory efforts to reduce runoff through infiltration and retention using green infrastructure practices as low impact development controls. It is designed to be used by anyone interested in reducing runoff from a property, including landscape architects, urban planners, developers, and homeowners.

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The Let’s Get Ready Project

The Let's Get Ready Game Board / image: Jennie Schoof
The Let’s Get Ready Game Board / image: Jennie Schoof

Back in October 2017, I had the honor of participating in a trial of the Let’s Get Ready Project (LGR) disaster resilience game with students at the Dixon primary school in the Yarra Valley outside of Melbourne, Australia. The disaster education game was developed and delivered in Queensland, Australia by Jennie Schoof. Jennie moved to Melbourne and commenced work as the Emergency Management Project Coordinator for the Maroondah, Knox and Yarra Ranges Council Cluster Project. In this role, Jennie adapted the game to be used for the LGR project and to meet the needs of a Victorian (Australia) environment in partnership with emergency service agencies. Jennie and Andrew Williams, Emergency Management Coordinator for the Knox Council, worked with me to prepare this Field post.

The overarching objective of LGR is to engage with youth and schools in a broad exploration of resilience and to prepare today’s children and youth to become informed and resourceful adults. The disaster resilience game, a 3 x 3 meter interactive game, is best played outdoors on a school play yard or community green space. The game comes with all resources required for a facilitator to implement the scenarios: a game token, large game dice, team signs, game and scenario cards, a facilitator guide, score sheets, and game pieces (3D bushfire, cyclone/wind, volcano/landslide, earthquake, tsunami, and floods).

The inquiry-focused, immersive approach of the training game assists in planning for, responding to, and recovering from disasters and emergencies. The project challenges participants to think about what they need to know in order to prepare for and respond effectively to natural disasters and emergencies. It encourages teamwork, leadership skills, negotiation skills, exercise, excitement, and education. The hands-on and engaging immersive teaching methods for disaster resilience education as a fundamental life skill can easily be translated into children’s local environments. The interactive participant-focused activity urges investigation of effective methods for youth and their families to prepare for, cope with, and recover from natural disasters and emergencies.

With the game facilitated by youth leaders, I observed firsthand (while playing the role of a community member along with other local emergency service personnel), that the game was FUN! While the message was serious, it was set in play, a most effective way for children to learn and retain knowledge. It tapped into team building and collaboration, two skills vital for effective decision making in a disaster situation, while also enabling youth the opportunity to develop their leadership skills.

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Get Your Nominations & Presentation Proposals Ready

ASLA 2014 Professional General Design Honor Award. Urban Outfitters Headquarters at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA. D.I.R.T. Studio / image: JJ Tiziou

January is jam-packed with important deadlines at ASLA—see below for a roundup of opportunities closing in the next two weeks. Help to ensure your voice is heard, that you and your colleagues are recognized for your work and leadership, and your practice area is represented!

Council of Fellows Nominations
Deadline: Friday, January 26, 2018, 11:59 p.m. PST

Any ASLA member may recommend an eligible candidate for nomination for the ASLA Council of Fellows (COF). There are four nomination categories: Works, Leadership/Management, Knowledge, and Service. More information on these categories, plus guidelines, forms, and templates for submission, can be found on the COF website.

The candidate must:

  • Be a current ASLA Full Member or International Member in good standing.
  • Have achieved at least 10 continuous years of Full or International membership at the time of nomination.
  • Have demonstrated exceptional contributions over an extended period of time.
  • Have made a significant positive impact on the public and the profession beyond their local area.
  • Have received national recognition for those contributions from multiple sources.

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Professional Practice Networks Roundtable

A 2016 PPN meeting during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO / image: Event Photography of North America Corporation (EPNAC)

In the first annual PPN survey back in January 2013, members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) were surveyed about their favorite spaces, with questions on the most innovative projects, the best small but mighty spaces, and favorite designed spaces, among others. In 2014, the PPN survey focused on career paths in landscape architecture. Members shared how they first discovered landscape architecture, their favorite cities and regions to work in, and how they keep up with design trends, to name just a few of the topics covered. The next survey’s theme was creativity and what makes for inspired design in landscape architecture, covering everything from where landscape architects go to feel inspired to finding the next big thing.

For 2016, we opened the survey-making process to our PPN leadership, asking each group to contribute one question that would then be shared with all 10,000+ collective PPN members. The key themes, trends, and responses to the survey were originally highlighted in the PPN News section of LAND, and we are sharing that information again here on The Field in case you missed any PPN updates.

Below are a few of the questions included in the 2016 survey. In future posts, we’ll pull out unique responses, summarize trends, and highlight the most popular answers from PPN members.

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ASLA Ask Me Anything’s for Emerging Professionals

Since 2015, ASLA’s Emerging Professionals Committee has organized more than a dozen Ask Me Anything online events, streamed via Facebook Live and available for viewing on ASLA’s Facebook page. For each AMA, participants can submit questions to the invited guest, giving those new to landscape architecture a chance to have their burning questions about the field answered by a range of practitioners, from mid-career professionals to established firm owners.

The Emerging Professionals Committee advises ASLA on Associate, Student, and Student Affiliate Member programs and services; facilitates communication with and among all emerging professional groups; communicates with faculty and chapters about ASLA programs and benefits pertaining to students and Associate Members; and promotes, encourages, and assists ASLA chapter leaders to increase professional interaction with emerging professionals.

Until the next live event, here’s a look back at past AMAs.

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Reimagining Waste Spaces & Traces

image: Alexandra Hay

Visiting New York’s City Reliquary is like walking into one of artist Joseph Cornell’s boxes—every surface inside the three-room museum is meticulously adorned with artifacts and salvaged ephemera. Display cases are crammed with items (with drawers below holding even more), the walls are covered to the ceiling, and the dim lighting enhances the sense of being immersed in a contemporary take on a cabinet of curiosities.

The current exhibition focuses on one type of relic that can be found in particular abundance: those found in the trash. NYC Trash! Past, Present, & Future, on view through April 29, 2018, begins with the history of solid waste management in New York City, and then shifts gears to look at innovative ways waste materials and management are being reconsidered today.

The seven artists and nonprofits highlighted, including Hack:Trash:NYC, the Lower East Side Ecology Center, and Materials for the Arts, employ a variety of tactics and media to transform how waste is viewed and dealt with, from competitions to find ways to reduce what gets sent to landfills to photography and art initiatives that use waste materials as a medium or as inspiration.

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Landscape Architecture Today

ASLA 2017 Professional General Design Honor Award. Central Seawall Project, Seattle, WA. James Corner Field Operations LLC / image: James Corner Field Operations

To kick off 2018, we are taking a look at what ASLA members had to say about the state of the landscape architecture profession today. For the Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) survey on creativity and what makes for inspired designs in landscape architecture, we posed a very tough last question to our members: How does the profession today stack up against historical achievements in landscape architecture?

Surprisingly few people skipped this final question, and we were rewarded with extended, thoughtful responses and candid assessments of the profession. While many opinions differed and some answers directly contradicted one another, an overall sense of where landscape architects excel and where the profession doesn’t quite measure up can be gleaned. As one member put it, these are “Exciting times!!!” indeed.

Below are ASLA members’ thoughts on areas where landscape architecture is doing well, and where there are opportunities for growth and improvement.

On the Bright Side

“Beauty is being combined with environmental impact.”

“Better diversity and community engagement.”

“Better than ever—greater relevance to more areas of need and less stuffy than always working for the top 1% (most historical landscapes are relics of such practice).”

“Each era has profound challenges for landscape architects and we are currently in a period where the distinctive skills of the landscape architect, trained in designing with living systems and materials, has found its voice and is addressing the great problems of our time. This will be a very clear period of history to teach in the coming years and I hope we will continue to have extraordinary achievements to show as examples.”

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Professional Practice Networks: 2017 in Review

ASLA’s 20 Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) provide opportunities for professionals interested in the same areas of practice to exchange information, learn about current practices and research, and network with each other—both online and in person at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO.

In 2017, the PPNs created 99 posts for The Field blog and 12 Online Learning presentations. Thank you to those who shared experiences on The Field and shared their expertise as Online Learning presenters! These opportunities are open to all ASLA members, and we hope to grow our group of PPN contributors in 2018.

Below, we highlight the top five Field posts and best-attended Online Learning presentations of the year, but be sure to check out the full PPN: 2017 IN REVIEW for additional information, including:

  • PPN Live at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO,
  • PPN volunteer and leadership opportunities, and
  • the ASLA Online Learning Student & Emerging Professional SPOTLIGHT mini-series.

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A Call for All Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN Authors!

Children’s Outdoor Environments word cloud / image: WordItOut

Have you…

  • visited a compelling outdoor space that caters to children?
  • heard about or attended an event or program that links children to outdoor places?
  • successfully addressed a child- or family-focused design challenge?
  • attended a child-centered conference that the Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (COE PPN) and other ASLA members should know about?

If so, we invite you to share what you have learned and write a piece for The Field, the blog for ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). For more information, see The Field‘s Submission Guidelines.

Content on The Field is authored by members of ASLA and organized by ASLA’s 20 PPNs, which cover a wide range of practice areas. The PPNs provide opportunities for professionals interested in the same areas of practice to exchange information, learn about current practices and research, and network with each other—both online and in person at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO.

The Field was created to give members who work in landscape architecture a place to exchange information, learn about recent work and research, and share their thoughts about current happenings. We invite you to join the conversation!

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ASLA’s Hands-on Activity Educates Kids and Parents at NBM’s Big Build

image: Shawn Balon, ASLA

In October, the American Society of Landscape Architects participated in the National Building Museum’s Big Build to advance the quality of the built environment by educating attendees about its impact on individual lives. The annual event brings kids and parents from the D.C. region to the museum to learn about built environment professions and participate in hands-on activities. Over the course of a day, the museum welcomed 3,300 visitors to experience various trades, crafts, and passions. The Big Build had more groups than previous years and offered a variety of hands-on activities for visitors of all ages, from preschool age and up. This challenged kids and their parents to learn something new, try something they would typically never try, and think about the ways in which they could make the built environment better.

ASLA created a hands-on activity, Create a Landform: Discover How Water Moves on Land, that educated kids, teens, and adults about landforms, watersheds, and the importance of understanding stormwater management. Throughout the day, kids of all ages and their parents took part in the exercise and learned how landscape architects work with land and water.

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Black in Design Conference: Reflections from Two Women of Color

image: Black in Design

The Black in Design Conference is a biennial event that focuses on uncovering the complex dialogues related to the intersection of design and black identity. Hosted at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University by the African American Student Union (AASU), the conference highlighted the works of emerging and seasoned design professionals, activists, artists, and educators whose common goals challenge Eurocentric methods of design, education, and engagement to create spaces and places for all people. The 2017 conference, entitled “Designing Resistance, Building Coalitions,” specifically focused on design as a social justice and activism tool that promotes equity and equality in spaces around the country that oppress or erase black and brown presence. For more information, visit the Black in Design website to watch the entire conference, and for the 2019 conference announcement.

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