PPN Zoom Book Club: Schools That Heal

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

Schools That Heal: Schools That Heal: Design with Mental Health in Mind by Claire Latané, FASLA / image: Claire Latané

The ASLA Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (PPN) is pleased to share a recap of the PPN’s second Zoom book club meeting. Hosted on May 9, 2023, 32 attendees eagerly welcomed Claire Latané, FASLA, MLA, SITES AP, author of Schools That Heal: Design with Mental Health in Mind, published in 2021 by Island Press. Written with an exquisite balance of evidence, sensitivity, and compassion, the book is intended for architects, engineers, and interior designers as well as landscape architects. We are grateful that Professor Latané was able to speak with us about the book and her ongoing advocacy work. Before recapping the book club meeting, a bit more about the author of this month’s PPN book selection:

Associate Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, Professor Latané became a Fellow of ASLA in 2022 and was a Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) Fellow for Innovation and Leadership for 2017-2018. Her fellowship focused on high schools and high schoolers, an age when most mental health disorders get diagnosed (if they even get diagnosed). It is a tough time because by age 12, youth are no longer eligible for after school care, and are often left to their own devices. On top of it all, parents are less welcomed to participate in high schools. This period in development was, in Professor Latané’s mind, a bit of a missing piece, and very light on research focused on the mental health benefits of nature in a learning environment.

Beyond her academic role, Professor Latané’s advocacy and commitment to bettering the lives of children is evident in her work as Founder of the Collaborative for Health and Inclusive Learning Environments (CHILE—rhymes with “while”) and as Founder of the Emergency Schoolyard Design Volunteers program for the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative. With mental health challenges amongst children and youth on the rise and compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, never has connecting children with nature been more important. So too is acknowledging that learning environments need to be nature-based places of healing and must be front and center thinking in every school district, everywhere. We need more Professor Latané’s in the world to be the voice for children and youth all of whom must have opportunities to experience the mental health promoting benefits of nature.

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AECOM Roof Garden: From Corporate Garden to Nature Space Advocacy, Part 2

by Lee Parks, International ASLA, and LIAO Jingjing

An AECOM employee waters the new containers in early summer. / image: courtesy of Lee Parks, AECOM

This is the second installment in a three-part series on the evolution of AECOM’s green roof in Shanghai. Click here for Part 1, published last week.

As the plants established during the comfortable spring weather, employee engagement was high. The increase in flowers saw a direct increase in visiting pollinators, mostly bees. Flowers and foliage added visual amenity of the space, with ornamental grasses and flowers combining to create a vibrant display. Employee photo sharing on social media celebrated the beauty to be found in nature, recording wildlife spotted and seasonal highlights. The garden supported a ‘Wellbeing At AECOM’ campaign by encouraging employees to relax and enjoy contact with nature. Friends and families joined in the maintenance and watering. By June the salad and herb garden was productive and bearing results to be enjoyed.

All appeared well until the fiery and crushing July heat became a challenge for gardeners and the garden. Employee engagement quickly faded and only the core Roof Garden Committee members sustained interest to maintain and monitor plants. With no automatic irrigation system, the containers relied on employees to hand water with watering cans or a hose during dry periods.

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Evolution and Re-Calibration of the Typical Suburban Retail Environment

by John Dempsey, ASLA, and Daniel Straub, ASLA

North Dekalb Mall, North Decatur, Georgia / image: Casey Lovegrove on Unsplash

The retail environment in America has a complex history as it includes a broad range of activities from the small-scale local storefront in an urban neighborhood to the large-scale activity of a suburban shopping mall. This article focuses on the complex changes associated with the suburban shopping malls and their impact on urban framework and design, and draws on relative comparisons to the history and relative success of traditional main street retail as well.

Framing the American Dream: Auto Ownership, Mobility, and Suburban Growth

During the period after World War II, factors such as increased manufacturing, the GI Bill, and federal loan programs facilitated the migration to single-family homes and private automobiles. Since its inception in the 1950s, American suburban malls became an emblematic part of the booming expansion of the geographic extent of large-scale suburbia. This transformation was in part made possible by the National Interstate and Defense Highway Act (1956). The highway investments permitted a massive road-building program to support access to inexpensive land that led to increased opportunities to build large-scale subdivisions. Many of the new subdivisions required easy access to goods, services, and entertainment so they typically included commercial mall development or were located near new suburban malls. Essentially, the suburban mall became the new town square to eat, shop, gather, and converse.

However, not all American citizens participated equally. The mass exodus of primarily white households from cities to the outlying suburbs revealed inequitable prosperity. The new suburban communities were legally structured to limit the emigration of poor and non-white residents by drafting restrictive zoning practices that would prevent lower middle-class Americans from purchasing single-family houses in the suburbs. As a consequence, the mass movement of middle-income households from many inner-city neighborhoods encouraged the similar movement of many businesses to suburban locations. This resulted in a major transformation of many cities anchored by main streets or downtown retail.

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AECOM Roof Garden: From Corporate Garden to Nature Space Advocacy

by Lee Parks, International ASLA, and LIAO Jingjing

Ornamental grasses in autumn on the AECOM Green Roof in 2016 / image: courtesy of Lee Parks, AECOM

In June 2016, AECOM moved its Shanghai office to the Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC) in Yangpu District. AECOM leased floors nine to twelve of building 7 which included space for an outdoor roof terrace on part of the twelfth floor. The terrace was initially designed to meet corporate requirements for leadership visits, hosting events, client receptions, and employee social interaction, resulting in a contemporary design with a hospitality-style space.

A limited selection of structural planting was selected to form and enclose space, to screen utilities, and create a low maintenance, formal garden. For seasonal highlights, groups of ornamental grasses (Muhlenbergia capillaris) were used in timber seating platforms and eight over-sized pots with flowering trees were placed on a central lawn (Lagerstroemia indica).

However, between 2016 and 2018 very few corporate events took place outdoors, and the terrace primarily provided the green backdrop to indoor events, functioning more for visual amenity rather than encouraging social interaction, or enjoyment of nature. In 2018, landscape practice leader Lee Parks, International ASLA, instigated a roof garden initiative to diversify the roof garden.

Original Site Conditions

Prior to leasing the office space, the property developer provided a simple extensive green roof system, flexible for tenants to adapt to their needs. Extensive green roof systems characteristically consist of a shallow layer of growing media—typically, less than 80mm deep—planted with a variety of drought tolerant hardy plants, such as grasses and sedums. The system is lightweight and helps to mitigate urban heat island effect and minimize stormwater run-off by absorbing rainwater in the vegetated areas. Non-vegetated areas used permeable gravel paths to enable access for maintenance and further enhance stormwater management.

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ASLA Chapters Advancing Climate Action

ASLA 2020 Professional Research Honor Award. Climate Positive Design. Pamela Conrad, ASLA / image: CMG Landscape Architecture

ASLA chapters are continuing to organize in-person and virtual events to advance the goals of the ASLA Climate Action Plan. Just a few examples:

Last month, the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA) organized a free webinar with Scott Bishop, ASLA, founder of Bishop Land Design, Immediate Past Chair of the Climate Action Committee, and ASLA Climate Action Plan Advisory Group Member. Earlier in May, five chapters—Vermont, Connecticut, Boston, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island—organized the second annual Landscape Architecture + Climate Action in New England Virtual Summit. The event recording, slide deck, and additional resources are available online.

All are welcome and encouraged to take part in these chapter events—many can be attended virtually, and they are often recorded if you can’t make it on the day of the event. Coming up later in May from the ASLA California Sierra Chapter: a virtual Climate Positive Design Pathfinder Bootcamp. Ever wonder how to measure the carbon impact of your projects? Climate Positive Design Pathfinder is a free tool for landscape architects that measures embodied carbon and sequestration of project designs.

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Words of Wisdom for Our 2023 Landscape Architecture Graduates

by Andrew Littlefield, Student ASLA, Jacoby Gonzales, ASLA, Yiwei Huang, ASLA, Ebru Özer, ASLA, Anuhya Konda, Associate ASLA, Allyson Mendenhall, FASLA, Kene Okigbo, ASLA, and Sarah Leaskey, ASLA

images: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography, Yiwei Huang, Anuhya Konda, Andrew Littlefield

The newly formed ASLA Student Support and Engagement Committee, chaired by Professor Yiwei Huang, ASLA, and ASLA Executive Committee liaison Vice President of Education Ebru Özer, ASLA, gathered some words of advice from committee members and close connections and would like to share them to the upcoming landscape architecture graduates. We hope graduates find it useful and remember that they can always contact ASLA for professional support and help. Happy graduation!

To the landscape architecture graduates of 2023,

On behalf of the younger landscape architecture students, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your mentorship, guidance, and friendship throughout your time as students. We are greatly appreciative of all of you that have come before us and have helped us along our journey. As you begin preparing for your life after school, as the freshman of the industry, don’t forget where you came from. We will continue to cheer you on and celebrate your successes, and pass along the wisdom that you have shared with us, to the students that will come after us. You have been our role models, and we can’t wait to work with you again someday.

Thank you for all that you have shared with us.

Your friends,
The Younger Students

Andrew Littlefield, Student ASLA
Undergraduate Landscape Architecture Student, Kansas State University

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An Introduction to Historic Working Landscapes

by David Driapsa, FASLA

El Santuario del Senor Esquipula, Chimayo, New Mexico / image: David Driapsa

The following article highlights the importance of documenting historic landscapes for perpetuity. For the 14th annual HALS Challenge competition, the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) invites you to document Working Landscapes. Historic “working” or “productive” landscapes may be agricultural or industrial and unique or traditional. Some topical working landscapes convey water for irrigation or provide flood control. Please focus your HALS report on the landscape as a whole and not on a building or structure alone. For this theme, the HAER History Guidelines may be helpful along with HALS History Guidelines.

I am pleased to share with you an introduction to documenting historic working landscapes. Working landscapes are vernacular (subsistence and commercial gardening and agriculture), scientific (industrial horticulture), commercial (fishing), educational (the work of producing knowledge), recreation, and others that are conceived, situated, and adapted to the economies which they support.

Chimayo, New Mexico, is an historic village established on the north American frontier of the Spanish empire, situated in the arid Santa Cruz Valley of what today is northern New Mexico. Irrigation ditches known as acequias were constructed to convey water for miles down from the Sangre Cristo Mountains to nourish gardens and fields below in the valley. The working landscape created under this precious water economy was so essential to life that the land was organized with the irrigated crops established on fertile land below the acequias and dwellings occupied the dry slopes above. This land use planning was essential to preserve the land that could be watered for agriculture.

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Visual Resources in the Practice of Landscape Architecture

by Tim Tetherow, ASLA, and John McCarty, ASLA

US 550 at Red Mountain Pass near Ouray, CO, part of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway / image: courtesy of the Colorado Department of Transportation

This article explores the roots and diverse approaches to visual resource management (VRM) and visual impact assessment (VIA). The role of VRM and VIA encompasses federal lands, seascapes, landscapes, park lands, scenic byways and highway corridors, urban environments, and other valued places. Landscape architects play a lead role in sustaining this field of practice.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) provides a comprehensive public policy on visual resources:

The American Society of Landscape Architects believes the quality of visual character and scenic resources is critical to our landscapes and communities at the local, regional, and national level…To protect and enhance these irreplaceable assets, ASLA supports consideration of visual character and scenic resources for all projects and all users.

Building a Foundation for Visual Resource Stewardship

The roots of this field of practice can be traced back to the response to the nation’s growth and scale of environmental change in the 1950s and 60s. President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered a message to Congress on February 8, 1965, calling for a White House Conference on Natural Beauty. In his message, President Johnson declared that:

To deal with these new problems will require a new conservation. We must not only protect the countryside and save it from destruction, we must restore what has been destroyed and salvage the beauty and charm of our cities.…Its concern is not with nature alone, but with the total relation between man and the world around him….The beauty of our land is a natural resource. Its preservation is linked to the inner prosperity of the human spirit.

Proceedings of the White House Conference on Natural Beauty – May 24 and 25, 1965, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 65-65700, U.S. Government Printing Office Washington, D.C.: 1965.

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Managing Urban Trees for Storm Events

by Stephanie Cadaval

ASLA 2022 Professional Urban Design Honor Award. Denny Regrade Campus, Seattle, WA. Site Workshop / image: Stuart Issett

Storms are a significant part of our decisions about how to manage urban trees. We invite you to participate in a survey about urban forest management and storms. This research is important to better understand professionals’ risk perceptions, communication needs, opportunities for collaboration, and general challenges with managing urban forests for storm events.

Please note: this survey studies storms and urban forest management in the Eastern and Southern United States, based on the USDA Forest Service Administrative Regions. Please complete this survey if you work in any of these states:

States in the Eastern Region (Region 9):

Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin

States in the Southern Region (Region 8):

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia

Take Survey Button

You are also encouraged to share this survey with your contacts working with urban trees. The survey will remain open through the end of June.

The survey is completely voluntary and will take ~ 15 minutes of your time. You can withdraw consent by stopping the survey at any time. This survey is approved by the University of Florida’s Institutional Review Board (IRB202101044). Thank you for your participation in this survey! Your responses are very important and will help to improve the overall management of urban forests and storms.

This project is TREE Fund-sponsored research led by Mysha Clarke, assistant professor at the University of Florida, and Stephanie Cadaval, Ph.D. Candidate in Forest Resources and Conservation and Graduate Assistant, Clarke Human Dimensions Lab, at the University of Florida.

Towards an Expanded History of Environmental Justice

by Ellen Burke, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP

A view of the Hudson River and adjoining neighborhood that would have been most impacted by sewage from Vassar College prior to Ellen Swallow Richards’ intervention. / image: Poughkeepsie bridge, 1906, Detroit Publishing Company via Library of Congress

Towards an Expanded History of Environmental Justice in America: Ellen Swallow Richards and Human Ecology


Histories of environmental justice (EJ) in the United States situate its founding in the late 20th century, in grass-roots activism to address environmental harms such as pollution in inhabited places, including urban neighborhoods and rural communities. EJ is described as challenging traditional ideas of environmentalism in the US that focus on “pristine wilderness” and endangered species, and scholars of the movement have noted the ways that race and gender intersect with differing approaches to defining environmentalism [1, 2]. Early leaders in traditional environmentalism were largely white men, writers like John Muir and Henry Thoreau. In contrast, early leaders of the EJ movement were largely women and often poor women of color. Their focus was on links between human and environmental health, and on calls for self-determination in the quality of one’s immediate lived environment.

In 1982 residents of Warren County, North Carolina, challenged the siting of a toxic-waste landfill facility in their community with six weeks of marches and protests, including blockading trucks arriving at the landfill. This organized action, while not the first of its kind, is often identified as the beginning of the EJ movement [3]. Other histories locate the movement’s beginnings in 1968 with Dr. Martin Luther King’s support of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, or the 1969 grape boycott organized by United Farm Workers [4]. Each of these events are direct actions taken to protect human health, and recognize that burdens of pollution are inequitably distributed based on race and class. Gordon Walker’s seven characteristics of the EJ movement are evident in these early actions, including emphasis on the politics of race, a focus on justice to people in the environment, and demands for participatory justice [5].

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Invest in Nature

by Gracie Tilman

The SITES-certified Cultural Arts Corridor: The Lower Ramble in Fayetteville, Arkansas. / image: Watershed Conservation Resource Center

The U.S. Green Building Council is investing in our planet. Our nature-based solutions strategy, which was submitted to the White House “Invest in Nature” call to action for nature-based commitments and investments, will guide us in creating new opportunities for learning, and increasing access to, nature-based solutions.

To create more awareness and reach new audiences:

  • USGBC will promote nature-based education in our course catalog by offering free courses related to the SITES program for Earth Day (through May).
  • USGBC will connect experienced professionals with others who are seeking education in nature-based solutions and SITES, collaborate with organizations who represent or convene diverse or disadvantaged landscape professionals to understand their needs, and provide a free virtual introduction to SITES, along with discounts to the SITES AP credential.
  • In addition, USGBC will emphasize nature-based solutions in the biodiversity-themed summer issue of USGBC+ and create new training and education where needs are identified.

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Landscape Architecture for the Next Generation

Taking part in the Parkitecture Spring Camp at the Science Museum Oklahoma / image: courtesy of Subhashini Gamagedara, ASLA

Earlier this week in LAND, you read about two ASLA chapter programs launched to address the need to expand the diversity of the profession and to spark interest in landscape architecture as a career in young minds. Today, we are highlighting two career discovery activity examples from Professional Practice Network (PPN) leaders. We hope these initiatives, along with everything else happening for this World Landscape Architecture Month, might inspire you to share your passion for the field with the next generation.

From Subhashini (Subi) Gamagedara, ASLA, LEED AP, Park Planner for OKC Parks and a Women in Landscape Architecture PPN leader:

I recently had the opportunity to be the guest critic at a Spring Camp conducted by the Science Museum Oklahoma. The Spring Camp was themed Parkitecture and was focused on providing an enriching hands-on design experience on parks to participants aged 8-12. At the end of the week-long camp, they had created 3D models of a variety of parks, which they had to present to their class.

I was blown away by the creativity, empathy, and the level of critical thinking that these “young designers” demonstrated. Their work was outstanding. Through the presentations and the discussions that followed, we explored how intricate and muti-faceted park projects are in the real world. It was also a golden opportunity to talk about the benefits, expectations, responsibilities, and challenges associated with public parks.

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Campus Planning & Design Highlights from San Francisco

Left to right: Tony Catchot, ASLA, April Riehm, Student ASLA, Joe Favour, ASLA, Taylor Wilson, Associate ASLA, David Cutter, FASLA, SITES AP, Krista M. Van Hove, ASLA, and Stan Szwalek, ASLA, PLA / image: courtesy of the Campus Planning & Design PPN leadership team

We can’t believe spring is already upon us! The Campus Planning & Design PPN is busy planning another great year of connection and engagement amongst our colleagues and peers. Before we dive into future planning, we wanted to share a recap of last year’s PPN gathering at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Francisco.

Last year, the Campus Planning & Design PPN leadership team sent out a call for student presenters to submit their original research or design work focused on how campuses can create inclusive communities that contribute positively to well-being, diversity, and sustainability. We were pleased to extend the invitation to two candidates to speak at the PPN meeting. First, Taylor Wilson, Associate ASLA, an MLA candidate at North Carolina State University, presented her research on “Trail Oriented Development’s Role in Higher Education & Student Health.” Second, April Riehm, Student ASLA, a dual-degree Masters candidate in both Landscape Architecture and City and Regional Planning at Clemson University, presented her research on “Campus Playscapes: Designing a Built Environment that Creates more Equity and Inclusion for Students with ADHD and other Learning Disabilities at Clemson University.”

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A Spring Bloom of Opportunities

ASLA 2022 Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award. Moakley Park Resilience Plan, Boston, MA. Stoss Landscape Urbanism / image: Stoss Landscape Urbanism

From World Landscape Architecture Month to webinars to the ASLA Student Awards and ASLA Fund Research Grants, there’s lots going on this spring! In case your calendar isn’t quite full yet, or if you’re looking for projects to take part in, there’s more to explore on ASLA’s RFQs, Opportunities, and Events page, which provides information on everything from calls for papers to competitions. Below, we highlight recently submitted RFPs and RFQs. Anyone who would like to share an opportunity may submit information online.

RFQ: Master Planning, Landscape, Architectural, & Engineering Services RLI Parcel Riverfront Recapture, Inc.
Deadline: May 8, 2023

Riverfront Recapture is soliciting proposals from qualified teams experienced in waterfront park design to provide Master Planning, Landscape, Architectural Design, & Engineering Services for a new riverfront park, regional trail extension, and a contemplated commercial development in Riverfront Recapture’s parcel bordering Hartford and Windsor, Connecticut.

RFP: City Landscape Architect for Alhambra, CA
Deadline: May 8, 2023

The City of Alhambra is requesting qualified firms to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) to serve as a consulting City Landscape Architect to provide professional landscape design review services.

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Perceived Safety & Equitable Access: An Investigation of the Northwest Arkansas Greenway

by Jessica Shearman, Associate ASLA

Context map (detail) / image: Jessica Shearman, Assoc. ASLA

Urban connectivity via green corridors that also integrate habitat is a tool for promoting resilience. Other than functioning as sustainable design and development, these areas can also serve people when combining green corridors and public space. With these types of public spaces, the function expands to not just habitat and ecology, but also reverberating social systems into equitable and just spaces.

As designers and planners, we view public space as the lifeblood for sustainable and democratic places, and policymakers are also catching on, with the United Nations’ 2017 Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development concluding that urban spaces are important for addressing global challenges. While prioritizing regional ecological connections with increasing access to public space seemingly accomplishes a range of objectives, a conflict around the public’s perception of safety in these spaces may arise.

Perceived safety can be defined as an awareness and emotional reaction to space and place based on one’s background and experiences. It can be directly linked to equitable access and the universal right to mobility and public space regardless of gender, race, sexuality, age, abilities, and resources. A lack of perceived safety considerations often inhibits certain communities and groups from accessing public or green spaces, thus limiting their quality of life. While creating public spaces that are ecologically resilient can promote green connections, these spaces can also be a barrier for some marginalized communities accessing space. These issues provoke questions around how we can reconcile potential conflicts and create resilient green space, perceived safety, and equitable access.

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Welcoming Spring in the Brandywine Valley

by Alexandra Hay

Chanticleer / image: Alexandra Hay

I am a supporter of the British concept of the mini-break. Every weekend should be treated like a vacation, a time to do something a little bit special, even if you’re not going very far. For a spring break this year, I didn’t venture too far from my usual environs—I live in Washington, DC, and made a jaunt over to Delaware—but made the most of it with visits to three gardens nearby.

Northern Delaware and the outskirts of Philadelphia are home to a surprising number of gardens and horticultural destinations, from Longwood Gardens to the Mt. Cuba Center to the elaborately designed landscapes surrounding the mansions of various duPonts. This area is within relatively short drives from Wilmington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, and is well worth a visit. If you attended the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Philadelphia back in 2018, many of these spots may be familiar from the field sessions that year. Even if you attended one of these sessions, that was October—these same places in spring are just as extraordinary, and I’d revisit them all in every season and am sure I’d find just as much to look at.

While the three spots highlighted here are all different in scale and scope, I’d recommend any of them if you need a day out to recharge in nature and to bask outdoors while surrounded by aesthetically astonishing plantings. It was a beautiful way to welcome World Landscape Architecture Month.

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Natural Lands oversees this public garden and nature preserve, with grounds designed by Olmsted Brothers that have been reimagined as a landscape that “celebrates the beauty of native plants and the importance of biodiversity.”

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April is World Landscape Architecture Month

ASLA 2022 Professional General Design Honor Award. Riverfront Spokane, Spokane, Washington. Berger Partnership / image: Built Work Photography

World Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM) celebrates the role of landscape architects in shaping healthy, resilient, and beautiful places for all. April brings the opportunity to promote the profession and inspire the next generation of landscape architects. Get ready to take part in all the special offerings happening next month!


Use the hashtag #WLAM2023 to showcase your work on social media and connect with participants from around the world. Tag @NationalASLA for a chance to be featured on ASLA social media profiles, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, as well as in Landscape Architecture Magazine!

Share your unique perspective or use the ASLA daily prompts—many of which correspond to one or more Professional Practice Network (PPN) practice areas—for inspiration.

World Landscape Architecture Month Daily Prompts

  1. #thisislandscapearchitecture
  2. #iamalandscapearchitect
  3. #landscapearchitecturestudent
  4. favorite project
  5. a day in the life
  6. plants – Planting Design PPN members, this one’s for you!
  7. I am passionate about…
  8. sketch
  9. seasons
  10. landscape architects in action
  11. current project
  12. public space
  13. residential landscape architecture – we’d love to see Residential Landscape Architecture and Design-Build PPN members doing residential work posting for this prompt!
  14. I am researching… – Education & Practice PPN members, get the word out about the research you’re doing.
  15. urban design – a perfect fit for Urban Design PPN members, of course.
  16. outdoor play – Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN, take note!
  17. I work here
  18. green infrastructure – many project types may incorporate green infrastructure, but Sustainable Design & Development PPN members will certainly have a strong connection to this prompt.
  19. biodiversity – Ecology & Restoration PPN
  20. community – Community Design PPN
  21. am or pm
  22. green
  23. currently reading
  24. water – Water Conservation PPN
  25. technology – Digital Technology PPN
  26. parks – Parks & Recreation PPN
  27. design process
  28. streetscape – Transportation PPN
  29. detail
  30. team

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Women in Landscape Architecture Profiles, Part 2

images: courtesy of Sahar Teymouri, ASLA, Joni Hammons, ASLA, and © CPEX, Shuangwen Yang, Associate ASLA, and Tristan Fields, ASLA

ASLA is continuing to celebrate #womeninlandscapearchitecture who are shaping our environment on social media this Women’s History Month. Last week, we recapped a first set of WILA profiles here on The Field for anyone who may have missed them. Check out that first installment for Alexandra Mei, ASLA, Angelica Rockquemore, ASLA, Sandy Meulners, ASLA, and SuLin Kotowicz, FASLA.

Today, we’re sharing the next set of profiles, of Shuangwen Yang, Associate ASLA, Heidi Hohmann, ASLA, Tristan Fields, ASLA, Joni Hammons, ASLA, and Sahar Teymouri, ASLA.

Shuangwen Yang, Associate ASLA

Who are the female role models who have influenced your career? 

I admire the perseverance of journalist and activist Jane Jacobs, who was passionately and fearlessly committed to introducing sympathetic city planning and design oriented around people and communities, during an era where women’s opinions weren’t welcome in many rooms. Another role model that I look up to is landscape architect Mikyoung Kim, FASLA. Seeing someone who looks like me to thrive and continue to be a great mentor to others in a white male dominated profession makes me see myself in a similar position to make greater impact.

What advice do you have for other women pursuing a career in landscape architecture?

No matter what ups and downs you run into, always uplift your peers, deeply believe in your values, and speak confidently about your work, because somebody somewhere is inspired by what you do.

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ASLA Fund Research Grants: Landscape Architecture Solutions to Biodiversity Loss and Extreme Heat

ASLA 2021 Professional General Design Honor Award. Duke University Water Reclamation Pond, Durham, North Carolina. Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects / image: Mark Hough

New Research Grants: Evidence for Landscape Architecture Solutions to the Climate and Biodiversity Crises 

The ASLA Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, announced $25,000 in national competitive grants to develop research reviews at the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference last week. This opportunity is open to ASLA members and non-members in academia.

The ASLA Fund invites landscape architecture educators to develop succinct and impactful research reviews that investigate evidence of the benefits of landscape architecture solutions to the climate and biodiversity crises. The goals of the research reviews are to:

  • Understand and summarize the current state of knowledge.
  • Synthesize the research literature and provide insights, leveraging key data- and science-based evidence.
  • Create accessible executive summaries in plain language for policymakers, community advocates, and practicing landscape architects.

Over the next few years, research grants will be issued to explore solutions to a range of issues, but these first two grants will focus on:

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Women in Landscape Architecture Profiles, Part 1

images courtesy of: Alexandra Mei, ASLA; Sandy Meulners, ASLA, and Mend Collaborative working with the City of El Paso CID; SuLin Kotowicz, FASLA, and VIRIDIS Design Group; Angelica Rockquemore, ASLA, and Erin Emerson

ASLA kicked off Women’s History Month with a post from Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) leader Lara Moffat, ASLA, on recent WILA highlights and what’s ahead for the PPN. The following week, ASLA’s Gender Equity Task Force hosted the first webinar in their speaker series, which is now available to watch on-demand: Closing the Gender Equity Gap, Advocacy in the Workplace. Check out the presentations from Jeanne Lukenda, ASLA, David Sanchez-Aguilera, Sami Sikanas, ASLA, and Ujijji Davis on how to be an advocate for yourself and for larger, impactful changes to office culture and employee benefits. Hear firsthand experiences from practitioners who are making changes in their companies through employee-driven initiatives and setting off on their own.

All throughout the month, ASLA is also celebrating #womeninlandscapearchitecture who are shaping our environment on social media, starting with ASLA leadership: three women are serving as President (Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA), Immediate Past President (Eugenia Martin, FASLA), and President-Elect (SuLin Kotowicz, FASLA). If you missed the historic moment at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture when this trio came together, a video was made to mark this occasion, featuring Eugenia Martin, FASLA, interviewing five of her predecessors as ASLA President and her two successors about their experiences and expectations leading ASLA.

In case you’re taking a break from social media, or just happened to have missed a few of these WILA profiles, we are recapping them here on The Field. This post includes Alexandra Mei, ASLA, Angelica Rockquemore, ASLA, Sandy Meulners, ASLA, and SuLin Kotowicz, FASLA. Stay tuned for a second set of profiles next week!

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Lessons from the University of California Plant Trials

by Jodie Cook, ASLA, SITES AP

University of California Climate-Ready Field Trial growing grounds / image: Karrie Reid – used with permission

As a horticulturally obsessed landscape designer for most of my adult life, I’ve observed how our landscape irrigation practices, tools, and technologies have evolved over time. In the last few decades, we have radically changed our plant irrigation practices in public and private designed spaces, particularly in the West. While using a plant palette of so called ‘drought tolerant’ species, many large commercial landscapes, and managed communities such as mine, irrigate four times per week or more in a climate that has never experienced rain with such frequency. How many regions do experience this frequency of natural rainfall? I have often wondered, why do we irrigate non-lawn areas so much?

So, I was thrilled to be a participant in the Climate-Ready Landscape Plants trial evaluations at the University of California South Coast Research Center fields in Irvine, California. I was there, clipboard in hand, as a plant performance evaluator and was not involved in the research in any other way. I did, however, discuss the research at length with those who devised the trial. It was fascinating and eye-opening.

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Connected Conservation 

by Amy L. Schneckenburger, FASLA

ASLA 2021 Professional General Design Honor Award. Inspiring Journeys For All, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. HDLA / image: Charlie Craighead

The National Park Service Connected Conservation (C2) webinar mini-series continues this week with the ninth installment: The Mountain Neighbor Handbook: A Local’s Guide to Stewardship in the Tetons on Tuesday, March 7, at 2:00 p.m. (ET) (the webinar is now available as a recording). Learn how individuals can help nature conservation by living more sustainably, volunteering, recreating responsibly, and motivating one another to take conservation actions.

The webinar will highlight this community-focused handbook, which was released in October 2022 and was created by Wyoming’s Teton County, the Town of Jackson, Teton Conservation District, and the Jackson Hole Land Trust. The publication serves as an introduction and an invitation to environmental stewardship.

We’ll have five presenters involved with the project:

  • Phoebe Coburn, Communications Specialist, Teton Conservation District
  • Carlin Girard, Executive Director, Teton Conservation District
  • Chris Colligan, Project Manager, Teton County, WY
  • Max Ludington, President, Jackson Hole Land Trust
  • Chip Jenkins, Superintendent, Grand Teton National Park

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Women’s History Month: Building on the Past, Planning for the Future

by Lara Moffat, ASLA

WILA PPN leaders and representatives from ASLA’s Gender Equity Task Force at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. Left to right: Lara Moffat, ASLA, Kristina Snyder, ASLA, Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA, Joy Kuebler, ASLA, Ebru Ozer, ASLA, Wendy Miller, FASLA, Laurie Hall, ASLA, Su Wanqin, ASLA. / image: courtesy of Lara Moffat

As we kick off Women’s History Month, the Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) is pleased to share what we have been up to, which is building on the past and planning for the future! We will continue the conversations from our participation at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture and bring those into focus with a theme in 2023 of health: mental, physical, and social.

Our first event for the year occurred last month with a virtual open forum where we recapped the highlights from San Francisco: we shared takeaways from the Deep Dive on Cultivating Conversations: An Open Dialogue to Effect Change in Organizational Culture; reviewed the discussion with the ASLA’s Gender Equity Task Force during our WILA PPN Campfire Session; and outlined our initiatives for 2023.

A Look Back at San Francisco

On Saturday of the conference, we were fortunate to have had a Deep Dive presentation selected on Cultivating Conversations: An Open Dialogue to Effect Change in Organizational Culture. Resulting from the 2021 WILA PPN Campfire Session, From Mentorship to Sponsorship: Friendship is the Key!, exploring how professional relationships contribute to a flourishing career, we developed this session based on the findings and requests of the 55 attendees.

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Continue Your Practice Management Education with SKILL | ED

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

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

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

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RFP: Buffalo Olmsted Parks System National Register Nomination Update

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

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

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

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Avenues for Expanding the Field of Landscape Design

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

image: Mark Weaner

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

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

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

The Art of Gardening at Chanticleer
March 21, 2023

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

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

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

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

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Tell Your Story at ASLA 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Championing Climate Positive Design

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

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

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

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Viewshed Analysis for Visual Impact Assessment

by Liia Koiv-Haus, ASLA, AICP

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

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

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

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

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Funding Opportunities for Environmental Justice Projects

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

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

Increase Access to Transit in Low-Income Neighborhoods

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

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

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

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

The deadline to apply is March 10, 2023. 

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