Celebrate Pollinator Week this June 17-23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ADA Access: Project Retrofits and Upgrades

by Nate Lowry, ASLA

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

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

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

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

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

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To Vend or Not to Vend

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

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

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

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

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A New Manassas Street, Safe for Bikes and Pedestrians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Fifth Shanghai Landscape Forum in Review, Part 2

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

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

第五届上海景观论坛——感知 活动回顾与干货分享

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

Session C: 日新月异 Expectation

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

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

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

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

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

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Mentor Map: Design Lineage at NC State College of Design

by Virginia Fall, Student ASLA

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

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

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

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

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The Rhode Island Landscape Survey: An Overview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Experimentation: The Nature of Design

by Mark Dennis, ASLA, PLA, AICP

Residential planting design in winter
image: Austin Eischeid

An Interview with Austin Eischeid, Planting Designer

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

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

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

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The Fifth Shanghai Landscape Forum in Review, Part 1

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

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

第五届上海景观论坛——感知 活动回顾与干货分享

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

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

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

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EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge Winners Announced

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s entry, The Ripple Effect, won first place in the master plan category of the 2018 Campus RainWorks Challenge. / image: University of Louisiana at Lafayette Design Board

Every year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosts the Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design competition for American colleges and universities that “seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals, foster a dialogue about effective stormwater management, and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.”

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) partners with the EPA to provide assistance with judging and outreach. This year’s judges included the following ASLA Professional Practice Network (PPN) leaders and members:

Katharyn Hurd, ASLA
Associate/Planner at Page/BMS Design Group
Co-Chair, Campus Planning and Design PPN

David Cutter, ASLA
University Landscape Architect at Cornell University
Officer & Past Chair, Campus Planning and Design PPN

Christopher Marlow, ASLA
Assistant Professor at Ball State University
Digital Technology PPN

Lee Skabelund, ASLA
Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning at Kansas State University
Officer & Past Chair, Ecology and Restoration PPN

Harris Trobman, Associate ASLA
Green Infrastructure Specialist at University of District of Columbia, Center for Sustainable Development
Planting Design PPN

Stacilyn Feldman, ASLA
Senior Associate at Oehme, van Sweden
Residential Landscape Architecture PPN

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Center for Sustainable Landscapes Achieves SITES Platinum Certification

by Richard V. Piacentini, President and CEO, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

The sustainable landscape at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Phipps showcases renewable energy technologies, conservation strategies, water treatment, and sustainable landscapes to an audience of nearly half a million visitors every year. / image: Denmarsh Photography, Inc.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) is the first project worldwide to be certified at the Platinum level under the Sustainable SITES Initiative® (SITES®) v2 Rating System.

Previously certified as a Four-Star project through the pilot version of SITES in 2013, the CSL is a 24,350-square-foot education, research, and administration facility on a 2.9-acre landscape. Recognized as one of the greenest projects in the world, the building is located on the campus of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is net-zero energy and net-zero water, producing all of its energy renewably and managing all storm and sanitary on-site. In addition to SITES, the CSL has also met three of the highest green building standards: The Living Building Challenge™, LEED® Platinum, and WELL™ Platinum certification (a rating system designed to advance health and well-being in buildings). We decided to pursue certification under SITES v2 to make sure that we were still focused on and promoting the highest level of sustainability related to the landscape.

Utilized daily as Phipps’ education, research, and administration hub, the CSL serves to increase awareness of the interconnection between people, nature, and the built environment, and to promote sustainable systems thinking. With a design that seamlessly integrates into the guest experience at Phipps—a 125-year-old institution with nearly 500,000 annual visitors—the CSL is uniquely positioned to showcase renewable energy technologies, conservation strategies, water treatment, and sustainable landscapes to a broad audience.

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A Renewed Focus on Community Design

by the Community Design PPN leadership team

ASLA 2018 Student Residential Award of Excellence. Baseco: A New Housing Paradigm, Manila, Philippines. / image: Julio F. Torres Santana, Student ASLA, Yinan Liu, Student ASLA, Aime Vailes-Macarie, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

ASLA’s Community Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) is the forum for landscape architecture issues in housing and community design, policy, planning, and design. This forum is dedicated to sharing information and building awareness of how landscape architects contribute to the development of livable, walkable, sustainable, and inclusive communities.

Landscape architects serve a vital role in the creation of strong, vibrant communities by placing emphasis on the importance of the public realm while fostering environmentally sustainable patterns and methods. Whether the context is rural or urban, the landscape architect is uniquely qualified to design the built environment to respond to natural processes and patterns. Our voice and experience in context sensitive design during the community planning process is key to providing the link between our colleges in planning and engineering. We have created policies to support livable communities, developed sustainable stormwater systems, designed and constructed parks and recreation areas, supported native ecosystems habitat and led public involvement processes to support sound decision-making.

Our goal is to empower landscape architects to establish stronger roles as community design leaders. Learn more about Community Design on the PPN’s newly updated webpage.

Meet the Community Design PPN Leadership Team

In addition to a chair or co-chairs, many PPNs, including Community Design, also have larger leadership teams that include PPN officers and past chairs. Most leadership teams hold monthly calls to keep track of progress on PPN activities, and all PPN members are welcome to join their PPN’s leadership team. To learn more, see ASLA’s PPN Leadership Opportunities page.

The Community Design PPN is looking to grow its leadership team—if you are interested in becoming more active in the PPN, please contact the PPN’s Chair.

In this post, we’d like to introduce the Community Design PPN leadership team through their answers to the following questions:

  • What is a community design? How do you define / describe what you do?
  • How do you as a landscape architect add value to community design projects?

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Proposed Rule Changes to National Register Nominations

by Helen Erickson, Associate ASLA

Moore Square in Raleigh
ASLA 2013 Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award. Elevated Ground: A 300 Year Vision for a 220-Year-Old Square, Raleigh, NC. Christopher Counts Studio. / image: Christopher Counts Studio

At the beginning of March, the Federal Register announced that the Department of the Interior is proposing changes to the rules that govern the nomination of properties to the National Register of Historic Places. While the changes claim to “implement the 2016 amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act,” they reach far beyond the intent of that legislation in limiting the existing public process and other safeguards for historic landscapes.

Three aspects of the proposed rules are of special concern:

  • It would give more weight to the objections of larger property owners over the weight of a simple majority of property owners in objecting to listing historic districts. This would in turn have an unfair negative impact on those owners of smaller historic properties who would not be eligible for the historic property tax advantage.
  • It would give Federal agencies unilateral control in determining what properties are eligible for the National Register by eliminating the role of the Keeper of the National Register in Section 106 consultations.
  • It would permit a Federal agency to eliminate consultation with State Historic Preservation Offices and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices if so desired.

These changes will negatively impact landscape professionals who work in the area of historic preservation.

More detailed information on the proposed rule changes has been shared by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Public comments on these proposed rule changes can be submitted until April 30, 2019, 11:59 PM ET.

Helen Erickson, ASLA, is a member of the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Subcommittee of ASLA’s Historic Preservation Professional Practice Network (PPN).

Florida Adaptation Planning Guidebook

by Emily Henke, PLA, ASLA, APA

Urgency of adaptation planning diagram
Adaptation planning follows four major steps, with multiple opportunities for public involvement and comment. Landscape architects that like big picture thinking already have skills to support this process. / image: Emily Henke

Generally misunderstood as a bunch of tree huggers, many landscape architects have intrinsic skills that are surprisingly well suited to assisting in all steps of adaptation planning. Maybe you are the type of landscape architect that appreciates plants and what they can do for urban environments but aren’t obsessed with individual species. If you find yourself frequently looking at the big picture, more interested in understanding and improving the relationship between humans and their environment, then you will find adaptation planning a natural extension of your skills and interests.

While the guidebook discussed in this article describes steps that are currently being taken in Florida, the concepts are applicable to any coastal area that experiences flooding. Many local agencies around the country already complete Hazard Mitigation Plans that capture a wide range of disaster types, which may include hurricanes, tropical storms, flooding, and sea level rise.

Florida is currently experiencing a variety of physical effects related to sea level rise depending on a local community’s specific geography. Some communities, like Miami, are already experiencing “nuisance flooding,” that is, floods that occur at high tides and/or king tides, which are not during storm events (also known as “blue sky” flooding). Cities like St. Augustine may only experience flooding as they coincide with disaster events, like Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Places like Escambia County that are not expected to experience significant flooding even with disaster events for 50 years have the tools of adaptation planning at their fingertips to make long term decisions about where to locate critical infrastructure that may have a 75-year lifespan, like a power plant or wastewater treatment facility. In this way, the adaptation planning process is designed to be flexible to accommodate this varying timeline of anticipated effects.

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Taking Action to Defend Historic Landscapes – McKinley Park Case Study

by Douglas Nelson, ASLA, LEED AP

Rose Garden
McKinley Park Rose Garden / image: Douglas Nelson

Historic parks and landscapes are regularly viewed as opportunities for one good development idea or another. As landscape architects we must defend historic landscapes. The first step is to ensure that they are recognized as historic by their managing public agencies. We will look at a current threat facing McKinley Park in Sacramento. It is California’s second oldest urban park and is under threat by the city that is supposed to be its steward.

Is that an old, tired landscape in need of redevelopment, or is that a cultural landscape with historic significance? That would seem to be a simple question, but, as is too often the case, parks, often historic parks, are seen by some as open land waiting for a good idea. Think of the Metropolitan Museum in New York’s Central Park, or the proposed Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s Jackson Park. While these may be worthwhile institutions, using valuable and historic park lands may not be the best way to manage parks.

In Sacramento, California, historic McKinley Park was selected as the best location, not for a cultural institution, but for a sewage holding tank that is more than an acre in area and 40 feet deep. Sacramento is one of only two cities in California that has a combined stormwater and sewage system. That means heavy rains can overload the system and flood, with sewage, various neighborhoods including those around McKinley Park. No doubt this is an important infrastructure project, but why in the park? While the city gave many technical reasons, in reality it came down to being the easiest and cheapest solution. But to do this, the city turned a blind eye to the fact that this park, the city’s oldest, is an important historic resource. At a minimum, the city should have recognized it as such.

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Internship Reflection

by Anna Stachofsky

Design concept for the Burton Station Commemorative Park
An internship with Virginia Beach’s Planning, Design and Development Division included concepts for the Burton Station Commemorative Park / image: Anna Stachofsky and Planning, Design and Development Division, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation

Last year, Anna Stachofsky served as an intern in our Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation’s Planning, Design and Development Division, where I work as a Senior Planner and had the privilege of being her supervisor during her six month stay. Anna will be graduating this spring with a Bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture and a Minor in Communications. Anna is hands down the most dynamic young professional in our field that I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with, and I am happy to now introduce her reflections on her internship here on The Field.
– Elaine Linn, PLA, ASLA, Landscape—Land Use Planning Professional Practice Network (PPN) Chair

During the spring and summer of 2018, the Ball State University Centennial Class of 2019 for Landscape Architecture left campus in pursuit of the infamous professional internship. Seeing as I had an 8-semester scholarship that I needed to stretch across a 10-semester degree, I decided I needed to get as much professional experience as I could—an entire semester of it, to be exact—in order to save some school money and get a mental break from a very taxing degree path.

I had a fairly unique internship experience: I traveled to the Virginia Beach area in August of 2017 to visit some good friends and network with local professionals. One visit led to another, and before I knew it, I was making arrangements to move to Virginia for an entire semester. Over the spring and summer of 2018, I managed to intern under both the private and public sectors of landscape architecture. My work week consisted of training with the Planning, Design and Development Division of Parks & Recreation three days a week, while interning with a private planning firm on the other two days. Comparing and contrasting these experiences proved invaluable to me and allowed me to explore my own strengths and preferences as I prepared to transition into the fully professional realm of landscape architecture.

Whether you are a future intern, a current intern, or maybe a professional who is considering hiring an intern of your own, I believe there are universal beliefs, values, and attitudes that are true of any design profession as far as internships are concerned. Recognizing these internship truths can help you prepare for an internship, acclimate to an existing internship, and recognize the mindset of incoming interns to any design office. Through reflecting on my experiences, I intend to share with you five major takeaways I derived from the overall internship experience.

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Strategies in Implementing Green Infrastructure Design

by Aqsa Butt, Associate ASLA, SITES® AP

Wetlands
image: Aqsa Butt

Aqsa Butt, Associate ASLA, SITES® AP, is pursuing her Master of Arts in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. This blog post was inspired by her literature review for her Foundations of Public Policy and Planning class, where she reviewed articles and publications that address the topic of stormwater runoff and sustainable solutions. The purpose of the literature review was to address current gaps and limitations in knowledge and practice of sustainable strategies around stormwater management.

With the growing population density in the U.S., our nation’s waters are experiencing significant problems due to heavy reliance on grey infrastructure. The issue persists due to increased population growth and climate change. Federal regulations, such as the Clean Water Act (CWA), have relied on cities to manage their aging grey infrastructure without any control over private parcels that generate significant source of pollution by overland runoff, also known as non-point source pollution. The recent enactment of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act is a significant step forward in influencing cities to implement green infrastructure (GI), but is that the only limitation in implementing this sustainable practice?

Resource and cognitive barriers such as lack of funding, lack of awareness and knowledge, as well as fear of new strategies create reluctance in adopting GI strategy. Though there are many cost and ecological benefits associated with GI strategies, they are undervalued due to limitations of use and absence in market value. Fear, attitudes, and perceptions also create reluctance in adopting new sustainable practices.

What are some strategies that can help influence cities to use GI strategy in managing stormwater?

A Community Participatory Process

Implementing a community participatory process will elicit stormwater objectives, meet regulatory requirements, and provide amenities valued by the community.

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Gambling on Green: A Playground Renovation in Las Vegas, Nevada

by Lauren Iversen

Kindergartners play on completed labyrinth made from donated pavers and painted by students. / image: Lauren Iversen

We are delighted that Lauren Iversen has shared her story about a low budget, heartfelt playground renovation with us. Lauren is currently an MLA student at the University of Washington. She received her BLA from Iowa State University, then worked as a second grade teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada through Teach for America Las Vegas Valley.
– Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA, Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network Co-Communications Director

Under my wide brimmed hat, with sweat dripping, I added paint, stroke by stroke, to the long wall. My legs burned sitting on the decomposed granite roasting in the hot sun. I sipped Cool Blue Frost Gatorade, hunger dissipated by 110° heat. A giant cottonwood shaded the playground in the afternoon, but at midday there was nowhere to hide. I looked behind me. Pavers in bright pink and green lay scattered about. Soon I would have to muster the energy to dig up the remaining pavers, wincing at the first attempt to lay a labyrinth. Next to the pavers, the newly planted Desert King fig reflected bright green fruit, leaves wilted trying to send all its efforts in the heat to its future. “Will these figs be around when the kids come back for school?” “Will I ever finish painting this wall?” Why did I get myself into this mess?”

In the 2017-2018 school year I found myself leading efforts to reimagine a field that had succumbed to sand from the desert heat. Working as a second-grade teacher with a BLA, a culmination of timing and tenacity led to a moment that morphed into an actual plan to build the playground. With my background, I embodied the role of designer, fundraiser, project manager, and community advocate. So, how do you build a playground without any money? In the end, the WHY was more important than HOW; therefore, it got done.

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Healing Landscapes Design Practice

Master plan for Hengqin Hospital Healing Garden, Zhuhai, China
Master plan for Hengqin Hospital Healing Garden, Zhuhai, China / image: Adam E. Anderson

Healthcare & Therapeutic Garden Design Interview Series: Adam E. Anderson

Adam E. Anderson, ASLA, was one of the speakers for the 2018 Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) Meeting at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO. He is a registered landscape architect and the Founder/Director of Design Under Sky. He also runs the Landscape Architecture Department at Payette Architects. His projects are incredibly diverse, including but not limited to hospital healing gardens, residential gardens, master planning, campus plazas, rooftop gardens, and urban parks, as well as commissioned public art works.

His work interacts with the ever-changing landscape by ascertaining the unique phenomenological qualities and cultural influences inherent in a site, and then deploying interventions to embrace, reveal, and often embellish these qualities. “Nature” is abstracted in his projects, and he engages technological and ecological aspects of a site to create a celebration of nature and a sense of wonder.

Adam is currently working on projects at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and the 43-acre site of 5th Xiangya Hospital in China. He recently received a Rhode Island Council of the Arts Project Grant and has been appointed to the Rhode Island Scenic Roadways Board by the Governor of Rhode Island. He has taught at RISD since 2014 and has been a visiting critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Ohio State University, Northeastern University, and the Boston Architectural College.

The following interview was conducted by Siyi He, Associate ASLA, Chair of the Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network (PPN).

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High Performance Public Spaces: A Tool for Building More Resilient and Sustainable Communities

by David Barth, PhD, ASLA, RLA, AICP, CPRP

Kissimmee Lakefront Park
Kissimmee Lakefront Park, a High-Performance Public Space / image: Michael Brown, AECOM

Most design firms and communities are embracing the concepts of sustainability and resiliency. However, as with all ambitious initiatives, implementation is the greatest challenge. Three actions landscape architects can take to put theory into practice are to:

  1. plan and design every park and open space project as a High-Performance Public Space (HPPS),
  2. plan and design parks and open spaces as part of an integrated public realm, and
  3. help create a culture that fosters the adoption of innovation in the planning and design of public spaces.

The concept of a HPPS evolved from my doctoral research at the University of Florida, where I was trying to determine the factors that led to the adoption of innovation in the planning and design of public spaces. More specifically, I wanted to learn why some public agencies and design consultants adopt sustainable design principles in their parks and public space projects, and others don’t. In order to find the answers, I first needed to develop criteria to identify examples of successful projects to study, which I referred to as High Performance Public Spaces.

I defined a HPPS as “any publicly accessible space that generates economic, environmental, and social sustainability benefits for their local community.” A HPPS can be a park, trail, square, green, natural area, plaza, or any other element of the public realm that generates all three types of benefits. Working with a group of over 20 sustainability experts, we developed 25 criteria for a HPPS including economic criteria such as “the space sustains or increases property values;” environmental criteria such as “the space uses energy, water, and material resources efficiently;” and social criteria such as “the space provides places for formal and informal social gathering, art, performances, and community or civic events.” A space had to meet at least 80% of the 25 criteria in order to qualify as a HPPS. The full list of criteria is shown below.

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ASLA Professional Practice Library: Library, Archives, and Research Services

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

John Charles Olmsted
John Charles Olmsted / image: Transactions of the American Society of Landscape Architects, 1909-1921

The Professional Practice Library at ASLA houses more than 2,000 volumes on landscape architecture and related fields, and receives more than 130 journals and newsletters. In addition, it has archival copies of ASLA publications, including Landscape Architecture Magazine, membership directories, and annual meeting publications. Most of the library and research materials were packed away in off-site storage during the construction of the ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture, and ongoing building issues have prevented the return of the library shelving and reading areas. However, we hope to restore full access to researchers in 2019!

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Expanding America’s Diverse History Inside the Sierra Summit Tunnels

by Terry Guen, FASLA, Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, Member & Landscape Architect Expert

Summit Tunnels 5 and 6, near Donner Pass, Tahoe National Forest, CA
Summit Tunnels 5 and 6, near Donner Pass, Tahoe National Forest, CA / image: TK Gong, 1882 Project

Running in near darkness towards the proverbial light, we did not expect this impromptu jog through Summit Tunnel to be life changing. In early November 2018, I joined a two-day historic preservation field trip, organized by the 1882 Project, United States Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, and the Bureau of Land Management, to visit Chinese Railroad Worker Sites in California’s Tahoe National Forest. Arriving by luxury bus, it was hard to imagine 152 years prior, over 10,000 Chinese workers lived year-round in encampments, exposed to the elements, and surviving ten-foot-deep snows.

View of Tunnel #6 opening, near Donner Pass, Tahoe National Forest, CA
View of Tunnel #6 opening, near Donner Pass, Tahoe National Forest, CA / image: TK Gong, 1882 Project

Entering the west portal’s graffiti-laden face, we found the third-of-a-mile long tunnels #5 and #6, carved through the hard granite peak. Passing below the vertical tunnel shaft, our footsteps resounded. The tunnel excavation had started from above; granite spoils were hauled out by bucket at a rate of one foot per day until the tunnel floor where we stood was reached. Continuing to blast by hand, workers mined “day and night in three shifts of eight hours each,” from the portals inwards and center shaft outwards (Tunnels of the Pacific Railroad, 1870). After 18 months the Chinese rail workers broke through, accomplishing what many said could not be done. The total of six tunnels constructed within a two-mile stretch breached the Sierra mountains at an elevation of 6,690 feet, laying the 2% railbed, driving eastward to Promontory Summit, Utah, and the connection of the Transcontinental Railroad.

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What is Your Favorite Scenic Byway and Scenic Byway Logo?

by Peter Dunleavy, RLA, and Janet Kennedy

Outer Banks Scenic Byway
image: Outer Banks Scenic Byway

On February 6, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 831 – Reviving America’s Scenic Byway Act of 2019. The act proposed to grant the Secretary of Transportation 90 days to request nominations for roads to be designated under the National Scenic Byway Program (23 USC §162) and to make designation determinations within one year after making the request for nominations.

In honor of the House of Representatives vote to pass H.R. 831, we are asking you to post a comment below telling us about your favorite Scenic Byway and/or favorite Scenic Byway Logo. Be sure to include links to photos and memorable sites along the route if you can.

Background

The federal National Scenic Byway Program was enacted in 1991 under ISTEA (Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act). Several states followed suit by passing laws to create state scenic byway programs. Currently 48 states and the District of Columbia have legislated scenic byway programs. Roads designated as scenic byways must have at least one of six intrinsic qualities: scenic, historical, archaeological, natural, cultural, or recreational. These intrinsic qualities describe features specific and unique to the roadway. A scenic byway corridor is managed to protect the byway’s intrinsic quality and to encourage economic development through tourism and recreation.

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Designing for Public Space Inclusive of Unhoused People

by Katie Kingery-Page, PLA, ASLA, and Skylar Brown, Student ASLA

Persons living unhoused in the former Pershing Square, Los Angeles, 2013
Persons living unhoused in the former Pershing Square, Los Angeles, 2013 / image: Levi Clancy via Wikimedia Commons

Use of public space, such as plazas, streetscapes and parks, by people living unhoused (a.k.a homeless) is persistently viewed as a social problem. Many cities in the United States have attempted to use legal ordinance to place strictures on where unhoused people may congregate or receive services. Several homeless advocacy organizations track such ordinances and they have been detailed in the mainstream press.

According to a recent report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, “Homelessness is caused by a severe shortage of affordable housing. Over 12.8% of the nation’s supply of low income housing has been permanently lost since 2001.” Homeless advocates widely agree that criminalization of being homeless in public does not help the conditions of homeless people or result in better access to services.

An equity worldview requires cities to plan public spaces for all people. Landscape architects have a strong role to play in promoting inclusion of services and amenities for unhoused people in urban parks. This post begins by asserting why fear of the homeless in public parks is unfounded, then takes a look at recent examples of inclusive parks, built and unbuilt.

Misconceptions of Homelessness

Referring to people living unhoused as “the homeless” implies that their condition is permanent and even of their own choosing. While there may be some cases in which this is true, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, many people find themselves suddenly without housing after a job loss, rent increase, or home foreclosure. According to the same report, “Family homelessness has been on the rise since the inception of the foreclosure crisis in 2007.” In an attempt to respect the varied circumstances and dignity of these persons, we use the phrase “persons living unhoused” throughout this blog post. But because “homeless” is a widely used term, we don’t exclude it from our writing.

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Towne Square at Suitland Federal Center

by Dennis Carmichael, FASLA, LEED AP, and Kelly Fleming, ASLA, SITES AP

Rendering of Towne Square at Suitland Federal Center's Central Park
Rendering of Towne Square at Suitland Federal Center’s Central Park / image: Dennis Carmichael

Towne Square at Suitland Federal Center is a 25-acre neighborhood proposed on the site of a former public housing project that was demolished in recent years, as it had become a den of crime. The site adjoins Suitland Federal Center, which houses the U.S. Census Bureau, NOAA, and other federal agencies. The Suitland Metrorail station is south of the federal center and within walking distance of Towne Square. As such, the project is a worthy model of Smart Growth: urban infill within areas of existing infrastructure, multiple modes of transportation, and employment opportunities. The program for the site is residential, retail, and a cultural arts building. The master plan was prepared by an architecture firm, Lessard Design Group. The client is the Prince George’s County Redevelopment Authority and their goal is to transform the site into a community with affordable housing that will serve as a model of sustainability. As part of that strategy, they included SITES® certification as a part of the scope for the landscape architecture to ensure the project meets a high standard for sustainability and that everyone on the project team is accountable.

The landscape architecture scope included the design of the public realm: parks, open spaces, and streetscapes which knit the neighborhood together as a walkable community. Parker Rodriguez was selected as the landscape architect, along with the Low Impact Development Center, for the SITES certification work. SITES certification includes 18 prerequisites and 48 credits for measuring site sustainability. The Redevelopment Authority is requiring that the project achieve Sustainable SITES Initiative Silver Certification, which means that the project must earn between 85 and 99 points out of a possible 200 points.

Prerequisites and credits in the SITES v2 Rating System are organized into 10 sections that follow typical design and construction phases. These sections demonstrate that achieving a sustainable site begins even before the design is initiated and continues through effective and appropriate operations and maintenance. Our goal as landscape architects was to use the SITES tool as the foundation for all of our design decisions so that the entire community is infused with landscape elements that improve air and water quality, reduce heat island effect, create or conserve energy, reduce waste, and reuse materials. We wanted a community where all of these ecological services were visible and understandable to the residents, to engender a sense of pride in place, but also to make this ethic intrinsic.

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ASLA Celebrates Black History Month

Howard University campus, Washington, D.C.
Howard University’s Washington. D.C. campus, designed by landscape architect David Williston / image: © Nikolaus Fogle, courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation

With the conclusion of Black History Month, ASLA would like to highlight ways to stay engaged year round with our efforts to continue fostering diversity, equity and inclusion within our profession, membership, and leadership; mirror the communities we serve; welcome and serve all people and communities; and treat them fairly and equitably.

ASLA Diversity Summit

Since 2013 ASLA has convened an annual diversity summit to strengthen its focus on the recruitment underrepresented populations into academic programs and development of emerging professionals as practitioners. Visit ASLA’s Diversity Summit webpage to learn about this popular event, access resources, and view a summary of action items identified in 2018 to help achieve five-year goals established at the 2017 Super Summit. The 2019 Diversity Summit is scheduled for May 17-19, 2019 at ASLA headquarters.

Career Discovery and Diversity

Exposure and access are key to motivating the career aspirations of all students, and ASLA is boosting its commitment to provide more career discovery resources that promote landscape architecture. Below are a few highlights of ASLA rich collection of career discovery resources available to educators, families and students:

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Swings: All Ages and All Fun

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

Swings for all ages
Swings for all ages / images: a collage from our contributors

I have been thinking about swings lately, weighing the risk factors now associated with their installation in playspaces with the benefits they provide to motor and sensory development. I have also been wondering what others think about them. As a Professional Practice Network (PPN), we reached out to readers via ASLA, the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, the American Occupational Therapy Association’s social media sites, and to friends to gather some insights.

Front yard tire swing
The not-so-oft-found front yard tire swing. / image: Amy Wagenfeld

What about swings? They can provide therapeutic benefit for some children (and adults). The sensory systems most activated when swinging, gliding, or rocking include the vestibular, proprioceptive, and to a lesser extent the tactile. Here is how they contribute to overall sensory enrichment:

Vestibular: refers to the balance system. Located in the middle ear, the vestibular system responds to the position of the head in relation to gravity and movement and helps keep us from becoming dizzy. Our vestibular systems get a work out with the varied planes of movement a swing make take- front and back, side to side, circular, or up and down.

Proprioception/Kinesthesia: located in the muscles and joints, the proprioceptive system provides awareness of where our bodies are in space. When swinging, proprioception and kinesthesia help us understand the relationship of our bodies to the seat, sides, and back of the swing, and to know where to sit or lay on the swing without falling off.

Tactile: refers to the sense of touch. We make contact with and touch swings by potentially using all body parts, depending on whether sitting or lying down.

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Nature, Healing, and Creativity

by Siyi He, Associate ASLA

The 2018 ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design PPN Meeting
The 2018 ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design PPN Meeting / image: Siyi He

Therapeutic Landscape Design Practice in the United States and Overseas: A Recap of the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting’s Healthcare and Therapeutic Design PPN Meeting

Landscape architects and designers know that nature has powerful potential to heal people’s bodies, minds, and spirits. Therapeutic garden design in healthcare facilities is creating functional spaces where people can access the healing power of nature in hospitals. The 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting’s Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) Meeting was held in Philadelphia on October 20 to discuss the topic of nature, healing, and creativity in healing garden design. The meeting was hosted by PPN Co-Chair Siyi He, Associate ASLA, and began with a description of PPN’s mission and the introduction of two invited landscape architect speakers, Geoff Anderson, ASLA, and Adam E. Anderson, ASLA. PPN Officer and Past Co-Chair Melody Tapia, Student ASLA, made the closing statement for the meeting. Melody and Siyi enthusiastically introduced the PPN leadership team and encouraged attendees to join our PPN. (Four of the attendees signed up for the leadership team right there! All ASLA members are welcome to get involved.)

The panelists, along with 40 attendees, discussed landscape design and features in healing gardens and the different restrictions for therapeutic design in the United States and overseas.

Our panelists were:

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Building a Low-Allergen Plant Palette

by Michele Richmond, PLA, ASLA, SITES® AP, LEED® Green Associate

Scanning electron microscope image of pollen grains
Pollen from a variety of common allergenic plans including morning glory, sunflower, lily, and castor bean (a 10 on the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale (OPALS)). The image is magnified around x500. / image: Dartmouth College Electron Microscope Facility

Can you plant a site with species that cause little to no allergies in patients? That was the specific request from our client for a site comprised of a community healthcare clinic and workforce and affordable housing. Many of our client’s patients are traumatized children with asthma and allergies. The goal of the building and landscape design was to create a safe place allowing for positive experiences for children coming to the clinic. In this context, a single allergy attack removes children from this safe space and can set back their recovery. So, what to plant?

Allergies and Asthma in America

Today, more than 50 million people in the US have allergies and asthma [i], including hay fever and respiratory, food, and skin allergies that can come from plants in our landscape. Allergies can be a onetime event or a constant reaction to pollen. Currently, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the US, resulting in 200,000 emergency visits a year [ii] and costing more than $18 billion annually [iii]. In Washington State, asthma is the most common chronic illness for low-income children. Asthma cases have doubled in the population at large and quadrupled among low income families in the last thirty years [iv].

While allergies largely cannot be prevented, we can lessen allergic reactions. As children, we learn to identify poison ivy and oak to avoid contact. As adults, we learn to check pollen counts [v] daily to determine if we need to take allergy medicine. We learn to identify and keep a healthy distance from plants that are the worst offenders to offset symptoms.

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Campus Resiliency: What Does the Future of Campus Design Look Like?

by Mikyoung Kim, FASLA, and Ian Downing, ASLA

UChicago LAB School: Gordon Parks Arts Hall / image: Dave Burk

Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design.
Dieter Rams

resilience: a capability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant multi-hazard threats with minimum damage to social well-being, the economy, and the environment.
U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

As recent hurricane seasons remind us, new global weather patterns continue to wreak havoc at an alarming pace on our neighborhoods and the environment. For thousands of Americans, these storm patterns have caused large scale damage and humanitarian disasters that have had long lasting impacts on communities large and small.

As landscape architects, these issues of resiliency and stormwater management are at the forefront of our thinking. We must rethink new, innovative ways of designing for these large scale, pressing ecological and climatological issues that our planet faces. Our landscapes are in crisis—much of which has been accelerated by human activity. In considering the future of campus design, these issues of resiliency are at the forefront of university campus planning and design. Consider the possibility that this educational typology of landscape design could become a forum for learning and engagement while restoring the environment and creating engaging and unique places just to hang out.

A Holistic Approach to Designing for Resiliency

We must craft resilient designs that will not only enrich the living and working experiences for campus communities, but also prepare colleges and universities to anticipate and respond to an uncertain climate future. Our firm is focused on understanding the science of resiliency and utilizing that as the foundation of the tapestry that is landscape architecture. This integration of science with the social and cultural art of landscape architecture is our challenge—to partner with universities to create learning environments that will thrive for decades to come.

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