The properties currently proposed for the U.S. World Heritage Tentative List include: Serpent Mound in Ohio, Central Park in New York, and Civil Rights Movement Sites in Alabama among the cultural sites, and Big Bend National Park in Texas, multiple sites in Central California, and White Sands National Monument in New Mexico among the natural sites.
For the 12th annual HALS Challenge, the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) invites you to document historic Black landscapes. Black people have built and shaped the American landscape in immeasurable ways. Examining these histories and spaces will expand our understanding of America’s past and future. From plantations to segregated cities, the nation’s landscapes retain the physical manifestations of our racist history. Yet historic Black landscapes also represent creative achievements and reflect Black culture, as seen in residential gardens, parks, and college campuses across this country. Documenting historic Black landscapes will reveal patterns of community that have been built over the course of four hundred years.
Below, we highlight a sampling of the business opportunities, design competitions, and events listed currently. And, anyone looking to share an opportunity with landscape architects may do so at any time through the online submission form.
The Call for Presentations for the 2021 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville is now open. We are looking for education proposals that will help drive change in landscape architecture and provide solutions to everyday challenges that are informed by practice and research.
The 2021 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture is scheduled to take place in November in Nashville, Tennessee. Of course, we don’t know what will happen with the COVID-19 pandemic by then—and ASLA will be monitoring the situation carefully as we plan a conference that is safe for everyone. But there’s one thing we do know—whatever form our conference takes this year, we will not compromise our standards for delivering the high-quality, well-rounded educational experience that everyone has come to expect. Your submissions make that possible.
All education session proposals are reviewed by the Annual Conference Education Advisory Committee. Sessions will be organized into topics most relevant to the practice of landscape architecture and cross-sector collaborations. Please visit the submission site to learn more about the 2021 education tracks, submission criteria, review process, and key dates.
The Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (PPN) is very pleased to share this blog post about the concept of inclusion and its connection with landscape architecture. A giant thank you to Natalie Mackay, Executive Director of Unlimited Play, for contributing this thought provoking and deeply compelling article. We invite you all to share your thoughts and ideas on this important topic.
– Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, EDAC, FAOTA, Affil. ASLA
June 21, 2000. I received the invitation. No one else I had known or knew at that time received this invitation—just me. Membership in this ‘group’ required countless sleepless nights, endless appointments, and patience as I learned a new language. Tired and heartbroken, I found the determination to move forward in hopes of creating something better out of this life-changing circumstance.
My invitation to join the special needs community arrived the day my son Zachary was born and diagnosed with Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease. Now, 20 years later, this disease has taken almost everything from Zach, except for his love for life and community. Throughout the last 20 years, I have learned that each one of you has more than likely received, or will receive, a similar invitation. Through family members, close friends, or serendipitous circumstances, you have also been invited to join this close community.
Unlimited Play is a nonprofit I founded in 2003 that is focused on the need to build inclusive playgrounds. More than simply giving children the chance to play was my germ of an idea of building a community focused on inclusion. I dreamed of a place where children would not just see a little boy in a wheelchair, but a new friend. I like to imagine that children who play on the playgrounds we have built grow up to become landscape architects with memories of friendships developed on a playground designed for all children, regardless of situation or circumstance. Those early friendships formed on the playground (that proverbial ‘sandbox’) then become the professional inspiration behind using inclusion as the foundation of each design, no matter what it is, because inclusion is everything and everyone.
With the conclusion of this year of tumult now tantalizingly within reach, The Field is rounding up a few end-of-year, landscape architecture-centric recaps, in case you’ve already finished reading up on the Professional Practice Networks (PPNs)’ Year in Review. We hope you enjoy perusing them, and best wishes for a brighter and healthy new year!
The Times’ Climate Desk shares some of their best reporting from 2020, on wildfires in Australia, California, and beyond, this year’s relentless hurricane season, the inequality of climate change impacts, and more.
This year-end summary from The Cultural Landscape Foundation includes Landslide 2020: Women Take the Lead and the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize. You can also learn more about “Race and Space,” the unifying theme for TCLF’s 2021 programming.
Even during this wild rollercoaster ride of a year, ASLA’s Professional Practice Network (PPN) leaders and members continued to share their experiences and expertise as authors for The Field blog and as presenters for ASLA’s Online Learning webinars.
We would like to thank all of you who contributed to this shared body of knowledge in 2020. We hope that you have found new ways to stay connected, learned to adapt to rapid changes in practice, and felt inspired by your peers in landscape architecture.
Check out the PPNs’ 2020 in Review to see what the PPNs have accomplished this year. Below, we highlight the top 10 Field posts of the year, PPN-hosted Online Learning presentations, and the PPN leaders who took part in reVISION ASLA 2020.
President-elect Joe Biden announced this week his pick for head of the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy: Gina McCarthy, former EPA chief, current president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture keynote speaker.
ASLA members can watch the keynote, From Climate Change to Climate Action: Building a Clean, Healthy, Sustainable Future – 1.0 PDH (LA CES/non-HSW), through the ASLA Online Learning website. This recording is available exclusively to ASLA members; please log in with your existing ASLA username and password.
And, earlier this week, the 20th ICOMOS General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency while this past weekend marked the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, a global accord bringing nations together to fight the consequences of climate change, lower emissions and greenhouse gases, and to create a more sustainable and resilient world. Despite the United States’ absence from the agreement, ASLA and more than 4,000 state and local governments, business leaders, university heads, cultural institutions, and many others signed the “We Are Still In” declaration.
Landscape architects, as the leading designers of green infrastructure, possess the knowledge and expertise to create a more sustainable future. Through resilient and sustainable design, landscape architects are helping slow the ravages of climate change while creating a better planet for all.
New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL) has presented programs throughout the United States focusing on innovative theory, practical applications, and an expansive vision of “Natural Design.” Programs draw from a variety of disciplines, including agriculture, anthropology, history, and fine art.
Over the first quarter of 2021, NDAL is offering a series of virtual programs, with events in two tracks: one for professional practitioners and one for home gardeners and educators.
Topics for professionals range from native design and management, to roof gardens, to planning for the recruitment of spontaneous vegetation.
Home gardeners can explore methods for wildflower meadow creation and navigating race and inclusivity in community gardens, and school administrators and educators can learn about how to incorporate native gardening into their curriculum and campuses.
The results of the 11th annual Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge, Vanishing or Lost Landscapes, were announced at the annual ASLA HALS Meeting, held virtually on December 8, 2020. Congratulations to the winners! Sponsored by the National Park Service, cash prizes will be awarded to the top four submissions (there was a tie for second place). This challenge resulted in the donation of 27 impressive HALS short format historical reports and a few measured drawings to the HALS collection for sites in eleven different states.
Many historic American landscapes are under threat or have been lost. Threats include development pressure, neglect, and climate change. By documenting vanishing or lost historic landscapes for HALS, participants have increased historic landscape awareness by illuminating these almost forgotten vestiges of America’s past.
First Place: Harvard Botanic Garden, HALS MA-6
Prepared by Allison A. Crosbie, ASLA, Preservation Administrator, Cambridge Historical Commission. This site was significant as one of the earliest botanical gardens in the United States and for its association with Asa Gray (1810-1888), a prominent botanist, educator, and writer.
Second Place (Tie): Jerome Relocation Center, HALS AR-9
Jerome, Chicot, and Drew Counties, Arkansas
This HALS report and accompanying maps were completed by a team from the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, both of the University of Arkansas. The project was led by faculty member Kimball Erdman, ASLA, with the assistance of fellow faculty member Greg Herman, staff member Angie Payne, and students Justice Barnes, Trevor Brown, Student ASLA, Vanessa Castaneda, Nate Cole, Amanda Davidson, Student ASLA, Alec Fischer, Chloe Harris, Cayla McGrail, Mary Nell Miskin, Kelsey Mork, Stephen Sines, and Jenna Whitmire. This site was significant as a Farm Security Administration (FSA) farming community, then a War Relocation Authority (WRA) Japanese internment camp, and finally as a United States prisoner of war (POW) camp housing German soldiers and officers.
University Mound Nursery, HALS CA-153
San Francisco, California
Prepared by Stacy Farr and Eleanor Cox. This site is historically significant for its association with the commercial flower-growing industry (floriculture) in San Francisco, and because it includes the last extant commercial greenhouses in a district that was once so thoroughly characterized by nurseries that it was known as the city’s Garden District.
Third Place: Henry Schumacher Farm, HALS WI-19
Waunakee, Dane County, Wisconsin
Prepared by Megan Turner, ASLA, with photographs by Rona Neri. This site is locally significant to the early settlement of Dane County and the Village of Waunakee.
Environmental justice for vulnerable groups addresses inequitable distribution of resources or denial of participation in decision-making. The unhoused are one of our most vulnerable groups, and the COVID-19 outbreak puts vulnerable urban populations, especially people experiencing homelessness, in impossible circumstances. The issue of homelessness has escalated in the past decade, driven by economic polarization and the housing crisis. Since COVID-19’s spread through the United States, we have witnessed rising numbers of unhoused people, a trend likely to continue.
Critical discussions on how cities and civil society are responding to this crisis question traditional roles of environmental design. In this post, we explore how landscape architects can contribute to ongoing struggles of spatial justice, particularly by addressing homelessness in the post-pandemic world. We draw specific examples from Eugene, Oregon, the city with the highest homeless population per capita in the U.S. One third of Eugene’s unhoused population experiences mental illness of some kind, many camp along the Willamette River where increased flooding due to climate change threatens them and, with the recent record-breaking wildfire in September, they breathed smoke-filled air for more than a week of hazardous air quality.
Each threat exposes unhoused people to significant health impacts. As a mid-sized city with a population of 170,000, Eugene is known for its pioneering community-wide efforts in addressing the housing crisis and homelessness, including affordable housing movements, tiny house villages, and rest stops. As an alternative to policing, Eugene partnered with a non-profit to provide CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets), a mobile intervention program responding to mental health, substance abuse, and housing crises. Eugene and Lane County have also been actively looking for housing solutions, including building an additional large low-barrier emergency shelter with 75 beds and 350 units of permanent supportive housing units.
In the fall of 2019, the University of Oregon’s studio “Planning for Home: Landscape Approach for Resilient Transitional Housing,” taught by Yekang Ko and Shannon Arms, ASLA, proposed a systematic approach to the creation of a city-wide housing network that includes emergency shelters, transitional housing communities (up to two years), and permanent supportive and/or affordable housing.
The realm of public practice, including non-profit and governmental work, offers unique opportunities and challenges to practitioners.
The ASLA Public Practice Advisory Committee aspires to encourage more landscape architects, including students in landscape-architecture programs and emerging professionals, to pursue careers in the public sector. Less than ten percent of ASLA’s membership identify as public practitioners, working for local, state, and federal government agencies, universities and colleges, or parks and arboreta. Many of these ASLA members have found their way to public practice after years in private practice, looking to shape public policy and have an impact on public spaces for the common good.
In an ongoing series for ASLA’s LAND newsletter, members of the Public Practice Advisory Committee and other landscape architects share insights on their public practice careers. Check out what’s already appeared, recapped below, and stay tuned for new articles in the future!
Linda Komes, ASLA
Landscape architect and project manager in the Park Development Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Interview conducted by Julie Higgins, PLA, ASLA, Principal, Hord Coplan Macht
Nick Aceto Landscape architect and urban designer at Aceto Landscape Architects
Interview conducted by Jennifer Shagin, ASLA, Redevelopment Support Specialist at City of Fort Collins, CO and land planner at Todd Hodges Design, LLC
The Urban Studio has three exciting and relevant programs of interest to members of the Environmental Justice PPN! Not only will you gain new insights into your own practice, you’ll be supporting the Urban Studio’s mission to advance the landscape architecture profession to create more healthy, vibrant, and just communities for all.
– Michelle Lin-Luse, ASLA, PLA, Environmental Justice Professional Practice Network (PPN) Co-Chair
The Urban Studio’s three-part virtual event series, Pardon Our Disruption, begins today. Supporting these events helps create pathways for young professionals and shake up the landscape architecture profession in order to accelerate efforts toward a more equitable future for all.
Upset the Set Up Tuesday, December 1, 4:00 p.m. (Eastern) / 1:00 p.m. (Pacific)
Join us for an interactive workshop to learn about effective co-creation tools and methods for meaningful community engagement. Facilitated by The Urban Studio’s creative engagement experts Daví de la Cruz, Associate ASLA, and Jenn Low, PLA, plus special guests Daniel Villa and his work with Hello Data and Christin Hu to talk about their work designing cooperative games. These tools and methods will cover a few central themes when designing for engagement: power, co-learning, storytelling, and play.
Interrupt the Program Tuesday, December 8, 4:00 p.m. (Eastern) / 1:00 p.m. (Pacific)
Join The Urban Studio co-founders Kendra Hyson, ASLA, and Maisie Hughes in conversation with Kona Gray, FASLA, PLA, Principal of EDSA, and Torey Carter-Conneen, the new CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects, to reimagine the future of landscape architecture.
Digitize the Revolution Tuesday, December 15, 4:00 p.m. (Eastern) / 1:00 p.m. (Pacific)
Explore the intersection of mapping and social justice with Andrew Sargeant, ASLA, and Jelani Byrd as they demonstrate how to democratize data using open-source assets and live, 3D mapping with QGIS.
K-12 Educational Programs in Landscape Architecture: How to Create Clients and Professionals of the Future
As an ASLA member, you have no doubt heard the phrase “K‐12 educational programs.” Why does this phrase keep resurfacing as an issue in landscape architecture? In this article, I will bring to light why this topic is important and worthy of further development.
First, let’s ask ourselves the following:
Do people understand what a landscape architect does?
Are there many positions in government for the recent graduate that recognize and differentiate the role of landscape architect?
What is the most effective way to promote our profession? Spending unlimited money in advertisement and public relations? Or is there a more effective and economical way to promote our profession?
Are we creating clients of the future? Are we creating landscape professionals of the future?
Are college programs in landscape architecture overwhelmed with applicants, or are some in jeopardy?
What are we doing as a profession to broaden our marketability and diversify our profession in non‐traditional roles?
How can we work together with other fields or professions to achieve common goals?
How can we expect government agencies to offer more positions in landscape architecture? How can we expect homeowners to hire landscape architects in these times of “do it yourself” TV shows? What can we do to be more effective in the outreach and understanding of the profession?
by Michael Igo, Affil. ASLA, PE, D.WRE, LEED AP, CID
In the age of awareness of climate change, we often hear the terms “100-year storm,” “500-year tides,” or “25-year drought” thrown around. Intuitively, we tend to think that a 100-year storm occurs once every 100 years. However, this is only partly true, as there are key phrases missing from this notion: a 100-year storm will occur once every 100 years on average and based on past data.
The use of an X-Year event derives from what is known in mathematics as the exceedance probability, or the likelihood of an event being greater than a predefined parameter in a given timeframe. Statistics of past data (storms, tides, earthquakes, etc.) are used to create charts based on size and the probability of occurring.
Even if you can’t attend live, all education sessions will be available on-demand. Register by November 18 and you’ll have access to reVISION ASLA 2020 content from November 23, 2020 through January 31, 2021.
The reVISION ASLA 2020 program includes education sessions in five tracks, allowing registrants to earn up to 25 Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™)-approved professional development hours (PDH) by watching sessions live or on-demand.
Individuals can earn PDH by passing an exam after each session, and then download course certificates from the event platform.
For a taste of the experience, a number of reVISION ASLA events are available to watch (for free!) right now. Check them out, and then register by November 18 for full access to the education session recordings and to earn up to 25 PDH!
For over 20 years, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the National Park Service (NPS) have joined forces to help communities across the nation plan, design, and manage their natural, cultural, and recreation resources through the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program.
Volunteers from ASLA chapters across the country provide pro-bono assistance to communities the National Park Service supports. The partnership between NPS and ASLA provides communities with access to expert planners and designers that can turn their ideas into actions, supporting healthy communities and extending the missions of the National Park Service and ASLA to all Americans.
Learn More about the RTCA Program at reVISION ASLA 2020
Next week during reVISION ASLA 2020, attendees will have an opportunity to meet chapter leaders and agency members and consider how we might collaborate over the next 20 years:
Over the past three decades, landscape architects and park planners have made great strides in addressing community-wide issues through park design. Parks have been designed to create jobs, store and treat stormwater run-off, provide socially-inclusive gathering spaces, combat climate change, increase property values, attract new businesses, promote health and fitness, stabilize neighborhoods, and generate other community-wide benefits.
Most of these efforts, however, have been implemented on an individual site basis rather than a system-wide basis. The majority of parks and recreation system plans address traditional parks and recreation improvements, rather than community-wide issues. And the typical parks and recreation system master planning (PRSMP) process hasn’t changed significantly over the past century and a half since architect Horace Cleveland presented his Suggestions for a System of Parks and Parkways for the City of Minneapolis in 1883!
In my new book, Parks and Recreation System Planning: A New Approach for Creating Sustainable, Resilient Communities, I propose a new approach to system planning that not only addresses traditional parks and recreation challenges, but is also robust and comprehensive enough to address broader community-wide issues. Key tenets of this approach include:
planning parks and recreation facilities as elements of a larger, interconnected public realm;
considering alternative dimensions of parks and recreation systems, such as social equity and climate change, from the onset of the planning process; and
planning every site in the system as high-performance public space (HPPS).
This broader perspective encourages parks and recreation agencies to transcend their silos—and leverage their resources—to plan and collaborate with other public and private agencies to meet as many of the community’s needs as possible.
When a landscape architect faces a change in conditions for their project, they have to revise the plans—just as ASLA had to do with the conference when faced with the COVID-19 crisis. reVISION ASLA 2020 is a reimagined, virtual experience for an evolving profession where you will get the opportunity to learn, connect, and celebrate landscape architecture—all from the safety of your own home. Let’s make 2020 a year to remember for all the right reasons: join us at reVISION ASLA 2020, from November 16-18, and make your mark on the future of our profession.
The education program includes an opening keynote and 24 education sessions in five tracks for Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™)-approved professional development hours (PDH). Education sessions will be available to all registrants after the event for on-demand access through January 31, 2021.
Below, we take a look at what each ASLA Professional Practice Network (PPN) with a virtual networking session (or multiple sessions!) has planned for later this month. These 30-minute video chat rooms will be limited in capacity to create a virtual space where everyone can participate in the discussion. Explore the topics below, and register now to join the conversation!
The report is the result of a survey of native plant material users from across the entire Eastern United States, with 760 respondents, and includes written comments. The respondents are drawn from NGOs, government, and commercial entities involved in ecological restoration projects and native plant production.
Taking place November 16-18, reVISION ASLA 2020 is a virtual program that will embody the intersection of ASLA’s mission with some of the most urgent issues facing our society. Over three days, panelists and participants will address issues of equity as they manifest in our profession and institutions today, tools and methods for innovative design and successful implementation, transformative mitigation and adaptive resilience strategies for climate change, and much more.
The reVISION ASLA 2020 education program includes 24 education sessions in five tracks:
The “Not So Inconvenient” Truth of Carbon and Landscape Architecture
Fill for Habitat? Design Processes for an Adapting Regulatory Environment
Contractors in Conversation – Strategies for Better Projects from Design Through Construction
Do You Really Know Your Soil? Avoiding Critical Soil Design Mistakes
The Exquisite Detail: How Big Ideas Get Expressed in Tangible Craft
Your Vision to Implementation – What a Contractor Needs to Know
Metro Atlanta’s Hidden River: 100 Miles of Access, Equity, and Ecology Along the Chattahoochee
Reconnecting Landscapes: Resilient Planting Design in Ecologically Deficient Zones
Workshop instructors, comprised of ASLA L.A.R.E. Prep Committee members, will review the content and format of the exams, share study strategies and test-taking tips, and engage in Q&A with the participants. Instructors include seasoned professionals that have long been engaged in L.A.R.E. prep support, as well as recent L.A.R.E. test takers.
Section 1 Live Virtual Workshop: Project and Construction Management
Friday, November 13, 12:00 p.m. ET (90-minute session)
Section 2 Live Virtual Workshop: Inventory and Analysis
Friday, November 13, 2:00 p.m. ET (90-minute session)
by Missy Benson, ASLA, and Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA
Expanding sensory opportunities in outdoor spaces for children is always important, but even more so during a pandemic like we are experiencing now. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us the United States lived as an indoor society with little connection with nature, especially in our low-income, under-served neighborhoods. Research tells us rich outdoor sensory experiences provide both stress release and can help build positive memories that last a lifetime—both are much needed now!
Stories of Therapeutic and Sensory Rich Outdoor Spaces
Living with Dementia When my mother lived in a retirement community, I was lucky to work with Jack Carman, FASLA, of Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc. and Design for Generations, LLC, to provide a new sensory courtyard design for their residents and staff. When I interviewed staff to understand their needs of the space, I heard much more than the standard wish list of benches, shade, water feature, raised garden beds, and such. The staff, deeply dedicated to patients with dementia, also expressed how some of their patients lived only in the past—but with happy memories of being outdoors. Yet, others they observed lived in a painful past fraught with sad memories.
In talking with the nursing staff, I learned that most of them felt sure that the memories their patients have of being outdoors remain helpful throughout their lives, especially during times of stress. This same memory bank may serve all of us well. While there is little evidence to support whether, for individuals with dementia, limited past access to nature is associated with diminished happiness in older adulthood (now, this is a great idea for research!), there is ample evidence that for older adults, being in sensory rich gardens—touching, smelling, viewing, listening to, moving about, and tasting the plants—can evoke positive memories, improve health and well-being, and is restorative. A brief snapshot of references that supports these benefits follows at the end of this post. Please do feel free to share other pertinent articles with all of us in the comments section below.
Advocacy is a critical component of ASLA Virginia. The chapter’s Government Affairs Committee is dedicated to monitoring issues related to the practice of landscape architecture in the Commonwealth of Virginia and to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of the public and environment.
Virginia’s Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation (BPOR) is conducting a study to determine if landscape architects should continue to be licensed. The study will be completed in December 2020, after a call for public comments closed on September 30.
ASLA Virginia and ASLA Potomac mobilized Virginia and Potomac chapter members and all landscape architects in the region to submit comments and to contact their clients, allied professionals, and others who value the work of licensed landscape architects to encourage them to submit their comments and declare their support for continued licensure of landscape architects.
The white paper prepared by ASLA Virginia with support provided by the Potomac Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA Potomac), the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), and the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB), supported the ASLA Virginia’s overall advocacy efforts.
I can’t deny the romantic attraction of the places where I have worked and lived:
Tangier, where on the Strait of Gibraltar, Europe meets Africa. Tangier lesson learned: waterfront tourist district. I learned the hard way how important free access to multidisciplinary project information is.
Istanbul, where on the Bosphorus Strait, Europe meets Asia. Turkey lesson learned: 200km motorway connecting Europe and Asia. I learned how to scale ‘making a difference’ when working with senior engineers whose career had been on horseback.
Saudi Arabia, on the Red Sea in a port called Yanbu, where for centuries people have made their way to Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia lesson learned: new town in the desert on the Red Sea coast. I learned the hard way how small the landscape infrastructure is compared to the energy, port, primary industries, transportation, jobs, and telecom are to a city being built from zero.
This has been an unprecedented year in so many ways for our lives and profession. During this fall’s reVISION ASLA, our team is sharing how our respective practices have been impacted this year, strategies and decisions we have made to navigate these times, and plans for moving into 2021. We are also sharing surveys and trends on the impacts for graduating professionals in both this recession and 2008.
The original title of this presentation was to be “Knock on Wood: Learning from the Great Recession,” where Rene Bihan, FASLA, of SWA, Molly Bourne, ASLA, of MNLA, and Chris Hardy of Sasaki, were going to share how our firms navigated 2008-2011, and preparations we were making for a future recession.
Since then, we have shifted our title to “Perpetual Adaptation: The Design Business in 2020 and Lessons from the Great Recession.” We have added Michael Grove, ASLA, the Chair of Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Ecology at Sasaki, to our panel, and refocused on a critical analysis of the differences between these recessions, what ideas are successful, and how this recession is structurally unique across practice sectors.
In preparation for this session, we are asking firm leaders to share their thoughts as well, on our survey here.
We are also reaching out to recent graduates and young professionals, including both those who were impacted by the Great Recession from 2008-2010, and the classes of 2020 and 2021, to gather their experiences and advice through this survey.
Revisiting the lost plans of Frederick Law Olmsted and the history of San Francisco’s most iconic park to imagine what might be
For the first two installments in this series, please see Ancient History Revisited and Ancient History Revisited, Part 2, published on The Field last month. For more about the series, check out the October 1 edition of the San Francisco radio show Roll Over Easy for an interview with author Alec Hawley and also Luke Spray of the San Francisco Parks Alliance in the show’s second half. Alec discusses his strange findings about San Francisco’s initial parks system bid by Olmsted and how they imply amazing things for the city right now.
“The conclusion to which these considerations lead, is obviously that whenever a pleasure ground is formed in San Francisco, it should have a character which the citizens will be sure to regard with just pride and satisfaction. It should be a pleasure ground second to none in the world—a promenade which shall, if possible become so agreeable to its citizens, that when they go elsewhere they will remember it gratefully, and not be obliged to consider it a poor substitute for what is offered them by the wiser policy of other cities.”
So, what can we as contemporary San Franciscans do? What can our elected officials push for that will make for a more equitable and green city for all that takes into account how they managed to do the ‘impossible’ but also missed systematic opportunities in open space planning from San Francisco’s beginning as a city?
Looking at a map of San Francisco, it is easy to see the historical inequity and poor planning. While the ‘impossible’ Golden Gate Park did unfurl over a series of decades, the process that Olmsted outlined—asking for a series of small parks connected by avenues free from the dust and noise of the city—was completely missed.
And, I believe this is where there is still hope. There is no straightforward way that a park on the scale (1,017 acres, 20% larger than Central Park) and shape of Golden Gate Park can be made today. There just isn’t the undeveloped space to accommodate its dimensions (barring very serious disasters); but there are lots of avenues, and these are quickly becoming the places of respite from the dust and noise of the city that hold great potential.
On October 14, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) with the Black Landscape Architects Network (BlackLAN) will inaugurate the National Building Museum’s Equity in the Built Environment series. These conversations will focus on how buildings, landscapes, interiors, and streets can be the cause of—and, more important, the cure for—social and racial disparities.
Learn how the Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus is helping to reverse the negative impacts of economic disinvestment, political neglect, and natural disasters that have eroded community pride and participation in New Orleans’ Central City, a once-thriving hub of African American civic and commercial life. Austin Allen, Ph.D., ASLA, associate professor of practice in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas Arlington; Chief Tyrone Casby, now retired, former Principal of Landry High School in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Matt A. Williams, ASLA, urban planner, City of Detroit, will discuss their roles in establishing this culturally significant site. The program is moderated by Ujijji Davis Williams, ASLA, a landscape architect, urban planner, and associate with SmithGroup.
For more information on these webinars and our presenters and moderators—Ricardo Austrich, ASLA, María Bellalta, ASLA, Lina Escobar, Dr. Saúl Alcántara Onofre, and Ricardo Riveros—please visit ASLA’s Hispanic Heritage Month webpage.
As 2020 rages on, so does a record forest fire season. In the Western United States alone, over 6.6 million acres have been burned, 7,500+ structures have been destroyed, and close to 40 people have lost their lives just this year. There is mounting pressure to address what is now a yearly occurrence and landscape architects can play a key and leading role through site design.
This issue hit home for us, with some of our own employees evacuated in what were not just wilderness fires but suburban blazes as well. The problem only seems to be getting worse, with a clear need for alternative solutions to protect properties, investments, and lives moving forward.
The first way to limit exposure and susceptibility to forest fires is initial site selection and location. Americans love their freedom and often their privacy, which has led to community development right up to the fringes of nature. Local and state agencies play a huge role in where houses are sited and what codes are required to address fire danger. Do isolated or rural community developments in the West need to stop altogether, or can certain techniques and approaches be used to more safely develop these communities?