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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Help Us Improve ASLA.org

The American Society of Landscape Architects has started the journey of creating a totally new ASLA.org! To ensure the new website meets your needs, please take 5 minutes to complete our survey.

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PPN Interview: Central Park Conservancy

by Jonathan Ceci, ASLA

Historic Preservation PPN Officer Jonathan Ceci, ASLA, facilitates an interview and Q&A with Christopher Nolan, FASLA, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Landscape Architect, Central Park Conservancy, and Lane Addonizio, Affil. ASLA, AICP, Vice President for Planning, Central Park Conservancy. / image: Alexandra Hay

At the ASLA 2018 Annual Meeting and EXPO, members of the Historic Preservation Professional Practice Network (PPN) were treated to an interview with Lane Addonizio, Affil. ASLA, and Chris Nolan, FASLA, of the Central Park Conservancy. The two shared experiences from their decades-long stewardship of America’s First Park, a calling that often involves negotiating a delicate balance between preservation and change.

Two days prior, I had attended their session on the challenges and rewards of improving accessibility in Central Park, Thinking Inclusive: Strategies and Perspectives on Accessibility from Central Park’s Experience. I found it one of the more inspiring sessions of the conference because Chris and Lane tied the matter of access back to the Park founders’ democratic vision. Lane shared this quote from The Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners of the Central Park (January 1860):

The primary purpose of the Park is to provide the best practicable means of healthful recreation, for the inhabitants of the city, of all classes. It should have an aspect of spaciousness and tranquility, with variety and intricacy of arrangement, thereby affording the most agreeable contrast to the confinement, bustle, and monotonous street-division of the city…The Park is intended to furnish healthful recreation for the poor and the rich, the young and the old, the vicious and the virtuous, so far as each can partake therein without infringing upon the rights of others, and no further.

In their interview during the PPN meeting, Chris and Lane referred back to this founding mission and explained that restrained adaptation has always been essential to fulfilling the Park’s historic mission of remaining broadly accessible to the public.

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ASLA 2018 Education Session Recordings Now Available

The ASLA 2018 Annual Meeting and EXPO / image: EPNAC

Thirty-five education sessions that took place during the ASLA 2018 Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia are now available on the ASLA Online Learning website, learn.asla.org. The recorded sessions’ topics range from climate adaptation and design solutions for dealing with fires and landslides to starting your own landscape architectural firm and storytelling for designers.

ASLA Online Learning offers both live online presentations throughout the year and more than 200 recordings for Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™)-approved professional development hours (PDH). ASLA member prices are discounted at least 75% below non-member prices—log in using your ASLA username and password to get the member discount.

The 2018 education sessions that have been added to the ASLA Online Learning library are:

AI: Augmented Intelligence – Landscape Architects’ Design Sense Capitalizes on Big Data – 1.5 PDH (LA CES/non-HSW)

Augmented intelligence (AI) is disrupting the complexity where designers thrive. A new era of collaboration enables shift from data overload toward data sensibility. How will capitalizing on augmented intelligence affect your practice? Your productivity? Geodesign, a unique AI, provides distinctive opportunities—learn from practitioners successfully navigating this shift.

Speakers: Kelleann Foster, ASLA, The Pennsylvania State University; James Sipes, ASLA, Sand County Studios; Jesse D. Suders, McCormick Taylor, Inc.

BIM for the Small Landscape Architecture Office – 1.5 PDH (LA CES/non-HSW)

Landscape architects face pressure on projects to use building information modeling, or BIM, software for their designs. Risks are numerous, but advantages can be significant. Learn how one landscape architect made BIM work for her as a sole proprietor and hear answers to common questions about firing up BIM.

Speakers: Meghen Quinn, ASLA, Hargreaves Associates; Bradford McKee, Landscape Architecture Magazine

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Areas in Landscape Design Impacted by Water Conservation

by Michael Igo, PE, LEED AP, Affiliate ASLA

Irrigation
image: Aqueous Consultants, LLC

Water conservation is an important topic in landscape architecture, as its professionals are stewards of the built and natural environment for society. Without a balanced water supply, drinking water, sanitation, ecological balance, and safety cannot be secured for our existence. Thus, when we speak of water conservation, what we really mean is freshwater or domestic water conservation.

Furthermore, some of the areas of water conservation discussed below are not only about water quantity conservation, but also water quality conservation in our natural surroundings. The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true in water conservation in the sense that not only does saving and using less water in landscapes reduce the quantity of water consumed, but it also prevents poor quality water for reuse or filtering site water from being reintroduced into the environment and conserves existing precious clean freshwater for domestic uses and for habitats.

Below are some of the major areas of concern that the ASLA Water Conservation Professional Practice Network (PPN) and ASLA members should keep in mind in their practice.

Stormwater

When a site is altered from its natural or previously disturbed state, the patterns of rainfall runoff and infiltration are also altered. Natural areas that were once reliant on ample infiltration can be deprived of recharge from paved and developed sites by sealing off underground soils from the atmosphere or just by increasing the velocity of water movement across a site such that runoff does not have time to infiltrate. High velocity, unmitigated stormwater flow can cause erosion of valuable land areas, transport sediment that could fill in and cause eutrophication of natural water bodies, cause damage to sites and structures downstream, and serve as a massive heat exchanging liquid as rain falls on, passes across, and carries away the latent heat trapped in urban pavement—polluting otherwise ecologically-balanced freshwater supplies and habitats.

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Architecture and Design Pop-Up Play

by Chad Kennedy, ASLA

Children used left-over paper tubes, rope, and other materials to design chairs, cabins, and other cool things during the Modesto Architecture Festival
Children used left-over paper tubes, rope, and other materials to design chairs, cabins, and other cool things during Modesto Architecture & Design Week. / image: Chad Kennedy

Most autumn Saturday mornings at the downtown library in Modesto, California are decorated with shoppers and families enjoying artisan organic foods and searching for hidden gems and trinkets at a seasonal farmer’s market along a closed-off section of 17th Street. There is always plenty of music, food, and social dialogue, and everyone enjoys themselves. Once a year, however, this same location is overtaken with laughter, giggles, and smiles as hundreds of families and children swarm the area, overshadowing the events of the farmer’s market, to participate in an annual pop-up play event meant to raise awareness within the community about the design industries.

This pop-up play family event was developed by members of the local ASLA and the AIA chapters as a way to involve children and families in the wildly popular Modesto Architecture Festival, a week-long festival celebrating local architecture and design (now branded as MAD Week). The hope was that over time, more of the community would become familiar with the design professions and enjoy what they have to offer. The pop-up play family event is consistently held on the third Saturday of September each year, and this past year was the eighth consecutive year it was held. For months prior to the event, a team of landscape architects, engineers, library staff, architects, and volunteers coordinate and determine how to bring their skills and passions together to best showcase how fun design can be. Those same professionals donate their time and resources as they gather on the day of the event to mentor, guide, and help families learn, play, and enjoy their time together.

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Examining Green Roofs at Kansas State University

by Lee R. Skabelund, ASLA

Green roof across the seasons
The Seaton Hall Upper Green Roof at Kansas State University / images: K-State

The Kansas State University Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning hosted a colloquium this past fall on Examining Green Roofs at Kansas State University with the Aim of Improving Design, Implementation & Management.

Associate Professor Lee Skabelund’s Mary K. Jarvis Chair research in Manhattan, Kansas has focused on understanding the performance and dynamics of five living roofs on the K-State campus. These efforts have been supported by the excellent work of three graduate students (Allyssa Decker, Priyasha Shrestha, Student ASLA, and Pam Blackmore), undergraduate student Marcos Aleman, Student Affiliate ASLA, faculty, staff, and students from several other colleges and entities at K-State, visiting scholar Jialin Liu, and other green roof researchers.

This research provides essential baseline knowledge for long-term green roof research and monitoring of the K-State Memorial Stadium Green Roofs (implemented in 2015 and 2016), and the K-State APDesign Experimental Green Roof (constructed in 2017). These efforts complement Professor Skabelund’s ongoing long-term observations, data collection, and hands-on management of a number of green infrastructure systems within local communities.

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Register Now for LARE Prep Week

Exam prep workshop presenters and participants
images: EPNAC

ASLA LARE Prep Week: February 4-8, 2019, 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)

Planning to start taking the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE)? Already started, but need some extra help? Join us for LARE Prep Week 2019, a week of webinars that will share information on the licensure and LARE exam process. The webinars will explore study strategies and test-taking tips that apply to each section of the exam. Register now and bring your questions for the seasoned and newly-licensed landscape architects after the presentations.

Registration cost per webinar:

  • Student ASLA Member: $20
  • Associate ASLA Member: $30
  • Full ASLA Member: $40
  • Non-members: $100

Once on the registration page, sign in with your ASLA member ID and password to receive the member discount.

ASLA wants to help guide you through the exam process and ultimately succeed in becoming a licensed landscape architect. In addition to the many resources we provide, ASLA is excited to offer a series of webinars to cover overall aspects of the exam, and the strategies to assist you with passing all four parts:

Demystifying the LARE – What to Expect and How to Study
Monday, February 4, 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Speakers: Eric Gilbey, ASLA, and Madeline Steigerwald, ASLA

Looking to start taking the LARE? This webinar will share information on the licensure and LARE exam processes. It will also explore study strategies and test-taking tips that apply to all four sections of the exam.

Section 1 Review
Tuesday, February 5, 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Speakers: Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA, Robert Hewitt, ASLA, and Thomas Nieman, FASLA

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Time to Grow Up: The Landscape Architect-Nursery Grower Relationship

by Michael Keenan, ASLA

Maple trees at the University of Chicago
The timeline for growing the Redpointe® Maple (Acer rubrum ‘Frank Jr.’) trees in the Crerar Science Quad at the University of Chicago is approximately 15 years from propagation by J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. Their young trees were grown to maturity by Kaneville Tree Farms, Inc., of Illinois, and selected for the project by Terry Ryan, FASLA. / image: Jacobs/Ryan Associates Landscape Architects

While plants are a primary color in the landscape architect’s palette, we often fail to grasp the complex challenges, laborious processes, and good luck it requires to bring healthy nursery stock to the market and ultimately to our projects. At the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philly, the Planting Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) met to discuss the ever-important relationship between the landscape architect and the nursery grower. We heard from four nursery professionals to learn about the realities of nursery production, incoming production shortages, and how to foster a better relationship with your grower.

We were joined by:

Nancy led off with an insightful presentation of the tree growing process. We all know that trees are an investment in time, but we may not fully appreciate the dedicated efforts that go into growing the trees we specify.

As Nancy says,  “Growing trees is an exercise in patience and faith in the future. It takes a long time and many skilled hands to grow beautiful, resilient, durable trees that will cast shade for future generations. Bringing new and improved trees to the marketplace is a collaborative, multi-generational effort that takes even longer.”

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Don’t Miss These Fast-Approaching ASLA Deadlines

The ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture will take place November 15-18, 2019, in San Diego.

With several important deadlines in the next few weeks, here is a roundup of American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) opportunities closing soon. Help to ensure your voice is heard, that you and your colleagues are recognized for your work and leadership, and that your practice area is represented by taking part in one or more of these open calls—for participants, nominations, presentations, and exemplary projects.

Call for Presentations for the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture
Deadline: Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST

Diversity Summit Call for Letters of Interest
Deadline: Friday, January 25, 2019

Council of Fellows Nominations
Deadline: Thursday, January 31, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST

Honors Nominations
Deadline: Friday, February 1, 2019

Professional Awards Call for Entries
Deadline for entry fees: Friday, February 15, 2019
Deadline for submissions: Friday, March 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST

Student Awards Call for Entries
Deadline for entry fees: Friday, May 10, 2019
Deadline for submissions: Friday, May 17, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST

Click the links above or keep reading for more information on each of these opportunities.

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Inclusivity and the Design Process in the American College Town

by Jessica Fernandez, Ph.D, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP ND

Town and Gown Collaboration
Town and Gown Collaboration / illustration: Brett Ryder, modified

“The clear evidence is that…we can organize our institutions to serve both local and national needs in a more coherent effective way. We can and must do better.”
Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities, 1999

The physical edge between a higher education campus and its neighboring community often serves as a place for tradition, celebration, and the joining of town and gown. However, this is not always the case. Edges can also create a wedge between these two entities through issues such as traffic and parking changes, unsightly views, and changes in the socio-economic structure of the campus surrounds. In recent years American colleges and universities have seen rising student enrollments, exacerbating these issues as the campus built environment rapidly changes and even expands. In response to these forces there has been a proliferated call for collaboration between campus and community, particularly related to the built environment design and planning process.

One obvious place for campus and municipal designers to join efforts is at the campus-community edge, where changes often significantly influence both sides. However, researchers describe that when town and gown work together, there are often dichotomous collaborative efforts where the university is in control. This is especially the case in American college towns, where the physical, economic, and social structure is by nature heavily influenced by the institution. A recent study out of Clemson University explores how collaborative efforts in the built environment design process might serve to make a more even playing field.

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The 2019 Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge

by Chris Stevens, ASLA

Left to right: HABS LA-1319-26; HABS GA,123-AUG,56–1; HABS ARIZ,10-TUCSO,30–1; and HALS MD-1-19 / image: National Park Service 2019 HALS Challenge Banner

For the tenth annual HALS Challenge, the Historic American Landscapes Survey invites you to document historic streetscapes. Many cities have come to appreciate the cultural and commercial value of their historic streets. Disneyland and Walt Disney World have welcomed arriving visitors with an idealized, nostalgic representation of Main Street U.S.A. since their inception. Main Street programs across the nation have encouraged the revitalization of commercial historic districts, and now the Complete Streets movement is sweeping the design world.

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

Please choose an individual street or a contiguous network or grid of streets to document and pay particular attention to the landscape features, including: benches, bollards, bus stops, circles, context, crosswalks, curbing, drainage, facades, fencing, festivals, fountains, gutters, islands, lampposts, medians, meters, monuments, paving, pedestrian malls, parades, parking, planters, plazas, porches, public art, ramps, setbacks, sidewalks, signage, significance, squares, steps, stoops, street trees, traffic lights, trolley tracks, and utilities.

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2018 in Review: Professional Practice Networks Highlights

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

In 2018, the PPNs published 103 posts for The Field and organized 14 live Online Learning presentations. Thank you to those who shared experiences on The Field and shared their expertise as Online Learning presenters! These opportunities are open to all ASLA members, and we hope to grow our group of PPN contributors in 2019.

Below, we highlight the top five Field posts and best-attended live Online Learning presentations of the year, but be sure to check out the full PPN 2018 IN REVIEW for additional information, including recaps of:

  • PPN Live at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia,
  • the ASLA Online Learning Student & Emerging Professional SPOTLIGHT mini-series, and
  • how all ASLA members can contribute and participate on a national level through ASLA’s PPNs.

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Lessons in Children’s Garden Accessibility

by Jeannie Fernsworth

Aerial view of the children's garden
An aerial view of the veggie labyrinth and surrounding garden treasures. / image: PAPPHOTO

Over a year ago, I heard that one of the 2017 ASLA Florida annual meeting tours was to the Delray Beach Children’s Garden. While I was unable to attend the tour, I did have the good fortune of running into Jeannie Fernsworth at the 2018 American Horticultural Society National Children & Youth Garden Symposium. Jeannie Fernsworth, Co-Founder and Horticulturalist at the Delray Beach Children’s Garden, was kind enough to invite me to the garden and to share some thoughts about this magical place. Thank you, Jeannie!
– Amy Wagenfeld, Affil. ASLA, Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network Co-Communications Director

Keeping nature and children wild is a challenge in the midst of urbanity. Parental instincts are to tame wild children and urban sprawl is about beating back wildness so that a townhouse can live there. For the sake of our health and wellness, the look and feel of nature needs to be maintained. This involves careful observation of what nature looks like and also encompasses deep understanding of the needs of people and children of varying ages, abilities, and preferences in a wildscape. The Delray Beach (Florida) Children’s Garden (DBCG)‘s mission is to promote eco-consciousness in all children through nature education and play experiences. Located just south of the downtown area, being immersed in the garden feels like you are miles away from the bustle of this South Florida beach town. The DBCG boasts innovative features, many involving repurposing materials otherwise destined for the scrap heap or recycling bin.

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Being the Change

by Gina Ford, FASLA, Cinda Gilliland, ASLA, Rebecca Leonard, Jamie Maslyn Larson, ASLA, and Steven Spears, FASLA

Gina Ford, FASLA, presenting during the 2018 ASLA annual meeting
Gina Ford, FASLA, presenting during the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting / image: EPNAC

Regardless of your political perspective, we can all agree that 2016 was an interesting year for our nation. Since, we have seen women, in particular, participating in civic action and protest in record numbers. Accordingly, last fall, the midterm election of 2018 resulted in a wave of “firsts”—with a history-making number of women, people of color, LBGTQ leaders, and women of color breaking onto the national scene in politics not just as candidates, but being voted in as representatives of their constituents.

A similar shift is happening in the practice of landscape architecture. In the years of 2016 and 2017, we—Gina Ford, Cinda Gilliland, Rebecca Leonard, and Jamie Maslyn Larson—all highly recognized, talented female landscape architects and planners—broke away from our signature roles in traditional national award-winning firms—Sasaki, SWA, Design Workshop, and West 8, respectively—to lead or start new practices, some after decades of practice in those offices. In October of 2018, concurrent with our panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities of female leadership at the national ASLA conference, moderated by Steven Spears, we published the Women’s Landscape Equality (re)Solution online at www.change.org, outlining actions for leveling the playing field for women in our profession.

The Resolution provides some context about the state of the profession as it relates to gender equality, a charge for change and a specific set of commitments to be made by signatories. We are asking supporters of it and its recommended commitments for the following:

  • Sign the (re)Solution.
  • Share your commitment to the (re)Solution by posting it on your firm’s website and on social media with the hashtag #landscapeequalitysolution and other relevant hashtags;
  • Review your firm’s policies and salaries for opportunities to make positive change right away; and
  • Engage in conversations with your colleagues on how to more actively enlist women and minorities into your firm’s work, culture and leadership.

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Submit Your Ideas for the ASLA 2019 Conference on Landscape Architecture

San Diego's Waterfront Park
San Diego’s Waterfront Park, by Hargreaves Associates. The 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture will take place November 15-18 in San Diego, CA. / image: Ron Thomas and Patty Thomas, iStock

The American Society of Landscape Architects is accepting proposals for the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego, November 15-18.

The conference education program provides professional development opportunities that address the diversity of practice types and cross-sector collaborations most relevant to the practice of landscape architecture today. If you are interested in presenting and sharing your knowledge with the landscape architecture profession, please submit a proposal through our online system. Proposals must be submitted by Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

New Session Formats for 2019

60- or 75-Minute Education Session
The standard education session with 50/60 minutes of presentation followed by 10/15 minutes of Q&A, maximum three speakers.

90-Minute Education Session
Education session with 60 minutes of presentation followed by 30 minutes of Q&A, maximum three speakers.

Professional Practice Network (PPN) Education Session
PPNs represent the major practice areas within the landscape architecture profession and provide networking and mentorship opportunities. A PPN session is a 60- or 75-minute session with 50/60 minutes of presentation followed by 10/15 minutes of Q&A. Up to four sessions will be selected. PPN sessions must be submitted and delivered by at least one member of the selected PPN. See more information on PPN sessions below.

Deep Dive Session
In-depth, three-hour technical programs that dig deep into specific landscape architecture topics.

Field Session
Education combined with a field experience. Field sessions are organized through the host chapter. Please contact the host chapter committee leaders at asla2019fieldsessions@gmail.com.

Introducing Professional Practice Network (PPN) Education Sessions

New for 2019: members of ASLA’s PPNs are invited to submit a proposal for a PPN education session, emphasizing your particular practice area within the landscape architecture profession, and providing a forum to make connections outside your market. Up to four proposals will be selected for one-hour sessions with a maximum of three speakers. At least one member of the selected PPN must be included in the proposal.

We encourage you to submit a presentation of your own and to reach out to members of your PPN to develop a presentation proposal. Consider the unique view on the profession your fellow PPN members have to offer!

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Books by ASLA Members: ASLA’s Online Bookstore

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

Header image
image: catherinecronin / Flickr

With the holiday season in full swing, what could be a better gift than a book authored by one of ASLA’s members? At one time, ASLA operated a brick-and-mortar bookstore out of our national headquarters, but these days we leave it to the professionals at Amazon to handle the ordering and fulfillment. ASLA does receive money from customers that we direct to books on Amazon, but only when people use the special URLs on the ASLA website.

From the Books by ASLA Members landing page, the books are divided into seven categories:

  • Landscape Architecture: Landscape architecture design and coffee table books, histories, and analyses
  • Sustainability: The Sustainable SITES Initiative® (SITES®) and sustainable design planning, design, implementation, and maintenance how-to books
  • Gardens and Gardening: Garden design and coffee table books, histories, and analyses
  • Plants, Trees, and Flowers: Guides for how to plant and maintain plants, trees, and flowers in different landscapes
  • Biographies: Histories and visual records of works by living and deceased landscape architects
  • Urban Planning and Design: Planning and design and how-to books related to climate change, sustainable urban development, sustainable transportation, community involvement, and other urban topics
  • Drawing and Design: Drawing and software modeling how-to books by expert landscape architect practitioners

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Nominate Your Peers for Recognition: 2019 ASLA Honors

by Makeeya Hazelton

ASLA Honorees accepting their awards

ASLA Honors are prestigious awards that recognize individuals and organizations for their lifetime achievements and notable contributions to the profession of landscape architecture.

The deadline for all 2019 ASLA Honors nominations is February 1, 2019.

Honors nomination categories are:

The ASLA Medal

The ASLA Medal is ASLA’s highest honor, bestowed upon a landscape architect whose lifetime achievements and contributions to the profession have had a unique and lasting impact on the welfare of the public and the environment.

Recent ASLA Medal winners: Linda Jewell, FASLA; Charles Birnbaum, FASLA; Kurt Culbertson, FASLA; M. Paul Friedberg, FASLA; Richard Bell, FASLA

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Shanghai Landscape Forum Focuses on International Efforts in China

by Dou Zhang, ASLA

The latest Shanghai Landscape Forum, focused on Landscape and Infrastructure, took place September 20, 2018. / image: Sasaki
The latest Shanghai Landscape Forum, focused on Landscape and Infrastructure, took place September 20, 2018. / image: Sasaki

Initiated by Sasaki, AECOM, and SWA, and joined by other leading international landscape architecture practices such as ASPECT Studios and SOM, Shanghai Landscape Forum is now a summit for the international design community in Shanghai, China.

On September 20, 2018, Shanghai Landscape Forum hosted its fourth event at Shanghai AIO Space. Hosted by ASPECT Studios, designers from SOM, ATKINS, Sasaki, SWA, AECOM, and HASSELL presented on and discussed the theme “Landscape and Infrastructure.” The presentations explored topics such as how to integrate infrastructure harmoniously with nature and site, how to make infrastructure work efficiently, and how to improve and bring new life to old infrastructures via creative design principles and pioneering design approaches.

The mission of the Forum is to pioneer new practices that result in design innovation and influence policy transformation, raise public awareness of landscape architecture’s vital contributions, and bring landscape architecture into the mainstream by advocating for the profession as a driving force for social progress.

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Transportation Professional Practice Network Annual Meeting Recap

by Christine Colley, ASLA, RLA, and the Transportation PPN Leadership Team

The view toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art down Benjamin Franklin Parkway / image: EPNAC
The view toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art down Benjamin Franklin Parkway / image: EPNAC

The Transportation Professional Practice Network (PPN) meeting at the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia last month was well attended and chock-full of content. Incoming PPN Co-Chair Jean Senechal Biggs, ASLA, opened the session by introducing the PPN leadership team (read more about the team here). She described the PPN’s mission and referenced associated practice networks and ASLA initiatives, including the New Mobility and Emerging Technologies Subcommittee (previously Autonomous Vehicles) of ASLA’s Professional Practice Committee. The PPN’s Online Learning sessions, newsletter, and website were also discussed.

In keeping with the Transportation PPN’s annual tradition, ASLA’s Director of Federal Government Affairs, Roxanne Blackwell, Esq., Hon. ASLA, provided a legislation update. Roxanne was pleased to report no threats to funding for major federal programs relevant to landscape architects at this time. She noted that the very popular TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program had been renamed. The new BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) Transportation Discretionary Grants program maintains the TIGER program’s singular focus on surface transportation infrastructure investments by offering competitive grants that favor projects with significant local or regional impacts. The funding level for the BUILD grants has been set at $1.5 billion dollars.

Another promising legislative action is H.R. 5158. This bill was unanimously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in September. The bi-partisan bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to reopen the nomination process for National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads. Roxanne reminded those in attendance that live social media alerts on H.R. 5158 had been sent out to members. She urged everyone to contact their Representative(s) to express support for the bill. The goal is to get as many co-sponsors in this Congress as possible—a show of bipartisan support—before Congress transitions in 2019. ASLA members continue to report using funds from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Scenic Byway program. ASLA would consider it an incredible coup if program funding was re-established.

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Parks, Play, and People: Equity and Community in Recreation

by Missy Benson, ASLA

The joint meeting of the Children’s Outdoor Environments and Parks & Recreation Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) in Philadelphia / image: EPNAC
The joint meeting of the Children’s Outdoor Environments and Parks & Recreation Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) in Philadelphia / image: EPNAC

The 2018 Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN Meeting in Review

The ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO’s joint meeting of the Children’s Outdoor Environments and Parks & Recreation Professional Practice Networks (PPNs), which offered attendees 1.0 PDH, focused on the topic of “Parks, Play, and People: Equity and Community in Recreation” with short presentations by, from left right in the photo above: Joy Kuebler, ASLA, Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect, PC; Andrew Spurlock, FASLA, Spurlock Landscape Architects; and Diane Jones Allen, ASLA, The University of Texas at Arlington and DesignJones, LLC. (For a recap of all PPN events that took place during the meeting, see the overall PPN Live in Review Field post.)

We measure success at our events when we have a great turnout of people interested in our topics—and indeed we had standing room only during our joint event in Philadelphia! Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN leadership was well represented among the 70+ attendees (and several attendees also signed up to join the PPN leadership team!). Here is a summary of the three presentations that took place.

Diane Jones Allen spoke about “The Challenge of Park Equity in Communities with Environmental Challenges,” including Sankofa Wetland Park in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Diane explained the technique “Mining the Indigenous” as described in Design as Democracy to bring together community knowledge typically overlooked and left unmined, to the detriment of projects. For example, local residents shared extensive knowledge of the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle from childhoods spent in these wetlands. Contributions from locals provided a better understanding of the fauna, including alligators, snakes, and insects, and flora, such as edible plants and the historical uses of existing vegetation. Diane described examples of bio-retention facilities designed to alleviate neighborhood flooding during heavy rainfall, with native vegetation and walking paths to promote educational and recreational opportunities for community residents and other users.

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The 2018 Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge Results

by Chris Stevens, ASLA

Golden Gate Park, Heroes’ Grove and Gold Star Mothers’ Memorial Boulder, HALS CA-49-B, San Francisco, California / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Results of the ninth annual Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Challenge, Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War, were announced at the HALS Meeting in Philadelphia during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO on Saturday, October 20, 2018. Congratulations to the winners! Sponsored by the National Park Service, cash prizes were awarded to the top three submissions. This challenge resulted in the donation of 17 impressive HALS short format historical reports and a few measured drawings and large format photographs to the HALS collection. This competition marks the 100th Anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, on November 11, 1918.

2018 HALS Challenge: Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War
Sponsored by HALS-National Park Service

First Place: Golden Gate Park, Heroes’ Grove and Gold Star Mothers’ Memorial Boulder, HALS CA-49-B
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California
by Cate Bainton with large format photographs by Les Tabata and Cate Bainton

Second Place: American Academy in Rome, Thrasher-Ward Memorial, HALS US-10-A
Rome, Italy (Please check with the NPS HALS Office before documenting foreign sites to make sure they meet the criteria to be considered a Historic American Landscape.)
by James O’Day, ASLA

Third Place: Monument Terrace, HALS VA-79
Lynchburg, Campbell County, Virginia
by Laura Knott, ASLA, RLA, MSHP

Honorable Mention: Liberty Row, HALS OH-13
Passing through Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and Shaker Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
by P. Jeffrey Knopp, ASLA

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Exploring Social & Sensory Barriers That Impede Play in Public Spaces

Chad Kennedy, ASLA, speaking at TEDx Modesto / image: TEDx

TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading,” has popularized short, engaging talks from thought leaders since its founding in 1984 as a conference on Technology, Entertainment and Design. Since then, TED has expanded with the TEDx program to support local, independently organized events that bring communities together to share ideas and spark conversation.

TED speakers have included Walter Hood, ASLA, Kate Orff, ASLA, Janette Sadik-Kahn, Honorary ASLA, and Jeff Speck, Honorary ASLA. This past September, Chad Kennedy, ASLA, P.L.A., CPSI, LEED® AP BD+C, joined the TED speaker cohort at TEDxModesto, which combined TED Talks videos and live presentations by local thinkers and doers on the theme “What makes your life more colorful?”

Chad is Principal Landscape Architect at O’Dell Engineering, and he is also serving as Chair of ASLA’s Professional Practice Network (PPN) Council this year, after serving as co-chair and officer for the Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN. Chad is an advocate for and designer of recreational spaces that are created specifically to enrich the lives of all those who visit them. (See “Processing Through Play,” from the June 2018 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, for more on Chad’s focus on play spaces for children with sensory disorders.)

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