Celebrating twenty years of promoting environmentally safe and beneficial landscape practices, the Ecological Landscaping Association (ELA) held their early March annual conference in Springfield, MA. While originally a New England organization, the group’s influence has spread to the mid-Atlantic states; ELA now boasts over 300 professional, business, and community members.
Chicago Department of Aviation has installed an urban garden at O’Hare Airport. The garden will supply fresh local sources of produce at the airport food services. A great way to demonstrate what can be done in an unlikely place.
by Keven Graham
It doesn’t take much money or landscaping to transform an unused space into a community gathering spot. In fact, it can be accomplished with seven trees in colorful planters with flowers.
You can’t have a lifestyle trend such as urban farming or edible frontyards without some controversy. Did you know that there really are many cities and towns with old bylaws or zoning codes that prohibit a person from actually eating any food they grow in their own yard! While some cities such as San Francisco, New York, Baltimore, Seattle and Detroit have begun to change laws and policy in support of urban agriculture, and as this trend continues to thrive because of food safety and security issues, the growing foodie locavore movement and urban hipster cred, many citizens in other cities and towns have been threatend with jail time or fines for planting a garden or organic farm on their own property.
It’s true; Federal Representatives really do pay attention to us as Landscape Architects.
ASLA membership recently responded to a survey on Federal Priorities for 2011 and consistently ranked the following issues the most important to the profession:
- Sustainable design
- Water and stormwater management
- Transportation design and planning
- Parks, recreation, and active living issues
Green roof or photo voltaic cell power panels (PV) on a roof surface – what is the best choice?
All the discussions regarding sustainability, whether it is related to products, designs, ideas, etc. we must always remember the most important concept: the system view.
In the recent post, A Growing Concern, in The Earth Island Journal, Sena Christian raises legitimate questions about the national urban agriculture movement. She states that farms and community gardens in city centers seem to have struck a chord with the American public and have become media darlings attracting big grants from major philanthropies and the support of upscale chefs.
You probably know by now that burning fossil fuels to heat your home, run your appliances and drive your vehicles creates carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG), but you may not have thought about the GHG produced with watering, mowing and fertilizing landscapes. The problem is that there are not good tools for calculating this. Carbon and other GHG calculators do not typically include the embodied energy of water nor landscape maintenance in their equations.
Do you want to become a LEED-Accredited Professional, but are not sure whether any LEED specialty suits you as a landscape architect? Or are you already a LEED-AP, accredited before the revised credentialing system took effect, and are considering becoming a LEED-AP in a specialty?
Part 1: Demystifying Living Walls – Facts & Fiction
Living walls are igniting the imagination of designers everywhere. And what is not to like, for as encapsulated visions of nature with their seemingly perfect beauty contained on a wall or screen, they tend to idealize nature in the urban realm.
Organic edible gardens are a rising trend not only in the residential sector but also the corporate campus. In a recent New York Times article, it was noted thatas companies have less to spend on raises, health benefits and other typical employee perks, the latest craze is to let them dig in the dirt. Not only are companies such as Google, Yahoo and Sunset Magazine doing it, where organic may be part of the regional urban zeitgeist, this sustainable trend is catching on at more traditional based companies too. Planting and harvesting edibles to take home, incorporating fresh foods into the campus cafeteria menu, or even donating the harvested crops to a local food bank, are creative ways that allow employees a place to connect with nature, build morale and health, or give something back to the community. This eco-trend is one to watch to see if it will become just a passing fad or mark the beginning of a transformation into a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle across the country.
by April Philips
Seattle has declared 2010 the Year of Urban Agriculture in the city as a way to explore and expand on its vibrant culture of community gardening, farmer’s markets and regional farming . It’s generating community-wide discussion. The local radio station poses, “In many Asian countries over 60% of their food is grown in the City – what would that look like in Seattle?” At the University of Washington’s College of the Built Environment landscape architecture students organized a community charetteto explore design ideas for city farming.
Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit organization with the mission of building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. Often using competitions as a platform for innovative ideas and projects AFH launched its first landscape based competition earlier this year ‘ Safe Trestle’.
A well designed residential landscape can not only create beautiful vistas from within the house and comfortable rooms for outdoor living, but can also significantly increase the real estate value of a home and neighborhood. But wait there’s more! Did you know that carefully placed plants can also significantly reduce your homes heating and cooling energy needs? Provide food for your family and friends?
The latest from the MOMA P.S.1 architects-in-residence program, this exhibit showcases various designers’ solutions to climate change and sea level rise along the Hudson Bay shoreline. The program specifically called for ‘soft’ infrastructure with sound ecology and resulted in innovative landscape-based solutions. Similar to the Rising Tides competition in the San Francisco Bay Area, this effort asked for a re-envisioning of possible solutions as a way to gain fresh ideas and rethink our usual ‘band-aid’ approach to infrastructure (as well as highlighting future sea level rise scenarios).
Learn more about the challenge, the designs and the exhibit at INSIDE/OUT