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cover

LA + cover / LA +

LA+ (Landscape Architecture Plus) is a new interdisciplinary journal of landscape architecture from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Published biannually, the journal explores contemporary design issues from the perspective of multiple disciplines, promoting collaboration and offering thoughtful insights and innovative ideas on each issue’s theme.

The journal’s provocative first issue, LA+ WILD, explores the shifting concept of “wild.” In the midst of the 21st century’s global environmental crisis, what is truly wild? For Tatum Hands, editor in chief of LA+, “wild is fundamental.” This idea resonates in the issue’s essays and graphic depictions, which speculate on conservation initiatives that fall under the rubric of “rewilding.”

Contributors of the issue’s 20-plus features aim to make “wild re-imagined, re-situated, and re-constituted.” Explorations into the interconnections of living things confound our preexisting notions. For example, artist Sonja Bäumel, in a project entitled Expanded Self, makes visible the bacteria on her own skin, depicting her body as an extension of the landscape.

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Expanded Self by Sonja Bäumel / Sonja Bäumel

Artist and designer Orkan Telhan observes in The Taste of the New Wild that “nature ‘as is’ is now competing with better (and wilder) alternatives.” Consumer products like bio-synthesized sandalwood and lab-grown meat are potentially more resilient, sustainable, diverse, but also more unpredictable than the sources from which they originate.

Timothy Morton’s theory on “agri-logistics” in Where the Wild Things Are and Julian Raxworthy’s appropriation of thermodynamics in Born to Be Wild: Heat Leaks, and the Wrong Sort of Rewilding challenge distinctions between humans and non-humans. Biologists Timothy Mousseau and Anders Møller reveal the darker implications of this interconnectedness in Landscape-scale Consequences of Nuclear Disasters. Findings reported from expeditions to Chernobyl, Russia, and Fukushima, Japan, demonstrate the considerable cascading biological impacts of radiation from nuclear power plant failures on ecosystems. Continued study is necessary to determine if these sites will ever be appropriate for habitation.

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Chernobyl Birds: Deformities, Albinism, and Tumors / Timothy Mousseau

So what are the implications of conservation initiatives based on “rewilding”? The movement today, as Adela Park, a landscape architecture graduate student at UPenn, reports in Re:Wilding, is entering into the province of genetic engineering that is “beguiling and frightening” and raises ethical questions regarding the invention and reinvention of life forms. Projects at Oostvaarderplassen outside Amsterdam and Pleistocene Park in northern Siberia attempt to recreate Pleistocene ecosystems to support the reintroduction of extant species like the aurochs and the de-extinction of species like the wooly mammoth. Humans are conspicuously absent from these landscapes.

But there are opportunities to encourage a meaningful and productive conversation on how to intervene in the wild. Landscape architects are positioned to redefine and reengage with the wild through initiatives that facilitate the integration and coexistence of humans and non-humans. New agencies of design and forms of practice that reach beyond traditional efforts to protect wilderness could result in novel ecosystems that both embrace and engender biological and cultural diversity.

In Tracking Wildnerness: The Architecture of Inscapes, Paul Carter, professor of design at RMIT University, shares observations on how the Shipibo people are shaping the Lupunaluz project, a cultural and biodiversity initiative in the Peruvian rainforest. From the Shipibo people’s belief that human consciousness derives from plant consciousness, contributors to the project have inferred that design is a collective endeavor shared by humans and nonhumans. Nature is not automatically arranged according to human preferences.

In Practices of the Wild: A Rewilding of Landscape Architecture, Mick Abbott, landscape architecture professor at New Zealand’s Lincoln University, explains how the Landscope DesignLab at the university is developing new technologies to engage public conservation lands. Tools like Plant-it, a mobile application that crowd-sources the replanting of forests, aim to spur the development of landscapes that value, rather than discourage, interaction between people and ecology.

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Plant-it Mobile App by Tim Reed / Tim Reed

Claire Fellman, a director at Snøhetta, argues in Watching Wild against the removal of 90 kilometers of roads within Norway’s Dovrefjell-Sundalsfjella National Park, home to a large herd of endangered wild reindeer. This conservation initiative, which prevents people from reaching the park’s interior, inhibits the creation of spaces where “blurred and overlapping boundaries can create a productive gray zone in which the rights of multiple species are actively negotiated, promoting respect, interdependence, and community.”

Gardening is an analogy for working with existing ecological processes that are both managed and adaptive. Washington University in St. Louis landscape architecture professor Rod Barnett advocates in Unpremeditated Art for conservation initiatives that are based on “an open system that creates novelty through its encounter with indeterminate conditions.” In England, farmers are being paid to create and maintain nesting plots for the Eurasian Skylark within their acreage by turning off their seeding machines for stretches of five to ten meters. This simple but innovative agricultural practice is as regulated as it is experimental.

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Unpremeditated art / Kate Rodgers

Additional opportunities emerge to experiment. UPenn planning graduate student Billy Fleming considers the efficacy of the recovery-through-competition model to create resilient cities in Can We Rebuild By Design? In Firescaping, Arizona State University environmental historian Steve Pyne discusses the potential for sculpting landscapes to control fire in conservation lands. In Xing: New Infrastructures for Landscape Connectivity, Nina-Marie Lister, Hon. ASLA, a professor at Ryerson University, presents the opportunity to design flexible, adaptive, and context-specific infrastructures for wildlife crossings that could influence the way we live and move through a landscape shared with other species.

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Hypar-Nature by HNTB and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates / Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Physicist and climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf advocates in Wild Ocean for the design of multi-use platforms combining renewable-energy generation, aquaculture, transport services, and leisure activities in the oceans. Writer Emma Marris‘s Simian City proposes a unique conservation strategy for the Golden Lion Tamarin, a rare species that Marris suggests could — with community support — “introduce surprise and beauty to urban life” while finding refuge in the city.

In World P-ark, UPenn landscape architecture department chair Richard Weller, ASLA, considers how landscape architecture “might now go to work on a scale commensurate with that of biodiversity’s otherwise inexorable decline.” He proposes linking the world’s most biodiverse and threatened landscapes into one contiguous World Park with two continuous routes: one north-south from Alaska to Patagonia, and another east-west from Indonesia to Morocco.

The landscape architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania is engaged in an exercise to map ecological networks for the 425 ecoregions that make up the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots. Weller is confident that landscape architects are best positioned to negotiate how these networks, once connected, would interact with the landscape.

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World Park by Claire Hoch and Richard Weller / Richard Weller

These essays demonstrate that “to be wild is to exist in a condition of extreme openness – instability, uncertainty, and continual perturbation.” LA+ WILD sparks a dialogue that could itself run wild, potentially never reaching a conclusion, but perhaps proving as dynamic as the medium in which landscape architects work. A quote by land artist Robert Smithson paired with an image of his Spiral Jetty reminds us that “nature is never finished.”

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Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty by Adela Park / Adela Park

Purchase the issue. And look for the next issue on pleasure, which comes out in September.

 This guest post is by Shannon Leahy, Associate ASLA, recent master’s of landscape architecture graduate, University of Pennsylvania and former ASLA communications intern.

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World Landscape Architecture Month

World Landscape Architecture Month

This past month, the American Society of Landscape Architects joined World Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM), a global effort to raise awareness of the profession. During this time, our members took nearly 4,000 pictures of landscape architect-designed spaces with our “Designed by a Landscape Architect” card and posted them to social media using #WLAM2015.

These posts reached nearly 3 million people and showed how landscape architects can effectively use social media, harnessing its inherently visual nature.

The pictures featured some instantly recognizable, iconic landscapes.

Central Park / Jennifer Nitzky

Central Park / Jennifer Nitzky

But also some favorite local projects, too.

Artivio Guerrero Park / Dalton LaVoie

Artivio Guerrero Park, Sacramento, California / Dalton LaVoie

WLAM was also an opportunity to show all stages of design.

Plans /  American Society of Landscape Architects - Minnesota Chapter

Landscape plan / American Society of Landscape Architects Minnesota Chapter

Americans weren’t the only ones involved: Landscape architects from more than 30 countries participated in the campaign, often using the cards we created in 13 languages.

Turkish / URMIA Land Art

Turkish Version of the Card / URMIA Land Art

Place Design Group's China team celebrates World Landscape Architecture Month / Place Design Group

Place Design Group’s China team celebrates World Landscape Architecture Month / Place Design Group

Both future and veteran landscape architects were involved in the campaign, connecting multiple generations.

Landscape Architecture Students/ American Society of Landscape Architects - Minnesota Chapter

Landscape Architecture Students/ American Society of Landscape Architects Minnesota Chapter

John Gollings with Australian Garden Completion by Taylor Cullity Lethlean + Paul Thompson / Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

John Gollings at Australian Garden Competition / Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

World Landscape Architecture Month helped raise the visibility of landscape architecture on a global level. The “Designed by a Landscape Architect” cards helps the public understand many of the places they use and love everyday are actually designed by someone. The campaign was so successful ASLA is continuing it past April in order to continually promote the work of its members and landscape architecture around the world.

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Each year at the ASLA Annual Meeting, some of the world’s top landscape architects and designers explain themselves in front of an audience of hundreds. These designers give in-depth presentations, explaining the logic behind their designs and their latest projects. Now, ASLA has made these presentations available online for free. From the ASLA 2014 Annual Meeting in Denver, you can watch more than 6 hours of videos by:

Balmori Associates (see above)

This New York-based practice is recognized internationally for designing sustainable master plans, waterfront parks, public spaces, and gardens. The firm’s approach is rooted in the exploration of the boundaries between nature and structure through landscape. BAL / LAB, the incubator office, focuses on green roofs, floating islands, temporary landscapes, forms of representation, and zero-waste cities.

Watch Diana Balmori, FASLA, Javier Campana, Noemie Lafaurie-Debany, and Theodore Hoerr, ASLA, Balmori Associates; moderated by Mario Nievera, ASLA, Nievera Williams Design.

Biohabitats

Landscape architects hold more power than ever to foster biodiversity and resilience and tell a compelling story of the landscape and our place in it. By embracing scientific principles and allowing them to inform our work, Biohabitats aims to create robust, dynamic landscapes that go beyond improving quality of life.

Watch Keith Bowers, FASLA, Claudia Browne, Jennifer Dowdell, ASLA, and Chris Streb, Biohabitats; moderated by Susan Jacobson, FASLA, Morton Arboretum.

Confluence

Since their founding in 1998, Confluence has become one of the largest landscape architecture and planning firms in the Midwest. Principals gave an overview of the firm, its leadership approach, and their strategies behind design-service delivery and client-type diversification. They discuss “Midwest Nice” and the associated challenges.

Watch Brian Clark, ASLA, Lyle Pudwill, ASLA, and Jill Boetger, ASLA, Confluence; moderated by Patrick Coughey, FASLA, Wimmer Yamada and Caughey.

!melk

!melk is a dynamic, internationally-recognized landscape architecture and urban design firm specializing in the creation of highly experiential public spaces as well as large-scale urban interventions. Founder Jerry van Eyck, ASLA, addresses his firm’s growing reputation for a refined focus on context, identity, strong narrative, pragmatism, and detail.

Watch Jerry van Eyck, ASLA, Emily Bauer, Assoc. ASLA, and Ian Hampson, ASLA, !melk; moderated by Mia Lehrer, FASLA, Mia Lehrer + Associates.

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designintelligence

Design Intelligence

DesignIntelligence recently announced its 2015 landscape architecture graduate and undergraduate program rankings. Once again, Louisiana State University came in at the top of undergraduate landscape architecture programs. And for the 11th year, Harvard University came in as the best graduate program in the annual survey conducted by DesignIntelligence on behalf of the Design Futures Council.

Detailed rankings are available in the 15th edition of America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, which assesses program rankings and education trends in architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design.

Respondents from nearly 1,400 “professional practice” organizations answered questions about how well prepared graduates are from different undergraduate and graduate programs. The number of respondents grew by 75 percent over last year, making the survey results even more credible.

Satisfaction with landscape architecture graduates among employers has been dropping the past few years. Some 71 percent said they “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the state of landscape architecture education in the U.S., down from 74 percent last year and 80 percent the year before.

Among employers, some 75 percent found that graduating students had an “adequate understanding” or “more than adequate understanding” of biology, biodiversity, and environmental degradation. Some 68 percent thought their firms benefited from the new ideas about sustainability that recent graduates brought with them, up from 60 percent last year.

This year, the top five emerging concerns by practitioners are:

    Sustainability / Climate Change (55 percent)
    Maintaining Design Quality (54 percent)
    Integrated Design (40 percent)
    Speed of Technological Change (33 percent)
    Urbanization (32 percent)

The set of concerns is virtually unchanged from last year, except speed of technological change is now a top concern.

DesignIntelligence asks us to only list the top five schools for each program. To see the top fifteen rankings for each category, purchase the report.

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Degree Rankings:

1) Louisiana State University
2) Pennsylvania State University
3) Cornell University
4) California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
5) University of Georgia

Master of Landscape Architecture Degree Rankings:

1) Harvard University
2) University of Pennsylvania
3) Cornell University
4) University of California at Berkeley
5) Louisiana State University

An additional deans and chairs survey asked leaders of 42 landscape architecture academic programs about the issues they find significant. According to 80 percent of the professors surveyed, their biggest concern is climate change and sustainability, while another 68 percent said urbanization and 36 percent said globalization. This is unchanged from last year.

Among the biggest changes to curricula in the last 5 years: some 58 percent thought it was “more emphasis on sustainable design,” while 48 percent saw an increased focus on “community engagement.”

For the fourth year, DesignIntelligence surveyed 317 landscape architecture students to gauge their satisfaction with the programs covered. On average, just 58 percent thought their program was “excellent.” The greatest number of students thought their program was excellent at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by those at the University of Virginia and then Iowa State University.

To see the full responses from professors and students, purchase the report.

Check out the 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009 rankings.

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Denver Mountain Parks / Barrett Doherty – TCLF

In advance of the 2014 ASLA Annual Meeting in Denver, The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) has unveiled What’s Out There Denver, the first in a new series of free web-based, city-focused guides. TCLF’s guide covers more than 150 years of landscape design history and city shaping in Denver. Guide users can explore nearly 70 sites and sort by 17 landscape types, as well as delve into histories of the local designers who created these places.

TCLF President and Founder Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, said: “The Denver parks and open space network is an unrivaled local design interpretation that leverages the unique geography of the surrounding Rocky Mountain range and expansive American Prairie grasslands. The goal of this guide is to make this legacy visible and easily accessible through laptops, iPhones, tablets, and other devices.”

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Denver Mountain Parks / Barrett Doherty – TCLF

The series is an expansion of TCLF’s free, profusely-illustrated What’s Out There online database of the nation’s shared landscape legacy, which currently features more than 1,700 sites, 900 designer profiles, and 10,000 images. This is the first phase in the series and will be upgraded over time to allow users to build individual itineraries, create links between cities based on designers, the types and styles of landscapes, and other features. The web site will continue to grow as additional sites are added to the What’s Out There database. The guide also features What’s Nearby, a GPS-enabled function that locates all sites in the database within a 25-mile radius of any given location.

The guide is made possible by project partners ASLA, the Colorado ASLA Chapter, the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver, and support from Design Workshop.

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ASLA Student Analysis & Planning Award of Excellence. Meridian of Fertility. Reid Fellenbaum, University of Michigan / image: Reid Fellenbaum.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announces the winners of the 2014 Student Awards. This year, 21 submissions received awards, out of more than 500 entries from 77 schools.

The October issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine (LAM) features the winning projects and is available online for free viewing. October’s LAM will be featured on the end-caps of the magazine sections in nearly 600 Barnes & Noble stores beginning October 14.

The awards will be presented at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Denver on Monday, November 24, at 12 noon, at the Colorado Convention Center.  The 2014 awards program is sponsored by Victor Stanley.

The student awards jury included: Gina Ford, ASLA, Sasaki, Jury Chair; Rebecca Barnes, FAIA, University of Washington; Dennis Carmichael, FASLA, Parker Rodriguez; Sandra Y. Clinton, FASLA, Clinton & Associates; Bernard Dahl, FASLA, Purdue University; Christian Gabriel, ASLA, U.S. General Services Administration; Eric Kramer, ASLA, Reed Hilderbrand; Willett Moss, ASLA, CMG Landscape Architecture; and Brian Sawyer, ASLA, Sawyer/Berson.

General Design Category

Honor Awards
16th Street Station
by Erik Jensen, Associate ASLA, graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley

34,000 Tons of Miracles
by an undergraduate student team from Pusan National University, South Korea

Residential Design Category

Honor Awards
The Edgerly: The Next Generation of a Community Anchor
by a graduate student team from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Spaces of Exception: Housing as a Common Framework
by a graduate student team from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Analysis & Planning Category

Award of Excellence
Meridian of Fertility (see image above)
by Reid Fellenbaum, Student Affiliate ASLA, graduate student at the University of Michigan

Honor Awards
The Wild Anacostia: Cultivating a Thick Edge Typology through Everyday Experience
by Kate Hayes, Associate ASLA, graduate student at the University of Virginia

Migratory Lands Demonstration Project
by Emily Chen, Student ASLA, graduate student at Washington University, St. Louis

The Plexus Spine of North Philly
by Jacqueline Martinez, Student ASLA, graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania

Markings
by a graduate student team from the University of Texas at Austin

Bigger Darby: A Landscape Approach for a Coherent & Resilient Watershed
by an undergraduate and graduate student team from The Ohio State University

Beyond Turf: Reinterpreting the Ecological Management of Vacant Landscapes
by Alexander Ochoa, Student ASLA, an undergraduate student at Louisiana State University

Communications Category

Honor Awards
Adaptive Streets: Strategies for Transforming the Urban Right-of-Way
by a graduate student team from the University of Washington

SNACKs
by a graduate student team from the University of Virginia

Research Category

Honor Awards
A Spatial Analysis of the Uncharted Territory of Growing Old
by a graduate student team from the University of Virginia

Student Collaboration

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ASLA Student Collaboration Award of Excellence. Harvest Home. Students at George Washington University / images: Adele Ashkar, Nick Gringold, Ryan McKibben, Julie Melear, Sharon Metcalf

Award of Excellence
Harvest Home
by a graduate student team from George Washington University

Honor Awards
The Prairie Club + Redefined
by an undergraduate student team from Ball State University

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial: History, Design and the American People
by an undergraduate student team from Ball State University

Gardens, Greenspace and Health in Eliseo Collazos, Lima, Peru
by a graduate student team from the University of Washington

Community Service

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ASLA 2014 Student Community Service Award of Excellence. Ratang Bana Aids Orphanage Playscape. California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo / image: California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo

Award of Excellence
Ratang Bana Aids Orphanage Playscape
by an undergraduate student team from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Honor Awards
Creating Home, A Healing Garden for Veterans and Their Families
by an undergraduate student team from the University of Washington

The Hastings-on-Hudson Community Street Tree Inventory
by Brett Schneiderman, Student ASLA, graduate student at Cornell University

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designteach

ASLA 2013 Student Community Service Honor Award. Design Teach / Jesse Nicholson, Student ASLA; Travis North, Student ASLA; Roana Tirado, Student ASLA Graduate Cornell University

ASLA recently released its annual graduating student survey. This survey was completed by graduating students from 47 accredited undergraduate and graduate landscape architecture programs. The purpose of this survey is to gather information on post-graduation plans.

While the average age for undergraduates and graduates remained consistent with previous years, 24 and 30 respectively, and the male to female ratio also remained consistent, there was a considerable change in the race of respondents. While 70 percent indicated they are Caucasian, this number is down from 84 percent in 2013 and 82 percent in 2012. The percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander students increased to 15 percent, up from 8 percent in 2012. Also, the number of Hispanic students increased to 14 percent, up from six percent in 2013 and just four percent in 2012.

Students enter graduate landscape architecture programs with diverse educational backgrounds. Those mentioned by two or more respondents include: architecture; art history; communications; environmental design and biology; environmental planning; environmental science; fine arts; geography; graphic design; horticulture; journalism; landscape architecture; philosophy; and urban studies.

For the first time, the survey asked respondents about how they were funding their education and any education-related debt. 69 percent of undergraduates indicated their parents or grandparents paid or contributed to their education, while graduate students indicated scholarships and federal loan programs as the top funding sources. The average amount of debt is $23,400 for undergraduates and $35,100 for graduate students. Overall, 49 percent of respondents have $20,000 or more in debt, and a just under a quarter owe $50,000 or more.

Some 90 percent of respondents indicated they plan to seek employment in the profession, up slightly from the previous year, while three percent plan to pursue additional education. Of those looking for a job, 67 percent plan to seek employment in a private sector landscape architecture firm. When looking for a job, the top three rated factors by respondents were geographic location, type of organization, and position description.

More than half of all respondents had been on one or more interviews during their final semester. Respondents expect a salary of around $47,600. Salary expectations increased by $5,000 from 2013. However, the average starting salary reported by those who have already started or accepted a job was $37,300 for undergraduate and $42,900 for graduate students.

The number of respondents who have already started a job and will receive medical insurance is up seven percent to 95 percent. The percentage of respondents is who will receive 401K retirement benefits increased dramatically from 63 to 83 percent. And the percentage who have employers who pay their professional dues has held steady for two years at 27 percent, up from only 3 percent in 2012.

And how did the survey respondents get hooked on landscape architecture? They were most likely to have first learned about the field from talking to a landscape architect or from reading about the field online or in a book, newspaper, or magazine. So in turn: one in four respondents visited an elementary, middle, or high school to talk about the profession.

Graduating student surveys dating back to 2002 are posted at ASLA’s Career Discovery web site.

This guest post is by Susan Apollonio, ASLA Director of Education Programs.

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folly1
Browsing through the latest issue of Azure magazine, one can see socially conscious design is making its way even into the far reaches of Winnipeg, Canada. Folly Forest, a great, small project at the Stratchona School, which is in a low-income neighborhood, was put together with just $80,000 by local design firm Straub Thurmayr Landscape Architects and Urban Designers.

50-year old asphalt was broken apart so 100 trees could be planted within bright red and yellow-lined star-shaped spaces. Azure tells us: “To add rich texture and provide ground cover for the new plantings, they arranged bricks, logs, and stones inside the bases.”

folly2
There are also “rusty cauldrons” and “silvery wooden beams,” found objects that add an industrial glamor.

The project has deservedly taken home a ton of Canadian design awards. Azure‘s jury gave it a merit award, and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) awarded it a citation. CSLA said the project “demonstrates the immense potential of landscape architecture as a spatial and social transformer. It showcases how a simple measure can take ecological and aesthetic effects and turn them into the formative element of design.”

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The Prairie Design Awards also honored the project, writing that at just $20 per square foot, nature is allowed to “take root through an asymmetrically disposed composition of newly planted trees, benches, follies and earthen mounds. The program fosters playful engagement, through the eyes of a child, and provides any visitor, young or old, to engage with a truly delightful and special place.”

But beyond all the accolades from the design world, the teachers and kids at the school seem to get a lot of out their rugged new green space, too. Erin Hammond, a teacher at Stratchona School, told CBC News, the new space has been a boon for the kids. “It’s just been an amazing enticement to get kids outside.”

Teachers are using the green space to start new conversations about ecology. “Kids are going, ‘How come that tree has more leaves than this one?’ Well, that one has more sun than this one,” said Hammond.

See a video about the project.

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olin
The American Society of Landscape Architects has launched a new Career Discovery web site to help young people explore the profession of landscape architecture. To help teachers steer young people towards the field, a new resource center has also been created, filled with classroom activities.

The Career Discovery website, aimed at students in middle school and high school, explains what a landscape architect does and how to become one. With a background that features the evolution of Columbus Circle in New York City from sketch to reality, the website shows how landscape architects creatively solve complex urban and environmental issues through design. Columbus Circle was redesigned by OLIN, a landscape architecture firm, and received a 2006 ASLA Honor Award in the General Design category.

The website also includes two videos—“Personal Paths” and “Why Become a Landscape Architect?”—featuring landscape architects and designers on why landscape architecture is the perfect career for art- and science-oriented students.

Tools for Teachers is a new education hub for K-12 teachers.  It is loaded with fun, free classroom activities that will inspire lesson plans and start classroom dialogues about landscape architecture. It includes links to all of ASLA’s educational resources, including:

“Students need to know at an earlier age why landscape architecture is a fun, rewarding, and important career that helps communities become great places to live,” said Mark A. Focht, FASLA, president of ASLA and first deputy commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. “Our educational and career discovery resources will help them and their teachers get excited about what we do and why it matters.”

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The ASLA public awareness campaign launched the Year of Public Service (YPS) in 2013 for two reasons. First, the campaign encouraged ASLA members to ramp up existing pro-bono efforts. Second, ASLA wanted to highlight the great service projects already done by landscape architects across the country.

A year later, the YPS blog boasts nearly 50 projects, with more still trickling in. Just a few examples: in the past year, landscape architects have created a new scenic trail plan; designed a healing, sensory garden; built a butterfly and bird habitat; and launched a community space, all for deserving communities.

A New Vision for the Great Shasta Rail Trail

Many projects, like the Great Shasta Rail Trail (GSRT), took advantage of longstanding relationships between ASLA chapters and the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. See the video above.

The vision for the project was to develop an 80-mile scenic, multi-use trail along the existing rail bed between the towns of McCloud and Burney, near Mt. Shasta, California. The workshop addressed the project’s many design challenges while generating concepts that can be used to communicate with the public.

 A New Sensory Garden for Outside the Box

The Indiana Chapter of ASLA designed and installed a sensory garden for a non-profit, Outside the Box (OTB). Located on the north side of Indianapolis, OTB is a provider of day, employment, and art services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. OTB views their 200 patrons as capable individuals who can enrich their own lives through contributions to their community.

The chapter’s public service committee visited OTB to observe a typical day while meeting staff and participants, and decided to host a design charrette for a new sensory garden. Last April, Indiana ASLA held a one-day work session during National Landscape Architecture Month.

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Sensory Garden construction / Indiana ASLA

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Sensory Garden / Indiana ASLA

ASLA Indiana voted to provide maintenance funds to OTB to keep the garden looking beautiful year after year.

A New Butterfly and Bird Habitat for Southside Elementary School

Also featured on the blog are many member submissions. Michael Gilkey, ASLA, was integral to establishing an edible garden along with a bird and butterfly garden in Sarasota, Florida. He even lead kindergarten classes in the creation of their own shoebox butterfly gardens.

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Southside Elementary Eco-Garden Co-Chair Emily Morgan helps a third grade class release their own hatched monarch into the newly certified butterfly and bird habitat garden / Michael A. Gilkey, Inc.

When the garden team of the Southside elementary school approached Gilkey about the dire need to redo the front school façade, he volunteered his time and designs to create a butterfly and bird habitat garden that would welcome students and parents into the historic building. The garden was planted in early 2013, and is now considered a certified wildlife habitat.

A New Community Space in Athens

Thanks to the students who attended LABash 2013, an annual landscape architecture student symposium, Athens-area Habitat for Humanity created a new community space at The Foundation, an apartment complex, in an area once riddled with crime. Athens Habitat bought The Foundation property, renovated the units, and created a haven for deserving families to call home.

The students who participated in this year’s LABash were encouraged to team up and submit a plan for a community space in a quick-fire competition organized by the University of Georgia Center for Community Design and Preservation. At least 60 students from 18 universities competed.

The submissions were judged by a panel of experts comprised of sponsors, UGA faculty, Habitat staff, and Tom Tavella, FASLA past-ASLA president. The competition allowed students to gain real design experience, while strengthening ties between UGA and Athens businesses and nonprofits. Once the winning teams were chosen, construction commenced.

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Winning design / UGA LABash 2013 Facebook Page

ASLA’s chapters, members, and students are making the country a better place, but this is nothing new. Many landscape architects do pro-bono projects every year. This campaign just highlighted those efforts. See all YPS projects.

This guest post is by Phil Stamper-Halpin, ASLA PR and Communications Coordinator

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