World Landscape Architecture Month 2022 Instagram Contest Winners

Image: Meadow landscape. Marcus Barnett Studio / Mimi Connolly

Throughout April, landscape architects around the globe celebrated World Landscape Architecture (WLAM) by exploring: What is landscape architecture? What does landscape architecture mean to you?

Thousands of #WLAM2022 posts across all social platforms reflected on the theme.

During the week of Frederick Law Olmsted’s 200th birthday, National ASLA shared the top five most popular #WLAM2022 Instagram posts, with Marcus Barnett Studio taking the number one spot (see above).

The other top four posts included Ten Eyck Landscape Architects highlighting a fundamental of their practice: understanding native plant communities.

TBG Partners offered a behind-the-scenes look at a landscape architect’s design process.

hochC Landschaftsarchitekten showed how landscape architects turn ideas into reality.

Hoerr Schaudt reflected on what landscape architecture means to them.

Some other #WLAM2022 highlights: At Ball State University, landscape architecture students explored the topic through a classroom assignment. Kansas State University highlighted how attending LABash 2022 at Louisiana State University allowed their team to connect with landscape architecture professionals and students from across the country.

Like Jennifer Nitzky, ASLA, some practitioners advocated for landscape architecture with presentations and hands-on demonstrations at local schools.

Several ASLA Chapters hosted Instagram takeovers. Posts featuring awards and achievements showcased diverse talents and contributions from the profession.

Many celebrated Frederick Law Olmsted’s 200th birthday, like the University of California at Davis Sheepmowers, joined by Olmsted’s great-granddaughter to honor the occasion.

Landscape Architecture in the News Highlights (March 16-31)

Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., designed by Beatrix Farrand / Jane Padelford, ASLA

Meet the Unsung Heroine of the Nation’s Most Celebrated Gardens — 03/29/22, Fast Company Design
“During a five-decade career based in deep horticultural knowledge and a style-agnostic approach guided by detailed interaction with her clients, Beatrix Farrand came to be one of the most famous landscape designers in the world. It’s an unlikely tale told in the biography Beatrix Farrand: Garden Artist, Landscape Architect, by Judith B. Tankard, out today from Monacelli Press. If some consider Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted the father of American landscape architecture, Farrand could easily be called the mother.”

Turning Cities Into Sponges to Save Lives and Property — 03/29/22, The New York Times
“Around the world officials are moving away from the traditional, hard infrastructure of flood barriers, concrete walls, culverts and sewer systems, and toward solutions that mimic nature. They are building green roofs and parks; restoring wetlands, swales and rivers; digging storage ponds; and more. Such projects — called by various names, including sponge cities, porous cities or blue-green infrastructure — also improve city dwellers’ quality of life.”

A Rogue Leader’s Plan for the Heart of Budapest — 03/26/22, Bloomberg CityLab
“The project is a way for Orban to put his mark on Hungary’s imposing capital, a city that since the end of communist rule in 1989 has grown into a confident, more cosmopolitan mix of foreign students, cuisine from around the world and yet with strong Hungarian identity rooted in its 19th century architecture. But, as ever with such urban revamps, there’s controversy, and in Hungary it’s political as well as historical and financial.”

Report: Over Half of U.S. Waters Are Too Polluted to Swim or Fish — 03/24/22, High Country News
“Back in 1972, U.S. legislators passed the Clean Water Act with a 10-year goal: Make it safe for people to fish and swim in the nation’s waters. Fifty years later, around half of all lakes and rivers across the country that have been studied fail to meet that standard, according to a recent report by the Environmental Integrity Project, a D.C. watchdog and advocacy nonprofit.”

Gary Hilderbrand Is the New Chair of Harvard GSD’s Department of Landscape Architecture — 03/23/22, The Architect’s Newspaper
“‘Gary’s sensibilities as a teacher and as a practitioner are one and the same—his unyielding efforts to reconcile imminent, often intractable forces of urbanization with ecological sustainability, cultural history, vegetative regimes, and thoughtful kindness are central to his pedagogy and practice both,’ said Sarah M. Whiting, dean of the Harvard GSD.”

Father Figure: Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted Celebrated as Originator of U.S. Public Parks System — 03/19/22, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
“April 26 marks the 200th anniversary of his birth, and Olmsted 200 is a movement celebrating his vision — a vision that included public parks for all people. He believed that parks are an important part of any community. Not only do they provide a gathering place for family and friends, but they improve air and water quality, protect the groundwater and provide a home for birds and animals.”

New Book on Megaregions Provides a Framework for Large-Scale Public Investment — 03/17/22, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
“Written by planning scholars Robert D. Yaro, Ming Zhang, and Frederick R. Steiner, Megaregions and America’s Future explains the concept of megaregions, provides updated economic, demographic, and environmental data, draws lessons from Europe and Asia, and shows how megaregions are an essential framework for governing the world’s largest economy.”

The Green New Deal Superstudio: Designing the Impossible

Protesters march in Parliament Square, London / Photo by Thomas Krych, SOPA Images/Sipa USA. Sipa via AP Images.

By Richard Weller, ASLA

There are two reasons why Superstudio was a good name for an event that would build on the momentum already established by Billy Fleming, ASLA, at the University of Pennsylvania, Kate Orff, FASLA, founder of SCAPE, and Thaddeus Pawlowski at Columbia University to align landscape architecture with the Green New Deal (GND). The first is that with the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), back in 2020, we had all agreed to launch what was literally a supersized international design studio on the hot topic of the GND. The second reason was that Superstudio also recalls the eponymous Italian architecture group of the late 1960’s that specialized in bombastic imagery and anti-capitalist, anti-design rhetoric. This connection was, for me at least, most important because it signaled that the event we were planning was about design culture, not just political culture. The Superstudio is in this way situated as part of a certain modern tradition of speculation, which in turn provides context for the critical evaluation of its meaning. But before we get to that, let me set the scene a bit for you.

Superstudio (1966–1978), Supersurface: Happy Island, 1972. Collage. Cristiano Toraldo di Francia. / Drawingmatter.org

For the purposes of staging a conversation about the GND and landscape architecture, a jury of LAF board members along with Fleming, Orff, and myself distilled from the 669 submissions the Superstudio received what we thought to be a representative, manageable sample.

The overarching question in the back of the jury’s mind as they foraged through all the work was this: “Are the projects appropriate manifestations of the GND’s ethos and intent, and if so, how?” To evaluate this, the work was superimposed onto the tenets of HR 109, the non-binding congressional resolution introduced on February 7, 2019, by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) and Senator Ed Markey (MA). HR 109 calls on Congress to pass legislation that would achieve the following within ten years:

Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers; 2) create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States; 3) invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century; 4) secure for all people of the United States for generations to come, clean air and water; climate and community resiliency; healthy food; access to nature; and a sustainable environment; and finally, 5) promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth.

The improbability of this notwithstanding, HR 109—delivered with AOC’s steely certainty—cut through all the bullshit of contemporary politics with a sense of urgency, authenticity, and above all, the possibility that history really is up to us. By triangulating environmentalism, decarbonization, and jobs around the fulcrum of social justice, HR 109 distinguishes itself from the last half a century or so of environmentalism which, arguably, suffered from too singular a preoccupation with “nature.” For a generation born into a climate changed world and now looking for answers, HR 109 is both prophetic and, at least insofar as it recalls the New Deal, useful.

Of course, as is the nature of political rhetoric, it is also just a bunch of platitudes. Apart from asking us to put all our faith in the heavy hand of government, HR 109 tells us nothing about how we actually get from the world we currently live in to the one in which it says we should. In broad terms, the responses to this are still split along old lines: good old socialism on the one hand, and wicked capitalism on the other. Further to that, there is division within the left itself along a sliding scale that has eco-socialism at one end and eco-modernism at the other. As you would expect, eco-socialists blame capitalism and its shameful colonial history for today’s global inequity and the climate crisis, whereas eco-modernists maintain the faith that free markets and technological innovation can yet solve the world’s socio-economic and environmental problems.

Both have their demons. For example, the eco-socialists are unable to explain—or have conveniently forgotten— socialism’s appalling social and environmental record. Nor can they really explain where all the energy will come from if fossil fuels are suddenly “abolished,” as they like to say. For their part, the eco-modernists downplay technology’s shocking history of unintended consequences and can’t explain how innovation alone can avoid anything but the perpetuation of neoliberal inequality as we know it. With the deployment of more solar, wind, and geothermal energy, the eco-modernists also perform the cardinal sin of touting nuclear energy as a clean alternative to fossil fuels, at least to tide us over until the holy grail of fusion is discovered.

In terms of their landscape visions, the eco-modernists see hi-tech cities “decoupled” from vast wilderness areas. What eco-socialists see instead is less clear, but if I had to guess, it would be a working landscape — the Jeffersonian grid rescaled for permaculture and renewable energy production with a Conservation Corps fanning out in all directions.

Civilian Conservation Corps in the Pacific Northwest, 1930s / National Park Service, Public Domain

For the Green New Dealers, the only way to expiate their demons is massive government programs and investment based on the precedent of the original New Deal, only this time without the racism and quite so much concrete. In today’s political climate, however, both in America and the rest of the world, to expect this form of bold governance any time soon, seems at best, wishful thinking. Making matters worse, because it is a manifesto, not a policy, HR 109 has lent itself to the messianic and the Manichean on both the left and the right. Instead of adding to this, or recoiling into apocalyptic resignation, it is precisely in times like these that landscape architects have a role to play in giving vision and dimension to alternative futures, which is where the thought experiment of the Superstudio comes in.

The last time anything even remotely like the Superstudio happened was the so-called Landscape Exchange, an annual design competition for landscape architecture students in the U.S. that started in 1924 and ended in 1970. Reflecting the profession’s modesty, the projects in the Exchange were generally constrained to the design of gardens and parks on real sites, with real contours. It is interesting that just as the Exchange held its final competition in 1970, Ian McHarg, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote Design with Nature. And here we are, some 50 or so years later, asking students not to design a park or a garden, but to take a shot at nothing less than an entirely new economy and a new society to go with it.

For some, this is landscape architecture reaching its world-changing potential; for others it’s just more overreach that can only lead to the craft’s undoing. Either way, the LAF has to be congratulated for being the first design-related organization in the world to take HR 109 at its word and rally its troops for a creative response. And so too, we must congratulate the teachers, students, and a handful of professionals who stepped up. Kudos to them for facing up to the almost impossible challenge of, per the brief, translating HR 109 “… into actual projects and [showing] where, as a matter of priority these projects should take place, what will they look like, who will they serve, and how will they roll out.”

So, good event, but what about the work?

The jury organized the work into 6 categories based on 6 verbs: Adapt, Cultivate, Empower, Energize, Remediate, and Retrofit. These already tell you a lot about the ethos and focus of work produced under the banner of the Green New Deal. In this sense the perfect GND project would be about adapting to climate change, cultivating the land, empowering marginalized people, (re)energizing with renewables, remediating brownfields, and retrofitting existing buildings and existing infrastructure. This is very a big ask of any landscape project, but, with remarkable consistency, all the submissions stuck to the script and got busy putting these verbs into action. By prioritizing relationships between jobs, justice, and environmentalism and then inscribing them in real space, even if only as a gesture, the Superstudio marks a significant change in sensibility. Participants also made very deliberate choices about where to focus their work and the sorts of programs it should involve. Contrary to where the neo-liberal design dollar has tended to go, almost all Superstudio submissions make a point of allocating resources and design services to neglected communities. And even though, as an academic exercise, participants obviously had the luxury of choice in this regard, taken as a whole, the Superstudio work emphasizes a long overdue reorientation that developers, city authorities, and the profession need to reckon with.

Montage of Green New Deal Superstudio submissions / Landscape Architecture Foundation

Having pegged out the relevant territory, the question then of course is what, especially, makes a GND project that landscape architects wouldn’t just do anyways? And this is where things become a little predictable.

To summarize, the majority of projects submitted to the Superstudio are things like:

• Streetscape retrofits
• Community gardens and parks
• Wetlands
• Small-scale flood mitigation
• Lots of tree planting
• Soil remediation
• Urban farming and food co-ops
• Community centers
• Research centers
• Clean brownfields
• Small solar arrays
• Green school yards
• Recycling centers
• Stream daylighting
• And very occasionally some buildings labeled as “affordable housing” or “green jobs districts.”

As well as their predictability, the submissions also share similar graphic qualities. Crammed with statistics, diagrams, flow charts and slogans, the boards often look like DIY manuals, bureaucratic brochures, school posters, and the sort of stuff left lying around after a community workshop. The actual designs can be hard to find, and when they do appear, the hand of the designer tends only to offer outlines along with some optimistic Photoshop showing “the community” enthusiastically filling in the blanks. Whereas on the other side of town, the mainstream profession makes everything look like a stylish walk in the park, GND landscapes tend to have the feel of a union picnic. And maybe, at the neighborhood scale this kind of communitarian, restorative, eco-agrarian, anti-aesthetic is what a GND ecotopia would really be like. And maybe that’s a good “bottom-up” thing, but the question that has to be asked, as with any landscape representation, is what are these happy, folksy images not showing us? What’s outside the frame? What’s over the horizon?

“Renew Calumet” by Maddie Clark, Adam Deheer, Adriana Hernández, Olivia Pinner, Adam Scott, Nick Zurlini
“Empowered Adaptions” by WRT: Garlen Capita; Zoe Cennami; Keiko Cramer; Zuzanna Drozdz; Charles Neer; Amie Patel; William Wellington; Shuning Zhao

The answers relate to the bigger questions implicated in, but not addressed by HR 109. For example, if fossil fuels are abolished, or quickly phased out, how is the new world phased in? Where does all the new energy come from, exactly? How do we make everything we are accustomed to, without fossil fuels? Or if lifestyles must change, how and in what way? What might be the daily and collective rituals of a post-fossil fueled world and the spaces these play out in? How would lifestyle changes apply to people who don’t have the luxury of making environmentally benevolent choices? How will we sequester the carbon from the skies and filter the nitrogen from the ground at a scale commensurate with the issues? How will America, let alone the world, feed itself without industrial fertilizer and do so without more deforestation? How do we secure the water supply? What, in addition to the hard labor of landscape restoration, are the new “green jobs?” Where are they and how do I get to them? And if there is to be a new Conservation Corps, what is its plan of action? How do we accommodate the human and non-human migrations that climate change will force? Where will at least another 100 million Americans this century live? How will the coast be reorganized to absorb rising seas? How will the suburbs, where most people currently live, be retrofitted? The list goes on.

America’s current energy sources. Atlas for a Green New Deal. Fleming and Weller et al. McHarg Center.

To be fair, only a fool would pretend to have the answers to these questions. But instead of just fast-forwarding to a world without fossil fuels and relabeling it with lots of GND goodies, we have to sit longer with the wicked and often times contradictory nature of the issues. We have to scope them across the full range of scales they entail. We have to understand them before we pretend to change them, and when we do, we have to get inside their systemic natures and be forensic about where they could be inflected, disrupted, rerouted, reimagined and reinvented. And obviously this can’t be done by landscape architects or through the medium of landscape alone. Weaning civilization off fossil fuels in the context of a rapidly changing planetary climate is the greatest challenge civilization has ever faced, so let’s not make it look simple.To do so is not design, it’s just illustration, or worse, propaganda.

A few submissions that went somewhat further afield in their inquiries and propositions concerned topics such as:

• Fire management and forestry practices
• Big riparian corridors
• Reimagining regions through BIPOC lenses
• Prison reuse
• Tools for community scenario planning
• Assertions of indigenous land rights
• Non-romantic takes on offshore wind farms
• Eco-aquaculture
• Light rail corridors
• New trails
• Freeway removal

And one stand-out submission declared “the GND will be won or lost at scale”, and called for land-use planning on a national scale. Again, there is nothing really new in any of this, but the scale and emphasis of this second tranche of work seems more apropos.

“Land Management @ Scale.” OLIN: Jessica M. Henson, Trevor Lee, Andrew Dobshinsky, Joanna Karaman, Claire Casstevens, Sarah Swanseen, Abbey Catig

So where does this leave us? Well, I guess the politicians who support the GND will see it as an endorsement. They might also breathe a sigh of relief that, at least according to landscape architects, their world-changing policies seem to be relatively innocuous. On the other hand, if they are looking for images to “stir men’s blood,” or even just something an advertising agency could use to help persuade Americans to relinquish their fossil-fueled superpowers, they will be disappointed.

Compared to how designers have previously responded to historical moments of heady socialist speculation —for example, the Russian constructivists, the modernists and the megastructuralists—it is remarkable how little speculation there is in the Superstudio results. And I don’t mean this pejoratively. Since its more about the undoing of a world than the building of a new one per se, the GND doesn’t lend itself to a spectacular architectural imagination. It does however lend itself to the more subtle threads of the landscape imagination. But while the Superstudio work has shown how that landscape might take shape at a local level, it has not shown how the sprawling landscape of modernity will be retrofitted and restructured. Along the eco-socialism—eco-modernism scale, studios across the nation have clearly tended more toward to the former, and as such, the work is more an illustration of local socio-political aspirations and allegiances, than it is about technical invention and aesthetic exploration.

Like Ebenezer Howard, Le Corbusier, and Frank Lloyd Wright, Karl Marx called for a blurring of city and country. But he also ridiculed literary and architectural utopias. Going by the Superstudio work one could be excused for thinking that, following in his footsteps, landscape architects working in the spirit of the GND also have very little interest in, if not an actual disdain for aesthetics. This is a mistake. In some GND-related polemic, it is argued that since design is a mechanism through which capitalism and the climate crisis is reproduced, design as we know it is fundamentally incapable of broaching the interrelated social, environmental, and economic issues HR 109 sets out. Adolpho Natalini, the nominal head of the original Superstudio, made more or less the same point back in 1971, writing that “if design is merely an inducement to consume…and if it merely formalizes unjust social divisions…then we must reject design.” But he didn’t mean we abandon aesthetics. On the contrary, for years, in the spirit of rejecting a certain kind of design, Superstudio continued to produce powerfully utopian and dystopian imagery that captured and influenced its zeitgeist. Make of this what you will, but not one submission to the LAF Superstudio dared present a really utopian or dystopian version of the GND.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should now just make trippy images of alternate realities. But I am asking whether by ignoring the way in which the evolution of modernity into a post-fossil fuel phase is an aesthetic project, we’ve not only left the GND with an image problem, but also left ourselves with no alternatives except deference to “the community” on the one hand and rolling out government-issue green infrastructure on the other. Of course, this is good work and lots of it must be done, and landscape architects are the right people to do it. But I have this terrible feeling that beyond the frame, over the horizon, history is being determined by people looking at a very different set of drawings.

Grounding the Green New Deal: A Summit on Policy, Design, and Advocacy will be held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. on April 9. Learn more and purchase tickets.

Richard Weller, ASLA, is the Martin and Margy Meyerson chair of urbanism, professor and chair of landscape architecture, and co-director of the McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Grounding the Green New Deal: A Summit on Design, Policy, and Advocacy

Grounding the Green New Deal Summit: Design, Policy + Advocacy. April 9, 12-5pm. National Building Museum, Washington, DC. / Landscape Architecture Foundation

By Heather Whitlow

Addressing the climate crisis will require an unprecedented scale, scope, and pace of landscape transformation. There is an essential role for the built environment disciplines in re-imagining this future and translating the goals of decarbonization, jobs, and justice into on-the-ground practices and built works.

Through panel discussions, Grounding the Green New Deal: A Summit on Design, Policy, and Advocacy on April 9 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. will identify ways to accelerate individual and collective actions to effect change.

Speakers and panelists include:

  • Roxanne Blackwell, Hon. ASLA, Director, Federal Government Affairs at ASLA
  • Dana Bourland, The JPB Foundation
  • Kevin Bush, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Billy Fleming, ASLA, Weitzman School of Design McHarg Center
  • Bryan Lee Jr., Colloquate
  • Kate Orff, FASLA, Columbia Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes
  • Colette Pichon Battle, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy
  • Nikil Saval, Pennsylvania State Senate
  • Anne Whiston Spirn, FASLA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The summit builds from the Green New Deal Superstudio, a year-long open call that attracted the participation of more than 3,000 students and practitioners in the built environment disciplines. Some 670 design and planning projects were submitted to give form to the goals of the movement-led vision. A select set will be on display during the event.

The summit is being presented in partnership with the NBM as part of its Climate Action Weekend and Climate Action/Building/Community (ABC) program series. The Museum is presenting a family and community event the following day on April 10, Planet Curious – A World of Climate Curiosity, which is open to the public, free of charge.

The Grounding the Green New Deal Summit and Superstudio are an initiative of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) in association with the Weitzman School of Design McHarg Center, the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA).

Learn more and purchase tickets.

Heather Whitlow, Hon. ASLA, is senior director of programs and communications at the Landscape Architecture Foundation.

ASLA and WxLA Partner to Celebrate Women’s History Month

WxLA

WxLA and ASLA are partnering for Women’s History Month with a new series, WxLA Wednesday Walks. At 12pm on Wednesdays, fierce women leaders in landscape architecture across the country will give Instagram Live tours of places they have designed.

Inspired by civic action, equality movements around the world, and the personal experience of its founders, WxLA emerged in 2018 as a vocal advocacy initiative for gender justice in landscape architecture. WxLA raises awareness of the challenges that prevent women from reaching their highest potential, illuminates the barriers to women, provides strategies for change, and celebrate new models of working.

ASLA 2021 Professional Communications Honor Award. WxLA – Champions for Equality in Landscape Architecture / Jeri Hetrick

ASLA President, Eugenia Martin, FASLA, kicked-off the celebrations with a video message.

Throughout the month of March, join us on Instagram for live tours and Q&A’s with the designers. The first tour by Signe Nielsen, FASLA, founding principal at MNLA, on March 2 offered an exclusive look at Little Island in New York City.

Make sure to follow @NationalASLA on Instagram. ASLA and WxLA have many more amazing women and landscapes lined up for the rest of the month, with more being added!

3/2 – 12pm EST
Signe Nielsen, FASLA
MNLA
New York

3/9 – 12pm MST
Allison Colwell, ASLA, and Michelle Shelor, ASLA
Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture
Phoenix

3/16 – 12pm CST
Hana Ishikawa, AIA
Site Design Group
Chicago

3/23 – 12pm CST
Christine Ten Eyck, FASLA
Ten Eyck Landscape Architects
Austin

3/30 – 12pm EST
Christine Hite, FASLA
Dix.Hite + Partners
Orlando

Learn about ASLA’s past Women’s History Month celebrations and other heritage month celebrations.

New Program Designed to Address Systemic Inequities in the Profession of Landscape Architecture

ASLA Diversity Summit / EPNAC

The ASLA Fund has launched the Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program to support women of color in their pursuit of landscape architecture licensure and increase racial and gender diversity within the profession.

In its inaugural year, the program will provide 10 women of color with a two-year, personalized experience that includes approximately $3,500 to cover the cost of the four sections of the Landscape Architectural Registration Exam (LARE), along with exam preparation courses, resources, and mentorship from a licensed landscape architect.

According to U.S. Census and ASLA data, approximately 18.5 percent of the U.S. population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, while only 6 percent of ASLA members do. 13.4 percent of the U.S. population identifies as African American, but only 2.14 percent of ASLA members do. 1.3 percent of the U.S. population identifies as American Indian or Alaska Natives, but only 0.45 percent of ASLA members do. And 6.3 percent of the U.S. population identifies as Asian and Pacific Islander while 13.5 percent of ASLA members do, but ASLA doesn’t separate Asian from Asian American and Pacific Islander members in its data.

A recent report by The Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing found that among highly complex, technical fields, such as landscape architecture, a license narrows the gender-driven wage gap by about a third and the race-driven wage gap by about half.

The Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Board (CLARB)’s Council Record data shows that women and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are highly underrepresented among the profession: Only 7 percent of landscape architects are non-white and only 30 percent of landscape architects are women.

“The statistics are telling, and it is important we make major strides to ensure the makeup of the profession closely mirrors the communities they serve,” said ASLA President Eugenia Martin, FASLA. “We need to address these gaps, and women of color achieving licensure is a part of the solution.”

“As stated in ASLA’s Racial Equity Plan of Action released in 2021, we are committed to fostering equity and inclusion within the profession There is much more work to be done, but we believe this program is an important step towards meeting those goals,” said ASLA CEO Torey Carter-Conneen.

ASLA believes licensure is vital to protecting public health, safety, and welfare. Licensure also signifies a level of professional competency and can lead to greater career and business success. However, there can be significant barriers to licensure. Aside from the cost of a landscape architecture education, candidates must also pass the rigorous, four-part LARE.

The ASLA Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program was initiated with a generous $100,000 donation by former ASLA President Wendy Miller, FASLA, and James Barefoot; Marq Truscott, FASLA; Rachel Ragatz Truscott, ASLA; and CLARB.

Learn more about the program and how to apply. Applications are due April 1.

Call for Entries to ASLA 2022 Professional & Student Awards Now Open

ASLA 2021 Professional General Design Award of Excellence. Natural History Museum of Utah: A Museum Without Walls, Salt Lake City, Utah. Design Workshop / copyright Jeff Golberg/ESTO

ASLA is now accepting submissions for its 2022 Professional and Student Awards Program.

The ASLA Awards Program is the oldest and most prestigious in the landscape architecture profession. They honor the most innovative landscape architecture projects and the brightest ideas from up-and-coming landscape architecture students.

“The ASLA Professional and Student Awards recognize the most impactful work in the profession,” said Eugenia Martin, FASLA, President of ASLA. “Our professional winners advance planning and design at all scales, while our student winners are our future design leaders. Each year, the ASLA Awards increase globally, with submissions from around the world.”

Award recipients receive featured coverage in Landscape Architecture Magazine and are honored at a special Awards Presentation ceremony in the fall.

Submissions for ASLA Professional Awards are due no later than 11:59 PST on Friday, March 18, 2022.

Submissions for ASLA Student Awards are due no later than 11:59 PST on Monday, May 23, 2022.

ASLA bestows Professional Awards in General Design, Residential Design, Urban Design, Analysis & Planning, Communications, Research categories. In each of these categories, juries select a number of Honor Awards and may select one Award of Excellence. One Landmark Award is also presented each year.

The 2022 Professional Awards Jury includes:

  • Chair: Dennis Otsuji, FASLA – Wimmer Yamada and Caughey
  • Juan Antonio Bueno, FASLA – Falcon + Bueno
  • David Garce, (Catawba), ASLA – GSBS Architects (Retired)
  • Kimberly Garza, ASLA – ATLAS Lab
  • Zack Mortice – Design Journalist
  • Taner Ozdil, ASLA – The University of Texas at Arlington (Representing CELA)
  • Lesley Roth, FASLA – Lamar Johnson Collaborative
  • Glenn LaRue Smith, FASLA – PUSH Studio
  • Matty A. Williams – City of Detroit, Planning & Development
  • Gena Wirth, ASLA – SCAPE Landscape Architecture
  • Emily Vogler – Rhode Island School of Design (Representing LAF)
ASLA 2021 Student Communications Award of Excellence. Mud Gallery. Olympia, Washington. Alanna Matteson, Student ASLA; Zoe Kasperzyk; Danielle Dolbow. Faculty Advisors: Ken Yocom, ASLA; Jeff Hou, ASLA. University of Washington

ASLA bestows Student Awards in General Design, Residential Design, Urban Design, Analysis & Planning, Communications, Research, Student Community Service, and Student Collaboration. In each of these categories, juries select a number of Honor Awards and may select one Award of Excellence.

The 2022 Student Awards Jury includes:

  • Chair: Mark Hough, FASLA – Duke University
  • Monique Bassey, ASLA – Lamar Johnson Collaborative
  • Jessica Canfield, ASLA – Kansas State University
  • Aida Curtis, ASLA – Curtis + Rogers Design Studio South
  • Latoya Kamdang, AIA – Moody Nolan
  • SuLin Kotowicz, FASLA – VIRIDIS Design Group
  • Christopher Nolan, FASLA – Central Park Conservancy
  • Kongjian Yu, FASLA – Turenscape

Call for Presentations: ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture

ASLA

By Katie Riddle

ASLA is currently accepting proposals for the 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Francisco, November 11-14, 2022. Help us shape the 2022 education program by submitting a proposal through our online system by Tuesday, February 22, 2022, at 12:00 NOON PT.

The ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture is the largest gathering of landscape architects and allied professionals in the world.

ASLA seeks education proposals that will help to drive change in the field of landscape architecture and provide solutions to everyday challenges informed by research and practice. Educational tracks include:

  • Changing the Culture in Practice
  • Design and the Creative Process
  • Design Implementation
  • Leadership, Career Development, and Business
  • Olmsted & Beyond: Practice in Progress
  • Planning, Urban Design, and Infrastructure
  • Resilience and Stewardship
  • Technology: Trends and Workflow

“At the upcoming 2022 conference, we will explore planning and design solutions to some of the world’s most challenging issues: how to increase resilience to climate change, how to rebuild our infrastructure, and how to ensure greater racial and social equity in all communities. Landscape architects are ready to come together to share knowledge and advance best practices,“ said ASLA President Eugenia Martin, FASLA.

“We look forward to building on the success of last year’s conference in Nashville, where we created a safe, inclusive in-person educational experience for the landscape architecture community. We hope to see more of our global friends in San Francisco as well. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, we will be watching closely to ensure we can again create a safe space for everyone,” said Torey Carter-Conneen, ASLA CEO.

Please visit the submission site to learn more about the 2022 education tracks, submission criteria, review process, and key dates.

Submission Resources

Education Session Submission Guides

Our session submission guides provide detailed information on what you need to include with expert tips on putting together a winning and help determine which session type best fits your proposal.

Education Session Guide: Education sessions are 60-, 75-, and 90-minute sessions that deliver a selection of relevant and timely topics. Session includes a minimum of 50 minutes of instruction followed by 10/15 minutes of Q&A, maximum three speakers.

Deep Dive Session Guide: Deep dive sessions are interactive, in-depth, 2.5-hour programs that explore specific landscape architecture topics, maximum five speakers.

Field Session Guide: Multiple speakers offer education combined with a field experience, highlighting local projects. Field sessions are organized through the local chapter.

Submission Templates

Speakers are welcome to use the submission Word templates for 60-,75-, or 90-minute sessions, deep dives, and field sessions to collaborate on proposals before completing the online submission. The templates provide descriptions of the required submission information and can be edited and shared.

Conference Session Guide Examples

Review the session descriptions, learning outcomes, and session guides from past conferences.

If you’re an ASLA member, make sure you have your unique ASLA Member ID or username handy – you should use it to log into the submission system.

Please visit the submission site to learn more about criteria, the review process, and key dates.

Submit your session proposal today.

Katie Riddle, ASLA, is director of professional practice at ASLA.

Landscape Architecture in the News Highlights (October 16-31)

COP26 / UK Government

COP26: ‘Moment of Truth’ as World Meets for Climate Summit – 10/31/21, BBC News
“Delegates from around 200 countries are there to announce how they will cut emissions by 2030 and help the planet. With the world warming because of fossil fuel emissions caused by humans, scientists warn that urgent action is needed to avoid a climate catastrophe.”

Black Landscapes Matter Asks Why Black Landscapes Are Separate from Landscape Design — 10/29/21, The Architect’s Newspaper
“If Black lives do matter, then where we live, and how we live there, must matter as well. This deceptively simple suggestion is the provocation that Black Landscapes Matter poses to the fields of landscape architecture and design.”

U.S. Traffic Deaths Continued to Spike in 2021 — 10/29/21, Bloomberg CityLab
“The number of people killed on U.S. roads jumped 18.4% — the largest six-month increase in traffic fatalities on record — as car travel picked up.”

‘Making Meaningful Places’: Claude Cormier Landscape Architecture Award Launched at University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty — 10/29/21, University of Toronto News
“The Claude Cormier Award in Landscape Architecture will annually cover the domestic tuition fees of an MLA student, in their third and final year, who shows promise to pursue creative and pioneering forms or approaches to practice.”

As E-Bikes Speed Up, a Policy Dilemma Looms — 10/29/21, Bloomberg CityLab
“The newest electric bikes can go much faster than pedal-only riders, which could spur a backlash from pedestrians and a crackdown from regulators.”

The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Leaf Blowers — 10/25/21, The New York Times
“Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry.”

In Ida’s Wake, America’s Rural Communities Need Better Protection—Cities Can’t Hog Climate Adaptation — 10/25/21, The Architect’s Newspaper
“Hurricane Ida served as a harsh reminder that the nation’s rural and smaller coastal communities often bear the brunt of the effects of climate change, suffering extensive flooding and other damage, yet lack the resources to rebuild or to implement measures that could prevent future disasters.”

Hundreds Turn out to Celebrate New Downtown Park in Palm Springs — 10/21/21, Desert Sun
“‘Nellie Coffman’s mantra is she believed in space, stillness, solitude and simplicity and I hope this project really conveys those ideas,’ park designer Mark Rios said. ‘Tonight we are here to celebrate and I think we really want to celebrate that it worked.'”

The Incredible Opportunity of Community Schoolyards

NY Public School 366 (before image) / Trust for Public Land
NY Public School 366 (after image) / Trust for Public Land

A new report from The Trust for Public Land (TPL) makes a compelling case for transforming underperforming, paved public schoolyards into green oases for the entire community. While the benefits for schools and their educational communities are clear, TPL sees an opportunity to open up these facilities to surrounding neighborhoods after school hours, on weekends, and when school is out. If all 90,000 public schools in the country had a “community schoolyard,” more communities could tackle the persistent park equity issue — in which too few communities, particularly undeserved ones, enjoy access to nearby high-quality public green spaces. TPL argues that opening up all schoolyards, essentially turning them into part-time all-access community hubs, would “put a park within a 10-minute walk of nearly 20 million people — solving the problem of outdoor access for one-fifth of the nation’s 100 million people who don’t currently have a park close to home.”

TPL found that “only a tiny fraction” of current public schoolyards met their criteria for a community schoolyard. While some communities have been greening their schoolyards — adding trees, gardens, and stormwater management systems — and others have opened their schoolyards to the public after hours, very few have done both. TPL calls for massively scaling up efforts to revamp schoolyards and make them more accessible through more federal funding and support through their organization and others.

Community schoolyards are the result of planning and design efforts, most often led by landscape architects and designers, to transform “overheated, vacant, and uninspired” places into green healthy ones. These spaces include trees, which provide ample shade and cool the air; gardens that increase biodiversity and provide environmental educational opportunities; stormwater management systems that help reduce flooding; and tracks, fields, and play equipment that offer space for exercise and building social skills and community engagement.

NY public school 152 before image / Trust for Public Land
NY public school 152 before image / Trust for Public Land

These shade-producing spaces, designed to cool and clean the air, offer benefits to any surrounding community, but help some even more. Research from TPL found that nationwide, “36 percent of the nation’s 50.8 million public school students attended school in a heat island, which is defined as 1.25 degrees warmer or more, on average, than the surrounding town or city. Among that group, 4.1 million students to a school in a severe heat island of 7 degrees ore more, while 1.1 million attend school in an extreme heat island of 10 degrees or more. In some communities, the heat anomaly exceeded 20 degrees.”

Income is correlated with exposure to heat risks. Average household incomes in the communities with more dangerous heat islands were estimated to be $31,000 less than the income in the coolest parts of communities. Some of the discrepancies can be explained by the enduring and dangerous legacy of racist urban planning. A study published in 2020 in the journal Climate found that communities that experienced redlining and disinvestment are 2.6°C (4.6°F) hotter than neighboring communities that didn’t. This is because that legacy resulted in a lack of street trees and public green spaces. Indeed, in the 100 largest cities, neighborhoods where people predominantly identify as people of color have access to an average of 44 percent less park acreage that predominately white areas.

One case study demonstrates the great gains that can be made by investing in public schools in historically marginalized and underserved communities. In Newark, New Jersey, a new half-acre green schoolyard at the K-8 Sussex Avenue School, co-designed by third and fourth graders and Heidi Cohen, ASLA, a landscape architect with TPL, resulted in a new turf field and running track, trees and flowering shrubs, a drinking fountain (for the first time), and an outdoor classroom space.

K-8 Sussex Avenue School / Trust for Public Land
K-8 Sussex Avenue School / Trust for Public Land
K-8 Sussex Avenue School / Trust for Public Land

The investment in students’ health and well-being resulted in noteworthy benefits: “Average daily attendance climate from 90 percent to 96 percent almost immediately after the renovation. Disciplinary actions declined, while test scores went up among the school’s 500 students, 95 percent of whom qualify for a free or reduced lunch.”

Given climate change is increasing the dangers of already hot, and unfairly hot, urban heat islands, future investment in high-quality public schoolyards is now a climate justice issue. TPL cites a study in NYC that found a correlation between rising temperatures and test scores. Another study by the Harvard Kennedy School, the College Board, and others offered “evidence that cumulative heat hurts cognitive development.” While a community schoolyard can’t solve all problems, they can improve health and educational outcomes for students. The health benefits of access of green space are increasingly well-understood, and a growing body of research shows that views of green spaces can improve cognition, mood, and learning. “By virtue of their shade, Community Schoolyard projects could help students improve their test scores,” TPL argues. Shaded areas can be up to 50 degrees cooler than a similar area in full sun.

The report also covers the many climate resilience benefits of community schoolyards. Like other sustainable landscapes, they can effectively manage stormwater using green infrastructure. TPL’s community schoolyards in NYC are estimated to capture 19 million gallons of stormwater a year; and in Philadelphia, these schoolyards capture 17 million gallons annually. “Installing green infrastructure at public schools reduces flood risk throughout the neighborhood.” Planting and maintaining school rain gardens also provides environmental education opportunities for students of all ages.

LaCima charter school, Brooklyn, NYC before photo / Trust for Public Land
LaCima charter school, Brooklyn, NYC after photo / Trust for Public Land