Call for Entries for 2023 Professional and Student Awards Now Open

ASLA 2022 Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award. Preparing the Ground: Restorative Justice on Portland’s Interstate 5, Portland, Oregon. ZGF Architects

By Lisa Hardaway

New awards category focused on transformative solutions to the climate crisis

ASLA is now accepting submissions for its 2023 Professional and Student Awards Program including a new category– the ASLA / International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) Global Impact Award, which is focused on projects that address the climate crisis.

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.

“Awards entries are highly competitive and showcase the projects that illustrate the highest achievement and creative solutions in the industry,” said Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA, PLA, President of ASLA. “I can’t wait to see what outstanding entries we will get for our new Award that honors the best climate action models!”

New this year, the ASLA / IFLA Global Impact Award is presented to a project in the Analysis and Planning category that demonstrates excellence in landscape architecture by addressing climate impacts through transformative action, scalable solutions, and adherence to ASLA’s and IFLA’s climate action commitments.

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 2023 Professional Awards Jury includes:

Jury 1: General Design, Residential Design, & Urban Design

Chair: Kimberly Garza, ASLA, ATLAS Lab Inc.
Michel Borg, AIA, Page
Shuyi Chang, ASLA, SWA
Chingwen Cheng, PhD, ASLA, Arizona State University
Claude Cormier, FASLA, Claude Cormier & Associates
Jamie Maslyn Larson, FASLA, Tohono Chul
Garry Meus, National Capital Commission
Jennifer Nitzky, FASLA, Studio HIP

Jury 2 – Analysis & Planning ASLA / IFLA Global Impact Award, Research & Communications

Chair: Maura Rockcastle, ASLA, Ten x Ten
Camille Applewhite, ASLA, Site Design Group
Stephanie Grigsby, ASLA, Design Workshop, Inc
Mitchell Silver, Hon. ASLA, McAdams
Michael Stanley, FASLA, Dream Design International, Inc.
Michael Todoran, The Landscape Architecture Podcast
Yujia Wang, ASLA, University of Nebraska

Joining the professional awards jury for the selection of the Analysis & Planning – ASLA / IFLA Global Impact Award category will be a representative on behalf of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA).

Monica Pallares, IFLA Americas

Also, joining the professional jury for the selection of the Research Category will be representatives on behalf of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA).

Dongying LI, Texas A&M, CELA Representative
Jenn Engelke, ASLA, University of Washington, LAF Representative

ASLA 2022 Student Community Service Award Honor Award. 15 Weeks to Transform Colorado’s Unique Ecosystem into a Learning Landscape. Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Finley Sutton, Student ASLA; Charlotte Francisco, Student ASLA; Claire Bulik, Student ASLA; Anna Varella; Sylvia Pasquariello; Ari Solomon, Student ASLA; Alex Bullock, Associate ASLA; Eion Donelan, Associate ASLA; Miriam Hernandez Arroyo; Victoria Hancock, University of Colorado Denver

ASLA bestows Student Awards in General Design, Residential Design, Urban Design, Analysis and Planning, Communications, Research, Student Community Service, and Student Collaboration.

The 2023 Student Awards Jury includes:

Jury 1 – General Design, Residential Design, Urban Design & Student Collaboration

Chair: Michael Grove, FASLA, Sasaki
Haley Blakeman, FASLA, Louisiana State University
Adriana Hernández Aguirre, ASLA, Coleman & Associates
David Jung, FASLA, AECOM
Christina Hite, ASLA, Dix-Hite
Ellen Stewart, ASLA, City of St Paul
Mark Yoes, FAIA, W X Y architecture + urban design

Jury 2 – Analysis & Planning, Research, Communications, & Student Community Service

Chair: Kofi Boone, FASLA, NC State University
Keven Graham, FASLA, Terra Engineering
Dalton LaVoie, ASLA, Stantec
Stephanie Onwenu, ASLA, Detroit Collaborative Design Center
Naomi Sachs, ASLA, University Maryland
Andrew Sargeant, ASLA, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

Professional Awards: Registration must be received no later than 11:59 pm PST on Friday, February 24, 2023. Submissions are due no later than 11:59 PST on Friday, March 17, 2023.

Student Awards: Registration must be received no later than 11:59 pm PST on Friday, May 5, 2023. Submissions are due no later than 11:59 PST on Friday, May 26, 2023.

Award recipients receive featured coverage in Landscape Architecture Magazine and are honored at a special Awards Presentation ceremony at the ASLA 2023 Conference on Landscape Architecture held October 27-30 in Minneapolis, MN.

Call for Presentations: ASLA 2023 Conference on Landscape Architecture

Minneapolis, Minnesota / istockphoto.com, Gian Lorenzo Ferretti Photography

By Katie Riddle

ASLA is currently accepting proposals for the 2023 Conference on Landscape Architecture in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 27-30, 2023. Help us shape the education program by submitting a proposal through our online system by Wednesday, 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—all coming together to learn, celebrate, build relationships, and strengthen the bonds of our incredibly varied professional community.

We are looking for education proposals that will help to drive change in the field of landscape architecture and provide solutions to everyday challenges that are informed by research and practice.

Educational Tracks

  • Biodiversity
  • Changing the Culture in Practice
  • Climate Action
  • Design and the Creative Process
  • Design Implementation
  • Leadership, Career Development, and Business
  • Planning, Urban Design, and Infrastructure

Session Formats

  • 60-, 75-, or 90-Minute Education Sessions: The standard education session with 50-75 minutes of presentation followed by 10-15 minutes of Q&A, maximum three speakers.
  • Deep Dive Sessions: Engaging, in-depth programs that explore specific landscape architecture topics, maximum five speakers. Deep dives are 2.5 hour interactive sessions that can include lectures, hands-on learning, facilitated discussions, and other creative audience engagement tools.
  • Field Sessions: Multiple speakers offer education combined with a field experience. Field sessions are organized through the host chapter. Please contact the host chapter committee leaders at aslamnfieldsessions@gmail.com before submitting.

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. Non-members, including allies from the fields of urban planning and design, architecture, natural and social sciences, and public art, are also most welcome to submit proposals.

Please visit the submission site to learn more about the 2023 education tracks, submission criteria, review process, and key dates.

Submit your session proposal today.

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

ASLA Announces 2022 Student Awards

ASLA 2022 Student General Design Award of Excellence. Nature’s Song – An Interactive Outdoor Music and Sound Museum. Chicago, Illinois. Travis Johnson; Faculty Advisors: Christopher Marlow, ASLA; Craig Farnsworth, ASLA. Ball State University

Nineteen Student Award winners represent the highest level of achievement in landscape architecture education

By Lisa Hardaway

ASLA has announced its 2022 Student Award winners. Nineteen student Award winners represent the highest level of achievement in landscape architecture education. All winning projects and the schools they represent are listed below.

Jury panels representing a broad cross-section of the profession, from the public and private sectors, and academia, select winners each year. The 19 winners were chosen from 459 entries.

“In my conversations with students I encourage them to always draw, always dream, and to embrace the quote by Horace ‘begin, be bold, and venture to be wise,” said ASLA President Eugenia Martin, FASLA. “The vision and creativity in this year’s entries gives me great optimism and excitement for the role landscape architecture students will play in the future of our planet.”

ASLA 2022 Student Analysis & Planning Award of Excellence. Street Trees of New Orleans – Rethinking Tree Practices for a Fluctuating City. New Orleans, Louisiana. Kerry Shui-kay Leung; Faculty Advisors: Kristi Cheramie, ASLA; Paula Meijerink, ASLA; Forbes Lipschitz, ASLA. Ohio State University

“Students are the future of this profession, so it’s encouraging and inspiring to see the full range of creativity, passion and talent that is evident among this year’s cohort of Student Award winners,” said ASLA CEO Torey Carter-Conneen. “Many of this year’s Student Award winners are focused on helping communities adapt to climate change, from addressing drought and extreme heat to mitigating wildfire risk and rising sea levels—clearly, landscape architects are a key part of the climate change solution.”

ASLA 2022 Student Community Service Award of Excellence. Seeding Resilience: Celebrating Community, Education, and the Environment at Princeville Elementary School. Princeville, North Carolina. Spencer Stone, Associate ASLA; Madison Sweitzer; William Stanton; Rebecca Asser, Associate ASLA; Sarah Hassan; Martha Tack, Student ASLA; Anna Edwards; Tianyu Shen; Ruixin Mao; Sara Fetty; Faculty Advisors: Andy Fox, FASLA; Carla Delcambre, ASLA. NC State University Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning / North Carolina PBS

Award recipients and advisers will be honored in person at the awards presentation ceremony during the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Francisco, California, November 11-14.

AWARDS CATEGORIES

General Design

Award of Excellence
Nature’s Song – An Interactive Outdoor Music and Sound Museum
Ball State University

Honor Award
Cell Growth Dish–Brownfield Landscape Ecological Restoration Design
Tianjin University

Honor Award
Arboretum Within Wetland
University of Pennsylvania

Honor Award
Boston Anthro-Zoo Park: Redefining Zoos as Biophilic Public Spaces
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Urban Design

Honor Award
A Vision for Reparations: Reimagining the Eco Industrial Park for South LA
University of California, LA-Extension

Honor Award
The Bottom Rises: Sustainable Infrastructure Anchors a Reviving Neighborhood
University of Texas at Arlington

Residential Design

Honor Award
A New District Centrality and Balanced Community
University of Pennsylvania

Analysis & Planning

Award of Excellence
Streets of New Orleans – Rethinking Tree Practices for a Fluctuating City
The Ohio State University

Honor Award
Dredge Ecologies: Climate-Adaptive Strategies for a Changing Island in a Changing Climate
NC State University Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Honor Award
Living with Water: Landscape as the Potential to Envision an Anti-Fragile System for Yuba River Watershed
Southeast University / Delft University of Technology

Honor Award
Learning from Animal Adaptations to Wildfire
University of Southern California

Communications

Award of Excellence
Landscape Travels
Kansas State University

Honor Award
Overlook Field School: Wildfire Recovery
University of Oregon

Research

Honor Award
Thermalscape Tactics – Solutions in Response to Ubiquitous Heat Threat in El Paso
Texas A&M University

Honor Award
TOXIC/Tonic: Mapping Point Source Dementogens and Testing the Ability of Environmental Tonics to Mitigate Public Health Concerns
NC State University Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Student Collaboration: General Design

Award of Excellence
Carbon in the Tidewater
University of Delaware

Student Collaboration: Analysis & Planning

Honor Award
Fixed in Flux: A World Class Park Embracing Rising Waters
NC State University Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Student Community Service

Award of Excellence
Seeding Resilience: Celebrating Community, Education, and the Environment at Princeville Elementary School
NC State University Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Honor Award
15 Weeks to Transform Colorado’s Unique Ecosystem into a Learning Landscape
University of Colorado Denver

Park(ing) Day 2022 Empowered Kids to Re-Imagine Streets

Earlier this month, the 16th annual Park(ing) Day took place across the country, transforming parking spots into public spaces. Landscape architects were encouraged to empower PreK-12 students to Dream Big and re-imagine streetscapes in front of schools, libraries, and community centers. The idea was to help students discover how to improve public spaces, strengthen social connections, and boost health and well-being.

Highlights from Park(ing) Day 2022 feature creative transformations and inventive alternatives to an automobile-dominated environment:

The ASLA Utah Chapter challenged third graders at Calvin S. Smith Elementary School to design a mini-park in place of two parking lots in front of their school (scroll through images at top). The chapter then incorporated the sketches into their parklet.

“It was an amazing experience to involve the kids. They are so talented and loved learning about landscape architecture and getting involved in the community,” said Aaron Johnson, ASLA, vice president of visibility and public affairs with the ASLA Utah Chapter. “A few of them came to see their work displayed at Park(ing) Day. They were very excited to show their designs to their parents.”

In Manhattan, Kansas, ASLA student members from Kansas State University partnered with a local public library to help kids learn about parks and landscape architecture.

ASLA student members from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Nevada collaborated with Gene Ward Elementary School to introduce third grade students to landscape architecture.

In Brighton, Massachusetts, PreK-12 students from Boston Green Academy got to plant seeds, experiment with soils, and talk with landscape architects about urban heat, environmental justice, and the role of nature in cities thanks to the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.

ASLA New York teamed up with Futures Ignite and students at WHEELS PreK-12 to create a pop-up park as part of a block party in Washington Heights, New York City. Their space offered kids free plants and drawing opportunities. And ahead of Climate Week NYC, landscape architects educated the public on landscape architecture and climate and environmental issues.

“This is what a #schoolstreet should be every day,” wrote ASLA New York Trustee Jennifer Nitzky, ASLA, on Instagram. The kids were able to imagine the many benefits of using their streets for “fun, games, learning, and relaxing in green spaces.”

ASLA student members from Florida International University designed and built an ADA-compliant raised garden bed for their Park(ing) Day installation in Miami, Florida, later donating it to Neva King Cooper Educational Center.

And, lastly, landscape architecture students from the University of Georgia led the transformation of an alleyway in Athens, Georgia into a welcoming space for older students to gather for music and urban sketching.

Celebrate Park(ing) Day 2022

Illinois Chapter of ASLA Park(ing) Day, 2017, Chicago, Illinois / site design group ltd.

By Lisa J. Jennings and Jared Green

This year, ASLA brings Park(ing) Day to PreK-12 schools, libraries, and community centers across the country. And this year Park(ing) Day isn’t just one day, but a full weekend — September 16-18.

Let’s help students re-imagine streets one parking space at a time. Using a parking space in front of a school, library, or community center, landscape architects can partner with PreK-12 students to think outside the classroom. Help students discover how to improve our public spaces, strengthen social connections, and boost health and well-being.

Step 1: Connect with your local school, library, or community center
Seek out art or science teachers, librarians, or after school program leaders.

Step 2: Make your pitch
Explain the purpose of Park(ing) Day and share the positive results of past Park(ing) Day celebrations in your community.

Step 3: Pair up with a group of students
Make yourself and your organization available to lead a group of students in the redesign of a Park(ing) Day space.

Step 4: Provide planning resources
Direct teachers and school leaders to ASLA’s resources — insurance, Park(ing) Day license and manual  — and help with any permits needed.

Step 5: Design and build a Park(ing) Day space with students
Partner with students, teachers, librarians, and community center leaders to DREAM BIG and plan and design a Park(ing) Day space. Source sustainable materials that can be recycled or reused. Reach out to local nurseries or firms for donations of big ticket items like a tree, plants, a bench, or bird bath that the school, library, or community center can keep.

Illinois Chapter of ASLA Park(ing) Day, 2017, Chicago, Illinois / site design group ltd.

Step 6: Post images of your Park(ing) Day installation to your social (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) using the hashtag #ParkingDay and tag us (@nationalasla)
Make sure you have permission or signed release forms from anyone you photograph.

ASLA will highlight the best posts from students, firms, and chapters across our social platforms!

Lastly, be sure to encourage teachers and students to Save the Date for DREAM BIG with Design 2022, September 22-23. A free online event, DREAM BIG will immerse PreK-12 students in design-centered strategies that address some of the most critical issues of our time. Live, interactive sessions will explore the future of landscape architecture and apply design techniques that can be aligned with interdisciplinary curricula.

Park(ing) Day, 2008 / BAR Architects & Interiors

Apply Today: WxLA Scholarships for the ASLA 2022 Conference in San Francisco

WxLA 2021 Scholars at the ASLA 2021 Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville, TN / WxLA

WxLA is an advocacy initiative for gender justice in the field of landscape architecture founded in 2019 by a group of landscape architects and planners — Gina Ford, FASLA; Steven Spears, FASLA; Jamie Maslyn Larson, FASLA; Cinda Gilliland, ASLA; and Rebecca Leonard, FAICP.

Over the past three years, the organization has raised more than $55,000, sending 27 emerging professionals to ASLA Conferences on Landscape Architecture. This year, WxLA is back, offering scholarships to a new group of emerging leaders so they can attend the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Francisco, November 11-14.

WxLA 2021 Scholars with Gina Ford, FASLA, at the ASLA 2021 Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville, TN / WxLA

WxLA states that the purpose of the scholarship is to aid in the “professional development and success of young and emerging leaders” by covering costs associated with in-person conference attendance. Applications are due August 31.

WxLA 2021 Scholars at the ASLA 2021 Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville, TN / WxLA

WxLA is not only an ASLA Award-winning organization, but also officially a 501(c)3, funded by donations, sponsorships, and a t-shirt campaign. Learn more about their other recent initiatives, including the 2022 Women’s History Month campaign, and their partners, including the Wikipedia Project and Vela Project.

Emerging Landscape Architecture Leaders Offer “Next Game-Changing Ideas” (Part II)

Roadside wildflowers in Texas / Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

“Transformational leadership by landscape architects can help heal our post-traumatic world,” said Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, CEO of OLIN, in her introduction of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF)‘s fifth class of Leadership and Innovation Fellows.

She told the in person audience of hundreds in downtown Washington, D.C. that the foundations of the landscape architecture profession feel like they are now “shaking,” but a path to a more diverse, equitable, and sustainable profession is in development. This path will be forged by continuously “cultivating the next game-changing ideas” and “removing obstacles in order to design effectively.” Over the course of a year-long research project, the six fellows, which include both emerging and established professionals, were asked to “transform themselves in order to transform others.”

Landscape architects once led roadway design, argued Ellen Oettinger White, who is a PhD Candidate at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux invented the concept of the parkway in the 1860s, and for decades landscape architects led interdisciplinary teams of engineers to construct roadways that prioritized landscape beauty. But with the rise of the Interstate Highway system in the Eisenhower era, “they lost their power.” Today, hundreds of landscape architects work in state departments of transportation and have “deep expertise” with road design, but they must now work collaboratively in teams led by engineers to exert their influence.

Timeline of landscape architecture and transportation / Ellen Oettinger White, image of Going-to-the-Sun Road, National Park Service

White said the 1930s were the height of landscape-architect led roadway design. In 1932, the Transportation Research Board’s Landscape and Environmental Design Committee was formed. The 1950s saw a loss of “positional power” for landscape architects with the rise of highways and freeways designed for high-speed travel. But with the Highway Beautiful Act of 1965, an effort led by Lady Bird Johnson, there was a greater focus on roadside native plants and wildflowers, increased flexibility in design, and a new, larger role for landscape architects (see image at top).

The more recent clear-cutting of trees along highways in many states provides an opportunity for landscape architecture to reclaim roadway design, White thinks. In Georgia, 13 percent of roadside acreage has been cleared. “Engineers see this as a safe landscape,” because fewer trees means fewer collisions with trees. But there has been a growing backlash in Georgia and other states where landscape beauty has been sacrificed in favor of notions about safety. “There are 5 million acres of public roadsides in the U.S. There are 1.1 billion car trips taken each day. Driving is the only way for millions to interact with the landscape.” White thinks roadsides provide an incredible opportunity to not only offer the benefits of scenic beauty, but also sequester carbon, restore ecosystems, and create safe wildlife corridors.

I-696 Slope Restoration Research Project / Michigan Department of Transportation, Nanette A.

N. Claire Napawan, ASLA, associate professor at University of California Davis, said her landscape architecture students are “so creative, engaged, and diverse, but they are entering a profession that is not diverse.” As part of her fellowship, her goal was to diversify landscape architecture pedagogy, reassess syllabi, and realize diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments in order to better resonate with diverse students. This involved re-evaluating outdated textbooks that fail to put diverse landscapes at the center.

Through her process, Napawan discovered one important truth: “We love stories. We love stories with heroes and villains, origin stories, and stories of transformation.” Stories have a deep impact on how we frame our understanding of the world. But too often our important stories are incomplete or not inclusive. For example, she said she had been teaching about Frederick Law Olmsted and Central Park, and up until recently didn’t know the story of Seneca Village, the freed Black community of landowners that was displaced to make way for the park. This led her on a “search for stories that are missing in formal education.” But a challenge became apparent: “how do you know what is missing, if it was always missing?”

N. Claire Napawan

Looking outside the landscape architecture academic discipline for answers, Napawan explored history, feminism, and critical race theory, academic disciplines “asking different questions.” This led her to her next conclusion: “We live stories. We are the stories we tell ourselves.” That is why it’s so important to encourage personal storytelling among diverse landscape architecture students. She relayed growing up bi-culturally in Bangkok, Thailand, and Scott County, Iowa, with her experiences either centered or marginalized, depending on her context. Students need to be provided with more diverse landscapes as learning tools to find ones that resonate with their own complex histories. “Design is storytelling. Storytelling needs to make room for multiplicities and radically different precedents. We need new stories for diverse design. And we need to leave space for new stories.”

Diverse landscape architecture student stories / N. Clare Napawan

“We need to advance the science of landscape architecture,” said James A. LaGro Jr., a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and editor-in-chief of Landscape Journal, the academic journal of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA). With a masters of landscape architecture and PhD in natural resource policy and planning from Cornell University, LaGro called for improving the scientific evidence of the benefits of landscape architecture. He argued that is key to the growth of the profession and increasing its impact.

With a comprehensive vision for how landscape architecture profession can grow in the future, he issued multiple calls to action to ASLA, LAF, CELA, and Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB). He called for increased pathways to advanced research degrees, including fellowships and scholarships, and multiple career paths outside private practice. To build a greater evidence-based practice, the landscape architecture profession should model itself after medical fields, with a clinician and research-based approach. Key to achieving this will be increased partnerships between university landscape architecture programs, firms, non-profit organizations and foundations, and government agencies. “We must foster partnerships — this is where the real synergies come in. Academics need to learn what research issues are from practitioners.”

More PhDs in the field of landscape architecture can also help improve research methods. “PhDs can ask more sophisticated questions and get more sophisticated answers.” He sees the rise of firm-based research labs as an implicit criticism of academia. Landscape architecture firms want to find solutions to “complex social problems and advance the profession, but they are not getting what they need from academics.” But he also cautioned that the case studies and research often created by firms have limited research value. “We need more systematic reviews, meta-analysis, and randomized control trials to create convincing evidence for policymakers. We need better evidence.”

James LaGro Jr.

Read Part I in this series.

Landscape Architecture in the News Highlights (June 1-15, 2022)

President Jimmy Carter speaking in front of solar panels placed on the West Wing roof of the White House, announcing his solar energy policy / WKL, Library of Congress.

The 1977 White House Climate Memo That Should Have Changed the World – 06/14/2022, The Guardian
“Years before the climate crisis was part of national discourse, this memo to the president predicted catastrophe.”

At 200, Frederick Law Olmsted Continues to Shape Public Space – 06/11/2022, Boston Globe
“It’s impossible to imagine Boston without its Emerald Necklace, designed by the man considered the father of landscape architecture on principles the city struggles to live up to today.”

Nelson Byrd Woltz Tapped to Lead Planning Process for South Carolina’s Angel Oak Preserve – 06/09/2022, The Architect’s Newspaper
“Angel Oak serves as the crowd-drawing centerpiece of a 9-acre namesake Johns Island park operated by the City of Charleston. In the future, Angel Oak will be further protected within a 35-acre nature preserve surrounding the park that, as announced this week, will be shaped by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects.”

Get In. We’re Going to Save the Mall. – 06/08/22, The New York Times
“The second wave of mall building in the 1970s often targeted low-lying areas that were difficult to develop for residential or other uses, and rightly so, as they were bottoms, or stream beds prone to flooding. Meriden Hub Mall in Meriden, Conn., was one such site. In 2007 the city began working on a plan, using local, state and federal funds, to replace the mall with a 14-acre park, opening access to Harbor Creek, creating a public space that also functions as a water retention basin and building a bridge and amphitheater.”

NYC’s Union Square Gets a Colorful Reminder to Calm Down – 06/09/2022, Bloomberg CityLab
“The ‘Ripples of Peace and Calm’ street mural is meant to draw attention to newer pedestrian areas and pay homage to the city’s Asian community.”

How New Orleans Neighborhoods Are Using Nature to Reduce Flooding – 06/08/2022, Grist
“For many New Orleanians, water management isn’t about billion-dollar levees or century-old pumps. It’s about small, nature-based projects like that rain garden or pavement that allows water to soak in, new wetlands, or streets lined with trees.”

Solution or Band-Air? Carbon Capture Projects Are Moving Ahead – 06/07/2022, Yale Environment 360
“Long discussed but rarely used, carbon capture and storage projects — which bury waste CO2 underground — are on the rise globally. Some scientists see the technology as a necessary tool in reducing emissions, but others say it simply perpetuates the burning of fossil fuels.”

First Phase of OJB Landscape Architecture’s Sweeping Omaha Park Overhaul Will Open July 1 – 06/07/2022, The Architect’s Newspaper
“Downtown Omaha’s rectangular urban green space, which first debuted in 1977 with a design by Lawrence Halprin & Associates, necessitated a 21st century refresh following an extended period of underuse and neglect. As OJB put it, the park had long grappled with ‘difficult access and activation issues.’”

PRIDE: Creating Inclusive Landscapes for All to Enjoy — 06/01/2022, Luxe
“For landscape architect David A. Rubin, empathy and accessibility are core qualities of business and personal ethos. The founding principal of DAVID RUBIN Land Collective—a nationally certified LGBT small business enterprise studio with locations in Philadelphia and Indianapolis—urges designers to shed light on the challenges of others by asking a simple question: ‘How can I help you?’ Here, Rubin underscores the value in taking risks and seeking commonalities over contrasts.”

Boston’s Heat Plan — 06/01/2022, Architectural Record
“The Heat Plan follows a nearly decade-long collaboration between Sasaki and the City of Boston and is a new and critical component of the Climate Ready Boston initiative, which seeks to address the short- and long-term effects of climate change, such as sea-level rise and extreme precipitation.”

The Green New Deal Superstudio Comes to the Sweetwater River Corridor

Sweetwater River channel, National City, San Diego county / USFWS Pacific Southwest Region, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The Green New Deal Superstudio inspired thousands of planning and landscape architecture students around the world to envision better futures for underserved communities. With the goals of the Green New Deal Congressional proposal in mind, Kathleen Garcia, FASLA, a lecturer at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) led her undergraduate planning students through multiple studios to re-imagine the Sweetwater River corridor, just south of the city of San Diego, near the border with Mexico.

At the American Planning Association‘s National Planning Conference, students from Garcia’s class outlined their visions for a three-mile-long segment of the river that courses through National City, a primarily Hispanic and low-income industrial community.

“National City is a front line community” in dealing with the combined impacts of climate change, pollution, and inequities, Garcia said. The community and river corridor gave her studio opportunities to explore the three goals of the Green New Deal — decarbonization, jobs, and justice.

According to Garcia, the community is “crisscrossed with freeways and rail lines, polluted by heavy industry along its riverfronts, and separated from most remnants of nature.”

The rich lands around the Sweetwater River were once home to the Kumeyaay indigenous people, but is now a “flood-control channel.” The floodplain and grazing lands have been “converted into strip malls, scattered housing, auto dealerships, industry, active rail lines, and at the river’s mouth, a major marine terminal,” where nearly half a million imported cars arrive annually.

Climate change promises to increase the threat of wildfires and exacerbate existing urban heat islands, flooding, and air pollution in the community. “Local jobs are few. Residents commute at least 20 miles in congestion to jobs elsewhere. Native heritage has all been but erased. The city is highly dependent on car sales for its tax base. However, what will transportation look like in a cleaner, greener future?”

The students in her class range from third- to fourth-year students and major in diverse subjects such as planning, psychology, data sciences, and engineering. They are “looking for ways to make a difference,” and the Green New Deal inspired them to envision a much different National City and Sweetwater River.

Much of National City Maritime Terminal is built on fill, which is “not friends with sea level rise,” said Juli Beth Hinds, an instructor of planning at UC San Diego, who participated in the tour. The mouth of the Sweetwater River, which is along one edge of the Maritime Terminal, can only be seen from the tiny Pepper Park, one of the few public green spaces along the waterfront.

Pepper Park, National City, San Diego county / Port of San Diego’s Public Parks, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Here, Ethan Olson, a third-year student who is majoring in planning and urban studies and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in landscape architecture, brought out his boards to show his ideas. He proposed a new open space corridor through the industrial area surrounding the port, but on the inland edge to provide space to retreat from sea level rise.

REPRISAL: A Proposal for the Future of the National City Marine Terminal / Ethan Olson

The new corridor would serve as a green spine for mixed-use development, including housing and retail, and local job creation that isn’t dependent on transporting cars out of the port. Olson also envisioned weaving in bike infrastructure and properly connecting the Bayshore Bikeway, along with boosting local healthy food production.

Olson noted that the Port of San Diego and nearby Naval facilities are already planning for sea level rise, with some projections indicating a potential of 9 feet by 2100. Much of this critical coastal infrastructure is under threat.

REPRISAL: A Proposal for the Future of the National City Marine Terminal / Ethan Olson

“The big scope of the Green New Deal Superstudio appealed to me. Climate change isn’t an environmental issue alone, but also an economic, social, planning, and political one. The Green New Deal doesn’t ignore that. I like it as a concept,” Olson said.

Nine students presented their ideas over the next three hours at locations throughout National City. The bus stopped at a strip mall and big-box store district; a desolate riparian green space at the outer edge of a parking lot; the location of a major swap meet; next to a solar power installation alongside the freeway; and in a deserted dealership along the Mile of Cars, a string of automobile showrooms.

Renewable power plant next to freeway in National City, San Diego county / Jared Green

At the Gateway Marketplace strip mall, Rashma Saini, a third-year student majoring in developmental psychology, walked us through her planning ideas, crafted with the perspective of a typical National City high school student in mind.

Envisioning a new direct connection to the high school across the Sweetwater River, riverfront promenade, and shopping and entertainment district, Saini wants a high-quality space for the many Mexican students who study in San Diego, a place for them to hang out with friends before returning by bus to Tijuana. “It’s important that students feel welcome. We need to focus on their mental health and well-being.”

National City Sweetwater River Corridor Plan / Rashma Saini

A later stop in a parking lot near a Burlington Coat Factory offered a close-up view of the channelized river. Here, Mitchell Kadowaki, who recently graduated from UC San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in environmental systems, showcased his plans for improving the urban tree canopy of National City. The now concrete-lined river is ripe for restoration as a riparian corridor, providing habitat benefits.

Sweetwater River Corridor Plan: Bolstering the Urban Canopy in National City / Mitchell Kadowaki

Through his research, he found that only six percent of National City is park land, much lower than the San Diego county average. But he noted that significantly expanding the tree canopy with the wrong tree species, improperly sited, could also further contribute to the drought by taxing already low water reserves.

Hinds noted that “tree selection is a live issue” in San Diego county. Until recently, palm trees, which offer few ecological benefits, have been specified as part of city plans. Eucalyptus trees, which are also not native and can be a wildfire hazard, can’t be removed from UC San Diego’s campus “unless they are diseased.” One way to increase tree and shrub diversity in the county could be to restore habitat for birds, including the endangered California gnatcatcher.

Stricken with drought in 2015, the San Diego Housing Authority shut off irrigation to street trees, killing them in the process. This impacted underserved residents that already have fewer street trees, amplifying the effects of heat islands and air pollution. San Diego is now exploring greywater re-use for irrigation, and there are a growing number of contractors who can do these kinds of projects, Hinds said.

Through the Green New Deal Superstudio projects, Garcia sought to show there is a “lot of overlap” between planning, landscape architecture, and urban design disciplines.

What she learned working as a landscape architect at WRT and planning director for the City of Del Mar is that “you get better solutions when you get people outside their boxes and comfort zones.” Landscape architecture and planning, in particular, use the “exact same problem solving but just at different scales.”

Her undergraduate students learned the stages of planning, explored different disciplinary lenses, and some are even inspired to become landscape architects.

Explore more of the GND Superstudio proposals created as part of Garcia’s class.

ASLA Announces Inaugural Class of the Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program

ASLA Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program / ASLA

10 women who identify as African American, Latin, Asian, and Native Hawai‘ian embark on two-year licensure journey.

ASLA announces the inaugural class of the Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program.

The program, which launched in February 2022, is designed to support women of color in their pursuit of landscape architecture licensure and provide mentorship opportunities that position women for success. The program aims to increase racial and gender diversity within the profession and was inspired by ASLA’s Racial Equity Plan of Action, which was released in 2020.

The first class of the program includes 10 women who are among the most statistically underrepresented groups in the profession of landscape architecture. The class includes women based in Hawai‘i, California, Washington, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, and Florida who are involved in private and public practice and landscape architectural education.

The first class includes:

  • Diana Alcantara Ortiz, ASLA, Landscape Architectural Assistant 1,
    San Francisco Public Works, Bureau of Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA
  • Jessica Colvin, Assoc. ASLA, Assistant Campus Landscape Architect,
    University of California, Davis, Davis, CA
  • Alexandria Dial, Designer, Studio Outside, Dallas, TX
  • Ana Cristina Garcia, ASLA, Associate, GGN, Seattle, WA
  • Adriana Garcia, ASLA, Senior Designer, SALT Landscape Architects, Long Beach, CA
  • Yamile Garcia, ASLA, Designer, Rialto Studio, Austin, TX
  • Maci Nelson, Assoc.ASLA, Landscape Designer at DERU LA and
    Adjunct Professor at Kent State University, Cleveland, OH
  • Angelica Rockquemore, ASLA, Site Planner/Landscape Designer, Honolulu, HI
  • Jameka Smith, ASLA, Landscape Architect, City of Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL
  • Shuangwen Yang, Assoc. ASLA, Landscape Designer, Catalyst Design Group, Nashville, TN

The program will provide each of the 10 women with a personalized experience that provides up to $3,500 to cover the cost of sections of the Landscape Architectural Registration Exam (LARE), along with exam preparation courses, resources, and mentorship from a licensed landscape architect.

“ASLA is committed to achieving a diverse profession that is welcoming and accessible to all. We are proud to take this first step to lift up women of color in our landscape architecture community, by providing them with the support network they need to achieve licensure,” said Eugenia Martin, FASLA, President of ASLA.

“We are honored to partner with these 10 dynamic women who seek to overcome obstacles, advance their own careers, and contribute to the communities they serve,” said Torey Carter-Conneen, ASLA CEO. “We look forward to learning from them how to best grow our equity programs and resources and make our community even more inclusive.”

ASLA supports and defends licensure for several important reasons. Licensure protects public health, safety, and welfare and signifies a level of professional competency that oftentimes leads to achieving greater career and business success.

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 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.