SHELTER AND PLACE

Landscape Architecture Magazine

BY ZACH MORTICE

Reinventing Vilonia uses a network of public green spaces to link disaster shelters. Image courtesy of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center.

Plans for the small town of Vilonia, Arkansas, by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center (UACDC) assert the primacy of public green space as the center of traditional urbanism: town squares on formerly abandoned lots, generous boulevard streetscapes on what had been pedestrian no-man’s-land, and new neighborhoods with pocket parks. But in doing so, the director of the UACDC, Stephen Luoni, and his team learned how to use this network of outdoor civic space to meet a far more pressing need.

In 2014 a tornado flattened much of the town of 4,000, destroying or damaging hundreds of structures and killing 16 people in the area. And Luoni’s plan uses these urban green spaces as links in a chain of disaster shelters.

The UACDC’s…

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Change career? Design extraordinary landscapes and cities on the Masters of Landscape Architecture at the University of Greenwich.

the landscape

Are you interested in the design of cities and environments?

Projecte de restauració del paratge de Tudela-Culip (Club Med) al Parc Natural del Cap de Creus by University of Greenwich graduate, Marti Franch

You can become a Landscape Architect through the Landscape Institute (LI) accredited, 2-year graduate entry Masters of Landscape Architecture (MLA) programme at the University of Greenwich.

On the programme, leading London academics and practitioners teach design, urbanism, planning, horticulture, ecology, conservation, sustainability, construction, history and theory for graduates interested in becoming qualified Landscape Architects. The comprehensive programme is well connected to London practices, such as Arup and Gustafson, Porter and Bowman, and is based at the award winning Stockwell Street building in Greenwich.

Candidates for the programme have backgrounds in a diversity of disciplines (from architecture, design and art to geography, sociology and ecology). Applicants may be changing career or further specialising their career in the profession of Landscape Architecture.

University Greenwich Landscape Institute

In the latest issue of Landscape: The Journal of the Landscape Institute, dedicated to the new facilities at Greenwich which include 14 green roofs, the editor Ruth Slavid…

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Interview with Mitchell Silver on NYC’s Game Changing Park System

Very well written article!

THE DIRT

Mitchell Silver / NYC Parks and Recreation Mitchell Silver / NYC Parks and Recreation

Mitchell Silver is commissioner of the New York City Departments of Parks and Recreation. Silver is past president of the American Planning Association (APA) and an award-winning planner with 30 years of experience.

In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the Community Parks Initiative, which aims to improve historically underfunded parks in densely populated and growing neighborhoods with higher than average concentrations of poverty. Some $285 million has been set aside for this effort, which will lead to the full re-imagining of 67 parks. Your department has broken ground in some 35 parks. What do communities want most for their new spaces after all those years of deferred maintenance? What are some common elements in these new places?

First, they want the asphalt gone. Most of these parks were just play spaces with asphalt. They want trees and green space. Even if…

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LAMCAST: 1,954 MILES

Landscape Architecture Magazine

The artist Josh Begley’s Best of Luck with the Wall video turns the 1,954-mile continent-spanning journey across the United States–Mexico border into a seven-minute tone poem. The border mostly exists in our lives as a contested political abstraction. But it’s an actual place, and even as the video races across the landscape (stitched together from 200,000 satellite images), viewers can see towns nestled up against the demarcation, agricultural fields in neat rows and wide circles, and hundreds of miles of the Rio Grande River, all set to a spare, jangling score. The politics of the day has brought the border into everyone’s living room, but a concise portrait of what the border actually is will still remain a cursory and ephemeral thing.

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WUCOLS and the Drive Toward Landscape Water Conservation in California

AHBE LAB

Xeriscape garden; Creative Commons photo: Jeremy LevineXeriscape garden; Creative Commons photo: Jeremy Levine

Want to do the environmentally responsible thing and install a drought tolerant landscape? The first thing you could do is rip out your lawn and install trees, shrubs and ground cover. Generally, this act alone will save you about a third of your monthly water use. The caveat being is that you must not water your newly planted trees, shrubs, and groundcover the same amount as your newly removed lawn or you will not save any water at all.

However, you must give your new landscape some water to keep it alive and healthy. How much? Therein lies the rub. I don’t know. I have over 25 years experience as a landscape architect and I’m regarded as one of the many experts in exterior water conservation in California, yet I cannot guarantee the water usage of any landscape I design for you.

Why?…

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The Story of Two Landscape Architects: Friendship and Collaboration

THE DIRT

William Johnson, FASLA, Jim Richards, FASLA, and Peter Walker, FASLA at the ASLA 2016 Annual Meeting / NC ASLA Twitter William Johnson, FASLA, Jim Richards, FASLA, and Peter Walker, FASLA at the ASLA 2016 Annual Meeting / NC ASLA Twitter

How does it happen that two men from different backgrounds become not only fast friends but life-long collaborators? In the case of William Johnson, FASLA, a now-retired professor at University of Michigan, and Peter Walker, FASLA, founder of PWP Landscape Architecture, it started on the first day of their master’s of landscape architecture studies at Harvard Graduate School of Design, when they noticed each other driving the same car.

In a delightful and warm session at the ASLA 2016 Annual Meeting in New Orleans moderated by James Richards, FASLA, Townscape, Johnson and Walker recalled their youth, friendship, and growth into two of the profession’s best-known practitioners and mentors.

Walker grew up in San Francisco and was influenced early by the Bay Area School and Thomas Church. He also…

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WILA Interview Series: Career Changes

The Field

image: iStock © Sadeugra image: iStock © Sadeugra

The Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN)’s focus for 2015 is an interview series developed around being women landscape architects, life/work balance, and mentors. The WILA PPN leadership team developed 17 interview questions, and then found willing landscape architects to participate in the interview process.

This group of questions asked the interviewees to share information about their former careers and/or job experiences prior to landscape architecture. As outlined in our first post of the interview series, most of our interviewees said they chose landscape architecture as a second or even third career. So what did they do before, and how did those experiences help lead them to landscape architecture? Did those experiences help prepare them for their new career?

What kind of other job(s), if any, did you have before/during/after your career as a landscape architect?

Sometimes our paths to success and happiness…

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Skills for Success in Landscape Architecture

The Field

Peritoneum computer model – 2012 Award of Excellence Winner for Student Collaboration image: Tim Trumble and Anna Christy Peritoneum computer model – 2012 Award of Excellence Winner for Student Collaboration
image: Tim Trumble and Anna Christy

In a 2014 survey of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs), we asked members: What one characteristic or skill is most essential for success in landscape architecture? Though there is no single skill or ability that guarantees success, there are many that are certainly helpful to have and continue to sharpen. Perhaps surprisingly, only a handful of respondents mentioned extensive knowledge of plants, horticulture, or the more technical, scientific side of landscape architecture as critical to success. Instead, being an effective communicator and other soft skills appeared far more frequently.

The most popular answers were:

Communication
Creativity and creative problem solving
Flexibility
Adaptability
Listening skills
Passion for design
Curiosity
Attention to detail
Critical thinking

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Making a Case for Divergent Thinking

The Field

image: Brian LaHaie image: Brian LaHaie

Creative thinking is the foundation of our profession. Of all the skill sets that a landscape architect must possess, the ability to imagine, create and evaluate unique solutions to complex social and environmental challenges is our most valuable asset.

Creative thinkers possess the ability to identify multiple possibilities when confronted with challenging problems. This type of thinking is found among people with personality traits such as non-conformity, curiosity, risk taking, and persistence. It is also found naturally in children. This ability to generate multiple solutions and to think outside a set of linear constraints is called “divergent thinking” or “lateral thinking.”

The term divergent thinking was first introduced by psychologist J.P. Guilford in 1967 (nearly 50 years ago). Together with convergent thinking, these terms represent opposing thinking styles.

Convergent thinkers quickly seek a solution by reducing options and limiting choices to arrive at an appropriate answer. Convergent…

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A Memorial to a Sad Future

Minimal design concept transforms a place where often left off by others. Very interesting and good and meaningful design.

THE DIRT

Climate Chronograph / Eric Jensen and Climate Chronograph / Erik Jensen and Rebecca Sunter

The winner of the Memorials for the Future competition, which was sponsored by the National Park Service, Van Alen Institute, and others, offers a depressing vision: a monument to our collective failure to stave off climate change. Climate Chronograph by Erik Jensen, Assoc. ASLA, and Rebecca Sunter, Assoc. ASLA, of Azimuth Land Craft envisions a living landscape in East Potomac Park, Washington, D.C. that slowly dies as water levels rise. The landscape is the canary in the coal mine. Here, the canary educates the public, slowly, over the decades, about what happens to our landscapes when carbon dioxide pollution warms the planet.

The designers are inspired by the Egyptian nilometer, which was “both a temple to the sacred indeterminacy of water and a meter for predicting seasonal flood potentials of the Nile River.” Only priests in ancient Egypt could use…

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