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Archive for the ‘ECOLOGY’ Category

BY PHILIP WALSH

The compensatory mitigation mandate opens a dynamic arena for landscape architects.

From the August 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

 

“Konk-la-ree!”

Or,

“O-ka-lee!”

The song of the red-winged blackbird, although instantly recognizable, is hard to put to words, as even Roger Tory Peterson, author of A Field Guide to the Birds, found. These syllables are his best efforts. The trilling, almost metallic-sounding warble evokes summertime, cattails, and the watery landscapes where Agelaius phoeniceus goes to breed.

But at this moment I’m not seeing cattails. I’m at the edge of a parking lot behind a pizza restaurant in a suburb north of Boston, looking at a large pit, about 10 feet deep, filled with Phragmites australis, the infamous invasive species that, along with purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), is the scourge of wetlands in the Northeast, choking out cattails and other native species that provide food to the bird population. A few spindly red maples have colonized the embankment, along with some riverbank grape (Vitis riparia), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), and Rosa multiflora, a pretty though sprawling shrub introduced to America in 1866 to provide rootstock for hybrid roses and now classed as a pest in many states. Despite the red-winged blackbird’s bright song, this is a dismal place, especially in the fading afternoon sunlight, a bit of wasteland left behind by development, one of millions of similar places across the country.

This blighted spot, however, is a mandated compensatory wetland mitigation under (more…)

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The things our art director, Chris McGee, hated to leave out of the current issue of LAM.

xxx. Credit: xxx.

There are 12 acres of green roofs and 13 acres of wet native gardens incorporated into the design of the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters. Credit: Taylor Lednum/GSA.

From “The Wetter, the Better” by Bradford McKee, in the August 2015 issue, featuring the new landscape by Andropogon and HOK at the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters.

“The explosion of yellow in the middle ground punctures the smoky gray tones of the building and sky beyond.”

—Chris McGee, LAM Art Director

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.

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In August’s issue of LAM, Philip Walsh finds that landscape architects could work harder than they do to restore lost wetlands in the United States. Steven Litt, in Cleveland, reports on how Perk Park, an acre of oasis downtown, by Thomas Balsley Associates, is making the city look harder at the value of well-designed open space. And in Washington, D.C., Bradford McKee checks out the new national headquarters of the U.S. Coast Guard with two dozen acres of green roofs and gardens by Andropogon and HOK.

In the departments, the Harvard Graduate School of Design appoints Anita Berrizbeitia, ASLA, as the chair of landscape architecture and Diane Davis as the chair of urban planning; a look at the watchdogs who track down plant growers who infringe on someone else’s patents; and the winners of the Boston Living with Water Competition aimed at envisioning a resilient city come sea-level rise. All this plus our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for August can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating August articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “The Return of the Swamp,” Lisa Cowan, ASLA/StudioVerde; “Freeze, Thaw, Flourish,” © Scott Pease/Pease Photography, 2012; “The Wetter, the Better,” Judy Davis/Hoachlander Davis Photography; “New Chairs, Subtle Shifts,” Courtesy Harvard Graduate School of Design; “Plant Sheriff,” Courtesy Bailey Nurseries; “Boston from the Ground Floor,” Designed by Architerra; Courtesy Boston Living With Water.

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DredgeFest_GreatLakes_Flyer-02 If you missed DredgeFestNYC and DredgeFest Louisiana (see “The Dredge Underground,” LAM, August 2014) then you haven’t experienced one of the most interesting landscape-focused gatherings around. Fortunately, another chance is just ahead at DredgeFest Great Lakes (DFGL) this August. DredgeFest draws a friendly and curious crowd across a wide spectrum of expertise to look critically at dredging and the land it winds up making—and there are many overlaps with contemporary landscape architecture practice.

This event (conference doesn’t really describe it) will focus on the Great Lakes region (aka the Third Coast in dredgespeak). It will include two days of talks and presentations from a range of designers and others who work in this industrial practice; a day of touring dredge sites around Duluth; and a weeklong workshop at the University of Minnesota’s School of Architecture and Department of Landscape Architecture that brings in a very intriguing international cohort of designers.

This third iteration of DredgeFest should be the best yet, with the now-signature mix of intense investigations and industrial monumentality with the speculative edge that has marked previous DredgeFests.

Landscape Architecture Magazine is a cosponsor of DFGL this year. We’re looking forward to inhaling the fascinating new research and meeting folks in Minnesota this August. Registration for one or all parts of DFGL is open now.

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June’s issue of LAM looks at the tough choices that landscape architecture firms, such as Sasaki Associates and OLIN, must face when updating for a new era; the rustic landscape of a house in Northern California by Lutsko Associates, a winner of a 2013 ASLA Professional Honor Award; and we visit New York City’s biggest secret, Governors Island, the first phase of which opened to the public last year with designs by West8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture.

In departments, Michael Cannell interviews the computer scientist Ioannis Karamouzas about the anticipatory nature of people in crowds; New York State’s new “unwanted” list of invasive plants, fish, invertebrates, and vertebrates outright bans the use of some fan favorites; and Louisville’s tree canopy is disappearing by approximately 54,000 trees a year, according to a new report by the Davey Resource Group. All this plus our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for June can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating June articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Treasure Island,” © Iwan Baan; “The Shelter of Oaks,” Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA; “Crowd Computing,” Ioannis Karamouzas; “Don’t Bring It Here,” “Flowering Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) Somewhere in Massachusetts, USA” by Liz West is licensed under CC by 2.0; “A Canopy in Crisis,” Courtesy Davey Resource Group.

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The formative influences and expansive body of work of Richard Haag, FASLA, are on full display in this multipart oral history presented by the Cultural Landscape Foundation, and are an excellent accompaniment to Brice Maryman’s lively review of The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag: From Modern Space to Urban Ecological Design by Thaïsa Way in the May issue (“Once and Always the Radical”). In this interview from 2004, Haag narrates his beginnings at his father’s country nursery to his emergence as a landscape architect to become one of the most well-known names in the profession.

You can buy this month’s issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.

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BY CAROL E. BECKER

Building the supply chain for native landscapes.

Building the supply chain for native landscapes.

From the May 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

The oak is our national tree for a reason. Oaks are endemic to our native landscapes in all regions of the United States, easily identified by their leaf shape and gnarly branches. The size of the mature white oak (Quercus alba), spreading up to 120 feet, is one reason we associate oaks with strength, along with the density of the wood and an oak fire’s burning hot and long in the woodstove. Native oaks fall into two taxonomic groups, white and red, and their landscape uses vary depending on soil moisture. But most important today, as Douglas Tallamy, a professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware, points out, oaks are the “quintessential wildlife plants.” They provide food to more than 500 species of caterpillars and other insects. In this fact lies the oaks’ value to the entire food chain, from the birds that eat insects to the humans who rest in the trees’ shade.

We need more oaks in our landscapes, mostly for the food benefits they provide. But instead of being sought-after plants, oaks are underused, undermarketed, undercultivated, and therefore in short supply. Landscape architects don’t often use them, clients don’t ask for them, and thus growers don’t grow them. A reverse scenario also holds true. Few nurseries grow Quercus species, particularly Q. macrocarpa, Q. muehlenbergii, and Q. alba, because they are hard to grow and suffer significant transplant death. So clients don’t see them and don’t ask for them and, in turn, landscape architects don’t specify them. Whatever the reason and wherever you start, it’s a circle of mutually reinforcing supply and demand.

The oaks are but one example of the larger problem for design professionals working to create sustainable landscapes with hardy plants in a given region. The interest in doing so—the imperative of doing so—is unequaled by the supply of appropriate species. This shortage also helps perpetuate clients’ expectations of plant specimens they do in fact see at the retail level, plants that are well-shaped, blooming, varied, and maybe even a bit exotic. The landscape architecture profession has taught them to value this aesthetic at least since the mid-19th century, when Andrew Jackson Downing codified ornamental landscaping in A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening. Now, we find ourselves in a world where, in just the past 40 years, half the songbird species in the United States and more than 90 percent of the monarch butterflies have disappeared. Honeybees and bumblebees have fallen to a mysterious virus, a cataclysmic problem that threatens the entire food chain. We do know how to reverse these trends and preserve biodiversity in landscapes, but we can’t get it done because clients still want constantly blooming and well-shaped plants with no bugs.

(more…)

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