Archive for the ‘PEOPLE’ Category


Diane Jones Allen works to put public spaces and neighborhoods back together in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Diane Jones Allen works to put public spaces and neighborhoods back together in post-Katrina New Orleans.

From the November 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

In the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, at a community garden baking in the March sun, some herbs struggle up out of cinder block planters, and irrigation lines snake through the beds, which are awaiting springtime seeds. On the side of a toolshed is a big chalkboard announcing an evening movie screening and other community events. In the shade of a wooden arbor, Diane Jones Allen, ASLA, is meeting with Jenga Mwendo, the director of the Backyard Gardeners Network, which runs the garden. They are discussing not this place, the Guerrilla Garden, but the vacant city block across the street. Mwendo wants to claim it as community space, and Jones Allen is helping her envision what that might look like.

Jones Allen starts up her laptop on the wooden picnic table and presents a few sketches: plastic crates repurposed as small gardens, movable tables on a gravel bed, a pile of tires as a play area. That last idea intrigues Mwendo. “I just came across a pile of tires,” she says. “I’m just trying to remember where I saw that. There are lots of tires in this neighborhood.” She says she could probably make that happen right away, and it would offer some more options for Kids’ Club, an after-school program at the Guerrilla Garden. As Jones Allen presents her ideas, (more…)

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Since 2010, the National Capital Planning Commission in Washington, D.C., has played host to a speaker series that touches on a wide range of planning issues. One of its most recent lectures was Nature in the City | The City in Nature, featuring Douglas Meffert, the executive director of Audubon Louisiana, and Beth White, the director of the Trust for Public Land’s Chicago office, who each described the opportunities opened to these two cities by introducing active living infrastructure. For more information, please click here.

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Credit: David Wilson [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s that time of year again, and the Landscape Architecture Magazine team is off to sweet home Chicago [Many LAM staff hail from Chicago.—Ed.] for the 2015 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO. Here are just a few places to find us during the meeting:

Editor Brad McKee will be a panelist on From the Editor’s Desk: Navigating the Modern Media (SUN-A08), at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, 11/8. He will also be moderating Hybrid Practices (FRI-B02), at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, 11/6, and Inside the LA Studio with Hollander Design (SAT-A02), at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday 11/7.

The staff will also be attending the Landscape Architecture Magazine Advertising Awards (aka the”LAMMYs”) on Friday, 11/6, the ASLA Student and Professional Awards Ceremony on Monday, 11/9, and the second annual Edible Landscape Celebration on Saturday, 11/7. Tickets are still available for this event, but it will sell out.

LAM editors will be on hand for Meet the Editors in the EXPO hall on Saturday and Sunday to hear about those new projects and story ideas, so sign up if you’d like to pitch your project.  New to Meet the Editors this year is LAM Art Director Chris McGee, who will be available for photography reviews. There are still a few spots left, so be sure to snag yours before they’re all gone!

In between sessions you can find us at the LAM table in ASLA Central on Saturday and Sunday. Drop by and introduce yourself and be sure follow us on Twitter @landarchmag throughout the meeting—remember to use #ASLA2015 on Instagram and Twitter! If you see us in a session or event, be sure to say hello—we love to meet readers and hear what they think about the magazine and the blog.

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This year’s ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Chicago is loaded with the best of landscape architecture, and November’s hefty issue of LAM is jam-packed to match. The work of Diane Jones Allen works to reconnect broken public space in New Orleans; the Public Media Commons by DLANDstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture in St. Louis makes space for free speech; the new Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, has nearly as much going on under the surface as above; the landscape is loaded with history in the new Palmisano Park in Chicago by Site Design Group; and bison make a comeback in a prairie under restoration in Illinois.

In Interview, the journalist Peter Annin talks about his book The Great Lakes Water Wars, and the complications of a water body with multiple owners; and in House Call, Coen + Partners creates fluid boundaries between public and private in a Chicago house. And don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for November 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 November articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Where the Water Will Be,” © Peter Ringenberg; “Outside Looking In,” Christopher Barrett Photographer; “The Connector,” David Grunfeld; “Street Theater,” Jason Winkeler Photography, Courtesy Nine Network of Public Media; “We Got Fun. And Foam,” Alex MacLean; “Deep Cut,” Robert Sit, Site Design Group, Ltd.; “The Bison Begin Again,” Noppadol Paothong.

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As part of the Cultural Landscape Foundation’s Pioneers of American Landscape Design oral history series, the landscape architect Nicholas Quennell recounts his early influences and the work that shaped him into the architect, artist, and landscape architect he became. The interview is broken up into 13 one- to three-minute videos from his early years to his professional working career. This is the 12th installment of the oral history series; the others can be found here.


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Most feel the L.A. River needs to change, though they can't agree on what.

Most believe the L.A. River needs to change, though exactly how it should be done is still up in the air.

From the October 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

The push to fix the 51-mile Los Angeles River over the past few decades has been a triumph of citizen-fueled advocacy. It has harnessed landscape architecture as well as politics, planning, economics, engineering, hydrology, and ecology toward a dream of a living river, with plants and animals and people (and real estate) close to the water. Persistence and skill, notably on the part of the group Friends of the Los Angeles River, led to the stunning endorsement last year by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of a $1 billion federal plan to restore natural habitat along 11 miles of the upper river. It was a bigger bet on the river than anyone expected. Since then, the big questions have been whether Congress will fund the plan and, if so, how much the federal government will pay and how much the city will pay. The city must buy land, clean up contamination, and build a public realm; a lot of how to do all that had been laid out in a master plan in 2007 for 32 miles of the river, from its headwaters in Canoga Park to downtown Los Angeles. As part of the large master plan team, led by Tetra Tech, the offices of Civitas, Wenk Associates, and Mia Lehrer + Associates developed transformative, landscape driven solutions for sites along the river.

It’s all been incredibly exciting. But now, rather than wait until Congress considers funding the corps’ plan, the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, an ardent river advocate, has been encouraging a whole other river plan but not telling anyone much about it. For this newer plan, the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation, a nonprofit the city chartered to direct its river strategy, asked Frank Gehry’s firm, Gehry Partners, to begin studying the whole length of the river. OLIN is on board as a consulting landscape architect. Garcetti called Gehry’s work “a master plan, in the truest sense of the word,” and added, “To have the Olmsted of our time focusing on this, I think, is extraordinary.”

The Olmsted remark did not go over well among landscape architects. None of the revelations about the Gehry project went particularly well, not least because they were unexpected. Over the past year, some longtime river strategists have been shown the outlines of the Gehry team’s effort, but for the most part it unfolded in private until the Los Angeles Times reported on its existence in early August. Then came the disciplinary resentments in the landscape realm and, more important, the pains of people—professionals and laypersons—who worked hard to get the corps’ blessing on a major plan. Those people rightly worry that they may now have to spend more effort to defend what they have already achieved for the river. They worry because so little about the new planning process has been shared with them or with the public. The city’s emerging bid to host the Olympics in 2024 adds another layer of uncertainty to some of the river sites.

The revitalization corporation insists it is considering all the previous work for the master plan and the corps’ proposal in its new project, but one of its tendencies has been to speak as if Gehry’s team is starting a process of remaking the river rather than walking into the middle of one. Mayor Garcetti, who has made the river a serious project for his administration, could clear up a lot of confusion. He needs to ensure that the intelligence gathered so far around the river’s revival remains in play and will feed into any future plans. It would help to involve the river’s early advocates and designers much more closely than seems to have been the case lately, and to pay more attention to their considerable accomplishment. Visions for a better river could combine many ideas and forms. Coherence in the approach will be crucial in selling them.

Credit: By A Syn [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Since 2012, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston has brought in big names in landscape architecture—Cochran, Van Valkenburgh, Galí-Izard, and more—to speak as part of its Landscape Lectures series. Each lecture is roughly an hour long and highlights the work and achievements of the speaker. The above video contains a playlist of the available lectures through the museum’s YouTube channel, starting with one of the first lectures in 2012 up through June 2015. The next lecture in the 2015–2016 series will feature Walter Hood on November 12. For more information, please click here.

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