Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘PRACTICE’ Category

Mia Scharphie delivers a dose of start-up energy to people and projects.

From the August 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

The merging of soul and role is a laudable idea—it refers, very broadly, to the ability to bring a set of personal, mission-driven values to your professional life—but it’s hard to integrate into full-time practice. For most designers, it means working on public projects with a community engagement component, or collaborating on one-off social impact design projects, or cordoning off pro bono work into a separate part of their business. Mia Scharphie wants to shake that up a bit.

Scharphie runs two consulting businesses—Proactive Practices, a research collaborative with Gilad Meron and Nick McClintock, and Build Yourself+, a workshop series. At first glance, they seem unrelated, but when you talk to her, you begin to see the kind of connections that are at the core of Scharphie’s work. Drawing on her training in landscape architecture (she began her career at the firm Public Architecture in San Francisco), which Scharphie says is “supercore” to spatializing community projects, she also brings in current thinking from the world of entrepreneurship, citing Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, Tara Mohr’s Playing Big, and Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup as touchstones and agents for social change that shape both Proactive Practices and Build Yourself+.

Build Yourself+ is a six-week course aimed specifically at women working in the design fields, investing women designers with the skills to articulate issues and obstacles to their own success and then get past them. Scharphie says designers, and women designers in particular, can be hobbled by the total work ethic of design. “The strange irony of design is that we do these renderings of super-happy people in our parks walking with infinite numbers of dogs and strollers,” yet the design culture of work-all-hours doesn’t permit any of this. “There’s a disconnect between what we try to imagine for people and what our social lives are like.” It’s a workshop approach that frankly acknowledges that the personal is deeply embedded in the professional, and it builds on the current cultural conversations about gender equity and cross-cultural communications in the workplace.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Researchers will be paid an honorarium of $2500 if their work is accepted forthe LATIS series.  Credit: ASLA

Researchers will be paid an honorarium of $2,500 if their work is accepted for the LATIS series. Credit: ASLA.

Solid peer-reviewed research in new landscape practice areas is highly valuable and not always easy to find, and that’s why LATIS (Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series) is such a terrific resource.

LATIS papers provide practicing landscape architects with peer-reviewed technical information about new and evolving practices and products and offer an economical way to earn the professional development hours (PDH) needed to meet state licensure requirements. This work is important to the growth of the field, and the production and distribution of this new research is supported by the ASLA Fund with $2,500 honoraria for accepted papers and free access to LATIS papers for ASLA members (a $50 fee applies for nonmembers). The papers are accompanied by a 10- to 15-question test you give yourself, through which practitioners can earn LA CES approved PDH for an additional fee.

If you are pioneering a new practice area or are successfully using an innovative technique, publicizing your work through LATIS will help increase the fluency in new and developing topics within landscape architecture. Authors of all papers are carefully selected by ASLA, and all papers are subject to a blind review process. ASLA is now accepting proposals for the 2015–2016 LATIS cycle, and accepted LATIS authors will be offered honoraria of $2,500 for their work.

If you’re interested, email Shawn Balon, ASLA, the Professional Practice Manager, at sbalon@asla.org for additional information. Responses to the LATIS Call for Abstracts must be received by COB on Friday, August 14, 2015, to be considered for the 2015–2016 LATIS publications.

Read Full Post »

LAMCASTJULY

Drones aren’t all bad, and in an interview with Yale Environment 360, Thomas Lennon, director of this two-minute video of awe-inspiring nature shots of the Delaware River watershed, explains the limitless possibilities drones provide over traditional aerial photography from helicopters. But the potential stretches further than nature videos and becomes a useful tool for environmentalists and artists alike, setting it apart as an aid rather than the controversial weapon the term “drone” is most often associated with. For the two-minute video and interview, click here or the picture above.

Read Full Post »

BY TIM WATERMAN

The Milan Expo 2015 raises unsought emotions about food, cities, the world.

The Milan Expo 2015 raises unsought emotions about food, cities, the world.

From the July 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

A city like Milan reflects the strivings of generations. It has a rich quality of everyday life that includes a sophisticated food culture, which, as in so many Italian cities, is both distinctly local and, because of its history of trade, cosmopolitan. The evolution of the city’s form has intertwined with the tastes and appetites of the Milanese. The convivial quality of many of its spaces comes from enclosures such as its ubiquitous courtyard gardens, its cool semiprivate zones where neighbors come into contact, or its sidewalk cafés. Milan was once Mediolanum (meaning “in the midst of the plain”), the capital of the Western Roman Empire. It was enclosed by walls, but open to its countryside in the Po River Valley, where alluvial soils raised abundant grain and grapes, and roads brought influence from all over Europe.

Milan’s economy has suffered, as has all of Italy’s, from the crash in 2008, and recession and unemployment are tenaciously rooted. While its economy continues to be underpinned by industry and agriculture, notably by small, family-owned farms, government policy has looked to urban and infrastructural development for solutions to the crisis. Italy’s new, post-Berlusconi government is trying to show evidence of its ability to deliver, and Milan, the financial center of Italy, has become a showcase of contemporary neoliberal development. In particular, two developments have shown great international visibility: the Milan Expo 2015 and the business district at Porta Nuova, best known for the Bosco Verticale (vertical forest), the heavily vegetated and much-published twin luxury apartment towers by the architect Stefano Boeri.

Boeri has courted controversy at both sites, attracting antigentrification protests both from the working-class neighborhood the towers protrude from, as well as accusations of deploying expensive greenwash that would never be possible in a lower-cost development. Much the same objections have been raised against the plans for this year’s expo in Milan, which he master planned with Jacques Herzog, William McDonough, and Ricky Burdett. “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is the expo’s motto, meant, as it was, to embody a sustainable ethic, but it clashed with the presence of food giants such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola among the nations represented. Lavish spending on the project further excited anger, as many people questioned the concentration of municipal spending on one site instead of many, and the inevitable siphoning away of funds that such concentration engenders. On May Day in Milan, cars blazed in the streets, windows were smashed, and ‘No Expo’ graffiti proliferated.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

IMG_7846 In a profession as diverse as landscape architecture, it can be hard to get a sense of how the profession is performing as a whole. So each quarter, ASLA sends out its Business Quarterly Survey to a wide variety of firm types to get a snapshot of the profession’s health. The survey helps measure activity in firms’ billable hours, inquiries for new work, and hiring.

For the second quarter of this year, about 86 percent of firms reported stable to significantly higher billable hours over the previous quarter, which is slightly better than reported for the same quarter of 2014. About 84 percent said inquiries for new work were stable to significantly higher in quarter two. Slightly fewer than half (48 percent) said they plan to hire in the coming quarter; during the first quarter, the figure was 62 percent.

The survey also asked firms about their recruiting approaches and the use of social media. Although nearly 42 percent of respondents said they use social media in recruiting, only 16 percent said they think a potential job candidate should have strong social media skills.

For the full news release and highlights from the 2015 second quarter BQS, visit ASLA’s website here.

Read Full Post »

BY KEVAN WILLIAMS

The planting of jatropha could help build the economy of a haitian town.

The planting of Jatropha could help build the economy of a Haitian town.

From the April 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

When I meet Robinson Fisher at a coffee shop in downtown Athens, Georgia, on a cold and rainy day, he hands me a bar of soap. Fisher and the soap have just arrived from Haiti: specifically, a village called Terrier Rouge, a community of about 20,000 people in the hot, dry, and very poor northeastern part of the country. I first met Fisher, the father of a childhood friend, years ago, and only later learned he’s a landscape architect. He’s had a long career with his firm, Robinson Fisher Associates, practicing in lush, temperate, and developed northeast Georgia. But for the past decade he’s made a lot of trips to Haiti, spending several months each year learning and working with people there on a variety of agricultural experiments. The soap, wrapped in plain paper and stamped with a simple logo, is the latest product of that work.

Underneath the wrapper is a caramel-colored slab, smaller than your average bar of Dove or Irish Spring, and less refined. There is no logo pressed into the surface, or a specially molded form. It is the product of a simple, locally scaled manufacturing operation in Terrier Rouge, which is evident in its packaging and shape. But it lathers and bubbles just like regular soap. Even more remarkable is what the soap is made of: the oil from the seeds of Jatropha curcas, a scrubby tree that grows abundantly in this arid part of Haiti.

Jatropha is native to Central America and the Caribbean, growing between 20 and 30 feet tall. The semievergreen plant sheds its large leaves during periods of drought, to which it is well adapted. The seemingly worthless and weedy plant is also poisonous. “Nobody eats it: Goats won’t eat it, and bugs won’t eat it much, which allows this plant to survive,” Fisher says.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

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

West Point Foundry Preserve winter aerial by Elizabeth Felicella.

Extra from “A Past, In Pieces” by Jennifer Reut, in the April 2015 issue, featuring Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects.

 “I love the angle of this aerial, which is enhanced by the long shadows under a low-hanging sun. The effect is a feeling of motion—of swooping low over the bare canopy. The red brick building at the bottom is an anchor that holds the image in place and creates a static ‘yin’ for the motion’s ‘yang.’

—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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,435 other followers