"Work" by Alex Kwa from The Noun Project

Work by Alex Kwa from the Noun Project.

From the March issue of LAM:

For most of the past several years, there has not been much to say on the employment front for landscape architects, or for the design and construction industry in general, except that nobody was hiring. And that’s a very short story to tell. But by mid-February, there were definite signs of a steady upward trend in the hiring of landscape architects. Of course, this sort of thing must be said somewhat warily, so as not to jinx or overstate it, but designers themselves offer the proof.

In the first week of February, there were 80 jobs listed on ASLA’s JobLink site; 61 of them were placed in January (most are listings that stay up for 30 days). The last time listings ran this high was 2008; there were about 90 ads placed in both January and February of that year. And we all know what happened over the following several months as the housing market nearly brought down the entire financial system. In January of 2009, there were 14 ads placed; the January number stayed in that range through January 2013, when there were 22 ads.

The jobs listed recently have been diverse. A few public agencies are hiring, and so are design/build firms, landscape contracting companies, small design offices, and global multidisciplinary firms. The destination is no longer just China or bust; there are firms all over the country looking for new people.

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Two very different, but very Berlin urban parks are featured in the new issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine. The former Templehof airport is now a beloved and highly desirable 900-acre open space. With multiple factions and agendas competing to decide its future,  GROSS.MAX landscape architects have some interesting moves to make.  Nearby, Park am Gleisdreieck, designed by Atelier Loidl, makes places to play while incorporating the  scars from World War II.  Back in Brooklyn, the Olmsted and Vaux-designed and Moses-altered  Prospect Park welcomes a new skate rink, Lakeside. The elegant design brings together the old and new, including a new structure by Williams/Tsien.  “I haven’t done extensive research on this,” says Prospect Park’s Christian Zimmerman, FASLA, “but I can’t think of another project in the country that implements such a massive, modern-designed structure, and does historic preservation, and does ecological restoration all in one in a landmark park.”

In the departments, Kevan Williams looks at  products for making barriers that serve as habitat along fragile coasts; Workstation offers a survey of how (and why) landscape architects might use 3-D printers,  and Climate looks at new strategies for coastal restoration around the San Francisco Bay. All this plus our regular features in Species, Books, Goods, and Now. You can read the full table of contents for March or pick up a  digital issue of the March  LAM 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 and Noble. You can also purchase single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio. 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 on the LAM blog, Facebook page,  and Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating some of the articles from  the  March issue as the month rolls out.

Credits: Lakeside/Prospect Park aerial,  Michael Moran/Otto;  Shadeworks, Matt Annabel, Associate ASLA; 3-D terrain model, Peter Summerlin, Associate ASLA; Gleisdreieck,  Atelier Loidl; Templehof master plan, Templehofer Freiheit; ReefBLK, Coastal Environments, Inc.; Cool pavements research, Lawrence Berkeley National  Laboratory/Roy Kaltschmidt; San Francisco Bay beach, Peter Baye.
Frack Blog 2

A Pennsylvania village. Photo by Kim Sorvig.

We’re pretty jazzed that the venerable Utne Reader picked up our article on fracking  for its March issue. “Welcome to Frackville” by Kim Sorvig appeared in the June 2013 issue of LAM, and it’s part of Utne’s themed issue on global climate and environmental issues. Utne’s recognition of Sorvig’s piece helps to underscore the ways in which the work of landscape architecture is becoming increasingly critical to cities, regions, and nations that are feeling the effects of fast-unfolding environmental issues and climate change. Here, Sorvig heads to Pennsylvania to try to piece together the many facets of fracking in the landscape.

The ground is pockmarked with pads and pits, the sky aflame with waste gas flaring from tall stacks, visible for miles. “I’ve been to public meetings where drillers say they don’t want to flare; they’d rather be more green,” White says. But new wells are still flared for the first few weeks, when gas may be contaminated. Lack of pipeline and storage capacity may also result in burn-offs. Below us, a flare towers directly over a high-school running track.

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A monthly roundup of the news, dispatches, and marginalia that caught our eye.

In this dispatch of the Queue, the LAM staff reads up on the politics of space, urban parks in Mexico, an extraordinary gift of land in California, why architects talk funny, and way too much more.


Alexis Madrigal’s piece on California’s water problem is being heavily circulated, but in case  you haven’t seen it, the Atlantic has it posted in full.

Also all over the interwebs is Elizabeth Kolbert talking about her new book, the Sixth Extinction. “We are effectively undoing the beauty and the variety and the richness of the world which has taken tens of millions of years to reach,” Kolbert tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.  “We’re sort of unraveling that…. We’re doing, it’s often said, a massive experiment on the planet, and we really don’t know what the end point is going to be.”

Do our green urban policies actually undermine social equity? Tom Slater fires a shot across the bow of the advocates for urban sustainability and resiliency, and asks, Who gains? Who loses?


Recognition for the groups, including TCLF, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, and the Minnesota chapter of Docomomo US,  who rallied to save M. Paul Friedberg’s modern landscape, Peavey Plaza.

Lorena Martínez, the mayor of Aguascalientes, Mexico, finds that the new 8 mile long linear park park, La Línea Verde, solves a host of urban problems, from asthma to crime. Cityscope talks to the mayor and the citizens about what it took.

Via Grist, Brentin Mock interviews Clarice Gaylord, who was in charge of the EPA’s first effort to deal with issues of environmental justice–under the Bush administration.

Instead of selling his 300 acres of highly valuable land near Silicon Valley–the number $500 million was thrown out there–Walter Cottle Lester willed his family farm to the state to be preserved as an agricultural park. No playgrounds, no swimming pools, no basketball court, just wide open space.

Via PlaceswireEsri’s ArcGIS opens up its platform to the public and puts reams of government data, including the EPA’s, into the public’s hands.


Photographs by artist/geographer Trevor Paglen of never before-seen-surveillance sites cracks open the hidden landscapes of intelligence gathering.

So very cool new Multiplicity project from Landscape Forms and Fuseproject lets designers play with street furniture.

Translation, please: “Interrogating the hermeneutic potentiality of the urban fabric’s boundary conditions is the key to intervening in the city’s morphology. The phenomenological nature of a building and its neighborhood is enhanced by ludic acts of horizontality.”

How to make pennyfloors, with much chortling in the comments about cost per square foot.

The world without people is a little bit creepy.


By Constance Casey

SPECIES: Mesquite Trees, Christine Ten Eyck.

Mesquite Trees, Christine Ten Eyck. Adam Barbe, ASLA/Courtesy Ten Eyck Landscape Architects

From the February issue of LAM:

“I could ask for no better monument over my grave than a good mesquite tree, its roots down deep like those of people who belong to the soil, its hardy branches, leaves, and fruit holding memories of the soil.”

This was the wish of the late J. Frank Dobie, beloved author of many books on Texas history, including Cow People and The Longhorns.

Many cow people, with their own deep roots in Texas, find mesquite far too rugged and tenacious—in fact, they consider mesquite a menace. The shrubby tree flourishes in some 60 million Texan acres, across the whole state except the eastern piney woods. Mesquite thrives in disturbed soil, and nothing disturbs soil like grazing cattle. Aggravate the native grass and mesquite is the opportunist that moves in. It is undiscouraged by drought or flood, adjusts to baking heat or freezing cold, and does fine in nutrient-poor soil, having the useful talent of its family, the Leguminosae (now known as Fabaceae), of nitrogen fixing.

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Shangri La Botanical Gardens, Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects. 2012 ASLA Award, General Design.

Shangri La Botanical Gardens, Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects. 2012 ASLA Award, General Design.

Another ASLA Professional Awards cycle is upon us! This is your yearly chance to get your best work in front of a fantastic jury and potentially broadcast to a global audience of your peers and potential clients. If your work is honored, it will be published in LAM’s annual awards issue in October. The awards will be presented at the ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO in Denver in November.

Some people don’t enter because they’re shy or believe their projects won’t catch the jury’s attention. But you must play to win: “My advice: Believe in your work,” says Jeffrey Carbo, FASLA, of Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects & Site Planners in Alexandria, Louisiana. Carbo’s first national ASLA award, for the Cane River Residence in 2005, came on his third try. That award “was a springboard to other projects, including the project that won an award in 2012,” which was the Shangri La Botanical Gardens in Orange, Texas.


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Shute's Folly Island: Redefining Tourism Site Plan. Courtesy Zheming Cai.

Shute’s Folly Island: Redefining Tourism Site Plan. Courtesy Zheming Cai.

Undergraduate Zheming Cai’s ASLA award-winning student project to reimagine the historic military site of Shute’s Folly Island off coastal South Carolina took on the twin behemoths of preservation and tourism and forged them into a refined solution that balanced the site’s architectural and landscape histories. The project, Preservation as Provocation: Redefining Tourism, won a 2013 ASLA Student Honor Award and was praised by the “very impressed” jury for its sophistication. Cai’s design of the historic fortification “broke away from the military history” and “built on other reasons to visit,” according to the comments. Now a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cai talked with us about how to use flooding as an interpretive tool for historic places, understanding the genius loci, and taking a landscape perspective on tourism.

You won the ASLA Student Honor Award for a project that was about preservation and tourism in South Carolina while you were a student at Purdue University. Can you tell us how you got interested in these two concepts and how you chose the site?
This was my senior capstone design project. The previous semester, I had taken a more architecturally oriented historic preservation course with Ken Schuette, who is also my adviser. I had focused on community, cultural heritage, and downtown areas, so that took some of my initial interest in that direction. Schuette discovered a student competition for Castle Pinckney sponsored by the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. He asked me if I had any interest in doing a competition for my capstone, and I said yes, I will do it.

The reason I picked this competition was that I was reading through their brief and they had this attached image of the castle (Castle Pinckney). Lots of my undergrad research is on the genius loci, the spirit of a place, and it reminded me a lot of the picturesque Tintern Abbey kind of image, and that got me really excited. I’m a landscape architect, so I wanted to stick my hat into the ring and do this competition from a landscape perspective. I didn’t win because my project wasn’t architectural enough, which was pretty interesting.

So initially it wasn’t my intention to apply for an ASLA award, but my adviser highly recommended it. At the time, I had graduated already and I was traveling in Yellowstone with my parents, so I had to put it all together in a little cabin.

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