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

Image courtesy Traction team members.

From “Where Least Matters Most” by Katarina Katsma, ASLA, in the May 2018 issue, an interview with Coco Alarcón, whose design collective Traction is forging new models of grassroots participatory design in the developing world.

“Floating garden framework.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 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.

AT EASE

BY BRADFORD MCKEE

A quirky nook at UC Berkeley memorializes Bill Callaway in style.

FROM THE MAY 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Peter Walker, FASLA, has thought quite a lot about memorial design. With Michael Arad, he completed the World Trade Center Memorial in Lower Manhattan, which opened in 2011. But a more recent call about a memorial commission was quite personal. It came from Jennifer Wolch, the dean of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, near where Walker has his firm, PWP Landscape Architecture. She wanted to create a memorial within the school’s Wurster Hall to William Byrd Callaway, known to his friends as Bill. Callaway, who died in 2014 at the age of 71, joined Walker at SWA in 1967 and eventually became its CEO—and a legend to his colleagues.

Wolch “had quite an interesting space, but it was really ugly,” Walker said. “Everyone just threw stuff in it.” The space is a two-story light well for which no use was specified when the building opened in 1964. Faculty members at that time debated its best use but couldn’t agree on what that would be. “The decision was made to put all plans on the back burner,” Wolch said. “For 52 years.” Continue Reading »

BY ZACH MORTICE

The Upstate Archipelago proposal. Image courtesy Cornell Design, H+N+S, and SOAR (Strengthening Our Area Residents) of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension.

New York’s Erie Canal once projected a young nation’s power and commercial ambitions across half a continent. Connecting New York City and the Hudson River north of Albany all the way to the Great Lakes, at 363 miles long, it was the second largest canal in the world when it opened in 1825, and one of the most transformative infrastructure projects of America’s early history. It reduced bulk commodity costs by 90 percent, according to some estimates, and it’s been immortalized in stories and songs ever since.

But in the 201 years since it began construction, the canal has been leapfrogged by nearly every manner of freight and commodity transit: rail, road, pipelines, and even the now-navigable St. Lawrence River. Vessel traffic on the canal peaked in the early 1950s, and recreational boating peaked in 1989.

To reverse this slide, the New York State Canal Corporation is hosting the Reimagine the Canals Competition to re-envision how this feat of 19th-century land engineering can be better integrated into the 21st century. Continue Reading »

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

Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch.

From “Closer Quarters” by Jeff Link in the May 2018 issue, about researchers’ attempts to study how wild urban canines such as foxes and coyotes adjust to city life.

“Field test and tag.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 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.

BY KATARINA KATSMA, ASLA

Traction believes landscape architecture is for the people, not just the elite.

FROM THE MAY 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

In 2016, as a student at the University of Washington, Coco Alarcón won the ASLA Student Residential Design Award of Excellence for his project to improve public health by creating food gardens in a soggy, stressed neighborhood in Iquitos, Peru. He was also named a National Olmsted Scholar finalist that same year. Since then, Alarcón, who is Peruvian, has been working with a multidisciplinary collective he co-founded called Traction (formerly the Informal Urban Communities Initiative) to try to bring his ideas to fruition. Using research, community outreach, activism, and educational workshops, Traction works with people from communities where resources are scarce to create new social and physical infrastructure that promotes health, safety, and beauty for residents. LAM recently caught up with Alarcón to find out how his group’s work has progressed toward giving people, as he hopes, the motivation they need to transform their environments into equitable, healthy places.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

What are you working on now?
One of our projects is to design and construct a landscape architecture intervention in a slum community and measure the impacts on human, ecological, and environmental health. For example, we are documenting changes in human microbiome, water quality, mental health, and biodiversity of birds and amphibians—among other measurements—in the community to understand the effects of a productive community garden.

Another project focuses on the collection of literature, local experiences, and interviews with experts from different disciplines to understand the role that landscape architecture has on the pandemic of vector-borne diseases related to the Aedes aegypti mosquito, including Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. Continue Reading »

CLOSER QUARTERS

BY JEFF LINK

A two-year study of coyotes and red foxes reveals the impact of urban environments.

FROM THE MAY 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Over the past half century, coyotes have expanded their range across the continental United States and live in many North American cities—literally, in some cases, in people’s backyards. Their increased presence, says Katie Coyne, a senior associate planner and ecologist at Asakura Robinson in Austin, Texas, is one reason for landscape architects, planners, and wildlife managers to reexamine the design implications of large natural areas beyond their role as habitat for migratory birds and pollinators. Think of these areas as preferred foraging zones, she says, functional landscapes that accommodate coyotes and limit potential conflict with people and other species.

A recently published two-year study of urban canids in and around Madison, Wisconsin, sheds light on the issue. Researchers used radio collars and statistical analysis to assess the movement and home ranges of coyotes and foxes through a mosaic of residential, commercial, and public natural areas, including tallgrass prairie and oak savanna located within the University of Wisconsin–Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

Breaking from established behavioral patterns in rural areas, where coyotes will typically displace or kill red foxes to eliminate competition for resources, the two species were observed foraging within a hundred yards of one another for extended periods of time. On a weekly basis for a month, a pair of coyotes visited Continue Reading »

BY ZACH MORTICE

Image courtesy of Colorado State University.

Twelve Colorado State University Master of Landscape Architecture graduates are suing the school for promising to become an accredited degree program and failing to follow through, even seven years after the program began.

The lawsuit alleges that the school promised to pursue accreditation after an initial class had graduated, as Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) regulations require. Shelley Don, of Don, Galleher & Associates in Denver, is the attorney for all 12 plaintiffs. “The students understood that they were not getting into an accredited program,” Don said, “but were made to understand that the school was applying for accreditation, and that their role was going to be a necessary component of the accreditation process.”

E-mails transcribed in the formal complaint, and first reported by the Coloradoan, show that Brad Goetz, a Colorado State landscape architecture professor and the director of the MLA program, repeatedly assured the plaintiffs that the school was indeed seeking MLA accreditation. Continue Reading »