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BY KOFI BOONE, ASLA

Julian Agyeman works toward sustainability that embodies justice: “I’m the one who asks the awkward questions.”

FROM THE MARCH 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE. 

 

Julian Agyeman, a professor of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts University, is a pioneer in the overlapping terrain of social equity, environmental justice, design, and planning. His decades of scholarship, including the groundbreaking book Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (The MIT Press, 2003), have shaped global dialogue on the links connecting improved environmental quality and social equity. In a recent conversation, Agyeman shared his thinking on aligning issues of social equity and environmental justice with teaching and practicing of built environmental change. This interview has been edited and condensed. Continue Reading »

As part of an ongoing effort to make content more accessible, LAM will be making select stories available to readers in Spanish. For a full list of translated articles, please click here.

BY JENNIFER REUT

FROM THE MAY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

There are a lot of different kinds of roads in Texas. There are state and federal highways that pull truckers through long stretches of the state from one town to another. They tangle up briefly in urban and suburban streets before heading west. There are farm-to-market roads and ranch-to-market roads, so named because they connect rural people to towns where they sell their products, find education, and maybe find jobs. Roads in Texas, especially in sparsely populated areas of the state, were more than a way to get from point A to point B. They brought progress, change, newcomers, but also a way for people to leave for good. Texas was slow to adopt paved roads, and many of the farm- and ranch-to-market roads weren’t paved until after World War II. Today these roads make up just over half of the 80,444 miles of roads managed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

In Texas, US 67 is a highway that runs from Texarkana to the border with Mexico at Presidio. It passes through Dallas and San Angelo, intermingling with other, bigger federal highways along the way, and finally gets loose on its own around Fort Stockton (population 8,356). From there it’s a sometimes rolling, sometimes clear shot through Alpine (pop. 6,065) and Marfa (pop. 1,772) to Presidio (pop. 4,099) and the border with Mexico.

For much of the ride, especially south of Marfa, US 67 is a two-lane road with narrow shoulders, hemmed in by ranchlands or rocky buttes on each side. Ranch roads peel off occasionally but not often, so there’s no predictable place to pull over and turn around. Once you’re on, you’re on.

Fortunately, it’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful drive through the northeast corner of the Chihuahuan Desert, Continue Reading »

ON-RAMPS, ON TIME

BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

Landscape architects can do more than talk about diversity—they can act.

FROM THE MAY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

The high school students were pretending to be plants. They crouched in front of giant, wall-sized pieces of parachute cloth, china markers in hand, and slowly grew, black lines following suit. Recalling the movement of the prairie grasses just outside, they waved and swayed and curled in on themselves, a collective interpretive dance that evoked the native grasses and wildflowers that they had been studying all morning. Quickly a mass of black lines became a monochromatic prairie, a temporary mural inspired by the small patch of native grassland visible from the hallway window.

Leading the drawing exercise was Erin Wiersma, an artist and associate professor in the art department at Kansas State University. Wiersma is best known for her massive biochar “drawings,” which she makes by dragging huge sheets of paper across freshly burned prairie. The exercise at J.C. Harmon High School, located in the largely Hispanic Kansas City, Kansas, neighborhood of Argentine, was part of Grassland Interview, an interdisciplinary art and ethnography project created in collaboration with the landscape architect Katie Kingery-Page, ASLA, the associate dean of Kansas State’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Design. Continue Reading »

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

Photo by Sahar Coston-Hardy, Affiliate ASLA.

From “One March Day,” a photo essay by Sahar Coston-Hardy, Affiliate ASLA, in the May 2020 issue, about how the COVID-19 pandemic settled into Philadelphia’s public spaces.

“Parks on pause.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 250 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 JONATHAN LERNER

Cornell students bring visions for climate adaptation down to the Hudson shore.

FROM THE MAY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

The Hudson River is tidal, gaining a mean elevation of only two feet for 150-plus miles inland from the Atlantic. It is flanked, almost without interruption, by bluffs and cliffs. Most communities along it have only a slender strip of land at river level. Historically, industries and infrastructure were sited below, with more salubrious parts of towns built up the slopes. Most industry is gone. Communities want to reinvent their riverfronts, which means contending with the tides and storms of a changing climate. They’re getting help from Josh Cerra, ASLA, the director of graduate studies in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University. With collaboration from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program, he has been bringing community-based “Climate-Adaptive Design” studios to Hudson River towns.

The studio has obvious pedagogical value. Students learn site research and engagement skills, and to imbue design with climate science. Meanwhile, it lets Cerra pursue an interest in applied education and cross-disciplinary experiences. In developing their concepts, his students get “consultants”—other students, from Cornell’s Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering. To assess the studio’s benefits, Cerra is collaborating with a Cornell researcher who studies behaviors and conservation management. Their inquiries, he says, include “how working with engineers or other technical partners may enhance learning innovation” for landscape architects. And then there is the studio’s value to the towns, which are gifted with provocative visions for their futures. Continue Reading »

BY BRADFORD MCKEE

Miami Beach Soundscape Park by West 8. Photo by Robin Hill.

Registration opened yesterday for the 2020 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture, which runs October 2 to October 5 in Miami Beach—a place rich with urgent landscape, climate, and water issues to confront, not to mention turquoise waves and a lot of fun amid the refreshing Atlantic breezes. As ever, if you book early, through June 9, you save on the registration fee (up to $300 off the on-site registration fee for professional members, if you book lodging in hotels where ASLA has reserved rooms for the event). Besides the many colleagues you look forward to seeing each year, there will be 120 ways to educate yourself and earn professional development hours in programs, field sessions, deep-dive inquiries, the invigorating general session, the ASLA awards, and the huge ASLA EXPO bustling with your favorite products, services, programs, and people.

ASLA has measures in place to ensure attendees a safe and enjoyable meeting, with the uncertain factors of the novel coronavirus pandemic first in mind. In a recorded message to prospective attendees, ASLA President Wendy Miller, FASLA, said, “These are not normal times, and this will not be a normal conference. But as of today, we are proceeding and adapting our plans for this fall.”

The ASLA staff is working closely with local meeting and tourism officials, convention industry experts, and the host chapter, ASLA Florida, to monitor guidance for large gatherings regarding group sizes and distancing provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local agencies. If the conference proceeds as planned, registrants who find they later wish to cancel will receive refunds minus a $100 processing fee. However, after August 10, registration fees are not refundable. Tickets for special events and field sessions are not refundable. Hotel deposits will be refunded if reservations are canceled three days before your arrival—check details with your hotel.

If the conference must be canceled, your registration fee will be fully refunded, as will the processing fee and costs of tickets to special events. Hotels will also refund your deposit. For airfares, you should check with your airline about reimbursement or credit policies.

Miller expressed optimism that ASLA can gather in Miami Beach within the bounds the pandemic imposes. “If you’re a conference veteran, you know how powerful the experience can be,” she said. “And we are committed to bringing that experience to our members again this year.”

BY BRADFORD MCKEE

Students at LABash 2018 discuss what they’d like to see in a resource guide for students about environmental justice. Image courtesy Roane Hopkins.

In late April, ASLA’s Board of Trustees voted at its spring meeting to eliminate the fee for student membership in the society. Yes, that’s right: Membership is now free for students, student affiliates, and international students. The change took effect May 1. Nonmember students who wish to join need only to fill out an application online. Current student members needn’t do anything—their memberships will renew automatically at no cost until graduation.

“I am excited about the change in the student membership fee structure for multiple reasons,” says Dennis R. Nola, ASLA, the society’s vice president of membership and the chair of the bachelor’s degree program in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Maryland in College Park. “Now, more than ever, is the time for ASLA to think creatively about engaging students and their transition to emerging professionals.”  Continue Reading »