April 2023: Make It Work

ON THE COVER: A model of the Narikala Ridge project in Tbilisi, Georgia, by Ruderal. Photo by Giorgi Kolbaia.

An image of a physical model of the Arsenal Oasis garden in Tbilisi, Georgia, inset with a photo of three people on the design team.
A model of Arsenal Oasis in Tbilisi, Georgia, reveals the roots of Ruderal’s practice. At right, Sarah Cowles, ASLA, (center) at Ruderal’s office with Benjamin Hackenberger and Ana Petriashvili. Photos by Sandro Sulaberidz.

FEATURED STORY: “Range Rover,” by Jessica Bridger. Tbilisi, Georgia, is an unexpected place for a well-established American designer and educator like Sarah Cowles, ASLA, to launch a new practice, but the vibrant city, wild Caucasus Mountains, and go-go business climate suited her. With Russia, China, and western Europe jockeying for ever-bigger infrastructure projects, Georgia, and increasingly, Ruderal, is right in the thick of a global crossroads’s rebirth.

Also in the issue:

FEATURE: “The Butterfly Effect,” by Anjulie Rao. For more than five years, only a small site of remembrance marked the place where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by the police while playing with his sister. To create a space for healing, Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, knew they would need more. Led by DesignJones LLC with DERU Landscape Architecture, the new Rice Butterfly Memorial is a testament to a community’s commitment and a mother’s determination to make a safer world for children from the ashes of grief (online April 13).

NOW: A pilot program for rural schoolyards launches in Oregon (online April 6); green burials and urban park space go together; a new podcast views the Green New Deal from abroad (online April 27); more money for coastal resilience is out there, and more.

INFRASTRUCTURE: “If Buffalo Could Roam,” by Timothy A. Schuler. After an old bridge became unsafe, plans for a replacement took an unexpected turn when a proposal for a wildlife crossing began to gather support. Landscape architecture students jumped in to take the idea from concept to (maybe) reality.

PLANNING: “The Heart of the Hill,” by Sarah Chase Shaw. Once known as the “Richest Hill on Earth,” Butte, Montana, has fought to move on from copper mining’s aftermath in the form of a Superfund site and the notorious Berkeley Pit. After decades of federal negotiations and community activism, the city is set to step forward with a new vision led by Land Design, Inc. (online April 20).

GOODS: “Public Relations,” by Kristen Mastroianni. Durable furniture for convivial spaces.

THE BACK: “Ten Topographic Acts,” by Marc Treib, Honorary ASLA. An excerpt from The Shape of the Land: Topography & Landscape Architecture looks at land formation and deformation in 10 iconic projects.

BOOK REVIEW: “Thoroughly Modern Marjorie,” by Elissa Rosenberg.  A review of Marjorie Sewell Cautley: Landscape Architect for the Motor Age, by Sarah Allaback.

BACKSTORY: A planting design installed at Madison Square Park with numbers at its core.

Public City’s 3D-Printed Models Illuminate What Drawings Can’t

It’s a very complicated project, but because of the way we’ve been able to explore it and show people exactly what we mean, I think we’ve been able to take the conversation a lot farther a lot more quickly than we would have been able to in traditional drawings.”

 Liz Wreford

Several colorful 3-D models of thunderhead forms that informed the design of an LGBTQ+ memorial in Winnipeg.
Image courtesy Taylor LaRocque, Public City.


The Winnipeg, Canada-based firm Public City has its office’s 3D printers humming for all its projects, says Liz Wreford, the firm’s cofounder and principal landscape architect. For Thunderhead, the winning competition design for the 2SLGBTQI+ National Monument in Ottawa, the concept was rooted in the prairie landscape and the experience of both dread and celebration that a thunderhead brings. Continue reading Public City’s 3D-Printed Models Illuminate What Drawings Can’t

Book Review: No Green Pill

The Topography of Wellness: How Health and Disease Shaped the American Landscape

By Sara Jensen Carr; Charlottesville, Virginia:
University of Virginia Press, 2021; 288 pages, $34.50.

Reviewed by Pollyanna Rhee

In 2016, Karen DeSalvo, the acting assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, noted that public health was in a new era where “one’s zip code is a better indicator of health than genetic code.” DeSalvo’s link between health and place underscored a pervasive and uncomfortable fact about living in the United States today: Racial and class-based segregation is both common and harmful for people’s physical and mental health. Continue reading Book Review: No Green Pill

Honor Roll

Preserving the private gardens of a pioneering landscape architect should have been a breeze.

By Timothy A. Schuler

Picture of Joe and Liz Yamada in the May 1977 issue of San Diego Magazine
Many of the landscape features seen in this portrait of Joe and Liz Yamada, from the May 1977 issue of San Diego Magazine, still exist today. Photo by Zenia Cleigh, courtesy Insun Lee and Troy Wu.

When Joseph Yamada and his wife, Elizabeth, died within nine days of each other in May 2020, obituaries and appreciations appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and NPR. Most focused on the couple’s incredible story: Born two days apart in 1930, the two met at age 11 at a Japanese internment camp.

They later attended the same high school, studied together at the University of California, Berkeley, then moved back to San Diego, where Joe Yamada became one of the most celebrated landscape architects of his generation and Liz Yamada was the first Asian faculty member at San Diego High School, later joining her husband’s firm, Wimmer Yamada & Associates, as a partner. Continue reading Honor Roll

A Star on the Horizon

Indigenous landscape designer Tim Lehman helps move a master plan and a mission forward.

By Lisa Owens Viani

Lush, Green Vegetation Around Ponds
Volunteers replanted the areas around three large ponds with
native and Indigenous food plants. Photo by Tim Lehman.

After Native Americans occupied Fort Lawton—today part of Seattle’s Discovery Park—in a peaceful protest in the early 1970s, the city negotiated a long-term leaseback of 20 acres of the 534-acre site with the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. “The land was supposed to be given back to the local tribe from which it was taken, but that didn’t really happen,” says Meghan Jernigan, a traditional medicine program director with United Indians, which led the protest. “There wasn’t a lot of political support, but a growing, cross-cultural coalition made this space thrive and allowed for development of the Daybreak Star Cultural Center.” Continue reading A Star on the Horizon


ON THE COVER: New York City Housing Authority buildings in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Image by Google Earth (base); Chris McGee/Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Gardens designed by Joseph Yamada for his home in San Diego

Featured Story: “Bet the House,” by Zach Mortice. New York City’s public housing was once a visionary project that combined architecture and landscape in humane and practical ways, but years of systemic disinvestment scuttled that dream. A new landscape master plan for the New York City Housing Authority by Grain Collective and Nancy Owens Studio looks to kick-start a transformation long overdue.

Also in the issue:

NOW: Urban canopies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will need strong roots; an Olmsted vision for a healthier childhood gets a restart in Rochester, New York; promising tech for reducing urban heat needs more work, and an Indigenous landscape designer helps move a mission forward (online here).

PRESERVATION: “Honor Roll,” by Timothy A. Schuler. When the influential landscape architect Joseph Yamada’s house in San Diego went up for historic listing, everything was there but the landscape (online here).

GOODS: “Parting Ways,” by Laurie A. Shuster. Walls and fences that add charm and texture while defining space.

THE BACK: “Designing Upward,” by Jennifer Reut. The key to a flourishing public space in Amsterdam is found below, according to BiodiverCITY: A Matter of Vital Soil!

BOOK REVIEW: “No Green Pill,” by Pollyanna Rhee. A review of The Topography of Wellness: How Health and Disease Shaped the American Landscape, by Sara Jensen Carr, ASLA (online March 16).

BACKSTORY: Without 3D-printed models, Public City might never have figured out how to build Thunderhead, a memorial to those affected by the LGBT Purge in Canada (online March 23).


Storm Warnings

As hurricanes increase in frequency and intensity, Puerto Rico’s landscape architects have solutions for managing rivers, stormwater, erosion, and coastal development—if only the government would ask.

By Laurie A. Shuster

A road blocked by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico.
A road blocked by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico. Photo by Stephanie Rojas/AP/Shutterstock.

In 2017, back-to-back hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, causing hundreds of billions of dollars in damage and taking roughly 3,000 lives. The territory was still recovering when Hurricane Fiona struck in September 2022, bringing up to 30 inches of rain in some areas, killing 25 people, knocking out power to the entire island, and causing some $10 billion in additional damage. Continue reading Storm Warnings

The Magazine of the American Society of Landscape Architects