This fall, LAM will be highlighting winning projects from the 2020 ASLA Awards by asking designers to dive deep into one image from their winning project.
Effecting Change to Avoid Disaster: Communicating Effective Wildfire Planning Strategies, by Design Workshop, Professional Communications Honor Award.
“We were in need of a suite of graphics to effectively communicate to decision makers how the choices they make can help their communities mitigate the risks of wildfire. We wanted our audience to learn about different mitigation techniques to reduce wildfire risk to the structure and surrounding landscape.”
“The graphic showing the overlapping home ignition zones further makes the point that mitigation takes a collective response—particularly in areas of more dense development. Research shows that while a holistic, comprehensive approach is important for other aspects of wildfire safety, such as evacuations and response, the home ignition zone is a critical component for reducing structure losses and other property damage. These two scales of mitigation are not at odds; rather [they] work together when coordinated.”
—Carly Klein, Design Workshop, Inc., and Molly Mowery, Wildfire Planning International
Since 1970, wildfires have increased 400 percent in the United States, especially across the western states. At the same time, about 60 percent of new residential development is built along what is known as the wildland urban interface—a region particularly susceptible to highly damaging wildfires. Landscape architects increasingly need communication tools to help clients, public officials, and communities understand different wildfire mitigation strategies and include them in the planning and design process. In response to this need, Design Workshop created a series of graphics that underscore the importance of collective land use and wildfire mitigation decisions at the community scale, as well as the house, city, and regional scales. For example, a graphic on home ignition zones illustrates decisions that can be made in concentric circles moving from the house out to the surrounding area, including eliminating combustible material near the house, creating “fuel breaks” such as driveways and walkways, and maintaining a mix of appropriately spaced and pruned trees in the outermost zone around the home. “Armed with this visual toolbox of strategic risk-reduction methods,” the jurors concluded, “landscape architects are empowered to initiate conversations that would trade vulnerability for resilience.”