Category Archives: Climate

Together for the Terroir

In California’s wine country, a landscape architect helps farmers and residents prepare for wildfires.

By Jennifer Reut

Plan view of residence with garden and trees planted around it.
Working with homeowners on design templates was a way to support those who had lost homes to wildfires. Courtesy Christie Jarvis/Ann Baker Landscape Architecture.

Having grown up in Northern California, Ann Baker remembers the region’s wine country before it was dotted with tasting rooms and destination spas. Baker often visited her grandparents, the Solaris, at Larkmead Vineyards, the historic winery and vineyards that have been in her family since the mid-20th century. “As a kid, I always was going out to Larkmead because that was their home, and we always had big family gatherings there and played games on the lawn and had ravioli for Thanksgiving, and then the turkey and everything else,” she says. Continue reading Together for the Terroir

Pocket Ecologies

Offshoots, Inc., designs a place for people, bikes, and plants in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood.

By Karolina Hac

Aerial photo showing ramp, green roof, and trees shielding parkgoers from the freeway.
The park uses trees and topography to screen the adjacent elevated freeway. Image courtesy Peter Vanderwarker Photography.

Traveling into Boston on the elevated section of Interstate 93, a small pop of green is visible among the swath of industry in Charlestown’s Hood Park. Designed by Offshoots, Inc., in conjunction with Elkus Manfredi Architects, that green dot is known as Hood Bike Park. Continue reading Pocket Ecologies

Windbloom Maps the Breeze

Falon Mihalic’s sculpture charts the atmospheric forces that bind us.

By Zach Mortice

Plan view of sculpture on triangular site.
The color palette used in Windbloom was determined by the average wind direction for the entire year. Image by Falon Land Studio.

Windbloom, a 12-foot-high sculpture and pavilion under construction near Houston by the artist and landscape architect Falon Mihalic, will give physical form to ephemeral weather processes—specifically, which way the wind blows. The site-specific piece will map the direction of local wind, and its biomorphic qualities will reflect the vitality and energy of the Gulf Coast skies it surveys. Continue reading Windbloom Maps the Breeze

Tier Drops

Water out West is disappearing. Seven states, 30 tribes, and millions of people will need to adjust.

By Lisa Owens Viani

The Central Arizona Project carries Colorado River water across a stretch of desert north of Bouse, Arizona. Photo © Ted Wood/The Water Desk.

In early August 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation declared the first ever Tier 1 shortage for the Colorado River, based on the agency’s projection that Lake Mead would drop below a threshold of 1,075 feet above sea level in January. Water levels in the river’s two main reservoirs—Lake Powell (behind Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona) and Lake Mead (behind Hoover Dam on the Arizona–Nevada border)—are now at their lowest since they were filled and flows in the river have declined. Continue reading Tier Drops

How to Grow a Greenway

For New Orleans’s popular Lafitte Greenway, the plan was just the beginning.

By Jane Margolies

Man planting trees near "Greenway GROW!" sign
Volunteers help plant cypress trees on the Lafitte Greenway in April during an event that sprang from the park’s new Greenway GROW! management strategy. Photo courtesy Spackman Mossop Michaels.

On a recent morning in New Orleans, church parishioners, employees on loan from local businesses, and sailors in town for Navy Week were among the 130 volunteers who showed up to plant 100 cypress trees in a bioswale on the Lafitte Greenway. The city’s Department of Parks and Parkways had already cleared the site bordering the Tremé neighborhood, and staff from the New Orleans office of the landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop Michaels (SMM) and a tree-planting nonprofit group had marked off where the 15-gallon, one-inch-caliper pond and bald cypress were to go. So the volunteers dug holes, dropped in the trees, backfilled them with soil, staked, and mulched. With everyone pitching in, the job was done in three hours. Continue reading How to Grow a Greenway

Banking on Borrowed Land

Balancing rural and urban needs, climate change, and chronic underfunding, the land trust industry is in a moment of reckoning.

By Erin Kelly, ASLA

An abandoned pocket park, prior to WRLC’s improvements. Image courtesy Tim Dehm/WRLC.

Land banks and land trusts have overlapping missions—stewarding land—but different frameworks and financing. Continue reading Banking on Borrowed Land

Park Diplomacy Across the U.S.–Mexico Border

This article is also available in Spanish

At Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, “two countries, two cities, one culture, one river, one park.”

By Jane Margolies

Zacate Creek, which feeds into the Rio Grande, creates an arroyo with a natural waterfall. Photo by Overland Partners.

Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas, Mexico—known colloquially as Los Dos Laredos—were a single city divided by the Rio Grande River until 1848, when a treaty established the international border in the river, leaving one half in the United States and the other in Mexico. Continue reading Park Diplomacy Across the U.S.–Mexico Border