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Archive for the ‘ECOLOGY’ Category

BY JULIAN RAXWORTHY

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From the July 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

In my seminar on contemporary theories of landscape architecture at the University of Cape Town, I recently asked students, during the week allocated to discussing landscape urbanism, to choose a project from Africa that could be called “landscape urbanist.” One student chose the renovation of the Luanda waterfront in Angola. This project is an upgrade that could just as easily be described as conventional landscape architecture or urban design practice. That landscape urbanism seemed to just be landscape architecture to my students suggests how generic the term has become when considered in relation to implementation: It could be just about anything. Landscape urbanism is a vibe.

Landscape urbanism is an evocative term that has exercised great influence over academic design discourse in landscape architecture but has remained ambiguous in practical terms. One of its key propagandists, Charles Waldheim, Honorary ASLA, a professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, has attempted to provide a “general theory” for it in his new book Landscape as Urbanism, which, while engagingly going some of the way toward doing so, leaves the persistent question of “OK, but so what?” remaining.

Talking about landscape urbanism is more like (more…)

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Margie Ruddick and Thomas Rainer talk about their new books on wild landscape design.

Margie Ruddick and Thomas Rainer talk about their new books on wild landscape design.

From the July 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

In the past several months, Thomas Rainer, ASLA, and Margie Ruddick have each published books centered around notions of designing “wild” landscapes in the public realm to help restore ecological diversity in urban settings. Ruddick’s book is Wild by Design: Strategies for Creating Life-Enhancing Landscapes (Island Press, $45), and Rainer’s is Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes (Timber Press, $39.95). We invited the two to ASLA’s offices to talk about the project they have in common. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Why did you each decide to write books on wildness in landscape design?

Margie Ruddick: I didn’t actually think of my work as wild at all until Anne Raver wrote this piece, “In Philadelphia, Going Green or Growing Wild?” [about Ruddick’s home garden, in the New York Times], and then I started to get e-mails from people all around the world, and I realized: This is wild gardening.

Thomas Rainer: It felt like a good place to be, and we [Rainer and his coauthor, Claudia West, International ASLA] are both plant geeks. We had a lot of practical problems to work out in terms of how to (more…)

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Trees-For-Bees-2016-Poster

This year’s official National Pollinator Week poster. Credit: Pollinator Partnership, artist Natalya Zahn.

This is National Pollinator Week, held every year to call attention to the imperiled state of bees, butterflies, birds, and bats, and their pivotal role in the environment and the food web.  Throughout the week, organizations around the country will host events and talks on the problems facing pollinators and possible steps for their future health. There’s a pollinator tour in Caldwell, Idaho; a Discovery Day at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta; Beekeeping for Beginners at Timberline Farm in Belleview, Florida, and much more, all of which can be found on this map hosted on the Pollinator Partnership’s website. There’s also a gathering here at ASLA on Thursday, June 23 to mark the occasion. There are, after all, 200,000 species of pollinators.

On Thursday, June 23 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern, Keith Robinson, the lead landscape architect at the California Department of Transportation, will represent ASLA at a congressional briefing titled “Highways to Habitats: Enhancing Pollinator Forage Areas” to discuss pollinator health and conservation actions with members of the Congressional Pollinator Protection Caucus.

The Pollinator Partnership website is a great resource throughout the year; it has many ways in which to get involved in the protection of our pollinators, including native planting palettes searchable by region. For more information about National Pollinator Week and events near you, please visit www.pollinator.org.

 

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Need you wonder why we started a drinking game called “Portland” here at the magazine? The Oregon metropolis always has so much to show for its progressive thinking. A large team of landscape architects and other designers can take credit and pride in the new MAX Orange Line, seen on LAM’s cover this month, which at 7.3 miles is the latest addition to the city’s light-rail network. Mayer/Reed led the urban design of eight stations, and ZGF Architects led urban design on two others. Also involved are landscape architects who work for the client transit agency, TriMet, plus the Portland offices of Marianne Zarkin Landscape Architects, Lango Hansen Landscape Architects, and Alta Planning + Design. The rail route incorporates bold, colorful streetscapes with more than 3,000 trees, 286 bioswales, and—newer in the United States than in Europe—a short stretch of vegetated track bed. Sean Batty, ASLA, the director of operating projects at TriMet, tells the author, Betsy Anderson, Associate ASLA: “Are we trying to solve a transportation problem? No, we’re trying to solve an urban design problem, which we’re defining as landscape architects: We’re trying to create positive human habitat.”

The May issue of LAM has numerous other fine examples of habitat: There’s the new plaza around a campus residential tower at MassArt in Boston by Ground, Inc., which won a 2015 ASLA Professional Award for Residential Design. And then there is the enduring beauty of a residential garden by Isabelle Greene, FASLA, in California, as appreciated by Lisa Gimmy, ASLA. In the realm of animal habitats, we report on a new online tool developed by the entomologist Doug Tallamy and the National Wildlife Federation to help encourage property owners to create richer wildlife habitats everywhere they can conceivably do so. Our serial coverage of the National Park Service during its centenary year continues with a report by Daniel Howe, FASLA, on projects to promote large-scale landscape conservation around the Appalachian Trail.

This month, we are also looking forward to the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s 50th anniversary celebration in Philadelphia on June 10 and 11. LAF asked a number of landscape architects to write contemporary responses to the “Declaration of Concern” articulated in 1966 by Ian McHarg and several colleagues in response to the unbound environmental degradation they were witnessing all around them in those years. Five of those essays appear in this issue. And, as ever, don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for May can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 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.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating May articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “The Art of Hanging Out,” Christian Phillips; “All Along the Line,” C. Bruce Forster; “The Lightest Touch,” Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA; “For the Birds, Indeed,” Courtesy Douglas W. Tallamy; “The Greater Margins,” Courtesy Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

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A new film focuses on Jens Jensen.

From the April 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Jens Jensen didn’t care much for the White City. According to the new documentary Jens Jensen: The Living Green, he, along with the architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, rejected the European influence of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and embraced the prairie and its ecology as the American landscape idiom. Today, many of his pioneering ideas about the use of native plants and landscape conservation have new currency. Jensen, who was born in Denmark but is closely associated with Chicago’s urban parks and midwestern landscape preservation, will be the subject of an Earth Day observance at the New York Botanical Garden. A screening of the documentary will be followed by a panel discussion with Darrel Morrison, FASLA; Robert Grese, ASLA; the filmmaker Carey Lundin; and Jensen’s great-granddaughter, Jensen Wheeler Wolfe.

Jens Jensen: The Living Green Film Screening and Panel Discussion at the National Building Museum, April 14, 2016, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

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BY JANE ROY BROWN

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A historic airfield in Massachusetts is transformed into a haven for biodiversity.

From the February 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

“Are you folks from the parks department?” asked a white-haired man in hiking clothes.

It was an early summer morning, and he approached a small group standing in a path at 1st Lt. Arthur E. Farnham Jr. and SSgt. Thomas M. Connolly Jr. Memorial Park, which covers 12 acres on the 338-acre site of a former regional airport in Canton, southwest of Boston. The group did not include anyone from the park’s managing agency, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). But it did include the park’s designers, Deneen Crosby, ASLA, and Daniel Norman, ASLA, from the Boston firm Crosby | Schlessinger | Smallridge (CSS). With them was the consulting biologist Ingeborg Hegemann, the senior vice president of ecological sciences and principal at BSC Group, a Boston-based environmental services firm. Hegemann worked with CSS to evaluate the soils, review proposed grading, and select plants and seed stock for the park, which includes extensive restored wetlands.

The park visitor, a retired Canton resident who identified himself as “Mike,” described a woman he had spotted digging up plants and stashing them in her trunk. “She had a shovel in the car, so it wasn’t the first time,” he said, pulling a notebook from his day pack. He read out a plate number. Norman jotted it down. “I come here almost every day,” said Mike. “I love this park, and I don’t want to see it destroyed.”

It was the kind of gratifying feedback professionals who work on public projects rarely get firsthand, and it left the team (more…)

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In February’s issue of LAM, you’ll find Sweetwater Spectrum, the winner of a 2015 ASLA Honor Award in Residential Design by Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture, designed for a community of adults with autism; Sundance Square Plaza in Fort Worth, Texas, designed by Michael Vergason Landscape Architects to transform a dead block in a resurgent downtown; and a report on what’s behind the numbers of the National Park Service’s  $11.49 billion maintenance backlog. And you won’t want to miss a fabulous project in Massachusetts, where a historic airport has reverted to a naturalistic wetland and meadow, designed by Crosby | Schlessinger | Smallridge.

In Water, a 1,000-year flood in Nashville brought about a park that works with rather than against water; and in House Call, a garden pavilion built from a steep cliff over the San Fernando Valley creates outdoor space with breathtaking views. And don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for February can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 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.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating February articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Welcome Home,” Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA; “Square Dance,” Brian Luenser Photography; “Roads to Ruin,” Philip Walsh; “Soft Landing,” © Charles Mayer Photography; “Nashville’s New Porch,” Matt Carbone; “Over the Edge,” © Undine Pröhl.

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