Archive for the ‘ENVIRONMENT’ Category

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At LAM this month, we’re deep into Louisiana—with a jog over to the Mississippi Delta—as we get ready to head to New Orleans, where several thousand landscape architects and our friends will be gathered for ASLA’s Annual Meeting & EXPO from October 21 to 24. We’re looking at the state from many angles. So much progress has been made in New Orleans since 2005’s life-altering blow from Hurricane Katrina, it can be hard to get a clear picture as the city reconstitutes itself.

To lead things off, Elizabeth Mossop, ASLA, a practitioner and professor long based in New Orleans, captures the strategy for new water infrastructure, among other systems, in the city. The transformation in large-scale thinking alone is bracing, centered on recognizing water as the city’s greatest asset rather than its greatest threat. Another effort at structural change in New Orleans, the Future Ground competition, sought ways to deal with the expanses of vacant urban land, post-Katrina. Timothy Schuler, a LAM contributing editor, reports on the difficulty of reprogramming such a vastly changed environment and the disillusion of several design teams named finalists by the sponsors, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and the Van Alen Institute. Farther south in Louisiana’s coastal zone, the residents of Isle de Jean Charles—considered to be among the first climate change refugees in the United States—are facing the simultaneous threats of sea-level rise and land loss. Brian Barth visited the community to learn how the New Orleans landscape architecture firm Evans + Lighter is helping residents manage a relocation effort inland, for which the federal government has awarded $48 million. Our cover story this month, by Brett Anderson of the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, is about the work of Forbes Lipschitz, ASLA, on the landscapes of catfish farms in the Mississippi Delta region. The region’s aquaculture holds benefits beyond providing fish to dinner tables. It’s economically important to a region where poverty rates are high, and it also serves as feeding grounds for migratory birds. Among landscape architects in Louisiana, perhaps none are so recognized for knowledge of its atmosphere as Jeffrey Carbo, FASLA. LAM staff writer Katarina Katsma, ASLA, visits three sites Carbo and his firm have designed to learn what he sees between the lines of his state.

There is much more in the Now section and other departments. And in the Back, don’t miss the critique Thaïsa Way, ASLA, delivers of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale or the review Gale Fulton, ASLA, writes of Landscape Architecture and Digital Technologies, by Jillian Walliss and Heike Rahmann. See you in New Orleans! The full table of contents for October can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 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 October articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “New Orleans Owns Its Water,” H+N+S Landscape Architects; “Grounded,” New Orleans Redevelopment Authority; “Let’s Beat It,” Julie Dermansky; “Catch of the Day,” Forbes Lipschitz, ASLA, and Justine Holzman, Associate ASLA; “Homing Instincts,” Chipper Hatter; “Life and Limb,” LandDesign/Denise Retallack; “Open Invitation,” Dredge Research Collaborative and Public Lab; “Water All Over Again,” Courtesy CPEX.

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Credit: ASLA 2016 Professional General Design Honor Award. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl / Lim Shiang Han.

Credit: ASLA 2016 Professional General Design Honor Award. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl / Lim Shiang Han.


Resilience is a word that has become fixed in the lexicon of landscape architecture, and for good reason. Resilience means, among other things, protecting the 80 percent of the world’s population living near a coast from the onslaught of natural disasters and climate change—and there are rising hazards inland, too. It also brings increasing equity to the valuable roles of landscape architects. There’s a ton of information out there on how communities can become more resilient. To help navigate it, ASLA recently released Resilient Design, a web guide that documents the importance of focusing on resilience (for the human and nonhuman worlds) and offers case studies organized into six general areas to show adaptations that try to anticipate the worst of circumstances. The guide, which was reviewed by several professionals deeply involved in resilience issues, emphasizes layered defenses rather than “heavy-handed infrastructure projects.”

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cleaning up after the burning man festival is serious business.

Cleaning up after the Burning Man festival is serious business.

From the August 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Every year, in the weeks leading up to Labor Day, a temporary metropolis emerges from the barren alkali flats of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Meticulously surveyed, the concentric circles and spokes of Black Rock City’s dusty streets fan out across some seven square miles of dry lake bed (or “playa”), providing an iconic geography for one of North America’s more bizarre annual rituals: Burning Man.

But the chaotic arts and music festival, known for its high hedonism, is as much an exercise in evanescent urban planning as it is a radical social experiment. Come Labor Day, Burning Man’s deeply ingrained leave-no-trace ethos takes over. Attendees pack up gear, artists break down installations, and theme camps dismantle projects so elaborate that (more…)

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

Credit: GGN (Gustafson Guthrie Nichol).

Credit: GGN (Gustafson Guthrie Nichol).

From “San Francisco’s Overlooked Edge” by Lisa Owens Viani, in the July 2016 issue, featuring the reworking of San Francisco’s neglected shorelines into the Blue Greenway.

“San Francisco terminus.”

—Chris McGee, LAM Art Director

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 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.

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Osteria ai Pioppi is an unusual ecological amusement park in a small community north of Venice, Italy. There Bruno Ferrin handcrafted fantastical rides with metal and other odd materials that are all kinetically driven, allowing children to learn while engaging with the rides. Ferrin has been adding new creations—which he says are all inspired by nature—since 1969. This two-minute video is presented by the Great Big Story, a video network featuring unusual and awe-inspiring places around the world. For more information and videos, please visit here.

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From the June 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Several conditions of the contemporary world present serious challenges to traditional or conventional ways of thinking and making in landscape architecture. Some of these, such as the continuing analog versus digital debates, are tiresome, rarely well-argued (by at least one side if not both), and counterproductive to an advance in the cultural efficacy of the discipline. Others are more complex and unwieldy, but also likely have much greater capacity to expand the scale and scope of landscape architecture in the future. In this category I would place the interrelated questions of “planetary urbanization,” “Nature,” and the effects of the Anthropocene among the most perplexing and fecund for the future of the discipline. As Jedediah Purdy writes in After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene, “As climate change shifts ecological boundaries, problems like habitat preservation come to resemble landscape architecture. We can’t just pen in animals to save them; we need to secure migration corridors and help species move as their habitats lurch across a changing map.” In effect, we will have to become planetary gardeners.

Obviously, such massive questions exceed the capacities of any one discipline’s knowledge. But this “bigness” should not be an alibi for continued reliance on outmoded ways of thinking such as notions of cities or sites as discrete, bounded conditions that can be operated on without understanding of context or flows. Similarly, and perhaps even more relevant to the day-to-day practices of many landscape architects, ideas (or ideologies) regarding nature, ecology, wild, invasive, and native continue to be treated as simplistic binary conditions that prematurely shut down what could be a vast territory of conceptual and practical exploration. It may also be that landscape architecture is particularly well-suited to engage these territories because of the unique disciplinary potential made possible through the hybridization of typically distinct science/design/humanities epistemologies. With these larger questions in mind, two recent books prove useful in providing not only new conceptual frames to intellectually engage these issues, but also updated tools and techniques necessary for developing concrete practices to physically and practically engage these conditions in ways that move beyond the status quo.

As the title suggests, Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer, ASLA, and Claudia West, International ASLA, draws upon the notion that (more…)

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From We Declare in the May 2016 issue, five landscape architects, scholars, and advocates revisit “A Declaration of Concern” for the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s 50th anniversary celebration.




The 1966 Declaration of the Landscape Architecture Foundation established very clearly the group’s concern about the poor environmental conditions, social inequalities, and loss of quality of life prevalent in most North American cities around that time. It was a timely and valorous call, an outcry and a moral declaration by landscape architecture leaders of their time.

To be honest, many U.S. cities have in these 50 years upgraded their levels of air quality, decreased their contamination of soils and water, and improved their public open spaces. Many of these cities have rehabilitated and repopulated their city centers and enhanced habitability in general.

However, many other challenges and global concerns have now arisen, including climate change, the horizontal expansion of cities, and, in the United States, still the highest levels in consumption per person of natural resources, energy, land, and water in the world.

Fifty years ago in Latin America, there were very few landscape architects and not a single (more…)

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