Category Archives: Environment

The Age Of The Mega-Eco Project

Can large landscape infrastructure projects deliver ecological transformation better than their industrial predecessors?

By Robert Levinthal and Richard Weller

A map of mega-eco projects around the world
Courtesy Robert Levinthal.

For nearly a century, a new breed of megaproject has gone unrecognized, and it is now proliferating. These projects, which we have named “mega-eco projects,” are different from old-school megaprojects in important ways: They seek to address biodiversity loss, land degradation, and climate change while simultaneously improving the living conditions of the planet’s now eight billion inhabitants. We have documented nearly 250 of these mega-eco projects currently under construction and believe there is a big opportunity for the profession of landscape architecture to participate in them and better fulfill its mandate to steward the land. Continue reading The Age Of The Mega-Eco Project

The Heart of the Hill

Land Design’s fresh approach to a Superfund site brings the prospect of a better future for the residents of Butte, Montana.

By Sarah Chase Shaw

The Silver Bow Creek Conservation Area straddles residential, commercial, and industrial zones in the heart of Butte, Montana.
The Silver Bow Creek Conservation Area straddles residential, commercial, and industrial zones in the heart of Butte, Montana. Image courtesy Land Design, Inc.

In November 2018, Stacey Robinson, ASLA, stood up in front of a group of roughly 100 people at the Butte Brewing Company and unveiled a master plan for 160 acres along the upper Silver Bow Creek in Butte, Montana. The Silver Bow Creek Conservation Area Master Plan, designed by the Billings, Montana-based Land Design, Inc., where he is a principal, envisioned a lush greenway corridor through the middle of Butte, its interconnecting trails linking to other trail networks in Butte and beyond, as well as reconstructed creeks flowing into naturalized wetlands and parks, and playgrounds providing ample community gathering spaces. The land on which all this will be built is a designated Superfund site. Continue reading The Heart of the Hill

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

Home Grown

Refugia  converts homeowners into native plant advocates, one lawn at a time.

By Jared Brey

A well-grown natural habitat lawn
Refugia specializes in transforming lawns into pollinator-friendly habitats. Photo by Kayla Fell for Refugia.

Jeff Lorenz stood under the mid-June sun at FDR Park, monitoring the final touches on his company’s exhibit for the Philadelphia Flower Show. The exhibit space, ordinarily an asphalt parking lot, had been covered in mulch and lined with displays, all in the final moments of construction. Continue reading Home Grown

Made for the Marsh

A pair of landscape designers come up with a winning idea for the land-starved Louisiana coast.

By Timothy A. Schuler

Larix Underground’s floating planter alongside docks
Larix Underground’s floating planter is designed to be accessible in multiple locations, including alongside docks or even in the open water. Image courtesy Larix Underground.

Like many residents of southern Louisiana, the Indigenous residents of Grand Bayou Village, located among the southernmost reaches of Plaquemines Parish in the Mississippi River Delta and accessible only by boat, live with the varied effects of coastal land loss. Continue reading Made for the Marsh

Book Review: The Mass-Produced Forest

A review of Plant Life: The Entangled Politics of Afforestation by Rosetta S. Elkin.

By Jennifer Wolch

Plant Life Book Cover

Tree planting campaigns are widely seen as a nature-based solution to a variety of environmental challenges. Trees can absorb carbon emissions, halt desertification, protect biodiversity, cool urban heat islands, and redress environmental injustice.

Continue reading Book Review: The Mass-Produced Forest

Game Changer

Shorter, wilder courses and ample room for habitat are just some of the transformations coming to golf.

By Lisa Owens Viani

San Geronimo Golf Course
Ephemeral drainages will be restored in Larsen Meadow, the former back nine of San Geronimo Golf Course. Photo by Erica Williams, courtesy Trust for Public Land.

One outcome of the last housing boom was a glut of golf courses built to market new suburban developments. As courses have closed or sat vacant, planners and communities have debated their next best use.

Continue reading Game Changer