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Archive for the ‘HABITAT’ Category

INTERVIEW BY BRADFORD MCKEE

In his new book, Doug Tallamy looks at oaks as a life force.

FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In two influential books, the entomologist Douglas W. Tallamy has spread a message of people-powered biodiversity, to say that if humans have crowded out nature across the world, they can also invite it back in at close range. Tallamy, who is 70 and lives in southeastern Pennsylvania, is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he joined the faculty in 1981 and has led or coauthored 104 published research studies on the behavior and chemistry of insects. In 2007, his book Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants hatched a mission to persuade home gardeners to think big about the buffets they can create for animals just outside any door as bulwarks against ecological decline. He expanded that project in 2020 with Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard, which became a New York Times best seller.

Tallamy’s latest book, The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees (published, like the others, by Timber Press), puts his message through a different prism, that of the genus Quercus, which includes 435 species of oaks around the world, 91 of them in North America, where they are superlative among trees as sources of food and shelter in their environments. He details the oak’s life cycle through the 12 months of the year. “Unfortunately, the diverse web of life that is associated with oaks goes unnoticed and thus unappreciated by most homeowners,” Tallamy writes. Many homeowners, indeed, are ready to cut down oaks to avoid raking leaves, though he explains that raking is not only unnecessary but to be strongly discouraged, given the high value of oak leaf litter as microhabitat. Once again his gift to readers, in plainspoken prose, is to help them see the familiar in nature and find the unseen.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Bradford McKee: In The Nature of Oaks, as in your earlier books, you’re bringing science and natural history to the household conversation—

Doug Tallamy: That’s the goal!

BM: —though scientists who do academic research and also do public advocacy so regularly are exceptions in most fields. What’s driving your mission? (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

Nantucket Island, where impending sea-level rise hasn’t done much to slow the real estate market. Photo by Maggie Janik.

In the face of likely climate retreat, student design studios explore ways to improve Nantucket’s coastal resilience.

 

On Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, half of the 10 highest-ever tides arrived in 2018 alone, and flooding is a constant worry that imperils the tourist economy and historic buildings. “But that has not slowed down the real estate market,” says Cecil Barron Jensen, the executive director of the local nonprofit ReMain Nantucket. It’s been a “banner, record year” for buying and selling houses, she says. The average home price in Nantucket is nearly $1.8 million, according to Zillow, up almost 10 percent over the past year.

Real estate brokers on the island, Jensen says, talk about the flooding in terms of timelines. “How long do you want to enjoy this house? You can enjoy this house for this long,” she says. Even for the rich, the good life on Nantucket is becoming a finite commodity, as the dissonance between the hearty trade in beachfront views and climate cataclysm becomes harder to ignore.

Finding ways for Nantucket to coexist with rising floodwaters is the purpose of the Envision Resilience Nantucket Challenge, an initiative by Jensen’s ReMain Nantucket to bring aboard teams of design students in a collaborative design studio to propose solutions. Overall, these propositions, on exhibition at the Nantucket Historical Association’s Thomas Macy Warehouse through December, are focused on soft edges, careful retreats, and ways to get habitats, native ecologies, and people to mix and mingle with water productively. Students from five design programs (Yale, Harvard, the University of Miami, the University of Florida, and Northeastern University) presented their work—all produced remotely—to the Nantucket community in early June. (more…)

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BY TOM STOELKER

Green-Wood Cemetery embraces change and looks to bring degraded landscapes back to life.

FROM THE JUNE 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

There’s a turn at a road in Green-Wood, the 478-acre cemetery in Brooklyn, where tall blond grass reaches up to meet age-old headstones. The effect could seem like a windswept meadow, but for those whose loved ones are interred at Green-Wood, it may look like overgrown weeds. While there is a growing public awareness of lawns as environmentally problematic, generations of Americans continue to pay good money to rest beneath a bed of green in perpetuity. If you couple the love of grass with the fact that more Americans are choosing cremation over burial, the dilemmas facing the burial industry, and Green-Wood in particular, become apparent.

Green-Wood is an arboretum with more than 8,000 trees of nearly 750 unique species and is one of the largest green spaces in New York City, but it’s also a business that sells real estate in one of the most competitive markets in the world.

Patterned after Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, originally home to the Lenape people, and the site of the Battle of Long Island in 1776, Green-Wood’s initial 200 acres were established on glacial moraines that formed Brooklyn’s highest point. In 1838, Henry Evelyn Pierrepont engaged David Bates Douglass, a West Point engineering professor and retired Army major, to lay out the drives, lakes, and paths of the cemetery. By September 5, 1840, local citizens John and Sarah Hanna were the first to be laid to rest. Today the Hannas are joined by more than 570,000 others, including Boss Tweed, Leonard Bernstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Louis Comfort Tiffany, whose glasswork graces more than a few mausolea. (more…)

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BY BRIAN FRYER

The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation moves closer to permanently memorializing historic injury in Idaho.

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

For centuries, it was tradition each January for several thousand members of the nomadic Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation to gather at a bend in the Bear River near the borders of Idaho and Utah. Tribal leader Darren Parry says the Shoshone called the place Boa Ogoi. Bands of the tribe would share stories, use the natural hot springs, and perform the “warm dance” to hasten the coming of spring.

In the mid-1800s, as more settlers came to the area now known as Cache Valley, there were intermittent conflicts with the Indigenous people there. On January 29, 1863, a detachment of the U.S. Army Cavalry attacked a group of Shoshone that had remained at Boa Ogoi after the annual gathering, killing nearly 400 men, women, and children in one of the largest mass murders of Native Americans in the United States. (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

New tools give landscape designers a better view of what’s thriving and what’s just surviving in the soil.

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Republic Square in Austin, Texas, is one of the city’s most historic, sensitive, and heavily trafficked public green spaces. In the heart of downtown, it’s one of the original four public squares dating back to the city’s founding. In 1839, the city’s initial run of surveyed and platted blocks was auctioned off beneath what became known as the Auction Oaks. Recently revitalized by Design Workshop, the square is a broad public green and plaza outlined by native plantings and groves of trees, some of which are nearly 600 years old.

Matt Macioge, the director of operations for the Downtown Austin Alliance, which operates the park, wanted to protect this valuable place. He has a background in design and construction, so he could anticipate the typical array of maintenance issues, but with an added layer of complexity. “The plants within [these landscapes] are dynamic. They’re growing, they’re dying, they’re pollinating, they have seasonal changes and cycles,” he says. “You really need to be able to live and breathe with the plants with your operations manual.” Macioge says he wanted “world-class standards,” a maintenance regimen that would react and adapt to changes in both programming and ecology. (more…)

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

Photo by Joanna Pertz.

From “A Resilient Renewal” in the January 2021 issue by Alex Ulam, about how Joanna Pertz Landscape Architecture reimagined a New York City hospital’s courtyard as flood resilience infrastructure that also connects patients and staff to the healing properties of the outdoors.

“Alumni courtyard at dusk.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 250 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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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

On a cramped site, Superjacent conjures a forest and one of L.A.’s first shared streets.

FROM THE JANUARY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

If all goes according to plan, over the next year a forest will spring up in South Central Los Angeles on what today looks more like a desolate traffic island than a buildable city lot. The woodland is a vital part of Isla Intersections, a 54-unit supportive housing development designed by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects with the landscape architecture firm Superjacent. The dense plantings are intended as a “living lung,” strategically designed to reduce air and noise pollution by 25 and 40 percent, respectively.

“Because we’re dealing with a site that’s super urban and a freeway that is elevated, the design strategy is really to create kind of an umbrella over that site, a dome of green that will catch particulate matter before it goes into homes and people’s lungs,” explains Claire Latané, ASLA, an assistant professor of landscape architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, who consulted on the project while at Studio-MLA. (more…)

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