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Archive for the ‘HEALTHY COMMUNITIES’ Category

BY ZACH MORTICE

City sewer maintenance trucks get a new graphic rebranding. Image courtesy of group projects.

City officials in San Jose, California, have an environmental graphics and public art project they hope will reduce sewer clogs from fats, oils, and grease that residents put down their kitchen sinks—and it only costs $60,000, a tiny fraction of the millions of dollars it would take to update existing infrastructure to handle more cooking waste. The project, called FOG Waste (FOG stands for fats, oils, and grease) was designed by Brett Snyder, an associate professor of design at the University of California, Davis, and Claire Napawan, an associate professor of landscape architecture at UC Davis, who practice together under the name group projects.

When fatty waste is disposed of in a sink or drain, it can solidify and block sewer lines, causing raw sewage to back up into homes, yards, and streets and potentially affect local watersheds. (You might remember the viral footage of the bus-sized ball of fat discovered in a London sewer, dubbed the “fatberg.”) In San Jose, that means raw sewage in San Francisco Bay, causing havoc in local aquatic ecosystems and posing health risks for residents.

The main design challenge for Napawan and Snyder was developing a graphic identity that could educate people on (more…)

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Landscapes of Longevity is a feature-length documentary that spans cultural landscape theory, public health research, and narrative filmmaking to answer a question that affects every person: How does one’s environment affect the length and quality of one’s life?

After summarizing how planning traditions engineered physical activity and social connection out of much of the built environment, creating an “obesogenic cultural landscape,” the film seeks out locations that avoided these urban planning pitfalls, and exist as a sort of reasonably modest fountain of youth. While they were landscape architecture graduate students at the University of Virginia, directors Asa Eslocker and Harriett Jameson chronicled the epic stair-climbing abilities of nonagenarians on the Italian island of Sardinia, visited kimono weavers in Japan well into their 10th decade, and walked the lemon groves of Loma Linda, California, with their 93-year-old caretaker.

The film began as a research project by Eslocker and Jameson, which earned a 2014 ASLA Student Honor Award, and later a 2015 ASLA Student Award of Excellence once the pair started to translate their work into a movie. It pays equal attention to how the design of space, both public and private, can affect physical, psychological, social, and spiritual health. And by comparing the environments in each of their case study locations, they uncover a set of landscape features that seem to enhance longevity and quality of life by simply existing: elevated views that enhance attachment to place, visual landmarks on horizons, and opportunities for immersion in nature. Again and again, the common denominator for a long and healthy life is connection: to people, places, and the world around you. As Landscapes of Longevity makes clear, that’s a value set uniquely suited to landscape architects.

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BY ANNE RAVER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY FREDERICK CHARLES

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Preserving farmland is not enough if it doesn’t stay in the hands of farmers.

FROM THE DECEMBER 2016 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE

A gorgeous October morning in the Hudson Valley and people are out leaf peeping, but not Chris Cashen, a farmer.

Every week, on the outskirts of Hudson, 120 miles north of New York City, Cashen and his crew load about 1,300 pounds of organic vegetables—baby bok choy, salad greens, Japanese turnips, sweet potatoes, Tuscan kale—onto a truck headed for a food pantry hub in Long Island City.

The hot, dry summer meant they had to irrigate from the nearby creek, but the vegetables are beautiful and tasty.

A few miles south, Ken Migliorelli zigzags over the potholed roads between his hilly orchard in Tivoli and the flat sandy fields of his cropland in Red Hook. A Valentine’s Day freeze took out all his stone fruit this year—no peaches, nectarines, or cherries—and a hard frost in May reduced his apple crop by 30 percent. (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

An abandoned island is the Venice Lagoon. Local Code by Nicholas de Monchaux, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016.

An abandoned island in the Venice lagoon. Local Code by Nicholas de Monchaux, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.

In his new book, Local Code: 3,659 Proposals About Data, Design, and the Nature of Cities, the University of California, Berkeley architecture and urban design professor Nicholas de Monchaux develops new tools for the mass customization of underused and vacant urban lots, highlighting the limits of inflexible systems thinking. His book charts a way forward with an eye on past failures, and new possibilities founded in corrective measures that have proved to work.

American cities’ first encounters with data, he writes, happened after World War II. That’s when protocomputing power, developed by the military and Cold War consultancies such as the RAND Corporation, merged with tabula rasa modernist urban planning. These binary solutions to complex built environments (remembered most vividly as Robert Moses-style urban renewal that tore down anything old and dirty) became what de Monchaux calls (more…)

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By Zach Mortice

The 2008 flooding in eastern Iowa saw the Cedar River crest at 31 feet, inundating much of downtown Cedar Rapids. Image courtesy of Sasaki.

On the morning of Jun 12, 2008, the landscape architects Gina Ford, ASLA, and Jason Hellendrung, ASLA, of Sasaki woke up in their hotel rooms by the riverside in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to stifling heat and eerie silence. They were in town to pitch their riverfront master plan to the city council. They knew the Cedar River was expected to flood (and had stocked up on water, granola bars, and bananas just in case) but neither expected any sort of ordeal stemming from the river, which they had come hoping to reimagine as a lively and gregarious urban greenway. The power, air-conditioning, and phones were out. The hallways were empty and pitch black, and a ferocious rainstorm had darkened the skies and pushed the encroaching floodwaters. Reaching each other via cell phone, they discussed their options. In the distance, the Quaker Oats cereal mill plant’s red neon sign was still lit. “It can’t be that bad,” said Hellendrung. “They still have electricity.”

“As I said that, there was a bolt of thunder and lightning, and the sign went out. Then I was like, ‘Maybe the police will get here soon?’”

Police did dispatch rescuers, who led Ford and Hellendrung out of the hotel. A second-floor connection to the convention center (more…)

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BY WENDY GILMARTIN

For the residents of L.A.’s Skid Row, public space is a priority.

For the residents of L.A.’s Skid Row, public space is a priority.

From the October 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine

Speed bumps and curbs that narrow the street to slow traffic. Safety zones for women and LGBTQ residents. Vegetable gardens with citrus trees. Drinking fountains, storage units, and cell phone charging stations. This isn’t a laundry list of community benefits in your local affluent suburb; it’s a wish list for the nation’s most concentrated homeless community in downtown Los Angeles: Skid Row.

Where just five years ago tents, shopping carts, and makeshift campsites lined the streets in this eastern portion of downtown, gleaming luxury condominiums now stand with a Whole Foods market and designer clothing boutiques at street level. Even more high-end stores are under construction in an area that already lacks open spaces and parks.

Skid Row, with 11,000 residents living in an area of roughly 50 city blocks, (more…)

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It’s time to celebrate! The September issue of LAM rolls out the 2016 ASLA Awards, with more than 80 pages of Student and Professional Award winners, plus this year’s Landmark Award, given to the Michigan Avenue Streetscape project in Chicago. Out of 271 submitted projects to the Student Awards, 22 winners were chosen, and 29 Professional Awards were selected from 457 submissions. All this plus our regular Land Matters, Now, and Goods columns.

You can read the full table of contents for September 2016 or pick up a free digital issue of the September LAM here and share it with your clients, colleagues, and friends. 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 September articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: Landmark Award, Charlie Simokaitis; Professional Communications, Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, and Barrett Doherty; Professional Analysis and Planning, Ramboll with Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl; Professional Residential Design, D. A. Horchner/Design Workshop, Inc.; Professional General Design, Tom Arban.

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