Category Archives: Materials

Who’s Around Underground?

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

By Zach Mortice

The microBIOMETER test uses a few simple components and a smartphone app to quickly deliver soil microbiology results. Photo by Prolific Earth Sciences.

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. Continue reading Who’s Around Underground?

The Dark Side of Light

This article is also available in Spanish

Smart lighting can save energy, enhance public safety, and encourage social life, but designers worry those benefits come with an uncalculated cost to privacy.

By Timothy A. Schuler

If you lived in Paris in the 17th century, you paid the taxe des boues et lanternes, the tax on mud and lanterns. The levy paid for the maintenance of the city’s streets and its system of lanterns, a network of some 5,000 tallow candles suspended in glass cases 20 feet above Paris’s streets, and one of the earliest examples of public street lighting in the world. Continue reading The Dark Side of Light

The Emergent Epitaph

An ASLA Student Award-winning project challenges outdated death practices.

By Zach Mortice

John Whitaker’s Dark Matter project posits a memorial landscape that is a forum for collective action and protest. Image courtesy John Whitaker, Student ASLA.

One of the most startling projects submitted for the 2020 ASLA Student Awards was Dark Matter—a proposal that uses landscape as a transmission medium for the ecological values of the deceased. Continue reading The Emergent Epitaph

Lethal Glass Landscapes

A proposed building and landscape ordinance could shape the future of bird-friendly design in Chicago.

By Jeff Link

The interior plantings of the Michigan Avenue Apple Store blend with the reflections of the exterior plantings on Chicago’s waterfront. Photo courtesy Bumble Dee/Shutterstock.com.

On a mild Friday in early May, Ted Wolff took a personal day and drove to the Ballard Nature Center in Altamont, Illinois, to catch a glimpse of Lewis’s woodpecker, a nearly foot-long, pink- and white-breasted bird native to the western United States. Continue reading Lethal Glass Landscapes

Solid as a Rock

The stone industry adopts a new sustainability standard.

By Meg Calkins, FASLA

Sandstone for the Barangaroo project in Sydney by PWP Landscape Architecture was quarried directly on the project site. Image courtesy PWP Landscape Architecture.

In 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design, Bill Browning, an environmental designer and founder of Terrapin Bright Green, cites “material connection with nature” as a significant principle. Continue reading Solid as a Rock