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BY KIM O’CONNELL

LandDesign tries a new approach to bringing kids into landscape architecture.

FROM THE JUNE 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Although they don’t depict the likes of a Mike Trout or Max Scherzer, a new series of “baseball cards” may get children jazzed about careers in landscape architecture. Developed by the multidisciplinary firm LandDesign, the cards each show one of the firm’s designers on the front and a short Q and A about their work on the back, along with a signature project.

The cards are just one element in the firm’s new Studio Toolkit, which includes a collection of physical tools and project guidance to give kids hands-on design experience long before they enter a university classroom. The idea was rooted in the racial justice dialogues that followed the murder of George Floyd last year. “We wanted to do more than just put out a statement; we wanted to take action,” says the designer Rita Schiller, a member of the tool kit team. “There’s a lack of diversity within the profession. We talked about how we could impact that and start to change what the industry looked like for the future.” (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

A new pedestrian path is a small act of repair for Tulsa’s Black Wall Street.

FROM THE JUNE 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Tucked inside President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan is $20 billion earmarked for communities torn apart by freeway construction and urban renewal. According to the Biden administration, the federal funds will be used to help reconnect these typically minority, often Black, communities and address decades of disinvestment and environmental racism.

Cities around the country might soon be looking to Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood neighborhood for ways to do so. Located just north of downtown Tulsa, Greenwood is home to what was known as Black Wall Street and is the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, in which 35 city blocks of Greenwood were burned and hundreds of Black men, women, and children were killed. (The event was narrativized in the HBO adaptation of Watchmen.) Greenwood was rebuilt by the families and business owners who survived, only for sections of it to be razed again to make way for what is now Interstate 244. (more…)

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BY LYDIA LEE

FROM THE MAY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE 

 

As landscape architects push the profession to become more equitable, some landscape architects and planners say it’s time to replace the industry-standard term “master plan.” The term not only has racial overtones, but more significantly signals a top-down approach that is antithetical to the profession today, they say.

In the United States, “master” was the term for slaveholder in the slave codes enacted by states starting in the mid-1600s. Because of its associations with slavery, various professions have been moving away from using “master” in its various forms, and the Black Lives Matter movement has accelerated these initiatives. For example, the tech industry has been trying to eliminate references to “master and slave” software routines, a common parlance for relationships between elements. Last summer, several real estate associations announced they were using “primary bedroom” in lieu of “master bedroom” in listings. As far back as 2014, activists in Philadelphia urged the city to drop the term “master plan” because “master” was an insulting term to the Black community. (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

A projector and some creative programming make a way for landscape architecture students to connect safely.

FROM THE MAY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

More than a year into remote learning, Zoom has proven itself to be an adequate stopgap for basic instruction in university classrooms. Many design students even have benefited from the platform’s ability to collapse distance, making it possible to engage with students, guest lecturers, and critics from anywhere. Where Zoom is woefully insufficient, says Roberto Rovira, ASLA, the chair of the landscape architecture department at the Florida International University (FIU) School of Architecture (SOA), is in enabling the kinds of side conversations and ambient observations that are so much a part of the studio experience. “Those incidental conversations, the peripheral awareness of how someone is solving something, [are] why we have studio environments in the first place,” he says. (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

National echoes underscore the power of a memorial to the victims of a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

FROM THE APRIL 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Since at least the 1870s, Tucson’s El Presidio Plaza, located between the Pima County Superior Court and Tucson City Hall, has been a place of gathering, commemoration, and civic participation. Numerous monuments and memorials—to the original presidio, to veterans of World War II, to John F. Kennedy—dot the mostly paved plaza. The latest, and largest, memorial is titled The Embrace, and it commemorates the mass shooting on January 8, 2011, in which then-Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot and six people, including a federal judge, were killed.

Designed by the Los Angeles-based architecture and landscape firm Chee Salette with the visual artist Rebeca Méndez, the memorial uses the language of landscape to create spaces of reflection while also preserving the historic civic axis between the courthouse and city hall. It consists of a mirrored pair of angular reflecting pools protected by rising berms that feature bands of Mt. Moriah stone and native Sonoran plantings. In the spaces created by the berms, which extend toward one another like open arms, curved steel walls tell the story of the shooting through symbols rather than a traditional narrative. From a distance, the tapered landforms frame the entrance to the courthouse. “It’s like a collar, framing the face,” says Tina Chee, ASLA, who runs the firm with her husband, Marc Salette. (more…)

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BY ALEX BOZIKOVIC

Support grows for a proposal to convert Toronto’s University Avenue into a park.

FROM THE MARCH 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

The center of Toronto, a city of almost three million, is becoming increasingly crowded. So how can the city answer the need for public space? By remaking streets. A scheme by the landscape architects PUBLIC WORK proposes converting half of Toronto’s University Avenue into a linear park, and the idea has gained momentum.

In November, two not-for-profit organizations, Evergreen and the Michael Young Family Foundation, unveiled the proposal, called University Park, to the public. Adam Nicklin, a cofounder and principal at PUBLIC WORK, says the design knits together a system of existing green spaces into a cohesive whole. “It’s a chance to reimagine a great street which doesn’t perform its highest civic function,” he says, and create “a 90-acre system of parks right in the heart of the city.” (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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