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Archive for the ‘PEOPLE’ Category

By Zach Mortice

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The Rockwell Gardens public housing project in Chicago, demolished in 2006. Photo by Paul Goyette.

The founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) started off with a bang. The small but influential cadre of advocates for walkable and traditional-looking urbanism began meeting in 1993—the first big gathering was held at the historic Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, with its “enormous entablature,” as the historian Vincent Scully noted in his opening remarks. The CNU’s beginnings dovetailed with the passage of a piece of legislation that enshrined the group’s approach to city building as federal policy: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOPE VI program. After decades of crumbling, dysfunctional government-built-and-managed public housing projects, housing would instead be at least partially constructed and controlled by private developers and management companies. They would build lower-density, “mixed-income” communities of row houses and garden apartments. By the numbers, the lower density was made easier because Congress, in 1995, ended what had long been the “one-for-one” replacement rule for any public housing to be demolished. Housing vouchers, to be used to pay private landlords (who are not required to accept them), were considered sufficient for tenants not accepted into newly built units. At any rate, the policy change posed no obstacle to architects and planners.

But the 2016 election of Donald Trump was a tidal wave that washes over every corner of government—public housing design guidelines and funding policy included. HUD and the New Urbanists’ HOPE VI legacy is, pending a likely confirmation, in the hands of Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and GOP presidential primary candidate, who is neither an expert nor even a novice (more…)

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Five Borough Farm: Measure Your Goodness isn’t so much a primer on New York City urban farming, but a plan to codify all the things urban farming can do. An initiative by the Design Trust for Public Space (covered in the November 2014 issue of LAM), Five Borough Farm advocates for a citywide urban agriculture policy and plan that can help urban farmers make the case for why what they do is important.  It’s a data collection tool kit developed hand in hand with urban farmers that offers simple best practice checklists that take the cheery notions of regeneration seen in urban farming and turn them into quantifiable data: food grown, education programming offered, food waste diverted.

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BY ELIZABETH S. PADJEN, PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAHAR COSTON-HARDY

Surprising things happen when a big public agency decides to do something scrappy.

Surprising things happen when a big public agency decides to do something scrappy.

From the December 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine

With the advent of adult coloring books, you had to know that adult playgrounds wouldn’t be far behind.

The project that pretty much defines the type is Boston’s Lawn on D, the winner of a 2015 ASLA Professional Honor Award. Its presence in the city seems fitting, as Boston already serves as a comprehensive field guide to public open space, (more…)

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This presentation of the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) Realities and Realms colloquium examines how landscape architecture is ingesting computation, robotics, and the reams of data that designed environments now produce second by second. In two lecture videos titled Realities and Realms: Responsive Technologies in Ecological Systems, the GSD invites practitioners, researchers, and academics to envision how “anthropogenic perception and technological mediation” will meet in landscape design. (more…)

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BY JANE MARGOLIES

Diana Balmori Photo copyright Margaret Morton, 2009.

Diana Balmori. Photo copyright Margaret Morton, 2009.

Diana Balmori, FASLA, a pioneering member of the profession and founding partner of Balmori Associates, a landscape and urban design firm based in New York, died November 14 at her home in Manhattan at the age of 84. The cause of death was lung cancer.

During a career that encompassed wide-ranging projects—including the Winter Garden, with its grove of palm trees, inside the World Financial Center in New York and the transformation of the formerly industrial port area of Bilbao, Spain, into an expansive public park—Balmori championed the integration of landscape and architecture. She rejected the notion that landscape design was (more…)

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The Los Angeles Urban Rangers bring a naturalist’s eye to the urban jungle. Since 2004, they’ve led Angelenos in guided hikes and campfire talks through their city, tallying security cameras and public art instead of rare mushrooms and finches. Their latest video (a tour of downtown Los Angeles’s financial district) seems mostly like an act of whimsy and make-believe—until they guide explorers through dark tunnels and dense webs of infrastructure to one of the few places that offer public access to the concrete-entombed Los Angeles River. From that hidden vantage point, it’s much clearer that all landscapes, green or gray alike, require access and appreciation to survive and thrive.

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BY NEIL BUDZINSKI AND MATTHEW GIRARD

A forensic approach found the best decomposed granite solution for Kenyon College.

A forensic approach found the best decomposed granite solution for Kenyon College.

From the November 2016 Issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine 

Decomposed granite pavement (DG) is a textured and responsive paving material used on paths and plazas. Yet the quiet appearance of DG masks material and construction complexities that shape the outcome of the built work and belie what may appear to be a simple installation. In 2010, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), where we are senior associates, was hired to prepare a master plan for Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Over several years of our working with Kenyon to renovate its historic Middle Path, the challenges of this material were revealed and met through a program of design-phase mock-ups, manufacturer’s product development, and innovations in installation methods. We have learned several lessons regarding the product and the methods that change the way we specify and oversee the installation of this seemingly simple material.

Kenyon’s landscape is organized around Middle Path, a 3,600-foot-long walk made from a local river stone. The material of Middle Path, cherished for its color, texture, looseness, and sound, (more…)

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