Category Archives: Planning

How to Grow a Greenway

For New Orleans’s popular Lafitte Greenway, the plan was just the beginning.

By Jane Margolies

Man planting trees near "Greenway GROW!" sign
Volunteers help plant cypress trees on the Lafitte Greenway in April during an event that sprang from the park’s new Greenway GROW! management strategy. Photo courtesy Spackman Mossop Michaels.

On a recent morning in New Orleans, church parishioners, employees on loan from local businesses, and sailors in town for Navy Week were among the 130 volunteers who showed up to plant 100 cypress trees in a bioswale on the Lafitte Greenway. The city’s Department of Parks and Parkways had already cleared the site bordering the Tremé neighborhood, and staff from the New Orleans office of the landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop Michaels (SMM) and a tree-planting nonprofit group had marked off where the 15-gallon, one-inch-caliper pond and bald cypress were to go. So the volunteers dug holes, dropped in the trees, backfilled them with soil, staked, and mulched. With everyone pitching in, the job was done in three hours. Continue reading How to Grow a Greenway

Park Diplomacy Across the U.S.–Mexico Border

This article is also available in Spanish

At Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, “two countries, two cities, one culture, one river, one park.”

By Jane Margolies

Zacate Creek, which feeds into the Rio Grande, creates an arroyo with a natural waterfall. Photo by Overland Partners.

Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas, Mexico—known colloquially as Los Dos Laredos—were a single city divided by the Rio Grande River until 1848, when a treaty established the international border in the river, leaving one half in the United States and the other in Mexico. Continue reading Park Diplomacy Across the U.S.–Mexico Border

(Re)making the Grade

At the University of Pittsburgh, a Complete Street caps a series of student-centered outdoor spaces.

By Timothy A. Schuler

North of the student union, a new, permeable plaza provides space for events as well as informal gatherings. Photo by Denmarsh Studios/LBA.

In the mid-1950s, the fast-growing University of Pittsburgh acquired two historic properties: the Hotel Schenley, built in 1898, and the Schenley Apartments, built between 1922 and 1924. The buildings were renovated for use as dormitories—and later, in the case of the hotel, a student union—but the spaces around them were left largely untouched, updated over the years to meet local codes but otherwise given little thought. Continue reading (Re)making the Grade

Get Ready to Respond

$1 billion in funding to reconnect divided communities is coming.

By Zach Mortice

Landscape architects are ingrained systems thinkers and experts on how to balance infrastructure and the ecological imperatives of climate change, all while improving transit networks that bind people together. Significant portions of the more than $1 trillion infrastructure bill that became law late last year will be filtering down to communities, and landscape architects bring experience and expertise to these types of projects, including the removal of highways, streetscape design, greenway planning, and especially those projects that seek to address incidences of transit infrastructure exacerbating existing economic and demographic inequalities. Continue reading Get Ready to Respond

Placemaking Pitfall

Creative crosswalks are increasingly popular—except among the disabled.

By Timothy A. Schuler

A group of disability rights organizations raised concerns about a mural crosswalk in London’s Bankside neighborhood. Photo courtesy Better Bankside.

Viewed by both designers and departments of transportation as an inexpensive way to improve the public realm, street murals that embellish or sometimes even replace traditional crosswalks have become staples in the placemaking playbook. Continue reading Placemaking Pitfall