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Archive for the ‘POLLUTION’ Category

BY BRIAN BARTH

The beer flows freely alongside Asheville’s renewed French Broad River.

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On a cool Friday morning back in the spring, I stood on a small pedestrian bridge overlooking a tiny stream that feeds into the French Broad River in Asheville, North Carolina. Native species including cardinal flower, joe-pye weed, trumpet creeper, rhododendron, witch hazel, serviceberry, and river birch cloaked the crystal-clear streamlet, which meandered down a series of stone-lined pools in the ravine below. Less than a decade ago, the water meandered around rusted car bodies, tires, and slabs of concrete that had been tossed there over the years, part of an old, unpermitted landfill that oozed with heavy metals and hydrocarbon pollution. At my side were Paul Mills, ASLA, and David Tuch, who designed the landscape that has brought the place back to life.

As if on cue, a groundhog appeared from a burrow under a boulder they specified. “Snake!” Mills exclaimed a few minutes later, pointing to a serpentine line squiggling through one of the pools. As he and Tuch debated the species, a second, smaller serpent squiggled by after what I presumed was its mother. “It’s a family!” I shouted.

On the flat ground above this BBC wildlife special are intoxicating gardens of native plants surrounding a boozy business: the East Coast headquarters of the New Belgium Brewing Company. Mills’s firm, Russell + Mills Studios, is based in Fort Collins, Colorado, the brewery-laden city where New Belgium was established in 1991. Looking to expand a couple of decades later, the company decided on the Appalachian city of Asheville, which has the second-highest number of breweries per capita in the United States and has been deemed the nation’s “best beer city” by seriouseats.com. (Fort Collins has merely the 11th most breweries per capita.) Russell + Mills, the rare landscape architecture firm with a reputation for designing brewery grounds—they’ve worked on a dozen to date—was hired as the lead designer for the brownfield site. Tuch’s Asheville-based firm, Equinox Environmental, collaborated on plant selection and the design of stormwater management features.

The ravine bisects the 18-acre property—a 400,000-barrel-per-year brewery lies on one side; New Belgium’s Liquid Center, a tasting room and event space, on the other—which opened to the public in 2016. It lies less than a mile from downtown Asheville in the city’s River Arts District, a place of artisans’ studios and riverside parks that have replaced the industrial landscape that once enveloped the French Broad, a long-polluted water body that borders the brewery on one side. New Belgium’s $175 million investment represents a major step toward a riverfront reclamation that has been decades in the making. (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

Julie Bargmann and her Core City Park in Detroit. Left photo courtesy Barrett Doherty, The Cultural Landscape Foundation; right photo courtesy Prince Concepts and The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Julie Bargmann Awarded Oberlander Prize

 

Julie Bargmann is the first recipient of the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize, established by the Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Known for the many students who cite her as an influence as much as for her work as the founder of D.I.R.T. (Dump It Right There) Studio, Bargmann is revered for remediating polluted and neglected postindustrial sites with designs that celebrate infrastructural refinement and industrial power. A master at regenerating degraded land without erasing its history, Bargmann reveals layers of strata and ruin, but also layers of narrative, granting her projects strength, performance, and a kind of raw beauty.

According to the Oberlander Prize jury, Bargmann “has been a provocateur, a critical practitioner, and a public intellectual. She embodies the kind of activism required of landscape architects in an era of severe environmental challenges and persistent social inequities.” (more…)

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The things our art director, Chris McGee, hated to leave out of the current issue of LAM.

Photo by Gerhard Kassner.

 

From “Mine, Ours” by Michael Dumiak in the July 2021 issue, about how a region of eastern Germany is crafting a chain of lakes and recreation landscapes from the scars of surface coal mining.

“Night mine.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 250 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.

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Drawing from Robert Smithson’s colossal land art installations and the industrial landscapes of New Jersey where she grew up, Julie Bargmann, ASLA, the founder of D.I.R.T. studio, practices landscape architecture with a subversive modesty. The Harvard University Graduate School of Design grad returned to her alma mater to talk about cultivating “humble but hard-ass projects” that use the tools and techniques of infrastructural engineering to reveal layers of history and ecological remediation on sites that are “good, bad, and more often than not toxic,” she says. Titled “Modesty,” her Daniel Urban Kiley Lecture earlier this month offered brief snapshots of her work and a portrayal of the stigmatized and degraded sites she’s endlessly attracted to as “tragic characters” that are “full of hard work,” typically hidden from view by landscape designers less interested in telling stories with scars.

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

On a cramped site, Superjacent conjures a forest and one of L.A.’s first shared streets.

FROM THE JANUARY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

If all goes according to plan, over the next year a forest will spring up in South Central Los Angeles on what today looks more like a desolate traffic island than a buildable city lot. The woodland is a vital part of Isla Intersections, a 54-unit supportive housing development designed by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects with the landscape architecture firm Superjacent. The dense plantings are intended as a “living lung,” strategically designed to reduce air and noise pollution by 25 and 40 percent, respectively.

“Because we’re dealing with a site that’s super urban and a freeway that is elevated, the design strategy is really to create kind of an umbrella over that site, a dome of green that will catch particulate matter before it goes into homes and people’s lungs,” explains Claire Latané, ASLA, an assistant professor of landscape architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, who consulted on the project while at Studio-MLA. (more…)

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BY JARED BREY

Buffalo plans the country’s biggest environmental impact bond to fund green infrastructure.

FROM THE AUGUST 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In 2018, the City of Buffalo, New York, cut the ribbon on Jesse Clipper Square, a small park named for the first Black soldier from Buffalo to die in World War I. The square, originally dedicated in the 1930s, was designed by John Edmonston Brent, one of Buffalo’s first Black architects. Today it sits in the median of William Street, a wide arterial street connecting downtown Buffalo to the neighborhood of Willert Park. As part of a broader greening of William Street, the park was expanded and planted with new trees and a rain garden. According to the Buffalo Sewer Authority, the project helps prevent some 284,000 gallons of water from entering the city’s combined sewer system during typical rain storms.

Green infrastructure projects like the William Street overhaul—small-scale interventions designed to manage stormwater on public streets, parking lots, and rooftops—are the bread and butter of the Buffalo Sewer Authority’s Rain Check program, a $380 million commitment that originated in a 2014 consent agreement between the city and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and improve water quality. Under the terms of its Long Term Control Plan, Buffalo committed to spending $93 million on green infrastructure to manage stormwater on at least 1,315 impervious acres. In the first phase of the plan, Rain Check 1.0, which began in 2015, the sewer authority focused on public projects that could be carried out relatively easily, according to documents. But Rain Check 2.0, announced last spring, is going for tougher targets, mostly on private property.

To help push the project along, Buffalo’s Mayor, Byron Brown, announced in February that the city would issue a $30 million environmental impact bond (EIB) to help fund a grant program that will encourage private landowners to install green infrastructure. Environmental impact bonds are a kind of municipal borrowing that links bond investors’ returns to the performance of the projects funded by the bond. One of the first EIBs in the United States was issued in 2016 by DC Water, Washington, D.C.’s water authority, to help fund green infrastructure related to its own agreement with the EPA (see “The River Beneath the River,” LAM, November 2018). Since then, more cities have begun experimenting with the bonds, including Atlanta, New Orleans, and Baltimore. In many cases, new funds for green infrastructure equates to more work for landscape architects. (more…)

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BY KATHARINE LOGAN

Resource extraction companies are moving on public lands like never before.

FROM THE JULY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Since the creation of the Antiquities Act in 1906, American presidents have had the authority, the honor, and the privilege of designating as national monuments the country’s most culturally and scientifically significant public lands—including, by corollary, some of the most spectacular, biodiverse, heritage-rich, and downright magnificent landscapes in America.

It’s doubtful whether presidents also have the inverse authority—to deconsecrate a national monument once protected—but doubtful is good enough for the current incumbent. In December of 2017, the Trump administration announced the reduction of two national monuments in southern Utah, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears, to shards of their former expanses, exposing culturally and ecologically important places to oil and mineral development.

The deconsecration of Grand Staircase and Bears Ears exemplifies a larger trend in this administration’s management of public lands. Since 2017, federally owned lands and waters totaling more than four times the area of California have been put up for lease to the energy sector. Utah, with its oil, gas, and mineral resources underlying the vistas of the Colorado Plateau, is on the front line. About 65 percent of the state is federally owned, and the U.S. Department of the Interior has received some 230 lease nominations covering more than 150,000 acres. Development of these leases threatens iconic Red Rock Canyon lands, forested plateaus, indigenous cultural sites, archaeological troves, and geological marvels. Some of the leases would allow drilling within half a mile of renowned protected sites, such as Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, and within 10 miles of Bears Ears’s radically shrunken limits. (more…)

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