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Archive for the ‘PRACTICE’ Category

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Please pardon the fish smells. The landscape architects at Taylor Cullity Lethlean and Wraight + Associates were trying not to cutify the waterfront of Auckland, New Zealand, too much with their master plan for 86 acres of port. So you get a park, a promenade, a playground, and outdoor dining, but you also get the sights and smells of an active fishing sector and the noises of maritime industry up close. The North Wharf Promenade and Silo Park won the Rosa Barba Prize at the Eighth International Biennial of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona in 2014 for the ways it takes waterside work at face value but makes room for people to relax and play. Our correspondent in Sydney, Gweneth Leigh, ASLA, tells this month how it came together.

You may have read in the New York Times last week about China’s push to be first in the world in developing artificial intelligence systems for things like speech recognition, rescue missions, and warfare. The newly appointed chair of landscape architecture at the University of Virginia, Bradley Cantrell, ASLA, and two colleagues recently wrote a paper in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution about prospects for deploying AI and “deep learning” systems in ecological restoration and management, based on several approximate examples they found currently in action. LAM invited Kristina Hill, an associate professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning and urban design at the University of California, Berkeley, to query the authors’ assumptions and, ultimately, ethical questions around such projected uses for AI, such as: Is a human-induced machine responsible for the effects of its actions, or is the human?

Back in 2008 the Atlanta BeltLine, the ambitious linear park planned to ring around the city, was just getting off the ground. LAM dispatched Jonathan Lerner to survey the role this unique trail might play. Today, big sections of it have been built—though it’s by no means complete—and enthusiasm for its impacts is far from universal. And Lerner has gone back to Atlanta to survey the victories, the asymmetries, and the mixed emotions surrounding the project.

In Books, don’t miss the review of two new books on logistics, by Gale Fulton, ASLA, an associate professor and chair of landscape architecture at the University of Tennessee, and what it reveals about the ways logistics not only shapes our landscapes, but has become them. The full table of contents for June can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 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.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating June articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Ecology on Autopilot,” Bradley Cantrell, ASLA; “The Wharf at Work,” Simon Devitt; “A Thousand Moving Parts,” Jeff Keesee; “In Search Of,” Courtesy HBB Landscape Architecture/Jed Share Photography; “Tame the Sun,” Courtesy SWA Group; “Yonkers Uncorked,” Christopher St. Lawrence.

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BY ZACH MORTICE

Bloody Run Creek Greenway Redevelopment in Detroit by Ceara O’Leary (2012–2014 Rose Fellow). Image courtesy of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center. 

The venerable Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship—pairing early career designers with nonprofits and community organizations to develop equitable housing and open space—has opened to landscape architects for the first time. Enterprise will award two of its five fellowships to landscape architects, and applications are due July 9. New fellows will be announced in early 2018.

Christopher Scott, the program director for the Rose Fellowship, says Enterprise wanted landscape designers to take part in these three-year fellowships because over the past several years, “there’s been a national dialogue around open space movements [as] a catalyst for equity.” Beyond pure public policy, (more…)

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BY KARL KULLMANN

Drone mapping fills a missing link in site representation.

FROM THE MAY 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE. 

In many ways, the satellite has been instrumental for landscape architecture. As the apex of two centuries of progressively higher aerial reconnaissance, the satellite’s view reveals landscape associations and patterns that remain concealed at lower altitudes. Through these revelations, satellite imagery played a key role in the reinterpretation of cities as complex ecological systems instead of mere assemblages of buildings. Ultimately, online satellite mapping applications confirmed that the entire planet is composed of landscape. Through the convenience of GPS-equipped mobile devices, we now seamlessly integrate the satellite’s landscape into our everyday lives.

A world tuned in to the synthesizing role of landscape is undoubtedly empowering for landscape architecture. But as enlightening and convenient as the satellite’s all-encompassing gaze may be, the tyranny of distance coupled with a downward viewing angle also undermines its potency. As landscape architects are abundantly aware, the nuances and details that enrich the landscape are often camouflaged from 450 miles above Earth within shadowed, interstitial, and underneath spaces. Even with familiarization and steadily improving image resolutions, abstract planimetric forms routinely fail to resonate with an individual’s perception of his or her place in the world. The recurring popularity of more immersive angles such as the archaic bird’s-eye view is probably a reaction to this lingering apprehension.

These shortcomings are revealed at the site scale, at which a significant portion of landscape practice occurs. At this scale, the substitution of feature surveys or commissioned aerial imaging with freely available satellite-derived GIS data often lowers the quality of spatial information. GIS mapping data interpolated from much larger data sets trades site specificity for expansive coverage, and its accuracy typically has not been verified on the ground. Given that landscape architecture relies on maps in one form or another to interpret, abstract, conceptualize, and ultimately reconfigure the ground, (more…)

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BY BRADFORD MCKEE

By Rolf van Melis [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons.

FROM THE MAY 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Anybody who values holding a license as a landscape architect is not going to like what happens next. The current political environment and a general disdain for moderation are encouraging an assault against many forms of occupational licensing, including licensing for landscape architecture. So far this year, there have been many bills introduced to end landscape architecture licensing and revamp occupational licensing structures in the legislatures of Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Virginia, and Washington. There are no doubt more to come.

These attempts take various forms. Some would outright deregulate landscape architecture by simply removing it from the group of professions that require licensing. Others are more insidious and would reform landscape architecture as well as most all other licensing systems in the guise of “right to earn a living” or “economic liberty” measures, the premise of which is that licensure poses an unnecessary barrier to entering the occupation of one’s choice. Some would allow citizens to challenge licensure requirements in court and would shift the burden to the state to prove that licensure is necessary over other, less restrictive, forms of regulation. Others would place licensure regulations (more…)

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You can almost watch it come to life on the page: In the sprawl of Bangkok, an illegal dump the size of a large city block was scraped clean, sculpted, and planted thickly with 60,000 trees, many of them quite small. It now looks thick as a rain forest, with an elegant skywalk overhead and cobras on the ground (which is why you’d use the skywalk). This remarkable reforestation project, called the Metro-Forest, by Landscape Architects of Bangkok, repatriates more than 275 species once common enough locally, as James Trulove reports, that sections of the city around it bear their names. Thick as it appears, it’s only getting started. The plan is for the trees to engulf the skywalk in their canopy.

How to describe the vindication of taking an embarrassed site and bringing back some form of its original dignity? “Strangely exciting,” is how Gwendolyn McGinn, Associate ASLA, puts it to the reporter Anne Raver in this issue. McGinn, of Studio Outside, in Dallas, is working at the Tylee Farm in Texas, not far from Houston. The farm holds what is left of southern post oak savanna that was overturned and grazed nearly to death since the mid-1800s. With Studio Outside’s founder, Tary Arterburn, FASLA, and Amy Bartell, a project manager, she is working to restore the many ecological segues the site once had for newish residential owners who want to live well—as long as their land does, too.

Also in this issue: Staff writer/editor Katarina Katsma, ASLA, writes about the interlocking of plant science and aesthetics in the designs of Sandra Clinton, FASLA, in the mid-Atlantic; Jeff Link looks at the fine points of poured-in-place rubber playground surfacing; Karl Kullmann considers the new heights of drone mapping; and Jane Gillette reviews City of Refuge: Separatists and Utopian Town Planning by Michael J. Lewis, a book that will leave you thinking about squares. The full table of contents for May can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 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.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating May articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Control of the Canopy,” Rungkit Charoenwat; “Side Pocket,” By oinonio [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr; “Along for the Ride,” Gwendolyn McGinn, Associate ASLA; “Color and Cushion,” Site Design Group; “The Right Fit,” Huguette Row.

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

The National Map is a feat of modern-day cartography. It also reveals our country’s shifting priorities.

FROM THE APRIL 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Lisa Orr, ASLA, was 11 years old when she attended her first West Virginia funeral. Her great-grandmother, Susan Bolyard Summers, had died at the age of 102 and was being buried in the family cemetery, behind a little country church called Mount Zion. Orr’s family drove the hour and a half from Morgantown, in the northern part of the state, to rural Preston County, winding through a tangled warren of hills and hollows and passing a dozen other hilltop cemeteries before reaching their destination.

The trip made a lasting impression on Orr. Preston County was so unlike her life in Morgantown: The landscape was as breathtaking as it was formidable. “It’s hard to explain how rugged the territory is,” she says, speaking from her office at West Virginia University (WVU), where she teaches landscape architecture. “It’s like a mini-Grand Canyon everywhere you go.” It illuminated the hardscrabble life that her great-grandmother had lived, living on foraged chestnuts and whatever else would grow in Preston County’s rocky soil. And it gave Orr her first glimpse into the role these cemeteries played in local people’s lives.

Caring for these places, she learned, was part of many families’ cultural heritage, including her own. “Part of my grandmother’s life was just visiting cemeteries,” she says, (more…)

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BY JONATHAN LERNER

Jack Dangermond built a tech colossus, and a fortune, from GIS. Now he’s sharing it all to save the world.

FROM THE APRIL 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Jack Dangermond wears oversized tortoise-shell glasses. At 72, his hairline has receded halfway back on his head. For work, he dresses casually—open collar, v-neck sweater. His manner is gracious and energetic, but calm and notably confident. He tends to speak as if in final draft, which he credits to years of dictating correspondence. He is tall and rangy, but it’s quite possible that when he arrived at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) in 1967 to earn an MLA he would have been taken for a geek. His ulterior motive in going there, after all, was “to start playing with computer mapping”—when computer mapping barely existed.

The school’s pioneering Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis had been founded two years earlier by the architecture professor Howard Fisher.

Dangermond says that on meeting Fisher, “He immediately hired me. Within an hour. Which was the luckiest thing that ever happened in my life.” Harvard was one hot spot of the era’s radical activism. “The Vietnam War was going on,” he says, “revolution in the air, protestors shutting down the university, creating all kinds of controversy. This big aha! moment came for my wife Laura and myself, who were both working there in the basement of Memorial Hall. We had a job making computer maps, doing air pollution studies and land-use suitability studies. The realization was, ‘We don’t want to go right or left; we just want to go forward with this idea of (more…)

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