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Archive for the ‘STREETS’ Category

BY G. RYAN SMITH, ASLA

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Separated bicycle lanes are steadily increasing in number, though every design detail counts.

From the June 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

In cities across the country where newly striped bike lanes are seemingly rolling out by the week, separated bike lanes would seem to be the holy grail. By giving cyclists their very own part of the public realm, they practically embody the exceptionalist case for bicycle infrastructure—a demonstrable victory of cyclists over the potentially deadly hazards of motorists who will never learn to be more careful behind the wheel. But separated bicycle lanes, also called cycle tracks or green lanes, are a considerable investment. The price per linear foot of recent projects has run between $120 for simpler installations with flexible posts to $2,000 for elaborately integrated systems. If properly done, they can greatly enhance the active transportation metabolism of a city. If not done right, they can seem pointless.

Landscape architects are only getting started in the design of separated bicycle lanes, also known as cycle tracks or green lanes, but so is everyone else. There are 270 cycle tracks in the United States as of this year, up from 78 in 2011, according to the advocacy group People for Bikes. Cycle tracks are more common in Europe than in this country.

Cycle tracks have their fans and their skeptics, given their significant variations on (more…)

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This month, we have a few big stories that take you back a ways before bringing you back to the present. After decades of re-do schemes in Pershing Square in Los Angeles, and a tense year of competition that just ended with yet another redesign by Agence TER and SALT Landscape Architects announced as the long-awaited winners, we will see what becomes of the new design, and all the things a design needs to back it up, like services and programming. In New York’s barren Battery Park City in the 1980s, a  small, subtle, and safe harbor came to life as a work of art, rather than a park, by Susan Child, FASLA; Stanton Eckstut; and Mary Miss, and it continues to mature and season handsomely. In the Netherlands, Room for the River, a nationwide project has been reworking the country’s four major rivers in anticipation of greater floods in the future for more than 20 years. Finally, in the small town of Bruton, near London, is the artist’s heaven of Hauser & Wirth Somerset, with maximal garden designs by Piet Oudolf.

In the departments: the building momentum of separated bike lanes means safer routes for cyclists, in Streets; and three landscape architecture student journals create a window into the design culture of their universities, in Education. And, as ever, don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. 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: “Better Luck This Time,” Agence Ter with SALT Landscape Architects; “Still Here,” Lexi Van Valkenburgh; “There’s Room,” Your Captain Luchtfotografie/www.luchtfotografie.com; “So Happy Together,” Heather Edwards, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth; “Cycle Away,” Jennifer Toole/Toole Design Group; “Class Consciousness,” Michelle Hook.

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Need you wonder why we started a drinking game called “Portland” here at the magazine? The Oregon metropolis always has so much to show for its progressive thinking. A large team of landscape architects and other designers can take credit and pride in the new MAX Orange Line, seen on LAM’s cover this month, which at 7.3 miles is the latest addition to the city’s light-rail network. Mayer/Reed led the urban design of eight stations, and ZGF Architects led urban design on two others. Also involved are landscape architects who work for the client transit agency, TriMet, plus the Portland offices of Marianne Zarkin Landscape Architects, Lango Hansen Landscape Architects, and Alta Planning + Design. The rail route incorporates bold, colorful streetscapes with more than 3,000 trees, 286 bioswales, and—newer in the United States than in Europe—a short stretch of vegetated track bed. Sean Batty, ASLA, the director of operating projects at TriMet, tells the author, Betsy Anderson, Associate ASLA: “Are we trying to solve a transportation problem? No, we’re trying to solve an urban design problem, which we’re defining as landscape architects: We’re trying to create positive human habitat.”

The May issue of LAM has numerous other fine examples of habitat: There’s the new plaza around a campus residential tower at MassArt in Boston by Ground, Inc., which won a 2015 ASLA Professional Award for Residential Design. And then there is the enduring beauty of a residential garden by Isabelle Greene, FASLA, in California, as appreciated by Lisa Gimmy, ASLA. In the realm of animal habitats, we report on a new online tool developed by the entomologist Doug Tallamy and the National Wildlife Federation to help encourage property owners to create richer wildlife habitats everywhere they can conceivably do so. Our serial coverage of the National Park Service during its centenary year continues with a report by Daniel Howe, FASLA, on projects to promote large-scale landscape conservation around the Appalachian Trail.

This month, we are also looking forward to the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s 50th anniversary celebration in Philadelphia on June 10 and 11. LAF asked a number of landscape architects to write contemporary responses to the “Declaration of Concern” articulated in 1966 by Ian McHarg and several colleagues in response to the unbound environmental degradation they were witnessing all around them in those years. Five of those essays appear in this issue. And, as ever, don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. 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 200 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: “The Art of Hanging Out,” Christian Phillips; “All Along the Line,” C. Bruce Forster; “The Lightest Touch,” Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA; “For the Birds, Indeed,” Courtesy Douglas W. Tallamy; “The Greater Margins,” Courtesy Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

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For 20 years, the filmmaker Clarence Eckerson Jr. has traveled the world to capture some of the most successful, unique, pedestrian-friendly city streetscapes. His videos, presented through Streetfilms, an affiliate of the transit-oriented Streetsblog website, show various methods cities have taken to create less car-dependent and more enjoyable urban environments for people. Reading almost like a series of case studies, the videos range in age and length, and highlight intensive citywide projects, such as in Copenhagen, as well as small interventions, as in Austin. To see the full list of videos, please visit here.

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

In Philadelphia, the new Bartram's Mile spans multiple periods of history.

In Philadelphia, the new Bartram’s Mile spans multiple periods of history.

From the March 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Concrete slabs refurbished as public plazas. Old Jersey barriers reconfigured into retaining walls. “Just about everything you see has been repurposed one way or another,” says José Almiñana, FASLA, of Bartram’s Mile, a greenway project along the western bank of the Schuylkill River being designed by Andropogon Associates, where Almiñana is a principal.

The 11.5-acre site wraps around the nearly 300-year-old landscape of Bartram’s Garden, the oldest surviving botanic garden in the United States. Created in 1728 by John Bartram, the historic garden became a public park in 1891. For decades, however, it has existed as a 45-acre island of woodlands and walking paths surrounded by a sea of heavy industry and neglected Philadelphia neighborhoods.

The new park will help connect the garden and the surrounding area with (more…)

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BY SONJA DÜMPELMANN

Street tree plant-ins in New York City.

Street tree plant-ins in New York City.

From the December 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

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White characters in What Are We Going to Do, Michael? (1973) tell the story of African American activist Hattie Carthan’s fight to save a southern magnolia tree.

In the 1973 children’s story What Are We Going to Do, Michael? 10-year-old Michael, together with his neighbor Mrs. Jacobson, helps to save an 80-year-old southern magnolia tree that is threatened with being cut down to make way for an urban renewal project in their neighborhood. Nellie Burchardt’s story is based upon true facts and events that occurred in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Yet, the way in which Burchardt portrays Michael and Mrs. Jacobson belies parts of the true story. In the children’s book, the two protagonists appear as white residents of a run-down, racially diverse neighborhood. In reality, Mrs. Jacobson was Hattie Carthan, an African American woman in her 70s living on a deteriorating neighborhood block in Bedford-Stuyvesant. By 1970, Bedford-Stuyvesant had become one of the largest African American communities in the United States, and, as Harold X. Connolly wrote in 1977, “a code word…for America’s unresolved urban and race problems.” It is unclear whether Burchardt’s choice to change the race of her protagonists had anything to do with the sales or readership aspirations for the book, or with the more idealist educational and egalitarian aspirations to cultivate white children’s empathy and awareness of nature in the city and of its ethnically and racially diverse citizenry, or, in turn, even with an unabashed racism. In any case the choice of the story itself as well as the changes made to its principal characters reflect (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

As drinking fountains fade from view, a call to make them iconic again.

As drinking fountains fade from view, a call to make them iconic again.

From the November 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

There are no reliable statistics on the number of drinking fountains in the United States, but according to the Washington Post, over the years a number of researchers have been documenting their disappearance. This year, the International Plumbing Code reduced its per-building fountain requirement by half.

Studies show that in the absence of drinking fountains, Americans often turn to bottled water, the negative environmental effects of which have been well documented. But equally worrisome is the impact a lack of drinking fountains could have on (more…)

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