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Archive for the ‘THE BACK’ Category

BY LEAH GHAZARIAN

A print journal is the next step for The Planthunter’s Georgina Reid.

FROM THE JANUARY 2022 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Not long into the pandemic lockdowns in Australia, Georgina Reid, the editor of The Planthunter web magazine, grew weary of words on a screen.

“The stories I want people to actually read, to think about, and to sit with, they don’t have a natural home online,” says Reid, a landscape designer who writes about the connection between people and plants—stories that are often lacking place. So Reid had a thought: “Maybe that needs to be print.”

The pieces in Wonderground, the journal born in her riverside studio, are pensive and rousing, sometimes heartbreaking. They form collections of works made to be held in hands and enjoyed deliciously and not all at once.

“It’s about telling stories that challenge the way we see ourselves in the world, that inspire us to create the future that we want to live in—it’s as simple as that and as complex as that,” Reid says. (more…)

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BY EMILY SCHLICKMAN

A native plant nursery roves the streets of Northern California.

FROM THE DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On a sunny September morning, a black box truck rolled into a suburban California neighborhood playing a catchy jingle of insect sounds. The truck stopped and, within minutes, transformed into a verdant plant nursery: The rear door rolled up and its sides folded out, revealing a pop-up shop bursting with native ferns and forbs, saplings and starts. With the addition of decomposed granite, yellow loungers, and recycled crates, a curbside neighborhood hub emerged. Over the course of the day, the quiet residential street came alive with dog walkers, bicyclists, and neighbors interested in buying plants and learning about native vegetation. (more…)

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BY PHILLIP FERNBERG, ASSOCIATE ASLA, AND BRENT CHAMBERLAIN

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence creativity should make us rethink the future of landscape architecture practice.

FROM THE AUGUST 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

If you were to thumb through old issues of Science magazine, once you hit 1967 you would come across an obscure article coauthored by Allen Newell, an esteemed pioneer of artificial intelligence research, arguing for the validity of a new discipline called computer science. In the article, Newell and his colleagues Alan J. Perlis and Herbert A. Simon address some fundamental objections within academia to the idea that the study of computers was, in fact, a science or even a worthwhile pursuit. The questions are simple but fundamental: Is there such a thing as computer science? If so, what is it?

As you read the objections and their respective responses, you might begin to think as we did about the similar line of questioning that has been employed in landscape architecture. Substitute the computer speak with our own professional jargon and you have near carbon copies of themes from licensure advocacy meetings, ASLA conferences, or academic treatises on the state of the discipline. Computer science and landscape architecture have a surprising amount in common. They are both relatively new (at least in the official sense), they have both evolved in significant ways over the past century, and they both have been in an ongoing existential discussion about their position amid peer disciplines. This is nice to know but not revelatory.

Yet the intersection gets more interesting. One of the objections in the article states: “The term ‘computer’ is not well defined, and its meaning will change with new developments, hence computer science does not have a well-defined subject matter.” The authors’ reply is astute and resonant: “The phenomena of all sciences change over time; the process of understanding assures that this will be the case. Astronomy did not originally include the study of interstellar gases; physics did not include radioactivity; psychology did not include the study of animal behavior. Mathematics was once defined as the ‘science of quantity.’” So too is the phenomenon of landscape architecture; it just happens to work on an accelerated timeline. The field is ever shifting, retooling, and reassessing our place as our understanding of our medium and our instruments evolves. Before Olmsted, landscapes were gardens rather than systems; before Ian McHarg’s Design with Nature, those systems were not intertwined with ecology; before CAD, GIS, or Adobe, our only tools were pen and paper. (more…)

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BY LYDIA LEE

A new design for San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Plaza may succeed where others have fallen short.

FROM THE JULY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In the 1970s, Harvey Milk turned San Francisco into a symbol of hope for LGBTQ+ people everywhere. One of the first openly gay politicians in the United States, Milk was assassinated in 1978. Since then, the city has been without a substantive memorial to one of its most iconic figures. After a four-year effort to redesign a tiny memorial plaza next to a transit stop failed to gain traction, the San Francisco office of SWA has restarted the process by surveying the community about the kind of memorial it wants. “We had to back up and ask these fundamental questions about how to memorialize Harvey,” says SWA’s Daniel Cunningham, the project manager and design lead. (more…)

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

Photo by Aaron Williams, ASLA.

From “Artist’s Block” by Patrick Sisson in the June 2021 issue, about Aaron Williams, ASLA, whose COVID-19 quarantine hobby has him carefully re-creating Lego replicas of Madison, Wisconsin, architecture.

“The Lego workbench.”

–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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 Designing for Just and Multifunctional Energy Landscapes

As part of an ongoing effort to make content more accessible, LAM will be making select stories available to readers in Spanish.

BY NICHOLAS PEVZNER, YEKANG KO, AND KIRK DIMOND, ASLA

FROM THE JUNE 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Renewable energy is a central element in the Biden administration’s climate plans, a response to President Joe Biden’s campaign goal of a 100 percent clean grid by 2035 and the promise of 10 million well-paying green infrastructure jobs. Renewable energy and the power sector must play a central part in this plan if the United States is to meet Biden’s ambitious new national climate target. The goal, released on Earth Day as part of a virtual international climate gathering ahead of the COP26 Climate Change Conference, is to achieve a 50 percent reduction in climate emissions by 2030 measured against 2005 levels. And clean energy transmission, generation, and storage have a major presence in the American Jobs Plan, the Biden administration’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal now making its way through Congress. All of this renewable energy would represent a major transformation of the landscape. What would it mean for landscape design, and what would the designer’s role be in such a major overhaul of the energy sector? (more…)

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REVIEWED BY LISA CASEY, ASLA

FROM THE APRIL 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Connecting children to public space outdoors had a watershed moment, a clarion call, in 2005 when Richard Louv published his now classic Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. A journalist with a gift for storytelling, Louv was able to take the facts of the disturbingly shrinking time that young people spend outdoors and wrap it in a way that sparked the imagination of parents, educators, and child advocates everywhere. Although landscape architects, planners, and environmental psychologists have observed, studied, and discussed these trends for decades, his clarity at a key inflection point opened a movement like that of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring or Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac.

However, there is something of an unspoken assumption around the original research and Louv’s framework in saying that the previous generation had better access to nature. Some did, as in the enthralling story that Kathryn Aalto shares in The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh of the eight-year-old A. A. Milne with his 10-year-old brother going on a long, unaccompanied ramble through the English countryside in the 1890s. Milne was the son of a progressive school headmaster and certainly had an exceptional childhood with such independence. Many of his contemporaries, at least half within the United States, were already in the workforce by age 14 according to the historian Robert Gordon. Young girls of the same age were in a different but no less dreary position of unending drudgery at home. The image of the carefree youth, which Mark Twain so eloquently captured in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer during this era, is ultimately one of privilege. In the early 20th century, fortunate boys living without the unending chores of a farm or factory hours in the city had more leisure time to explore the woods and streams. “The country road with barefoot boys, dogs, and fishing poles was an important part of early twentieth century small-town iconography,” notes Gordon, quoting Sinclair Lewis. The iconic youth in small towns was in various ways an elite group. How many prior generations of children of color and girls were never in Louv’s proverbial woods in the first place?

The editors of The Routledge Handbook of Designing Public Spaces for Young People focus on providing access and voice specifically to these groups of marginalized young people. Access, in particular, has been a central topic in the research and at conferences. There has also been increasing discussion around social justice. However, empowering voices within the process is a newer concept that brings a different set of challenges to the committed professional. (more…)

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