Collage Material

For new master plan, MNLA embraced Smith College’s ethos of participation.

By Jonathan Lerner

Photo of river with small waterfall.
Paradise Pond, a beloved Smith landmark, was formed by a dam on the Mill River. A proposal to renaturalize the river strikes some alumnae as too radical. Photo courtesy MNLA.

In 1871, Sophia Smith devoted an inherited fortune to realizing her dream, a women’s college to equal those for men. Today the institution bearing her name enrolls some 2,100 female undergraduates (and a few hundred grad students, including some men). Smith College is in Northampton, Massachusetts, a town of about 30,000 where idealistic visions flow luxuriant. Continue reading Collage Material

Destination Hemp Farm

A Virginia landscape architect thinks cannabis farms could be the state’s next tourist attraction.

By Kim O’Connell

A concept by Kirk Bereuter, ASLA, shows how working hemp farms could incorporate the amenities of wineries or breweries. Photo by Kirk Bereuter Landscape Architecture.

On a farm in Loudoun County, Virginia, the first thing you might notice is the smell. Some say it’s citrusy, others say it’s piney, and still others say it’s skunky. Most visitors find it pleasantly earthy. This is the Cannabreeze Hemp Farm, nestled into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Continue reading Destination Hemp Farm

Tier Drops

Water out West is disappearing. Seven states, 30 tribes, and millions of people will need to adjust.

By Lisa Owens Viani

The Central Arizona Project carries Colorado River water across a stretch of desert north of Bouse, Arizona. Photo © Ted Wood/The Water Desk.

In early August 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation declared the first ever Tier 1 shortage for the Colorado River, based on the agency’s projection that Lake Mead would drop below a threshold of 1,075 feet above sea level in January. Water levels in the river’s two main reservoirs—Lake Powell (behind Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona) and Lake Mead (behind Hoover Dam on the Arizona–Nevada border)—are now at their lowest since they were filled and flows in the river have declined. Continue reading Tier Drops

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

Banking on Borrowed Land

Balancing rural and urban needs, climate change, and chronic underfunding, the land trust industry is in a moment of reckoning.

By Erin Kelly, ASLA

An abandoned pocket park, prior to WRLC’s improvements. Image courtesy Tim Dehm/WRLC.

Land banks and land trusts have overlapping missions—stewarding land—but different frameworks and financing. Continue reading Banking on Borrowed Land

Mind the Gaps (and Curves) with Precast Concrete

Getting the best from precast concrete requires a little flexibility. 

By John Payne, ASLA, and James Dudley

The first prototype of the precast piece is what will determine the mold form. Photo courtesy SiteWorks.

Precast concrete, which is concrete that is cast into its final form before it is installed, has long been used in architecture and engineering for myriad forms and applications. These include bridge trusses, ornamental cladding, and prestressed beams. The casting process takes place within the regulated confines of a facility, with tightly controlled concrete mixes and material ingredients resulting in greater control and consistency, making it a real attraction to both designers and builders. Continue reading Mind the Gaps (and Curves) with Precast Concrete

The Magazine of the American Society of Landscape Architects