Posts Tagged ‘African American’

BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

In North Carolina, history, industry, and climate change work in tandem to create landscapes of toxic waste.

FROM THE MAY 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

In Houston, it was the petrochemical plants. In North Carolina, it was the hog farms. In both places, churning floodwaters caused by recent storms were turned into a toxic stew that endangered local water resources and public health. In September 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina, where seven million gallons of hog waste overtopped the region’s ubiquitous open-air lagoons and quickly made its way into neighbors’ yards and nearby streams.

As by-products go, the fecal sludge of an industrial-scale hog farm is far from benign. The waste can carry viruses, parasites, nitrates, and bacteria such as salmonella. Even in the best circumstances, the odors from these open-air lagoons, which number some 3,300 across the state but are concentrated in the heavily African American counties of eastern North Carolina, are noxious enough that in August 2018 a jury awarded six families $473.5 million for having to live near a hog farm in Pender County. Combined with a severe storm, however, these lagoons become all the more dangerous, threatening the water supply of entire communities and far-flung ecosystems.

Hurricane Florence was just the most recent example of how severe weather events, strengthened by a warming climate, can interact with industrialized landscapes to create new threats to public health and safety. If landscape architects are to grapple with the environmental and human health impacts of climate change, they will have to educate themselves about agricultural waste. (more…)

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As part of an ongoing effort to make content more accessible, LAM will be making select stories available to readers in Spanish. For a full list of translated articles, please click here.

Click above for a full PDF of the translated text, with English text available below.

BY JENNIFER REUT

FROM THE JANUARY 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) has many flagship programs, but none has quite the resonance and public impact of Landslide. Since 2003, the campaign has brilliantly avoided compassion fatigue by connecting at-risk sites around a single idea or figure, a strategy that enrolls the public in the notion of cultural landscapes without lecturing. Threats to the selected landscapes and features can come through development, lack of visibility or awareness, or inappropriate usage, and making these places visible encourages the public to support and advocate for them.

This year, the campaign, titled Grounds for Democracy, is organized around civil rights. TCLF includes “sites associated with civil and human rights, women’s suffrage, the labor movement, and others.” Joining other historic and advocacy groups in highlighting the 50-year anniversary of 1968, TCLF asks the public to consider the ways landscapes absorb and reflect our imperfect and sometimes violent relationships with our most cherished values.

Landscape Architecture Magazine is the media partner for the Cultural Landscape Foundation’s Landslide 2018: Grounds for Democracy. For a complete description of each theme and project, go to www.tclf.org. (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

On a tiny, distressed site in South Los Angeles, Hongjoo Kim creates a multilayered landscape.

FROM THE JANUARY 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

South Los Angeles is the last place a person might expect to find a tranquil walkway winding through the canopy of a mixed evergreen and deciduous forest. But 10 or 12 years from now, when the pines and redbud trees of Vermont Miracle Park have grown up past the metal railings of its 11-foot-high elevated walkway, residents of Vermont Knolls will have the chance to disappear into nature—if only for a few minutes.

Occupying just 10,500 square feet, Vermont Miracle Park was designed by Hongjoo Kim Landscape Architects and developed by the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust (LANLT), a nonprofit organization formed in part by then-city council member Eric Garcetti, Honorary ASLA, in 2002 to bring additional green space to underserved neighborhoods like Vermont Knolls, a predominantly African American and Latino community not far from Compton. It’s an area characterized by strip malls, auto body shops, and more than its fair share of vacant lots.

The lot at 81st Street and Vermont Avenue had been vacant since the building there burned down in what Keshia Sexton, the director of organizing at LANLT, refers to as the 1992 Uprising, after the acquittal of Los Angeles police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King. Twenty-five years later, the lot has been transformed into much-needed green space, funded through (more…)

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THE RIVER BENEATH THE RIVER

As part of an ongoing effort to make content more accessible, LAM will be making select stories available to readers in Spanish. For a full list of translated articles, please click here.

Click above for a full PDF of the translated text, with English text available below.

BY JENNIFER REUT

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

For a long time, the Anacostia River didn’t even have a name. It was just the Eastern Branch, the other, less promising section of Washington, D.C.’s better known and more distinguished river, the Potomac. But it was always known as a fortunate course to the Nacotchtank, the Native Americans who used it as a trading post, and later to the European colonists who relied on the river’s deep port at Bladensburg, Maryland, to carry tobacco, and to the generations of farmers, tradesmen, and laborers who never seemed to run out of fish, fowl, and game to hunt. For nearly nine miles, the Anacostia eased in and out with the tide, with no particular urgency, toward its confluence with the Potomac, tracing an unhurried flow through thousands of acres of tidal wetlands.

Of course, that was before the port and the shipping channels silted up in the 19th century from agricultural misuse; before the river was (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

A group of designers, artists, and community activists are fighting to save the bridge. A rendering by the landscape architect Michael Beightol illustrates the viaduct’s potential as a linear park. Image courtesy Michael Beightol.

IN ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA, A HISTORY OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ANIMATES THE DEBATE OVER A PIECE OF CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE.

 

Michael Keys used to walk the McBride Viaduct nearly every day to and from school. It was the most convenient route over the busy rail yard that bisected his east side Erie, Pennsylvania, neighborhood. Now, as a member of the local urban design advocacy group Erie CPR: Connect + Respect, Keys is one of dozens of residents fighting to save the 1,700-foot-long viaduct. The organization argues that the bridge is a crucial linkage between some of Erie’s poorest communities and that tearing it down could do harm to populations already considered vulnerable.

Erie CPR projects that removing the viaduct, which has been closed to vehicles since 2010, will force residents to cross the tracks at grade, which can be dangerous, or walk some 2,000 feet to a busy road known as the Bayfront Connector. With its high-speed traffic and blind corners, the connector is far less safe for pedestrians than the viaduct, says Adam Trott, an architect and the president of Erie CPR. Another danger, especially for children, is daily exposure to vehicle emissions. A recent World Health Organization report found that 10 percent of deaths among children under the age of five are attributable to air pollution.

The city’s decision to demolish the viaduct, which was originally built in 1938 and overhauled in the 1970s, is based on a feasibility study conducted by the engineering firm L. R. Kimball. The engineers reported that rehabilitating or replacing the viaduct were cost-prohibitive, in part because the bridge no longer meets basic road width requirements. And yet, having studied 11 alternatives— (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

Stoss’s greenway begins just south of the Gateway Arch, amid a tangle of freeways and rail lines. Image courtesy Stoss.

The Chouteau Greenway (pronounced “show-toe”), which is planned to run about five miles from Forest Park on St. Louis’s western edge to the newly rejuvenated Gateway Arch National Park at the Mississippi River, is not a park. It’s not even a park system. It’s a landscape-driven development strategy for an entire swath of the city. Its goal is to break down the city’s stark north-south racial divide by attracting St. Louisans from across a socioeconomic spectrum toward a corridor defined by a tangle of transit infrastructure. Along the way are some of the region’s most eminent education, medical, and cultural institutions.

The plan is led by the Great Rivers Greenway, a public agency that works to connect the city’s three rivers with a network of greenway trails (which currently measures 117 miles). It envisions these often desolate and transit-scaled corridors as a series of parks, memorials, trails, and art spaces that tell the cultural history of the city. The proposed greenway could put St. Louis’s two premier urban landscapes—and the city itself—on a new pedestal. But inspiration for the winning plan from the Great Rivers Greenway’s design competition, concluded earlier this month, draws from subtle histories.

The winning prescriptions, by Stoss, call for reviving ecologies long paved over and making visible the erased narratives of African American communities. “We wanted to use this project as an opportunity to unearth these buried histories,” says Stoss’s founding director, Chris Reed, FASLA. Especially in its treatment of the bulldozed African American neighborhood of Mill Creek Valley, (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

Nashville has a plan to preserve Fort Negley Park—one that many hope deals with its violent past.

FROM THE MAY 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Fort Negley Park, a 55-acre swath of open space two miles south of downtown Nashville, Tennessee, is most famous as the site of a prominent stone masonry fortification built during the Civil War after Union soldiers seized the city. Built out of earth and dry-stacked limestone, Fort Negley is said to be the largest inland fort constructed during the war. It helped the North retain control of Nashville and eventually win the war.

The structure itself, however, was built by nearly 3,000 African American men and women, who were “impressed” against their will—rounded up on the street or pulled out of church services, some of them as young as 13 years old. A quarter of them died, either from injury or mistreatment. They were buried near the fort, (more…)

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