Tag Archives: By B. Barth

A Wilder West

Colwell-Shelor embraces “ugly-pretty” ecology on a Camelback Mountain estate.

By Brian Barth / Photography by Caitlin Atkinson

Stormwater runoff from the property collects in a steel basin before seeping into the lawn through a series of weeps. Photo by Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA.

Rare is the landscape architecture client who enjoys a view of decay out their window. Continue reading A Wilder West

Home Brewed

The beer flows freely alongside Asheville’s renewed French Broad River.

By Brian Barth

The designers continue to work with the client, including on plans to accommodate the many boaters who pull off and scramble up the bank for a beer. Photo © Mark Herboth Photography LLC.

On a cool Friday morning back in the spring, I stood on a small pedestrian bridge overlooking a tiny stream that feeds into the French Broad River in Asheville, North Carolina. Continue reading Home Brewed

Hell of Fun

Claude Cormier cracks a smile.

By Brian Barth

Claude Cormier, ASLA, designed bridges, which double as romantic viewing platforms, over the entrances to a pair of underground parking decks. Photo by Jean-François Savaria.

When Claude Cormier, ASLA, and I pull up to Dorchester Square in Montreal, a man is leaning against the grand fountain, with its three Victorian bowls, all painted a very Victorian shade of green, smoking a cigarette. When we get out of the car, I realize it’s not a cigarette, but a joint. Continue reading Hell of Fun

No Plan is an Island

W Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Civitas team up to design a flood-friendly park that recreates a resilient landscape in Calgary’s Bow River.

By Brian Barth

Reopening one of the island’s natural breaches was an opportunity to design a calm-water beach. Image courtesy W Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

In the summer of 2013, catastrophic flooding in southern Alberta killed five people and forced 100,000 to evacuate. With $6 billion in property damage, it was one of the costliest natural disasters in Canadian history. Continue reading No Plan is an Island

MLA ROI

Job prospects for landscape architecture graduates are excellent. So why aren’t more students enrolling?

By Brian Barth 

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.

 

In many respects, we’ve entered a golden era of landscape architecture. The profession’s profile appears to be on the rise, as environmental crises become more urgent and unavoidable and landscape architects increasingly take on lead roles in major projects. Interest in stormwater management, habitat restoration, and the public realm has expanded dramatically in recent decades, driving demand for landscape architecture services. The industry took a hit during the Great Recession, but since 2012, the American Society of Landscape Architects’ quarterly survey of firms (which tracks billable hours, inquiries for new work, and hiring trends) has found consistently robust growth.

One would expect new recruits to flock to the profession as a result. But this is not the case.

The number of people working in the field of landscape architecture peaked at around 45,000 in 2006, then nose-dived to about 30,000 in 2013. The postrecession boost in demand for services, though welcome, did not translate into warm bodies at the office. By 2016, the most recent year for which Bureau of Labor Statistics data is available, landscape architecture employment had dropped below 25,000.

Student enrollment in landscape architecture programs has followed a similar trend, Continue reading MLA ROI

Iced Out

The quest to obtain STEM designation for landscape architecture meets the hard walls of the Department of Homeland Security.

By Brian Barth 

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.

 

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is all the rage in academia these days. STEM degrees confer significant prestige in a high-tech world, and STEM education is funded to the tune of billions of dollars by the federal government. Privileges afforded to STEM students include eligibility for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which excludes non-STEM students. Minority students are incented to pursue STEM degrees by grants available to those who attend historically black colleges and universities and Latinx-serving institutions.

STEM is also deeply enmeshed in immigration policy. Out of concern that the flow of native-born STEM graduates falls short of labor market demand, the United States offers foreign graduate students in STEM fields an extension on their F-1 student visas to encourage them to remain in the country as high-skilled workers—a boon to the students, but also to firms that are seeking to retain top global talent in a country increasingly bent on tightening its borders. F-1 visa students in any field of study are eligible for 12 months of “optional practical training” (OPT), a form of temporary work authorization that may be used for jobs or internships related to their field. But in 2008, an additional 17 months was offered solely to students in STEM fields; in 2016, the OPT visa extension grew to 24 months, for a total of three years of work authorization.

The three-year OPT visa extension is no small trinket for foreign students who are eyeing U.S. degree programs. The ability to stay in the country after graduation greatly enhances their job prospects, which in turn enhances their long-term immigration prospects: The H-1B visa that typically comes with a job in an American firm is a well-worn path to a green card and, eventually, citizenship. Because STEM figures so heavily in career choices and funding streams, professions of every stripe clamor to get in its tent. But the door is heavily guarded.

The list of federally designated STEM fields is maintained not by the Department of Education but by the Department of Homeland Security—specifically by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, better known as ICE. Continue reading Iced Out