Tag Archives: By J. Margolies

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

Park Diplomacy Across the U.S.–Mexico Border

This article is also available in Spanish

At Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, “two countries, two cities, one culture, one river, one park.”

By Jane Margolies

Zacate Creek, which feeds into the Rio Grande, creates an arroyo with a natural waterfall. Photo by Overland Partners.

Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas, Mexico—known colloquially as Los Dos Laredos—were a single city divided by the Rio Grande River until 1848, when a treaty established the international border in the river, leaving one half in the United States and the other in Mexico. Continue reading Park Diplomacy Across the U.S.–Mexico Border

On Track

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

Community college students are motivated, experienced, and increasingly drawn to landscape architecture.

By Jane Margolies

 

When the novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, gave away more than $4.1 billion at the end of 2020, she didn’t bestow funds upon Ivy League schools and other elite universities that are often the recipients of large gifts. Continue reading On Track

The Schoolyard is Sick

This article is also available in Spanish.

The design of school grounds is being rethought for many reasons. Claire Latane wants improving students’ mental health to be one of them.

By Jane Margolies

Not long ago, the schoolyard of Eagle Rock Elementary, in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles, was a sea of cracked asphalt. Now it has rows of budding trees that divide up the three-acre expanse, and there’s a large grassy area and little enclaves with stumps and log seating away from the hustle and bustle. By offering a variety of settings, the schoolyard gives students the ability to choose where and how they spend their time at recess. Claire Latané, ASLA, the Los Angeles-based ecological designer who led the renovation of the grounds, says it also should improve their mental health.

Latané believes supporting the mental health of students is key to their happiness and well-being. Her conviction is based on decades of academic research by others, her own experience analyzing and designing schoolyards, and her gut feeling about the topic, as both a designer and a mother. Despite all we know about the impact our surroundings have on us—and the progress being made to introduce therapeutic environments to health care facilities—schools aren’t being designed with mental health as a consideration, let alone a priority. They are defensive (and ever more so, even provisionally, given gun violence in schools). Many schools have as much charm as storage facilities these days, and the worst are, in their environmental design, practically penal.

Through advocacy, writing, and teaching, Latané is trying to change that reality. She has encouraged the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Continue reading The Schoolyard is Sick

Game On

Randall’s Island, situated at the center of New York City, has become the park and recreational mecca long dreamed about.

By Jane Margolies

MPFP shoehorned in as many fields as possible on the southern end of the island while preserving a bucolic edge for walking, biking, and picnicking. Photo by Vincent Laforet.

It’s a sunny afternoon in May, and lacrosse games are in full swing on Randall’s Island, a 516-acre landmass surrounded by water and, beyond, the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. Continue reading Game On

Walking the Walk

Fifteen years in the making, a new public space reunites Chicago with the river that runs through it.

By Jane Margolies

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An accessible walkway at the River Theater blends seamlessly with the site. Photo by Kate Joyce Studios.

“Isn’t it hot?” Gina Ford, ASLA, asked excitedly, waving a well-jacketed arm around her on a cold morning this past fall as she, the architect Carol Ross Barney, and Terry Ryan, FASLA, met up at the Chicago Riverwalk to show me around. Continue reading Walking the Walk