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Posts Tagged ‘COVID-19’

BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

The movement for well-designed outdoor classrooms gets a push from the pandemic.

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

When students returned to Portland Public Schools in Maine this fall, they did so in classrooms that looked at least somewhat like what many outdoor learning advocates have long envisioned: rings of tree stumps arranged in a forest clearing, chairs spread across grassy lawns, upturned buckets placed between raised garden beds. These makeshift learning spaces were a response not to the overwhelming evidence that outdoor education improves health and academic performance, but to the need to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Caught between the risks of COVID-19 and the uncertainty of online learning, school administrators have embraced outdoor learning at an unprecedented pace. In the past, explains Sashie Misner, ASLA, a landscape architect and volunteer with Portland’s Rapid Response Outdoor Classroom Initiative, outdoor classroom projects “have been bottom up, working with a teacher who is interested in doing this. So you’re trying to convince the administration. Now, it’s the administration saying, ‘We really need this.’ So it’s a whole different thing, and you have to grab it and push it as far as you can.”

Misner is one of 21 volunteers helping schools identify potential locations for outdoor classrooms and think through issues such as access, acoustics, and shade. The pro bono effort, which is coordinated by the Portland Society for Architecture and the longtime green schoolyards advocate Laura Newman, was launched in July 2020 and is part of a larger, nationwide mobilization led by Green Schoolyards America.

(more…)

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TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATHERINE JENKINS

Scholarship in the Open Air.

FROM THE OCTOBER 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE  

 

Walking Through the Pandemic

In May 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, my graduate student Megan and I met on opposite sides of a meadow and walked together while remaining physically apart. We followed alternate edges of the field, aware of our bodies in space, keeping our distance but maintaining each other in sight. As if in a slow meandering dance in which the partners never meet, our paths crisscrossed a great divide. Maintaining a healthy separation demanded that we monitor each other’s movements with an acuity rarely exercised in an ordinary stroll. We walked with heightened awareness, present to the asynchronous rise and fall of our bodies as we moved along our separate paths.

Not long thereafter, Megan returned to the meadow, which is located on an urban farm on the Ohio State University campus. Alone on this walk, she was confronted by a campus police officer who questioned the purpose of her visit. When she explained that she was a student of landscape architecture conducting research on walking outdoors, he replied, “I find that very hard to believe,” and instructed her to leave the site. The officer justified his dismissal by claiming that he had received reports of people stealing apples from an adjacent orchard. Megan kindly noted that given that it was early May, some months before any apples would be available for picking, the validity of such a report was questionable. Regrettably, the officer was untroubled by this observation—and by the possibility that he was disrupting scholarly research—and evicted Megan nonetheless.

In this political moment, walking outside was regarded as a transgression. Although she was alone and surrounded by acres of open, unpopulated space, Megan’s presence on public land upset expectations to stay isolated by retreating indoors. But her walk also confronted other social norms that favor vehicular use above alternative modes of transportation—norms that evolved with the diffuse growth of the city of Columbus. Considering the many ways in which Columbus has designed walking out of everyday life, perhaps roaming an agricultural site with no clear destination is truly abnormal behavior. (more…)

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SA-Comm-1300-652 To YOU -- An Approach for a Collective Voice-07_RESIZE

STUDENT COMMUNICATIONS: 652 to You: An Approach for a Collective Voice

 

In the September issue of LAM, the 2020 Awards lineup unfurls.

At the end of March, just a few weeks into the nationwide shutdown orders, both the coronavirus and the now-ubiquitous Zoom meeting were novel. But the jury for the 2020 ASLA Professional Awards, made up of landscape architects across various levels of practice, accepted, if not embraced, a new means for judging these 38 winning projects. Under these conditions, the jury assessed the merits of shared space from a fresh perspective. Projects that facilitated equal access to the outdoors, enhanced how people naturally behave in those spaces, and established meaningful connections with one another—and with the land—assumed a different weight in these times.

The ASLA Student Awards jury met this year under a different moon, several months later. The pandemic had blown up the spring semester, fracturing student focus and cutting short many research projects. Yet despite these disruptions, the jury found its center quickly. Clarity and community were the twin threads that entwined the comments over several days. As one juror remarked, “We should be leaning in” on anything that engages community. (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.

FROM THE AUGUST 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Black people and Black communities bear the outsized impacts of public violence and, now, the deadly coronavirus. Six Black landscape architects and an architect parse the spatial factors that underlie each crisis—often both crises—and the kinds of actions and reforms they hope to see.

With Diane Jones Allen, FASLA; M. Austin Allen III, ASLA; Charles Cross; June Grant; Elizabeth Kennedy, ASLA; Jescelle R. Major, ASLA; and Douglas A. Williams, ASLA.

The idea for the following discussion, which took place the afternoon of June 22, 2020, via videoconference, first arose in late April as it became clear that the pandemic brought on by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 was doing disproportionate damage in Black communities in the United States: three times the number of infections as white people, and nearly twice the likelihood of death. The health crisis and an economic shutdown were quick to layer onto the existing vulnerabilities of Black people in the realms of health care, employment, wealth creation, community investment, mobility, and access to the virus’s nemeses—fresh air, open space, and daylight. Diane Jones Allen, FASLA, and M. Austin Allen III, ASLA, based in New Orleans and Arlington, Texas, invited four other landscape architecture practitioners and one architect to a call to talk about the spatial inequities to which the spread of the virus is plausibly attributable.

As the virus spread in May, there came national and international attention, two months delayed, to the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, by racist vigilantes as he was out for a run in daylight on February 23 just outside Brunswick, Georgia, and the killing of Breonna Taylor, who was 26, in her home early the morning of March 13 by Louisville Metro Police, who were executing a no-knock warrant. Then on May 25, Memorial Day, George Floyd, 46, was murdered in public view by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds in the course of answering a call for an alleged nonviolent offense at a convenience store. As anger gathered and then exploded in street uprisings across the country, the group of designers on these pages had an expanded scope to cover—two plagues, not one, to dissect for causes and complications that bear directly on the callings of landscape architecture, its ideals, and its ill preparedness for such a moment. One plague is novel, and the other is now four centuries with us. (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

A viewshed diagram of a private residence site prepared by Surroundings Studio Intern Lily Dendy, Student ASLA, and Project Manager Abby Feldman, ASLA. Image courtesy Surroundings Studio.

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE INTERNS ARE LEARNING THE ROPES OF THE PROFESSION THROUGH THE CABLES AND WIRES OF REMOTE WORK.

 

Last fall, Lily Dendy, Student ASLA, an MLA student at Auburn University, was looking for internships in New Mexico. She was searching for firms that had used indigenous design strategies (such as acequia water catchment systems) on their projects, and she had also visited Santa Fe during a road trip from Alabama to New Mexico the previous year and was transfixed by the region’s natural beauty. She was amazed by the Earth’s ability to create life in the arid expanses, and by the sunsets: the most beautiful she’d ever seen. So Surroundings Studio, a small firm in Santa Fe, founded by partners Kenneth Francis, ASLA, and Sandra Donner, Affiliate ASLA, seemed like a perfect fit. She applied in January, and the partners liked her portfolio and began discussions to bring her aboard for the summer. But then the COVID-19 pandemic halted everything. She would not be going to New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment,” Dendy says. “I was a little bummed.”

But Surroundings decided to move forward with the internship anyway. Dendy is one of many landscape architecture students getting some of their first experiences of professional practice via Zoom calls and VPNs. For firms that have been able to offer internships despite economic hardship, part of the challenge has been acclimating new designers to the studio environment through a laptop. (more…)

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BY KIM O’CONNELL

With playgrounds off limits, Philadelphia’s Studio Ludo gets creative for low-income families.

FROM THE AUGUST 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In downtown Philadelphia, a colorful city development project is under way. The buildings are bright blue and orange, the gabled roofs patterned with triangles and chevrons. The front doors are sunflower yellow, and residents seem happy and content—at least as content as little plastic dinosaurs can be.

The project is Tube Town, a “city” made of toilet paper tubes, construction paper, markers, and glue. Tube Town is one of Studio Ludo’s new Play Packs, a resource created for families during the COVID-19 crisis, and the brainchild of the firm’s executive director, Meghan Talarowski, ASLA. In addition to providing 30 downloadable play and craft projects online—all imaginatively staged and photographed, as with the addition of the little dinos—the firm has worked with local community organizations to distribute play materials to families in need. “We thought, since we’re not doing outside projects right now, how do we bring play to families?” Talarowski says. (more…)

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

Image courtesy Lewis/Nordenson/Tsurumaki/Lewis.

From “Designs for Apartness” in the August 2020 issue by Haniya Rae, about Paul Lewis and Guy Nordenson’s manual for reorganizing spatial patterns and relationships per the omnipresent dictates of social distancing and COVID-19.

“Elbow room needed.”

–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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