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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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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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TEXT BY SARAH COWLES / PHOTOGRAPHY BY DINA OGANOVA

The hidden dimensions of a city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

FROM THE JULY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In the middle of March, I join a friend for a trip to Tbilisi National Park, one of Georgia’s 15 national parks, and a dense and parallactic forest of mossy Fagus orientalis, Ilex colchica, and Taxus baccata. We search the red-brown carpet for spring flowers: purple Primula vulgaris, chartreuse Helleborus caucasicus, and Petasites albus. We drive through rain showers to the town of Tianeti; we observe highway workers gather under marshrutka (bus) shelters for birzha, the ritual sharing of strong spirits and snacks.

“That does not look like social distancing,” I tell my friend.

We stop at the café in Tianeti village. “Can we get dambal khacho?” I ask. It’s a local mountain blue cheese, served warm on hot bread with ghee. “Shansi ara, axali kanoni!” (No chance, new law!) She brings takeaway instant coffee and cream puffs to the sidewalk.

As we descend the congested Georgian Military Highway in the Aragvi valley toward Tbilisi, hundreds of trucks straddle the verge and pavement, idled cargoes of produce and mineral water from Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia. Drivers sleep, piss, pace, and make repairs; the normal delays at the alpine Georgian–Russian border, now exacerbated by the crisis. I dodge the oncoming cars and curse. On this highway, there’s no margin of error, no guardrails; driving is all wit, no wisdom.

“Don’t go out unless absolutely necessary. If you have a high fever and cough, consult a doctor. We wish you health!” reads an SMS from Mtavroba (the Georgian government). The streets are already empty of cars; only the buzz of mopeds prevails.

In Tbilisi, it is Gizhi Marti (crazy March); the lion and the lamb are fighting every day. Cold Caucasus winds slice the plateaus at night. I wake to silence and snow. Had the city cooled in the slowdown? With fewer cars and a decrease in air pollution, is there now new space in the atmosphere for precipitation? On the news, bearded monks in black Ford F-350s and Toyota Land Cruiser Prados circle Republic Square, scattering holy water in the slush to combat the virus; the first salvo in a split-screen battle over containment and cure, between faith and science, the church and the state. (more…)

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FOREGROUND     

Law in the Land (Interview)
The author and legal scholar Jedediah Purdy’s new book, This Land Is Our Land, sifts through
contradictory assumptions about our ties to the environment.      

Midas’s Touch (Planning)
Conservationists strike an uneasy alliance with a mining company that wants to clean up
and restore habitat near an old gold mine—so it can restart mining operations.

FEATURES

All Ours
A photographic essay of Washington, D.C.’s First Amendment spaces under threat
by the government.

After Extraordinary Conditions
With a small landscape architecture practice and a gimlet eye, the author makes her way
around the city of Tbilisi, Georgia, during the coronavirus lockdown.

The full table of contents for July can be found here.

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.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be posting July articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “All Ours,” Sahar Coston-Hardy, Affiliate ASLA; “After Extraordinary Conditions,” Dina Oganova; “Law in the Land,” courtesy Laura Britton; “Midas’s Touch,” courtesy Midas Gold.

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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.

BY PHOEBE LICKWAR, ASLA, AND ROXI THOREN, ASLA

FROM THE JUNE 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Phoebe Lickwar, ASLA, and Roxi Thoren, ASLA, have just published an excellent new book, Farmscape: The Design of Productive Landscapes (Routledge, 2020), which should consolidate many stirrings of the past decade in landscape architecture to reclaim a serious purchase on food production after generations of the two realms’ drifting apart. The book speaks into the gaps among where food is made, where it’s needed, and where it’s eaten. The examples pull from history through to recent practice, with the ornamented farm of early 1700s Britain; Frederick Law Olmsted’s Moraine Farm; the urban gardens of Leberecht Migge and Leopold Fischer in Dessau, Germany; and works by Martha Schwartz Partners, Mithun, and Nelson Byrd Woltz.

Just as the book came out, the pandemic began, quickly raising questions about food supplies. There were numerous reports of stalled and wasted produce, dairy, and eggs. Meatpacking plants were struck by outbreaks of COVID-19. LAM asked Lickwar and Thoren to trade notes by e-mail for a week in April about their reactions to the kinds of disruptions emerging, and how more intentional, landscape-driven approaches to food production might avert other disruptions down the line.

—Bradford McKee (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

Ten years ago, this landscape was mowed turf. Photo by Larry Weaner, Affiliate ASLA.

A long-running workshop on native landscapes will move online for the first time.

 

Foraging for wild ramps to sauté, collecting and sprinkling seeds over a fallow field, watching how annual nurse plants and slower-growing perennials advance and retreat as a native meadow matures. They’re all ideal landscape experiences for the COVID-19 era: remote, contemplative, and socially distant. They’re also squarely in the wheelhouse of Larry Weaner, Affiliate ASLA, and the organization he started 30 years ago, New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL). Weaner is a highly sought-after meadow designer, and NDAL is an education and ecological design nonprofit that emphasizes native landscapes and minimal maintenance practices. This spring and summer, NDAL will be bringing its long-running workshops online for the first time.

Weaner views designed landscapes and meadows as continually evolving layers of proliferation and withdrawal among native species, where maintenance can be kept to a minimum. These online seminars, which NDAL typically holds twice a year, are rough translations of the “very intensive native design workshops that go into all aspects of integrating ecological restoration into garden design,” Weaner says. But with the need for social distancing and the move online, Weaner elected to host shorter presentations for landscape professionals, and has programmed separate sessions for general audiences. (more…)

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