From Coast to Coast, Landscape Architects Serve the Public

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The ASLA public awareness campaign launched the Year of Public Service (YPS) in 2013 for two reasons. First, the campaign encouraged ASLA members to ramp up existing pro-bono efforts. Second, ASLA wanted to highlight the great service projects already done by landscape architects across the country.

A year later, the YPS blog boasts nearly 50 projects, with more still trickling in. Just a few examples: in the past year, landscape architects have created a new scenic trail plan; designed a healing, sensory garden; built a butterfly and bird habitat; and launched a community space, all for deserving communities.

A New Vision for the Great Shasta Rail Trail

Many projects, like the Great Shasta Rail Trail (GSRT), took advantage of longstanding relationships between ASLA chapters and the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. See the video above.

The vision for the project was to develop an 80-mile…

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Bringing Nature Home

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Mark Simmons sets fires. He uses prescribed fires as a technique for land management to improve the ecological health of a system. These fires are carefully plotted and designed to self-extinguish. They are employed to control brush, which could feed wildfires, and selectively remove invasive species and restore native ones. Simmons is the director of the ecosystem design group at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas. His team engages in scientific research, sustainable design, and environmental consulting.

American Indians on the plains also set fires. They used controlled burning to both attract and drive game, get rid of ticks, and harvest lizards and insects. Simmons says this practice demonstrates that they had a mutually influential relationship with nature. They melded the landscape and in turn were melded by it.

Americans today are found in different landscapes. We primarily occupy landscapes like suburban strip mall…

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DesignIntelligence 2014 Landscape Architecture Program Rankings

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design DesignIntelligence

DesignIntelligence recently announced its 2014 landscape architecture graduate and undergraduate program rankings. For the first time since 2007, Pennsylvania State University came in at the top of undergraduate landscape architecture programs, unseating long-time leader Louisiana State University. For the tenth year, Harvard University came in as the best graduate program in the annual survey conducted by DesignIntelligence on behalf of the Design Futures Council.

Detailed rankings are available in the 14th edition of America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, which assesses program rankings and education trends in architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design.

Respondents from nearly 800 “professional practice” organizations (up nearly double over last year) answered questions about how well prepared graduates are from different undergraduate and graduate programs. Some 74 percent said they “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the state of landscape architecture education in the U.S., down from 80 percent last year. Some…

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Video: The Impact of Climate Change on Philadelphia’s Forest

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Climate change will have an impact on our urban forests. The change in temperature and precipitation will shift the suitable habitat for virtually all tree species. Using West Philadelphia as a lens to examine these changes, this video not only explores the impacts of climate change but also how we can adapt the urban forest to the coming challenges.

During my three years studying landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, hardly anyone was interested in discussing climate change. Most people tuned out when I brought it up. I think it’s the issue of our time. In fact, it’s a big part of the reason I decided to study landscape architecture after the bottom fell out of professional photography market in 2008.

Someone I talked to recently compared being a landscape architect now to being an engineer at NASA in the ’60’s. And I agree, it’s the chance to work…

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Jan Gehl: The City Is Big

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howtostudy How to Study Public Life / Island Press

“I graduated at the first worst point in city planning,” said Jan Gehl, the famed urban designer, at a crowd of hundreds at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The 1960s were the era “when the architect was big and the city was small.” Eventually, Gehl, who is trained as an architect, saw the light. He married a psychologist, who asked him, “why do architects hate people so much?” He soon realized there was a great “void of knowledge” about how to create buildings and public spaces people actually want to inhabit. So for the past 40 years, Gehl has picked up where activist and author Jane Jacobs left off, and “studied the life of the city in the way same a traffic engineer studies the flow of traffic.” This Danish architect is now appropriately small and the city is…

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A Transect of Time

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Transects: 100 Years of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the School of Design of the University of Pennsylvania by Richard Weller and Meghan Talarowski, Associate ASLA, celebrates the transect of time: 100 years of people, events and ideas that have shaped the department. What began as a series of lectures in 1914 on landscape design by George Burnap, landscape architect for the United State Capitol, has grown into an internationally-renowned design program. Recognized in 2010 at the Barcelona Biennial as the best landscape program in the world, the department today hosts a diverse collective of practitioners and students from all over the world dedicated to investigating the implications of a rapidly developing world.

Transects follows a narrative and illustrative timeline of the program’s development. A striking theme emerges: the continuous effort to remain creative, experimental, fluid and competitive while establishing a critical design dialogue across the international community. Robert…

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CIUDACAS

Autor: Jimena Martignoni*

La ciudad latinoamericana es diferente de las demás ciudades.

No hay una sola por supuesto, pero podríamos perfectamente percibir al conjunto de cada una de ellas bajo un mismo formato y entonces englobarlas con un mismo patrón. Un patrón relacionado con una identidad única, apasionada, misteriosa, rica y deseada hasta la avaricia y la muerte en tiempos en que el oro abundaba, y aun en estos tiempos en que nada realmente abunda.

En Brasil hay ciudades surrealistas. Río de Janeiro es un lugar que pareciera requerir de una capacidad visual de 360 grados, especialmente al caminar Copacabana, ese borde maravilloso que expone a un lado la playa y el océano y al otro la ciudad colándose entre los morros. Diseñado por un maestro del paisaje, artista y músico, este borde no delimita sino que se sumerge bajo los pies del caminante urbano a modo de sendero-orilla-olas-partituras.

San…

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