New Tech Campuses Blur Line Between Work and Home

The Domain / Lauren Cecchi New York
The Domain / Lauren Cecchi New York

“Top tech companies now expect their campuses to do the heavy lifting in retaining talent,” argued Aaron Ross with BNIM in a session at the ASLA 2016 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Along with Ross, Stephen Spears, FASLA, Design Workshop, and Rene Bihan, FASLA, SWA Group, showed how leading tech companies are trying to hold on to their top talent by creating exciting little bits of urban life in suburban environments. These firms are attempting to further merge work and home and create spaces for fun as well. And they may be creating new models for working that may filter out to other suburban corporate campuses in coming decades.

In northwest Austin, Texas, one of the booming tech hubs of the south, Design Workshop transformed an out-dated 1980s IBM campus into a new headquarters for Charles Schwab, which features a sustainable landscape design with more natural stormwater management, and a neighboring community called The Domain for those employees to work, live, and hang out (see image above). There, an old IBM chip manufacturing plant became 1.5 million square feet in office space, 1.9 million square feet of retail, and 2.5 million square feet of multi-family housing. “Schwab benefits from having these amenities so close by.”

The Domain plan / Gensler
The Domain plan / Gensler

Design Workshop focused on connectivity. Workers at Schwab can now easily take a quick walk via nature trails to the office or to a bar after work for happy hour. Inside the new community, particularly the night-life corridor, there are “purposefully-narrow” streets set in grids that create a sense of intimacy and community. “The injection of social life into a corporate environment is a paradigm shift.”

The Domains streets / Design Workshop
The Domain streets / Design Workshop

For the Pacific Center campus in San Jose, BNIM created a new campus master plan and added two new buildings in a space next to Louis Kahn’s famed Salk Institute. Pulling in the existing nature trails that wind through the valley into the new campus, BNIM wove elements of the surrounding landscape into the new development, which features 250,000 square feet of new office and lab space. The landscape is the inspiration for the ecological design found in small outdoor “chill spaces.” The landscape became a “virus” that infected other places on campus, said Ross.

Pacific / BNIM
Pacific Center campus / BNIM

Employees, who are mostly scientists, wanted more intimate spaces rather than larger gathering spots. “They want to get out of the building and immerse themselves in nature.” Still, a new central lawn provides a “flex space,” and a new soccer field is “utterly packed.”

Pacific Center campus / BNIM
Pacific Center campus / BNIM

Beyond integrating architectural bioswales and native plants, they also created a small garden tended by a local non-profit, which harvests the produce and then sells it to the campus’ cafeteria.

Bihan quoted one CEO who said: “no one ever had a good idea while sitting at their computer.” Famed Apple CEO Steve Jobs “loved walking meetings.” The new understanding among big tech firms out West is “landscape is the great enabler.”

In SWA Group’s newest corporate campus projects, “urban planning and campus landscape design merge. Campuses are infilling to boost walkability.” They are also going beyond offering goodies like on-site food and sports fields; they are becoming “informal, contained, and urban.”

For the San Antonio Station project in California, SWA Group developed a campus “on spec” for a developer who then leased it to the top-secret lab of one of the leading Silicon Valley company (Bihan asked that the firm remain unnamed). They transformed the mid-century Mayfield Mall by architect Victor Gruen, which later became a training center for Hewlett-Packard, into 500,000 square feet of office space by using tactical urbanist strategies, strategically cutting into the building and turning a parking garage into spaces for enjoyment.

San Antonio Station / David Lloyd, SWA Group
San Antonio Station / David Lloyd, SWA Group

SWA Group “designed places for people to play, just like how they engage in a city.” And they were more “focused on context — the specificity of the corporate culture — not how the design looks.”

San Antonio Station / David Lloyd, SWA Group
San Antonio Station / David Lloyd, SWA Group
San Antonio Station / David Lloyd, SWA Group
San Antonio Station / David Lloyd, SWA Group

It’s a bit of “urban place making” in a “suburban context.”

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Dtanjung Masterplan embraces the site’s natural environment

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The landscape design proposal for Dtanjung Masterplan embraces the site’s natural environment and complex ecosystem. Through design of landscape preservation measures and celebration of natural assets, we aim to create an exemplar destination which will cater for residence and visitors of the mixed-use development, strengthening the project’s image as a unique and world class development.

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The site’s unique location adjacent to the wetland park opens various opportunities for an eco-themed development. The team has developed various solutions to blur edges and to extend natural trails into the wetland. The current water levels of the site will need to be maintained in order to limit the impact on the wetland’s ground water level. As such, the development will have an interconnected water system which will not only provide environmental benefits but also provide recreational and educational values to the development through the sensitive integration of the various trails.


The wetland’s interfaces and its overall natural system is protected and cultivated beyond the aesthetic quality to ensure the true ecological benefit is sustained.

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An interconnected open space framework accommodates both project-wide Blue- and Green systems. A diverse network of trails connect the various neighborhoods and provides a controlled access towards the most sensitive wetland areas.

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Working closely with Gamuda, the master planner and various other stakeholders of the project, Atkins provides the opportunity to establish the foundations for a strong network of collaboration, coordination and exchange of ideas.

The Atkins’ team of international designers adopts an imaginative and innovative design process, and aims to create a simplistic, natural, modern landscape design language which complements the architecture and ties in with the site surroundings. Christian Dierckxsens, Senior Associate Director, Atkins Landscape in Asia 


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Gamuda Dtanjung Landscape Masterplan

Location | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Scale | 658 Ha.
Status | Ongoing
Client | Gamuda
Image & Text Credits | Atkins

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Building Community Resilience from the Ground Up

Larimer plan / Larimer consenus
Larimer vision / Larimer Consenus

To boost resilience in vulnerable, under-served communities, we need to “build their adaptive capacity, their ability to work together. We need to focus on the ‘software’ of those communities,” argued architect Christine Mondor in a session at the 2016 GreenBuild in Los Angeles. Communities hard hit by population loss, declining incomes, environmental degradation, and widespread health problems in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were the focus of discussion.

Fred Brown, with the Kingsley Association, described how Larimer and Homewood, two predominately African American and poor communities in Pittsburgh, have seen a nearly 80 percent population decline over the past few decades. There, the poverty rate has hit nearly 40 percent. Asthma rates are twice the national average. And 20 percent of the school population is homeless.

Using the 2Gen model created at Harvard University, Brown’s group and others are trying to re-weave a support network for vulnerable youth. “We invest in parents to invest in kids.” See a brief video that explains the theory:

He helps under-performing schools become hubs for these efforts, and catalysts for community renewal, providing life-long learning opportunities for parents and help in meeting “basic needs.”

His broader goal is to release the “collective genius” of these communities, empowering them to forge their own path to resilience and sustainability. Larimer recently won a $30 million Choice Neighborhood grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create a comprehensive sustainability plan, install bioswales for stormwater management, distribute cisterns for grey water reuse, and tap renewable energy. Brown is helping these communities build their “Green IQ,” so they can better take advantage of government assistance.

Brian Wolovich, a middle school teacher and city council member in Millvale — another poor community in Pittsburgh with lung cancer rates double the national average — described how he led a bottom-up community effort, with multiple stakeholder groups, to boost community sustainability and resilience.

Working with Mondor’s firm Evolve, the community forged an ecodistrict plan that resulted in residences replacing inefficient light bulbs with LEDs and adding solar panels to save on energy use, and installing rain barrels and gardens to reduce flooding. The community raised funds to build a new library, which is covered in solar panels, and came together to create a bioswale along the Allegheny River, eliminating flooding for multiple families. (Imagine Millvale documents many of these plans and projects, and Launch Millvale focuses on their local food production).

Millvale Library / Hive Pittsburgh
Millvale Library / Hive Pittsburgh

Mondor explained how she helps communities like Millvale “think like a district.” She argued that “projects alone don’t make change; you need governance.” Governance can be more effective if existing “tribes” are tapped and “leveraged to reach scale.” Communities will succeed if they can make decisions well together, cultivate “authentic” leadership, share knowledge, and create a legal governance structure.

Another way to scale up these valuable community-led projects is to bring in external investment in a responsible way. Eve Picker, who has launched Small Change, one of the first crowd-funding websites for real estate development projects, is looking to help under-served communities like Larimer and Millvale. She thinks these places are “ripe for development because banks don’t want to be in under-served communities; they want to be in booming ones.” Picker finances unique restoration projects others developers have missed along with “tiny houses,” which have proven popular with everyone except banks. She said some $3.5 billion has been raised from crowd-funding sites to date, but there is a $480 billion opportunity.

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Lawrence Halprin’s Evocative Landscapes

Lawrence Halprin at his residence at The Sea Ranch / Charles A. Birnbaum, 2008
Lawrence Halprin at his residence at The Sea Ranch / Charles A. Birnbaum, 2008

“Lawrence Halprin didn’t imitate nature; he abstracted it,” argued Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), at the opening of a new exhibition of Halprin’s work at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Martin Moeller, curator at NBM immediately agreed: Halprin often evoked a natural scene rather than copying it literally. “He let people think it through.”

This well-edited exhibition is perhaps the best of NBM’s recent triptych of landscape architecture exhibitions, which included a survey of the landscape photography of Alan Ward, FASLA, and a retrospective of Oehme van Sweden’s work. The curious flow of the exhibition enables discovery. Around each corner are Halprin’s surprising drawings and dioramas, and photographs graciously donated by some of the country’s leading architectural photographers.

The exhibition moves through 35 sites chronologically, from his early residential work through to his first forays into the public realm, from the hallmarks of his Modernist designs to his post-Modern work in the late 70s and early 80s, and, finally, his capstone projects before his death in 2009.

Some themes emerge. Throughout his career, Halprin enjoyed partnering with artists. He purposefully created room for art works, knowing they add rich, pleasing layers. Gould Garden in Berkeley, California, created from the late 50s to 1960, shows one of his early partnerships with artist Jacques Overhoff, who molded bas-relief panels in concrete around Halprin’s pool.

Pool at the Gould Garden / Ren Dodge, 2016
Pool at the Gould Garden / Ren Dodge, 2016

Halprin believed in cities. When many people abandoned the urban cores after the race riots, Halprin saw opportunities for regrowth. His Portland open space sequence, with its three-part necklace of Modernist parks, was created from 1965-70 and demonstrated his early commitment. Moeller argued “it changed perceptions of downtown Portland.” And New York Times architecture critic Ada Louis Huxtable, who was not generous with the compliments, called the sequence “one of the most important urban spaces since the Renaissance.” (The sequence is now on the National Register of Historic Places, but it is in need of major repair. A $4.5 million rehabilitation effort begins next year).

Ira Keller Fountain / Jeremy Bittermann, 2016
Ira Keller Fountain / Jeremy Bittermann, 2016

Halprin was all about “animating the landscape through choreography,” particularly the movement of water. The first thing you see when you enter the exhibition is a 10-foot-tall watercolor drawing of water moving around rocks. But if you look closely, you will see Halprin drew arrows to indicate the currents’ directions; he was mapping the choreography of a shore eddy.

Moeller thinks Halprin was deeply influenced by his wife Anna, who was a dancer. “He adapted her ideas by ‘scoring’ for human activity.” In his UN Plaza in San Francisco, he applied a design approach he called “motation,” which is described in the exhibition as “scoring how perception of the environment changes depending on the speed and motion of the observer.”

Fountain at United Nations Plaza / Charles A. Birnbaum, 2005
Fountain at United Nations Plaza / Charles A. Birnbaum, 2005

The exhibition, of course, includes beautiful photographs of his masterpieces: the Frankin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C., which is a culmination of his life-long collaboration with artists; Freeway Park in Seattle, which creates a sense of movement through water and sculpted concrete and initiated a new landscape type — the park over a highway; and Sea Ranch in California, which showed how ecological community design should be done.

Sea Ranch in particular is made fresh by new photographs that show how Halprin ingeniously used berms reminiscent of military forts to both hide buildings and pools and create wind blocks. As Birnbaum explained, “Halprin was one of the first to think of landscape as infrastructure.”

Recreation Center at The Sea Ranch / Saxon Holt, 2016
Recreation Center at The Sea Ranch / Saxon Holt, 2016

Many of Halprin’s landscapes are under threat of demolition or a slow death from a lack of maintenance. Birnbaum hopes this exhibition will help “raise awareness of their value.” It’s a bit ironic given Halprin’s influence can be found in so many contemporary projects. Birnbaum even sees his impact on the High Line in New York City, where James Corner choreographed a continual dance between observer and observed.

The exhibition is open until April 17, 2017. As Birnbaum notes, it will travel to multiple cities, but many of the featured drawings and dioramas won’t; they can only be seen in D.C. Download the gallery guide for free; print copies are available for $12 at the museum and online. Also check out the companion exhibition website from TCLF.

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Our New Urban Oases – By NIKIL SAVAL


Atlanta BeltLine, Atlanta. Credit Matthew Pillsbury for The New York Times

The Design Issue

Just a few blocks north of Philadelphia’s Center City, with its immaculate grid designed by the city’s founder, William Penn, the landscape turns hardscrabble. The slick, glass-skinned office buildings give way to visions of earlier eras of industry and urban planning: old brick warehouses and granaries, the Vine Street Expressway — a neighborhood-wrecking classic conceived during the height of midcentury urban renewal — as well as several heavily trafficked multilane streets. Running below and above this jumble are the remains of an old rail line, a brick-vaulted tunnel that emerges into an open-air, walled and grassy corridor. It climbs slowly past the Art Deco Terminal Commerce Building — once one of the largest warehouses in the Northeast, today one of the region’s largest data-storage facilities — into a rusted elevated rail line, called the Reading Viaduct.

Read an editor’s letter by Jake Silverstein about the Design Issue.

A former conduit for coal and other freight, the viaduct exudes the late-capitalist poetry of urban neglect. You can follow a path through waist-high weeds hacked by enterprising city explorers, who cut holes in fences emblazoned with NO TRESPASSING notices to gaze nostalgically at ghostly ironworks signage, or at the reddish girders of a defunct energy-transfer station. Paulownia trees dot the viaduct, another relic of long-gone global commerce: The tree’s pistachio-shell-shaped seeds were used as packing material for Chinese porcelain in the 19th century, falling out of crates to seed and sprout along railways around the world.

Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston. Credit Matthew Pillsbury for The New York Times

Soon this sprawling postindustrial vision, too, will be part of the past. Ground was broken last month on the Rail Park, a rehabilitation project to turn the Reading Viaduct into an elevated park. It follows a recent flurry of similar parks: the Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago, the Atlanta BeltLine and, of course, the wildly successful High Line in Chelsea in Manhattan. All drew inspiration from the Promenade Plantée in Paris, completed in 1993, the first conversion of an elevated railway into a pedestrian park.

If the new railway parks have revitalized the infrastructure of the early-20th-century industrial economy, the process of “capping,” building green spaces over freeways, turns urban expressways, the hallmark of midcentury planning, into vital links among communities. In 2012, Klyde Warren Park capped the Woodall Rodgers freeway in Dallas, bringing together northern and southern parts of the city, while Boston’s notorious Big Dig project was covered by the Rose Kennedy Greenway in 2008. Monuments to ways of life and work that we no longer require are being converted, one by one, into promenades and playgrounds, changing what we think cities are for and how they ought to be used.

Klyde Warren Park, Dallas. Credit Matthew Pillsbury for The New York Times

This model of urban design has come to be known as landscape urbanism. One of its primary theoreticians, Charles Waldheim, a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, traces its roots to Frederick Law Olmsted. In his book “Landscape as Urbanism,” Waldheim notes that Olmsted was one of the earliest figures to call himself a landscape architect (though it was a term that Olmsted considered inadequate), and that he was full of visions for integrating landscape and urban life. But Olmsted’s Central Park, for example, is a classic instance of placing nature in opposition to the city: it’s meant to be a balm, an oasis; in rocky, deliberately overgrown sections like the Ramble it mimics the wilderness a city must exorcise and destroy.

High Line, New York. Credit Matthew Pillsbury for The New York Times

The landscape urbanist, by contrast, sees the decline of the industrial city as prompting a variety of opportunities for naturalism. In cities dominated by service economies, Waldheim argues, landscape urbanism can clean up the industrial economy by reintegrating it with the natural world. In so doing, it creates entirely new urban experiences: The High Line makes it possible to saunter in the air, among apartments and offices, at a much slower pace than at street level. As James Corner, a designer of the High Line, once wrote, “The visitor becomes as much a performer as viewer, more deeply engaged in participating in the theatricality of urban life — the promenade as elevated catwalk, urban stage and social condenser.” The experience is nonetheless limited and directed, a kind of soft coercion. You aren’t encouraged to linger on the High Line: with its crush of tourists, it’s more a Manhattan-themed ride than a park.

The new parks aren’t just oases, then; they emphasize the intertwining of landscape and industry. It’s no coincidence that landscape urbanists are beguiled by Detroit, a crumbling monument to what is sometimes called Fordism — after Henry Ford’s mass-production-mass-consumption model — a paradise of dereliction reclaimed by nature. A “formerly urban” space, in the terminology of Waldheim and his peers, it offers little for traditional architecture but everything for an urbanist trained to see value in rescuing the decaying built environment. Detroit, for a landscape urbanist, is a symbol for processes taking place in cities everywhere: once-bustling ports shrunk by the advent of the shipping container, hulking buildings abandoned as low-wage economies replace high-wage ones. In the Qianhai area of Shenzhen, China, Corner designed a new district that reclaims industrial land, repurposing the tributaries of several channels recently used for drainage as “waterfront.”

Atlanta BeltLine, Atlanta. Credit Matthew Pillsbury for The New York Times

Similarly, defunct rail lines are sometimes meant not to be repurposed but to be re-embraced. Both the Atlanta BeltLine and Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail take transportation infrastructure and turn it into newer transportation infrastructure. The BeltLine connects disparate neighborhoods by bike (and soon, streetcar) in a city that is a byword for sprawl, while the Bloomingdale Trail becomes a raised express lane for cyclists and walkers. Klyde Warren — a well used if anodyne public park, filled routinely with yoga classes — connects Dallas’s Uptown and Downtown neighborhoods, previously walled off by the freeway. It’s now become possible, as I discovered, to walk through a generous portion of Dallas, something unimaginable just a few years ago. It’s post-post-industrial planning — trying to make whole the freeway-carved cities that date from an era when car-centric planning was in vogue.

Yet for all its power to bring communities together, repurposing freeways and old industry can go hand in hand with gentrification, increasing inequality and displacement. The effect has been profound in formerly down-at-heel spots along Atlanta’s 22-mile BeltLine, where old industrial sites have been converted into new market-rate and luxury housing. Philadelphia’s Rail Park is already being promoted by local landlords as a selling point for new housing in the surrounding Callowhill neighborhood (a section is currently being rebranded as the Spring Arts District). In both instances, it’s not that the parks created demand where none existed but that they drove, or will drive, already ongoing development. The High Line did not suddenly draw attention to an otherwise unknown Meatpacking District (though it certainly drove interest in Hudson Yards). Still, even boosters concede that these projects have the potential to displace longtime residents. Ryan Gravel, whose master’s thesis in city planning and architecture became the basis for the BeltLine, eventually resigned from the board of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. Gravel wanted more focus on and subsidies for affordable housing.

High Line, New York. Credit Matthew Pillsbury for The New York Times

Whom are these new parks for? The question seems moot: Public parks, of any kind, are inherently democratic. But projects like the High Line aren’t solely public in their financing. Many of them are essentially highly cultivated promenades; there’s little room for play, for picnicking. This wouldn’t matter, ultimately, if it weren’t for the fact that these parks consume far more resources than other urban parks and receive far more attention. The High Line’s 2.8 acres have squadrons of gardeners tending to the plant life, to say nothing of custodians and bathroom attendants. In 2013, as it was being completed, the High Line received more money from New York City than nearly every other park. Some of the profits from park concessions at the High Line go to the private nonprofit that oversees the park rather than to the city. In October, Pennsylvania state funds were released to help the nonprofit Friends of the Rail Park complete the first phase of construction in Philadelphia.

It’s instructive to imagine what this model would look like applied to transit. Would it be legitimate to have a Friends of the New York City Subway that raises millions of dollars in private funding in order to retrofit a section of subway line — which, newly cleaned up and rat-free, would spur development in the surrounding area — and then receive more in taxpayer dollars than any other subway line? Why not privatize everything?

We haven’t gotten there yet. Parks still subsist largely on public funds. But places like Central Park and Bryant Park look better than they did in the 1970s in part because they get a significant boost from partnerships and private fund-raising. The High Line is perhaps now the greatest outdoor corporate event space in New York City. The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx have a tougher time. What is so attractive about the parks, in other words, is also what’s wrong with them. The new public parks give form to cities misshapen by abandoned industry, but threaten to bring into being a novel form of inequality in cities already rife with it. They exude the priorities of a new Gilded Age, even as they cover up the eyesores of an old one. ♦

Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, Chicago. Credit Matthew Pillsbury for The New York Times

Nikil Saval is an editor at n+1 and the author of “Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace.”

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Design Tools: Sketching vs. Digital

Left: Michigan Avenue Streetscape: 20 Years of Magnificent Mile Blooms, 2016 Landmark Award / Right: The Digital & The Wild: Mitigating Wildfire Risk Through Landscape Adaptations, 2016 Student ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category image: Hoerr Schaudt / Jordan Duke, Student ASLA

Left: Michigan Avenue Streetscape: 20 Years of Magnificent Mile Blooms, 2016 Landmark Award / Right: The Digital & The Wild: Mitigating Wildfire Risk Through Landscape Adaptations, 2016 Student ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category
image: Hoerr Schaudt / Jordan Duke, Student ASLA

In addition to where landscape architects spend most of their time—in the office or out on site—the primary media used to create and carry out designs, perform research, and manage projects also vary from one practitioner to the next. In a 2014 survey of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs), members were asked how they prefer to work: on a computer or sketching ideas out by hand.

Overall, sketching proved to be the more popular choice: 46 percent of respondents love to sketch, 31 percent prefer to work on a computer, and 23 percent favor a “hybrid approach,” using the “computer for efficiency” and the “hand for creativity,” as one respondent put it. Several key themes highlighting the pros and cons of each emerged in respondents’ comments.

Computers for Ease and Efficiency

“Though I enjoy sketching, I find that the sooner I can get an idea into the computer, the more efficient the design process is.”

“Easy revision and iteration.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I love sketching, too, but when time is a factor it’s quicker to jump to the computer.”

“Just accustomed to it. I’ve learned to ‘draw’ in drafting programs, and I like being able to move and rotate things without erasing. I do love working by hand drawing, but I mostly enjoy that for illustrative graphics at the end of the design work.”

“Speed, aesthetics, and broader capacities.”

“I can try a great number of options quickly to get to the best design for the project.”

“Translates more readily into work product. Easier to manipulate. Better graphic quality.”

“Budget and time often limit how much hand sketching can be done.”

“It is faster, more accurate and editable. I have not done more than a handful of hand sketches professionally beyond the concept design phase.”

“I can’t draw! I wish I could but it’s a skill easily lost over the years unless practiced almost daily. It’s like a sport.”

“I’ve always said if I had to rely on my hand sketching skills, I’d be in a different profession. I just can’t seem to make my hand draw what my mind envisions. The computer allows for that precision that my hand doesn’t deliver.”

PHYTO-Industry: Reinvigorating the North Vancouver Waterfront through a phased remediation process, 2016 Student ASLA Honor Award, Analysis and Planning Category image: Shan Yang, Student ASLA

PHYTO-Industry: Reinvigorating the North Vancouver Waterfront through a phased remediation process, 2016 Student ASLA Honor Award, Analysis and Planning Category
image: Shan Yang, Student ASLA

The Limitations of Computers

“The computer separates you too much from the real world.”

“I don’t know how you can ‘design’ on a computer.”

“Working on the computer forces me to consider how to do something, like draw a line (click once, check snaps, click twice, type in dimensions, etc.), whereas sketching by hand I just do it.”

“Computers change so much by the time you get proficient with a program, it is obsolete. They are often more trouble than they are worth, but they are great for presentations.”

Sketching and Creativity

“Hand work is closer to my thought process.”

“I think better this way – I’m more easily able to respond to my train of thought.”

“Ideas come via hand sketching.”

“Freedom to think. Not bound by technology.”

“Working by hand is more organic and expressive of motion. Basic ideas can be captured more successfully through sketching. Refinement requires calculation and drafting.”

“That’s how I started and what feels right to me.”

“I can feel the space better with my hand.”

“Satisfying and mentally challenging and continually educational and enlightening.”

“Drawing by hand makes you think in 3 dimensions and one can change/switch ideas almost instantaneously.”

“It is easier for me to be creative when drawing by hand.”

“That’s the way I learned, and I have not found a computer program that is fluid enough for design work.”

“I find it very relaxing by allowing my mind to drift into the design and site.”

“The relationship to art and drawing is what attracted me to the profession.”

“Hand drawing is a lost art – it allows one to connect with a project/space in a different way – it’s more intimate.”

“More direct connection between mind/inspiration and art medium. Ideas can spill out almost before they happen in the mind. Feels more like art.”

Water Calculation and Poetic Interpretation, 2016 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Residential Design Category image: Arterra Landscape Architects

Water Calculation and Poetic Interpretation, 2016 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Residential Design Category
image: Arterra Landscape Architects

Sketching at the Speed of Thought

“It is faster and easier to generate multiple solutions in rough concept. Generally, I just use trace and sharpies to start.”

“Free-form, fast, effective, can be done anywhere.”

“The speed that you can convey ideas during a group design session.”

“It easier to quickly represent conceptual ideas by hand and it is easier to work at larger conceptual scales.”

“I can do it anywhere, at any time using only the sun, a pencil, and a scrap of paper.”

“Just a different feel, different sensitivity . . . and for me it’s faster. Computers have a long way to go in initiating ideas. They’re data collection machines . . . not creators.”

“It is faster for me and more facile to move from one scale to another…to see the bigger picture.”

“It’s quicker and allows more of a conceptual approach. Computer drawings are too perfect-looking and don’t leave enough room for on-site decision making.”

“I believe that the ideas flow more freely and you can communicate the ideas quicker and do not need to worry about a proper radius, etc., but more so about the design and function overall.”

“It is the most efficient use of my time, and my clients like the results.”

DBX Ranch: A Transformation Brings Forth a New Livable Landscape, 2016 Professional ASLA Award of Excellence, Residential Design Category image: D.A. Horchner / Design Workshop, Inc.

DBX Ranch: A Transformation Brings Forth a New Livable Landscape, 2016 Professional ASLA Award of Excellence, Residential Design Category
image: D.A. Horchner / Design Workshop, Inc.

Sketching to Make Connections

“Drawing and re-drawing improve the quality of the design; I think the designer looks more closely at the proposed solution when working by hand.”

“I feel more connected to the design.”

“Doesn’t look so generic.”

“Clients can relate to hand drawing – it may be ‘old school’ but I feel that it draws out more connections with people than computer graphics – sure they look great but most of the time they don’t communicate as effectively as they should.”

“Hand drawing is a lost art – clients are still wowed by hand drawings. Computer ‘sketches’ look final and the client tends to panic, vs. hand drawings that look more sketchy, and therefore not final.”

“My strength is quickly generating and communicating ideas while meeting with clients or in the studio.”

“A sketch can be done on the spot and used as a focal point for discussion with stakeholders.”

In addition to clear-cut decisions on one medium over another, there were many responses that were more ambivalent, choosing both or neither. For those whose work focuses on analysis and planning, for example, writing is their main activity:

“Research is easy to start via computer, but often requires real world exploration – design can be started through a conversation, examining archetypes, sketching by hand, Venn diagrams by hand or on computer – I’m not tied to any particular mode of working.”

“I am mostly writing and doing analysis. I take lots notes and doodles by hand, but the work is primarily on a computer. I still do most of my serious reading from paper and would like to find a comfortable way to be more digital, but have not yet.”

“Most of my work involves writing and long-range planning.”

Many respondents gave answers indicative of how greatly the medium chosen depends on the stage in the design process or the project type, and a few also proposed critiques to the question itself. For example:

“Most of the work I do is not ‘sketching’ – it is managing projects. It is impossible to do that without a computer. This question is not really reflective of what a professional actually does. How many of us actually sketch on a regular basis?”

From Gold to Pearl: A Framework of Eco-friendly Industry Catalyzing River Revitalization, 2016 Student ASLA Honor Award, Analysis and Planning Category image: Lan Luo, Student Affiliate ASLA

From Gold to Pearl: A Framework of Eco-friendly Industry Catalyzing River Revitalization, 2016 Student ASLA Honor Award, Analysis and Planning Category
image: Lan Luo, Student Affiliate ASLA

The tools of the profession are constantly evolving, and perhaps one day the computer will come to dominate the practice of landscape architecture. But for now, many respondents emphasize the importance of using both computers and hand-sketching in the design process.

A Hybrid Approach to Design Visualization

“Why limit yourself?”

“Landscape architecture is too creative not to be done by hand…and is too technical not to be done with a computer.”

“Each is necessary for achieving one’s goals in the world of today where computers are necessary and sketching is a thing that is being lost but people admire those who can.”

“I sketch by hand, scan modify, print, sketch over, scan, etc. Use both constantly.”

“There is value to each method. This needs to be understood. However, I personally am addicted to that ‘undo’ button.”

“Hand drawing can be done anywhere and allows free flow of ideas, but the computer allows infinite variation to a drawn element.”

“I like the computer to create an accurate base, and the hand sketches to be free with design ideas and back to computer to make sure it all works!”

“Computers fill a need, yet clients like the hand work and flexibility of hand work on tracing paper and the uniqueness of final graphics for presentation in public.”

Computers or Hand Sketching? It Depends…

“Different media serve different design processes better.”

“Each tool has its purpose. I wouldn’t build a chair with only a table saw or a handsaw. You should use the best tool for the specific task.”

“It depends on the type of job, phase, and time allotted. Sometimes it is more efficient to design on computer, but not always.”

“Depending on the work or design that I’m considering, I am more skilled or more able to express my idea in a different medium.”

“Project dictates media.”

“Different design situations require different design processes.”

Sketch First

“I like to sketch ideas on trace then implement them on the computer so that I can follow through on the design scheme in greater detail.”

“Combination of sketching for concept and computer for final.”

“Initial ideas in sketch form and computer to resolve/refine and quantify.”

“I start with hand sketches but prefer to get everything on the computer as soon as possible. Hand sketches for schematics and quick conceptuals. On the computer for the ease of sharing files/information and coordinating.”

“Computers are great for refining ideas in later stages of design, but I prefer to work out my initial thoughts by hand.”

“You need to be versatile. The hand sketch is vital for designing and generating ideas, as well as presenting them for clients as you go along. The computer is for more detailed implementation of designs after further development.”

“Primary design work done by hand to get the creative juices flowing. Computers for documentation and 3D modeling.”

At the start of 2014, a questionnaire was sent out to members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). The theme: career paths in landscape architecture. As you can imagine, responses were varied, and included many insightful comments and suggestions. Synopses of the survey results were originally shared in LAND over the course of 2014, and we are now re-posting this information here on The Field. For the latest updates on the results of the annual PPN Survey, see LAND’s PPN News section.

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Interview with Kona Gray, ASLA

Kona Gray, ASLA
Kona Gray, ASLA / EDSA

EDSA has designed many high-end hotels and resorts around the world. Many of these new hotels and resorts are found on beach fronts. For example, the Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale in Florida is located just a few hundred feet from the Atlantic coast. With recent estimates showing that climate change will cause sea levels to rise 6 to 15 feet by 2100, what do you see as the future for beach front amenities? How is EDSA helping these places adapt for a changing future?

For EDSA, it begins in the planning stages. A conscious assessment and understanding of the carrying capacity of a place is an essential precursor to the design of a parcel. In the case of coastal developments, like the Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale, this means respecting and protecting the site’s natural systems.

With innovative design and strategic solutions, we seek to continually improve the resilience of each development project we have been honored to steward. At the same time, we have a dialogue with developers and government entities to ensure protection of the existing shoreline, beach access, and related resort venues.

One great example of protective planning measures can be found through the enhancement and preservation of coastal dunes, whose natural placement protects coastal areas more effectively than any man-made measure. Similarly, ESDA supports the protection of coral reef, wetlands, and mangrove restoration, and establishing beach setbacks based on erosion trends and encouraging landward retreat of existing structures from dynamic shorelines. These measures assist developers to maximize their investment, while protecting the natural beauty with which visitors and residents interact.

If the industry disregards nature’s capacity, then we will certainly face many challenges in the years to come. However, it is our aim to ensure the vitality of beach front amenities.

EDSA has also designed a number of eco-resorts. What is the attraction?

Eco-resorts attract those who want to engage in an environment that is intricately tied to the culture, people, and region where it resides. Boutique eco-resorts are authentically contextual, sustainable, respectful, and celebratory of their natural surroundings. Meanwhile, larger hotel brands are now attempting to mimic this sustainable ideology. They’re catching up quickly.

They’re going to places where they haven’t gone before because they realize there’s now a market for eco-resorts and long-term benefits to the implementation of green development measures. From bigger initial site assessments to smaller scale responsibility measures like maintenance adjustments, recycling, and amenity re-positioning, the tourism industry is really flipping the old paradigm of “build first, measure impact later” on its head.

What we’ve learned from our experiences is that we need to advocate for nature’s preservation by introducing these eco-friendly principles to all projects in which we are involved.

Can you talk a bit more about those guidelines? Some have expressed concerns about whether an eco-resort can truly be environmental and minimize impacts on the natural environment. For example, some eco-resorts are challenging to get to, so there’s a lot of energy spent to travel to these places. How do you balance appreciation for nature, but also access to it?

It’s a challenge. I mean, essentially, many eco-resorts are remote by nature. We have been involved in some in the middle of deserts. There are others that are on secluded tropical islands, and it takes time and energy to get there.

What we have learned is it’s important to balance energy spent. When you arrive, you should not be using anything detrimental to the environment. Whether it’s through the use of bicycles, public shuttles, electric vehicles or ride sharing, and improving overall walkability as a part of an overall vacation package, it’s very important to leave as little impact on the environment as possible.

CrosswatersASLA 2010 Professional General Design Honor Award. Crosswater’s Ecolodge, Nankun Mountain Reserve, Guandong, China / EDSA
CrosswatersASLA 2010 Professional General Design Honor Award. Crosswater’s Ecolodge, Nankun Mountain Preserve Guandong, China / EDSA



The most successful eco-resorts net out at zero. They give back to the grid. Many times they are fully self-sufficient, so, they’re not depleting any resources.

EDSA has also planned and designed many golf courses. How can you minimize the impact of them on the environment? In developing countries, more and more people want to play golf. In China, for example, golf is booming. How do you get a Chinese golf course developer to avoid some of the errors we’ve made?

Golf is global. The Masters Series and USGA are actively engaging the global market, as all major tournaments now seek international players to join their ranks. Golf is now part of the Olympics.

Ask anyone who is a golfer—and I am—and you will find that this sport is growing and evolving with the changing ideals of consumers. As demographics, eco-awareness, and financial value propositions change, adjustments to the traditional golf amenity are explored. This is a phenomenon that’s not going to go away.

Golf has always been an international sport. Scotland’s St. Andrews Golf Course is the prototype of the game, as we know it today. It has outstanding beauty and sensibility of the natural environment.

While golf is often considered an elite sport, I have been impressed by the First Tee program that welcomes inner-city children and others alike to get involved in the game at an early age.

From an environmental perspective, golf is challenging. Consumption of golf is dynamic. Golf takes up a lot of land, and there are a lot of things done to golf courses to keep them green, as we know. Some courses are not as environmental as they should be, but the golf course industry is already at the cutting-edge of sustainability efforts with innovations in resource management increasing at a rapid pace.

The Collier’s Reserve, outside of Naples, Florida, one of our early golf course communities, is an Audubon course, so they’re using all the proper techniques to make sure no pesticides that are detrimental to the environment. But the other thing we learned from that course is the open space created is so valuable. Not only is it used for golf, it’s also a wildlife corridor. When we began our master plan, we mapped the way the fauna and flora worked throughout the region and kept those corridors open and tied them together.

Collier'sCollier’s Reserve / EDSA

From a real estate perspective, golf is important for maximizing residential properties, creating an identity of manicured beauty, a brand of exclusivity, and a fabric for social connectivity. However, much of the world has been over-golfed. There are many courses that are now being turned into parks. We’ve also seen a lot of golf courses reduced from eighteen holes to nine holes.

This is happening because golf doesn’t typically make money. It’s an extremely expensive venture. It’s difficult to pay for that with a club membership unless you have a very expensive club. In an effort to capitalize on these evolving inclinations and pull in a more diverse range of individuals, golf facilities are starting to make some much needed changes.

Some of these new trends in the evolution of golf include: shorter courses so people spend less time out on the green, advanced practice facilities, chipping greens, and putting ranges that are accessible to the entire family – in addition to new kinds of nature-based obstacles and driving ranges. You can enjoy the sport without taking the time or the land required for traditional courses.

EDSA and your studio there in particular have a global focus. How do you ensure your projects have maintained that local feel? How does your firm fully involve the local community in design and development?

EDSA is an international design firm. We’ve learned over the years that it’s so important to entrench yourself in the local context, so we make it a part of our culture to get fully educated about where we’re going. We’ll read travel magazines, Lonely Planet, international news, and review travel websites, so we understand the customs and cultures that relate to the places where we’re going to be. We are fortunate enough to have many people from around the world working at our firm, and so they bring with them that local connection that allows us to focus on what’s important on the ground.

And, once we’re there, we make it a point to work with many local consultants. We don’t go anywhere unless there is a local consultant to assist us. That’s part of our process. Working with them, we learn a lot—about ourselves and the local culture. All the while, we’re working closely with constituents and stakeholders who are going to be involved in the process so we’re designing what they need.

And you also have a global perspective yourself, given you are from Liberia in Western Africa. What do you think American landscape architects can learn from West African landscape architects, and vice versa?

Being global means understanding the world. We are so fortunate to be able to work in all sorts of amazing places. What we know about landscape architecture in the West is important, but it’s not everything. It’s important to tap into local culture and expertise and learn from the people you’re working with.

Our good friend, Hitesh Mehta, FASLA, who is from Kenya, worked closely with us on developing guidelines for eco-resorts and sustainability while employed by EDSA. Many of the projects we worked on together were large-scale planning developments dealing with game reserves or eco-resorts; our teams were always fully integrated with local team members.

Local consultantsWorking with local consultants / EDSA

At the onset of each project, our design charrettes involve a “six senses” process in which we spend time on the ground understanding how things work. The only way to affect the environment in a positive way is to learn from the people there and collaborate with them. It’s very straightforward. It’s very important to not bring something foreign to an environment and try to make it work in the way it would work in the West.

At the ASLA annual meeting in New Orleans, you said, “Landscape architecture in the United States is currently facing a crisis of diversity. African Americans and Latinos together capture less than 10 percent of graduating landscape architects. These demographics fail to reflect that of the wider U.S. population. U.S. census data projects that minorities, now 37 percent of the U.S. population, will constitute 57 percent by 2060.” What is the single most important thing landscape architecture firms should do to increase diversity? What should educators do? And what should ASLA, LAF, TCLF, our primary supporting organizations, do?

It is our duty to reflect the people we are serving. Firms in our country have a responsibility. They have a responsibility to reflect their clients, they have a responsibility to the environment, and they have a responsibility to humanity. We think it’s important for firms to lead the way and not only conduct outreach but to get heavily involved in all the things related to diversity.

Mark Rios, FASLA, a principal at Rios Clementi Hale Studios, was on our general session panel “Designing for Diversity/Diversity in Design.” His firm is a very good example of how this can be done. His staff is curated, as he said. There are people from all parts of the world, essentially reflecting his client base. That makes business sense.

For educators, this means seeking diverse recruitment. Things have changed, but the needle hasn’t moved that far. Educators need to go to the next level to recruit people from all minority groups.

We have a niche to fill. We have missed an audience that wants to be heard. We need to speak to elementary, middle, and high school students, and follow them all the way through their career path to get them into landscape architecture. If that works for minorities, it’s going to work for everyone.

ASLA, TCLF, the Landscape Architecture Foundation, and CELA also have a major responsibility here to influence and build a diverse community. ASLA has led the way in this by encouraging the President’s Council to sign a Memorandum focused on expanding diversity within its ranks. Recruitment for top talent is key. A major player is CLARB as they focus on licensure to increase representation from minorities.

It’s an exciting time for the robust field to spread its reach. We are confident that a diverse voice will bring about great ideas.

You said EDSA is one of the most diverse landscape architecture firms and provides a lot of opportunity for emerging professionals. What about your firm culture enables this? How much further does EDSA need to go?

At EDSA we have fostered an atmosphere that welcomes an ever-growing diversity within our teams. Because of continued outreach to raise awareness about the field of landscape architecture in schools, among young professional groups, and within the overarching development industry, we have been able to attract people from all over the world and increase our pool of diverse applicants. We’ve found that the effort needs to be intentional. We need to reach out and actually physically grab people and bring them into the fold. It’s our goal to steward this diverse talent pool and support its expansion.


DiversityDiversity at EDSA / EDSA

It’s a great responsibility to cultivate a thriving field in landscape architecture where men and women forge the path together, where all groups, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background are welcomed into the diverse tapestry of our company culture. This is what makes EDSA a unique, and important player in the global industry of landscape architecture.

Kona Gray, PLA, ASLA, is principal at EDSA in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and immediate past-president of the board of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF).

Interview conducted by Jared Green at the ASLA 2016 Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

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Icons of Healthcare & Therapeutic Garden Design

Anne's Garden, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville, Georgia image: © The Fockele Garden Company / courtesy of Naomi Sachs

Anne’s Garden, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville, Georgia
image: © The Fockele Garden Company / courtesy of Naomi Sachs

Healthcare & Therapeutic Garden Design Interview Series: Naomi Sachs, ASLA

In starting this series, we are reaching out to landscape architects who have been instrumental in leading the design and development of Healthcare and Therapeutic Gardens. We want readers to get to know the leaders in this field, and also see the relevance of therapeutic design and its connections to other practice areas. The aim of this interview series is to tell the story, through firsthand accounts from key individuals, of recent developments and innovations in healthcare and therapeutic design. With input from a range of professionals, we hope to create a better picture of what landscape architects in therapeutic design are working on, and also get to know the people behind the projects that are being done.

One of the first people we have spoken with is Naomi Sachs, ASLA. Naomi has her Masters from UC Berkeley in Landscape Architecture and is currently pursuing her PhD in Architecture at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. She has been a tireless advocate for the recognition of the importance of our connection to nature and the benefits that are derived from this interaction. Naomi may be most widely known from her work in developing the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, a tremendous resource for information related to the field of healthcare gardens and landscapes for health. Naomi’s most recent venture has been the publication of the book Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces with Clare Cooper Marcus. (Further information on Naomi’s background can be found at

image: Naomi Sachs

image: Naomi Sachs

The following interview with Naomi was conducted by Jack Carman, FASLA, past chair of the Healthcare & Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network (PPN). Naomi was reached by phone; she had just finished lunch and was speaking from Texas A&M University.

JC – Thank you, Naomi, for taking the time to talk. It is great to be able to catch up and find out all that has been happening. To get started, can I ask why you decided to pursue a PhD in Architecture and why specifically at Texas A&M?

NS – With the Therapeutic Landscapes Network (TLN), I have really enjoyed connecting people with existing research, and with each other. And when you do that for long enough, you see the gaps in the research. I wanted to work on filling some of those gaps. PhD research is about generating new knowledge, which is very exciting. Part of the reason to go back to school has been to help diversify my credentials, specifically in Architecture. My ultimate goal is academia, and most schools now require or at least prefer applicants with PhDs. As for why Architecture (rather than Landscape Architecture)? Mostly, because of the people in the department. I really wanted to work with Susan Rodiek and Mardelle Shepley. I am fortunate to have them as co-chairs of my committee, with Xuemei Zhu and Chanam Lee as my other two terrific committee members. Also, people tend to give more credence to a complementary degree. I wanted to attend Texas A&M because of the Center for Health Systems & Design, one of the best healthcare design programs in the country. It has been an extraordinary experience, being surrounded by faculty and students who “get it.”

The Therapeutic Landscapes Network website image: Naomi Sachs

The Therapeutic Landscapes Network website
image: Naomi Sachs

JC – What has been your area of concentration as a PhD candidate and what has led you to the research that you are involved in doing?

NS – My research has been quite practical, involving “translational research”—translating the research and evidence that we have into practice. I’ve developed a standardized “toolkit” of instruments for evaluating gardens in healthcare facilities. The instruments can also be used for design and research. The focus is on testing the instruments and establishing their validity and reliability so that others can use them in the future.

JC – What are the tools or steps that are used to evaluate the garden?

NS – There are four specific instruments in the toolkit:

  • An “audit” of the elements that are (or should be) in the Therapeutic Garden.
  • Surveys of staff, patients, and visitors.
  • Behavioral mapping, which is a place-based behavioral observation.
  • And “stakeholder interviews,” structured interviews people involved with the design, programming, and maintenance of the garden.

Using all of these tools, one can triangulate (or square, in this case!) the data. This provides a stronger and more holistic picture.

JC – Who will use this tool?

NS – The people who will use this evaluation tool include, and are not limited to:

  • Designers – architects, landscape architects, interior designers
  • Staff and Administration – nurses, doctors, therapists, the C-Suite, etc.
  • Researchers – people wanting to more accurately be able to evaluate the gardens.

This toolkit has the potential to increase the credibility of our field by providing a more rigorous methodology. Post Occupancy Evaluations and other similar research methods are varied, making “apples to apples” comparisons and generalization of findings impossible. Having a standardized set of instruments to evaluate healthcare gardens will result in a standardized methodology. I am in the process of testing the instruments on existing healthcare gardens around the country. I have visited gardens in CA, CT, OR, TX, and WA. I have hired research assistants to help apply the toolkit. I am fortunate to have gotten funding from The Center for Health Design, the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health, and TAMU for all of this travel!

JC – Along these lines, you have been involved in many areas of Therapeutic Gardens and connected to people all around the world. What are some of the challenges that you see to the field of Healthcare Garden design?

NS – One of the challenges to the design of gardens is to get the stakeholders to understand that you need to spend money on the landscape—that it is a worthwhile investment. They need to understand that nature is restorative. We are not spending money on a few shrubs. The money spent is facilitating positive health outcomes for the patients, visitors, and staff within the healthcare facility through access to nature. The garden is an essential component of the facility, not just icing on the cake.

Another challenge is that we need to get the research out to the people. The research needs to be translated into practice. It should be used for the physical elements in and the programming of the garden. As an example, doors to the garden should be glass so that people can see the garden from inside; the threshold should be low enough that even people using wheelchairs, walkers, strollers, and IV poles can cross easily; and the doors to the garden should not be locked!

Understanding of the need to adequately fund the garden can be a challenge, also. There are essential components to a Healthcare Garden, such as an abundance of trees and other vegetation, adequate and comfortable seating, places for privacy and places for socializing, etc. Shade is critical and money should be invested up front in larger trees and other types of shade structures. The installation of an appropriate water feature will help to overcome staff’s fears of infection. Even if there is limited money for the installation of the garden, there needs to be a hierarchy of decisions about what elements are critical to the success of the garden.

JC – Thank you, Naomi. This is great. I appreciate being able to learn more about your work and how this will positively impact our profession and influence the development of healthcare gardens nationwide.

NS – It’s always a pleasure to talk with you! Thank you, Jack.

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Announcing the New ASLA Online Learning Website


ASLA’s new online learning website continues to provide information on new and evolving practices and products, offering a convenient and affordable way to earn the Professional Development Hours (PDH) needed to meet state licensure requirements. PDH are approved by the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) and can be earned after viewing a presentation by completing and passing a self-study exam. Your online learning profile will keep a record of webinars purchased and PDH certificates received, giving you the opportunity to view at your own pace, on your schedule.

Online Learning Opportunities

Over 100 recorded presentations are available for on-demand viewing, including:

  • ASLA annual meeting education session recordings,
  • The Professional Practice Network (PPN) Online Learning series,
  • The Student & Emerging Professionals SPOTLIGHT mini-series,
  • Sustainable SITES Initiative™ (SITES®) Education, and
  • Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE) Prep.

Browsing among these presentations is now easier than ever, with 22 Topic Areas to choose from, including: Accessibility/ADA, Ecology and Restoration, International Practice, Project Management, Resilient Design, Transportation/Complete streets, and more!

Live Presentations

The ASLA Online Learning series also provides the opportunity to tune in live to ask experts questions, while earning PDH.

The next live presentation is coming up on Wednesday, November 16. Hosted by ASLA’s Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (PPN), Integrating and Planning for Children with Sensory Processing Disorders in Outdoor Play Environments (1.0 PDH LA CES / HSW) will be presented by PPN Co-Chairs Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, CAPS, FAOTA, Affiliate ASLA, co-author of Therapeutic Gardens: Design for Healing Spaces and Assistant Professor at Western Michigan University, and Chad Kennedy, P.L.A., CPSI, LEED®AP BD+C, ISA, ASLA, Principal Landscape Architect at O’Dell Engineering.

NEW! Associate and Student Member Pricing

ASLA members, Associate ASLA members, and Student ASLA members are discounted at least 75% below non-member prices.


Check out the new online learning website today!

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Landscape Institute announces 2016 Awards winners


TACP Landscape Architects has won the prestigious President’s Award at the Landscape Institute’s annual awards today, Thursday 24 November, for its Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Pollinators in South East Wales. The plan will support and inspire landscape projects on public land to redress the decline in biodiversity and provide environments favouring pollinators.

Over the past two decades, bee numbers have declined worldwide. The evidence is clear that bees and other pollinators are less healthy and abundant than they have been and if action is not taken it will have serious implications for food production.

Wales has the first action plan of its kind in the UK to tackle the decline and the Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Pollinators in South East Wales identifies measures to benefit pollinators. It outlines actions that could encourage bees and others such as cutting grass to different heights and/or at different times of the year; and the development of wild flower meadows or formal planting areas.

‘This plan touches a raw nerve. It tackles the appalling state of the biological quality of so many of our landscapes and demonstrates that we have to improve the biological health of every landscape. The Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Pollinators in South East Wales sets out to transform the number of pollinating insects, looking at the whole lifecycle, across numerous landscape types, from schools to roadside verges, public parks to private gardens.’ Merrick Denton-Thompson, President of the Landscape Institute

Other winners at the awards include the Fellows’ Award for Climate Change Adaptation won by Groundwork London for LIFE+ Climate proofing social housing landscapes. This project has delivered a low-cost retrofit of climate change adaptation measures across three social housing estates in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. The project has helped to reduce these communities’ vulnerability to climate change.

The Landscape Institute Awards were presented in the following categories:

President’s Award | Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Pollinators – TACP | Image credit Blaenau Gwent County Brough Council

President’s Award
Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Pollinators – TACP

Adding Value through Landscape
Sidcup High Street Revival Programme (OLF2) – Untitled Practice

Communications and Presentation
B|D Landscape Architects Review Journal – B|D landscape architects ltd

Design for a Large-Scale Development | Royal Stoke Hospital – Colour | image Credit – Kristen McCluskie Photography

Design for a Large-Scale Development
Royal Stoke Hospital – Colour

Design for a Medium-Scale Development
Piazza Gae Aulenti – AECOM

Design for a Small-Scale Development
Rotunda Community Campus – BCA Landscape


Design for a Temporary Landscape | The Hive at Kew Gardens – BDP and Wolfgang Buttress | Image Credit Nick Caville – BDP

Design for a Temporary Landscape
The Hive at Kew Gardens – BDP and Wolfgang Buttress

Science, Management and Stewardship
The Crown Estate London Ecology Masterplan – Arup and The Crown Estate

Heritage and Conservation
Pulham Gardens at Worth Park – Allen Scott

Policy and Research | Trees and Design Action Group – Capita Lovejoy | Image Credit Michael Murray

Policy and Research
Trees and Design Action Group – Capita Lovejoy

Local Landscape Planning
Woodside, Firhill & Hamiltonhill Development Framework – LUC

Strategic Landscape Planning | South Downs National Park: View Characterisation and Analysis – LUC

Strategic Landscape Planning
South Downs National Park: View Characterisation and Analysis – LUC

Student Dissertation
Phenomenology within Design – James Trevers, University of Edinburgh

Student Portfolio
Peter Kennedy

Urban Design and Masterplanning | Torpoint Vision – Clifton Emery Design with Torpoint Town Council

Urban Design and Masterplanning
Torpoint Vision – Clifton Emery Design with Torpoint Town Council

Client of the Year
Nene Park Trust

Fellows’ Award for Climate Change Adaptation
LIFE+ Climate proofing social housing landscapes – Groundwork London

Images | courtesy of Landscape Institute

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