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How One City is Designing for Climate Change

As the City of Boston grapples with climate change and sea level rise, teams comprised of Landscape Architects, Urban Planners, and Engineers have been collaborating to truly understand the scale of the impact, and propose innovative solutions that incorporate natural systems. Recognizing the Challenges of Climate Change Coastal Resilience Solutions for East Boston and Charlestown, a project led by Kleinfelder Engineering and Stoss, was a direct response to recommendations in the Climate Ready Boston report (2016) that the city ‘prioritize and study the feasibility of district-scale flood protection’ and ‘develop local climate resilience plans in vulnerable areas to support district-scale climate adaptation’. The City of Boston chose to address East Boston and Charlestown first because the...Read More

Uniting People Across the Development Transect

In the world of design and planning one of our biggest challenges lies in the placemaking endeavor — creating a sense of community in a new or unremarkable development lacking notable history or existing bonds among people. How can we create anew an identity, a sense of belonging, and pride of ownership in a setting in which those aspects are nonexistent? These characteristics are cornerstones of a successful development — whether a residential community or the proverbial third place — in contexts spanning the urban to rural transect, and their foundation lies in establishing planning and design principles focused on connectedness, diversity and flexibility. The notion of connectedness includes not only physical connections between people and their environment, but also social and emotiona...Read More

Assuming Beauty [Land8x8 Video]

During the Land8x8 Lightening Talks in Seattle, Laura Rose, Principal at the landscape architecture and planning firm Walker Macy contemplated the role of beauty in design. At a time when landscape architects are leading the discourse on mitigating climate change, fostering community, and enacting social change, it is peculiar for Rose to center her discussion on beauty. While the art of design is still very central to what we do, the work of landscape architects has evolved beyond the romantic ideals of landscape being solely something to look at. Yet, after listening to her presentation, it becomes clear that the term “beauty” describes much more than just aesthetic appeal or artistic whimsy. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines beauty as “the quality or aggregate of qualit...Read More

A Landscape Approach for Territorial Development

Available for free download, a new book promotes a landscape approach for territorial development in response to today’s environmental challenges and socio-political transformations. “From the South: Global Perspectives on Landscape and Territory” is the first book of the International Landscape Collaborative (ILC), published by Ediciones Universidad del Desarrollo in Santiago, Chile in bilingual form with Spanish translations. The book contains eighteen essays written by authors from eight different nations and five continents that offer a diversity of perspectives on contemporary models of landscape planning, management and design across scales. Rather than viewing the landscape through the lens of a singular discipline, the ILC promotes with the now published volume an inter...Read More

Portfolio Secrets for New Landscape Architects and Designers

A design portfolio, especially for the young and less experienced designer, is an intimidating document to create. We’ve all heard rumors of older students with silver bullet portfolios that secure them endless job offers from prestigious firms. Who doesn’t want to be fought over for employment? The ideal portfolio represents the breadth of your skills and abilities. It demonstrates that you can communicate verbally and visually. It proves that you can think critically. That’s a lot of pressure on one document, which you preferably want to keep to no more than 10-12 spreads (5MB). Design portfolios are useful tools. They demonstrate prospective employees’ aesthetic sensibilities, problem solving skills, communication styles, and technical abilities. But no 12-spread document can fully repr...Read More

Improve Your Drawing Skills: Perspective and Proportions

CAD has been a standard in the profession for decades, planing in virtual reality is around the corner and everyone can take snapshots of views they want to remember with their smartphones. But we want to talk to you about drawing, sketchbooks, and tips for constructing a perspective. Why is that? Let’s make one thing clear: all of the new digital tools bring amazing value to our professional work and we’re not suggesting going back to the drawing boards and rulers. But being able to transfer one’s thoughts from the mind to paper in a quick and confident way can be very beneficial for a number of reasons. First, a quick sketch is still worth a lot as a design tool. The lightness of the free-hand drawing enables us to think with it and explore different variants and possibilities without be...Read More

Anova Grant for Emerging Professionals 2019

Anova Furnishings’ Grant Competition is back again this year, offering emerging professionals the opportunity to attend the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture (formerly known as the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO) in San Diego November 15-18, 2019. Centered around a different topic each year, the competition invites participants to submit a short essay and a quick hand sketch, or “napkin sketch”, for the chance to win a $2,000 grant toward conference expenses. A panel of three practicing professionals will select the 13 best responses to be awarded the grant. This year, entrants are asked to share how contemporary landscape architecture could be used to improve an under-performing space in their community. Anova created this grant program to help accelerate individuals’ careers i...Read More

Drone Applications for Landscape Architecture

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s or drones) have multiple applications for landscape architects, from early efforts like site analysis to creating awareness and excitement for a completed project. Although semi-professional drones are now readily available and inexpensive, there can be a heavy investment of time needed to create a quality product. Landscape Architects will need to evaluate the resources necessary to perform drone operations directly or consider hiring professional drone pilots for their projects. Either way it’s important to understand safety requirements and regulations related to flying drones on a project site. Rules for hobbyist differ from those operating commercially, and it’s critical to understand these differences before implementing drone use in your practice. Per...Read More

How Landscape Architecture and Urban Design Can Reduce Crime

Crime is a perennial problem facing many inner-city areas. Antisocial behaviour and crime are major factors affecting urban decay, property prices, and quality of life. In this article, we investigate how landscape architecture and urban design can mitigate, reduce, and control crime in the urban environment. Crime vs antisocial behaviour Crime can relatively easily be defined as acts contrary to the governing law of that area. For example, the same act of recreational smoking of marijuana is legal in the US state of Massachusetts but is currently illegal in the state of New Jersey. Antisocial behaviour, on the other hand, is less easily defined. The Home Office in the UK recognises that the definition of anti-social behaviour is influenced by context, location, community tolerance, and qu...Read More

Bringing Austin’s First Programmed Urban Park to Life

The epicenter of play for Austinites of all ages is officially on its way. Unlike any play destination anywhere in Austin, TBG Partners designed a whimsical, singular environment for young and old alike where imaginations run wild and Austin’s distinctive culture is celebrated through contextual forms and immersive play features. It’s a destination roughly 20 years in the making — the pièce de résistance of the Town Lake Park/Butler Park recreation area along the south shores of Lady Bird Lake — and with construction beginning in February 2019, in just a few short months there will be universal agreement: The Alliance Children’s Garden was well worth the wait. Located adjacent to the iconic Doug Sahm Hill and Liz Carpenter Fountain in Butler Park, the Alliance Children’s Garden embodies th...Read More

A Different Way of Thinking: Pacific Coast Land Design and Vectorworks Landmark

Eric Berg, landscape architect and senior associate at Pacific Coast Land Design, Inc. (PCLD) in Ventura, California, took some time to chat before his talk, “From Concept to Completion: How PCLD Leverages the Power of Vectorworks in Landscape Architecture Practice” at the 2018 Vectorworks Design Summit in Phoenix last November. Berg and PCLD Principal Mike Zielsdorf showed how the 6-person firm uses Vectorworks Landmark from early conceptual graphics to renderings and CDs. CC: Can you think of a project you were awarded with the help of Vectorworks’ visualization capabilities? EB: We were awarded a veteran’s housing project in Ventura for which we did a preliminary design in Vectorworks, in part to test the site modeling. Showing the early design in 3D convinced the city’s planning direct...Read More

5 Top Planting Design Resources for New Landscape Architects

Clients and employers often complain that landscape architects, particularly young designers, are failing at planting design. Previous articles on Land8 have identified planting design as a challenging area for the profession in several other articles, including “Why Do Some Graduate Landscape Architects Have a Poor Understanding of Planting?” and “Garden Designers & Landscape Architects: Resolving the Identity Crisis”. Planting design is a complex and time consuming aspect of practice. In the horticulture community, individuals devote their entire careers to understanding how to grow specific plants. Landscape architects don’t have that luxury. We are expected to have a thorough understanding of regionally appropriate plants, as well as the ability to specify t...Read More

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