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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

Restructuring for the Future City [Land8x8 Video]

During the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Seattle, Julie Parrett began her presentation by asking the audience to consider our city’s public urban space – who owns it, how is it used, and is it accessible or closed off? We often think of public space as the parks, plazas, and civic centers of the city, but schools, libraries, roadways, and utility infrastructure are all part of the public realm. In the case of Seattle, as with many cities, these public spaces are often single-use spaces managed by various different entities and utilized for a specific need of the organization, such as efficient transportation, recreational space, or stormwater management. “This approach leads us to a public urban fabric which is a patchwork of segregated, single-function spaces and facilities,” Parrett states....Read More

10 Reasons to Come to LAbash 2019

LAbash is a Landscape Architecture conference hosted for the students, by the students. Every year, students from landscape architecture programs across the country congregate in a different city to learn, experience, and immerse themselves in Landscape Architecture. This year’s conference is being held in Athens, Georgia which has a strong history in creativity. Being the birthplace of bands such as REM and the B-52’s, Athens offers culture, music, food, and nightlife unrivaled for a town of its size. Athens is also home to the University of Georgia which is proud to host the event. The University of Georgia was the first public university in the United States, as well as one of the original schools to have a dedicated Landscape Architecture degree. We invite you to come “find your roots”...Read More

Post Carbon Landscape Architecture

Background Here in early 2019, we find ourselves in a terrifying time. The evidence is astoundingly clear that the effects of climate change are worse than previously predicted and accelerating. If humanity is to avoid catastrophic, perhaps even unsurvivable climate change, we must end the use of fossil fuels as soon as possible. However, if we were to do that, the resulting energy and civilizational transition would be the most dramatic ever undertaken by our species. Everything about our current way of life would change greatly. But scientists are emphatic about the need to end using fossil fuels now. Prof David Reay, of the University of Edinburgh, says we must “act now or see the last chance for a safer climate future ebb away.” The end of fossil fuels will usher in a “post carbon” era...Read More

Future Housing Solutions for Evolving Cities

In an increasingly technological age, we are seeing many high-tech innovations invade our homes. Devices are becoming more and more intelligent, allowing us to alter the temperature, humidity, and lighting of our homes at the click of an app or suggestion of a voice command. The city is evolving with many innovations that improve the sustainability of the urban fabric and health of the citizens. However, there has been little advance in the design and methods of construction of housing since the Second World War. In this article, we look at innovative new solutions to housing that can provide comfortable and sustainable living in an evolving city. Innovations in Materials There have been many innovations in building materials in recent years, such as strong, fire resistant Cross Laminate T...Read More

Why Use Empathic Design in Landscape Architecture?

Empathic design in landscape architecture In this article, we look at what empathic design is, and how this approach can lead to better design solutions. We are joined by international architect Moshe Katz, who shares his thoughts and experience on using empathy in the design process. What is empathy and empathic design? Empathy refers to the ability to see the world through the eyes of another and understand their needs, desires, and thinking. Empathy is also key to understanding the inherent properties of natural systems beyond the ecosystem services they may provide. Designers can use this empathic ability to better understand stakeholders and the end users of their spaces, to create better solutions that meet their needs, while remaining respectful of the intrinsic qualities of the nat...Read More

Evolving Memory [Land8x8 Video]

There are too few opportunities to share knowledge within the design profession. Formalized research is only starting to gain prevalence, while most rely on personal experience as a basis of their knowledge. While a knowledgeable individual can be great resource within the office, their time is often limited, making knowledge sharing challenging. During the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Seattle, Jill Fortuna, Director of Research and Development (R&D) at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), spoke about how GGN is using technology to harness employee knowledge and record project history. In her role as Director of R&D, Fortuna embraces new ways of thinking about materials and construction. Leading the Construction Administration of many of GGN’s high-profile projects, including the Smithson...Read More

Vectorworks Design Summit Field Report Part II: Interview with Dr. Biplab Sarkar, CEO

The 2018 Vectorworks Design Summit held on November 4-6 in Phoenix, offered a glimpse of where the industry is headed (read recap on Land8), seen through the lens of this innovative 2D/3D modeling software. At the helm is Dr. Biplab Sarkar who started with the company in 2000 and became CEO in April 2016. Biplab took some time on the morning before Antoine Predock’s keynote address to discuss Vectorworks Landmark. CC: Who are Vectorworks Landmark users? Sarkar: Worldwide, just over half our total users are in Europe. Landmark users are mostly in the US, Germany, Australia, and the UK. In the US, about 45% of Vectorworks Landmark users are landscape architects and the rest are landscape designers. A majority in the UK are landscape designers, while German users are mostly landscape architec...Read More

Land8 Social Media Awards in Landscape Architecture 2018 – Winners!

Last month, we announced the launch of the inaugural Land8 Social Media Awards in Landscape Architecture. Social media has the power to significantly increase the awareness and importance of the profession of landscape architecture, and we believe industry leaders in social media should be promoted and recognized. We received so many worthy submissions that we decided to extend the awards per category from eight to ten! Rather than a checklist or points, we took a holistic approach to determining the winners to offer a variety of successful social media accounts – be sure to follow the winners to help grow the profession! Top 10 Social Media Accounts – Landscape Architecture Firms Arterial, LLC | Arterial does a fantastic job of using graphic design, engaging techniques, and ed...Read More

Bangkok Is Sinking and Here Is the Solution

Just as New York has Central Park, Bangkok has just received its lungs of the City – the Chulalongkorn Centenary Park, the first sizeable green infrastructure project, which has been designed for the city to face the inevitable realities of climate change. We teamed up with the landscape architects of the project, Landprocess, to tell this story in an intimately visual way. Through a series of infographics, maps, diagrams and visualisations, we will be demonstrating the seemingly looming climatic uncertainties of Bangkok and the solutions that Chulalongkorn Centenary Park provides to mitigate these issues. How is Bangkok sinking? The inevitable reality feels like a distant fate until we explore the figures. Bangkok is not how it used to be and Figure 1 shows the creeping grey fingers...Read More

Prioritizing Performance Amid Changing Climates

As prominent shapers of our built environment, landscape architects play an outsized role in merging built and natural systems that impact our planetary health — and thus have an obligation to lead the way in reframing the sustainable design dialog around landscape performance. A critical aspect in doing so is shifting the dialog from oftentimes subjective notions of sustainability to a more empirical framework, which is best viewed through the lens of landscape performance. Any conversation about landscape performance must begin with a shared understanding of what exactly it entails. “Landscape performance can be defined as a measure of the effectiveness with which landscape solutions fulfill their intended purpose and contribute to sustainability. No matter how sustainability is defined ...Read More

Frederick Law Olmsted’s 1859 Letter Describing Vision for Central Park

Frederick Law Olmsted is known as the “father of landscape architecture.” His most famous work is his co-design of Central Park in New York City, which was established in 1857. The following letter was written while Olmsted was Superintendent of Central Park and was managing the construction of the open space he designed. The letter requests volunteer participation from a local musician to help draw the public to the city’s most famous green space. In the letter, Olmsted describes his social perception, tremendous commitment to egalitarian ideals, and how these beliefs translate to his obligation to provide managed open space for passive recreation and enjoyment, particularly for those who do not have the means to leave the city environment. Olmsted famously advocated that “com...Read More

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