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The Tao of Woke Practice [Land8x8 Video]

The modern design process has been formulated and repeated for decades in the landscape architecture profession. Oftentimes, it is this procedure- almost an institutionalized method of creation- that ends up disserving the same communities one vows to protect and uplift. Since 1994, Elizabeth Kennedy, PLA and Principal of Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architects (EKLA), has been leading by example in how she and her team show up and make space for clients and each other. In the months following the death of George Floyd, Kennedy participated in nearly thirty juries and presentations to share her expertise in empathetic community engagement and landscape architectural practice as it pertains to African American communities and beyond. Kennedy highlights EKLA’s project of Weeksville, New York,...Read More

Urban Planning for Tertiary Cities

With the era of the raging pandemic, peaceful and more comfortable living arrangements became a priority for many. Large primary and secondary metropolitan cities are moving away from the spotlight as smaller, less developed and more affordable tertiary cities gain popularity as a residential option. This article explores the opportunities tertiary cities offer to residents, communities, and organisations, and how conscious planning can contribute to their sustainable future. What are tertiary cities? Typically, tertiary cities are smaller cities with more affordable housing alternatives but limited infrastructure and less investment. This article provides successful examples of tertiary cities with a common denominator of steady expansion, growing economic activity and an innovative appro...Read More

Fill for Habitat [Land8x8 Video]

New York City’s landscape has much to offer. From its soaring skyscrapers to its vast and unique parks system, the fact that water plays a significant geographical and historical role perhaps falls to the wayside. There is a structural reasoning- even with over 520 miles of city shoreline, most is what’s considered “hard”. Bulkheads and concrete walls create a stark divide between people and the water they live on all the while diminishing critical habitat. The importance of water does not go unnoticed to Brad Howe, PLA and Senior Associate at SCAPE. In fact, it is central to what they do. “The frequency which with we experience water and its capability of destruction is only increasing,” Howe states as he describes the hard edge’s role in poor stormwater infrastructure. Further, its these...Read More

How Vectorworks Landmark Saves Algarve Landscape Architects Money

João Rodrigues, co-founder of Portugal’s Algarve Landscape Architects, ALA, cites his Vectorworks Landmark experience as the backdrop for the shock he feels knowing many landscape architects aren’t demanding more from their design software. Rodrigues, who used to use AutoCAD, decided he needed more back in 2009. “We could’ve gotten additional plug-ins to make the software do what we wanted,” he said, “but that’s like putting new paint on an old car. And we wanted a new car.” ALA’s Pontal project, a masterplan handed over by the Portimão city council and various engineering teams, serves as a looking glass into a sophisticated landscape architecture workflow whose timelines would double or even triple without Landmark. The Pontal Project — Showcasing Vectorworks Landmark’s All-in-One Workfl...Read More

Top Differences Between a Landscape Architect and a Landscape Designer

There are a few key differences between landscape architects and landscape designers, some of which include education requirements, training, licensing procedures and the types of projects each professional works on. While both types of design professionals have a similar skill set, their distinctions allow each professional to cover different projects. Although many people mistakenly consider both jobs as the same, there are a few major differences between them. A landscape architect is generally licensed to work on large commercial projects, while a landscape designer works mostly on residential projects. A landscape architect will have a higher level of technical knowledge and experience in plant and structural design, while a designer will focus on aesthetics and plant selection. A lan...Read More

Designing for Decarbonization [Land8x8 Video]

2022 has been a year in which we are reminded in headline after headline that climate change is, in fact, not a problem to prepare for but a present and dire force to be reckoned with. The effects of increasingly frequent natural disasters and extreme temperature shifts are global issues that require innovative and imaginative solutions. Fortunately, the end is not nigh, as those same headlines are coupled with the groundbreaking news of climate capturing technologies and an increased awareness of what, exactly, our natural world is capable of. At the Land8x8 Lightning Talks, Matthew Gindlesperger, PLA and Associate at Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP), sees the potential of these climate resiliency technologies to play a substantial role in the practice of landscape architecture. “[We are] t...Read More

New Research Report on Accessibility Design for Landscape Architecture

In order to lead the planning and design of inclusive, healthy, equitable, and safe environments, landscape architects have an obligation to be aware of and work in compliance with standards for accessibility. To meet this need, the ASLA Professional Practice Committee created Principles of Accessibility Design for Landscape Architecture: ADA, ABA, and Other Accessibility Standards and Guidelines as a technical overview of the national accessibility standards and guidelines. The primary focus of this document is the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design (ADA Standards). These standards exist within a complex web of national, state, and local governmental and non-governmental organizations’ related conventions, codes, and documents. While related, each agency ...Read More

Adaptive Landscape Master Planning [Land8x8 Video]

How can we better prepare for the future unknown? Martha Desbiens, Associate at MNLA, recounts how the last few years brought radical change and emphatic proactivity to the heart of her work at the Land8x8 Lightning Talks. Desbiens reflects on how much landscape architects have improved communication skills between colleagues, clients, and communities alike during the COVID-19 pandemic. The voice landscape architects have forged in the public discourse, especially around social issues and the climate catastrophe, has been massively impactful, but “largely reactive”. Looking towards the future, landscape architects must shift communication and action to proactive, adaptive design choices and communication efforts. To provide precedent, Desbiens details how MNLA’s Smith College “20-Year Visi...Read More

Grounding the Green New Deal Summit

Following from LAF’s 2016 Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future and the resulting New Landscape Declaration and call to action, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is delighted to share that the next LAF summit is finally here! More than two years in the making, the summit will be a unique conversation with transformative leaders about the role of designers and how to advocate for and implement the ideas of jobs, justice, and decarbonization in the Green New Deal. The summit continues the excitement, hope, and momentum generated from the Green New Deal Superstudio. We are very excited to hear from the all-star lineup as they explore how to bridge the gap between policy ideas and on-the-ground reality to re-envision and re-build our future. Please plan to join us for this ...Read More

Landscape as Infrastructure and Other Imaginary Tales [Land8x8 Video]

When it comes to resiliency infrastructure, machine-like futures seem to lie ahead for our shorelines. As sea level rise threatens our coastal communities, projects are typically driven by the works of engineers in order to create the mechanical layer of protection cities and neighborhoods need. It may seem as if landscape as infrastructure is an imaginary tale, but according to Gonzalo Cruz, Studio Design Principal, it is the core of what he and the landscape architecture team do at AECOM New York. “There’s a lot of made-up stuff that we think through… that actually becomes realized” Cruz states in reference to the firm’s projects at the Land8x8 Lightning Talks. Driven by engineering, the team is juxtaposed to design a landscape in which the technical infrastructure necessary for resilien...Read More

Urban Infrastructure is Key to Austin’s Growth

Austin consistently ranks at the top of ‘most desirable’ and ‘best place to live’ lists. With the city’s unflappable job market, the migration of corporations relocating to Texas, and the desirable quality of life that is provided by the amenities the city has, it’s no wonder that the population has skyrocketed in the past several decades. An average of 180 residents arrives daily – even during the Covid-19 pandemic. With this kind of growth, there is incredible pressure on the housing market, both for sale and for rent. Houses and apartments are in short supply, and this leads to increased housing costs across the region. Home buyers are seeking affordable homes as far as 60 miles from the city. So, when a homeowner that lives 45 minutes or farther from their job in the core of the ...Read More

A Love Letter to the Outdoor Internship: The Importance of Experiential Learning

It was early spring when I sat down with the team at Summerhill Landscapes. It had been my third semester of remote pandemic learning, or one and a half years of my college experience put on “pause”. The confusion, disappointment, and cabin fever was amounting to an agitated escapism inside of me that I knew I couldn’t quell with a vacation or a walk in the park. I wanted to get my hands dirty, to put in work that was physically taxing- the kind that leaves you sore at the end of the day, a rewarding reminder of a job well done. The kind of work that I would not have seen inside the traditional classroom let alone within the confines of my new virtual world. I wanted to be involved in landscape architecture in a way that connected me back to the earth, to others, and to the reality of the ...Read More

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