Are YOU Thinking What I’M Thinking?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Are YOU Thinking What I’M Thinking?

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    Tanya Olson

    So many talented landscape architects are out of work but we have a competitive edge –  we are networked with each other.

    What can we create from this? How can we collectively do SOMETHING? How can we carry our network from ‘social’ to ‘professional’ – from talk to work – from inaction to action?


    Can we make an online collaboration hub kind of like Dreamfish?


    We carry with us so much potential – I hate to see it atrophy from inaction. The employment world is changing. That job we are hoping for might never come. How can we harness our considerable experience to redefine ‘work’, ’employment’, maybe even landscape architecture?


    What are your ideas? How could it work?

    Jason T. Radice

    Brilliant. I was thinking this for a while as well. My line of thinking was to offer review services on some large scale projects, such as whats going on with the National Mall. We do have public input (taken with a grain of salt, I’m sure), but I think targeted PROFESSIONAL peer opinions, or even charettes, would be very beneficial to these kind of projects. We would be able to spot issues, know where money is being wasted, and provide alternate solutions to the problems. Kind of like having a comeptition without all of the structure.

    Tanya Olson

    What do you think that looks like organizationally speaking? Yes – been thinking about it for a while wondering if its too crazy to bring up….I think it could work….just don’t know how…..
    More ideas?

    Trace One

    tanya, I feel bereft of ideas on this topic, and it is bothering me…I have been trying to think about it for 24 hours..what would work? A green design dream blog, a photomontage of twitter photos with landscape criticism – like/ don’t like…a mass charette on the design of – what?
    how about a mass charette on the landscape implications of a national event – the health care debate,…
    I’m just typing…

    Tanya Olson

    Yeah – I know – it seems huge, amorphous, something on the edge of imagination and technology….

    Do you think it would be a “too many cooks” kind of thing? Would our opinions and expertise be too widely divergent? Could we organize regionally? It would be really neat if we could get an online charette or critique going at any rate.

    The landscape implications of the health care debate? You mean half of us move to conservative-land and the other half move to liberal-land? ha!
    How about the landscape implications of network technology? A design challenge? Could we put together online teams and publish the result?
    We have this amazing network of landscape architects who would have never met each other without a network – what is the next step? A creative commons like wikipedia – a wikidesign?


    I think its a cool idea. Maybe a good way to test the waters, if you will, without offending anyone, would be to post photos and a description of a project that no member was involved with the design of. Just to see how it goes, establish ground rules like no ad hominem attacks, etc. Maybe it could be something in your town that was recently built that you feel has major flaws or should have been done differently.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Real networking help has to be where the rubber hits the road. That is not about philosophy or politics so much as it is about finding out about current opportunities. What type of person or organization has shown any of us any kind of opportunity be that in a job or a design contract. One of the problems facing us is that many of us are unsure where actual specific opportunities are.We can all say it is “the green movement”, “alternative energy” , “stimulus money”, or whatever in concept. The simplest and most helpful thing in a network like this is for people to tell what types jobs they are actually getting, for what type of client or employer, and what is the scope of work. I don’t mean generalizations or what you’ve heard, but what are the current first hand experiences. This will give us all a true understanding of what the actual current needs are in order for us to fill those needs.

    They are still talking about 20% growth in Landscape Architecture between 2008 and 2018 – I don’t need any more fantasy. I need reality and so do the rest of us.

    I’m getting calls from homeowners with residential re-landscapes due to renovations on the house in my side business’ just like always. I’m not getting as many calls from landscape contractors to upsell plans for them as I have had in the past. At the engineering office I’m getting more calls and repeat business from custom builders looking to project manage the landscape on the raze and replacement projects. I see this as a niche that I want to look at more closely. Commercial site plans are very dead here and the landscape plans that went with them. Residential $50k+ seems to be all that is going on in landscape architecture on my sand bar these days.

    I think it is all about figuring out the needs of other people and how to best fill those needs. We can’t be thinking so much about how the market is going to meet our needs – those days are over for a while. We can’t do that without the actual data of what exactly is happening out there.

    “What jobs have you done lately?” should be the first question out of each of our mouths when talking to colleagues.

    Chad Crutcher

    Public sector…transportation, urban design/streetscapes, parks, recreational trails/bike paths, public buildings, including college campus/buildings and schools. Minimal private sector..occasional retail (independent site development like a gas station/mini-mart). We’ve seen our work shift from about 60% public to more than 90%. This is the only sector with some cash left in the pipeline. We can only hope the stimulus money is working its way through the system and will yield more RFP’s over coming months. They are fewer and farther between.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I’m not in a true urban area, yet just an hour and a half from Cambridge – urban streetscapes, transportation, and campus design are few and far between and dominated by the Cambridge companies. There just are not many RFPs out there in our area and when there is, we are contacted as subs as the big architecture and LA teams put together a team. We have a regional regulatory commission that keeps out larger projects (mostly because developers want to avoid them and the added burden they add – we must have the highest percentage of 9,990 SF buildings in the world) , so those are all almost nonexistent projects. Development here is almost entirely under 10,000 sf of building because of the commission.
    The reason that I direct the question to freelancers is because of my market and because I am a one man department, actually I do not even have a department yet. I’m hoping to get it started.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Ooops, wrong thread response above. ….similar subject.


    I am the person who started the “Are you working or not ” discussion thread that has received a rich and healthy response so far. Your discussion thread is where I was hoping to take a lot of the angst, despair and frustration that has been seething in the “Are you working or not” thread and see if we can’t reverse that into some kind of constructive force, or at least more uplifting outlook.

    I will certainly take into account some of the commentary in this thread as I come up with those more upbeat and forward looking actions we can take, individually, or togther, as the long trudge out of this economic morass begins.

    Trace One

    I think the comment that this is about networking is interesting – to come up with something better, I think one would need to rely on the advantages specifically provided by internet connections. The experiment that NASA (I think?) conducted recently, with finding the red balls somewhere on the earth, takes specific advantage of internet capabilitly.. So it seems to me it needs to be about massing information and cataloguing, to get results..(I’m just typing again, thinking out loud..) Individual efforts collected into a larger meaning..
    Photos of potholes thoughout the world..maps of sustainability projects. I don’t know..

    I must say, computers are not my forte..

    Facebook is now adding a ‘locator’ device, so people will know where you are..

    just speculating..

    Chad Crutcher

    Yup, so they can raid your house while you are out. Lots of press about this danger lately. And I do like your thinking out loud in type… but agree the suggestion is so large and amorphous it is hard to get one’s mind wrapped around a workable concept. That’s why I think the think out loud thing is so valuable…gets others brainstorming too. keep on speculatin’

    Tanya Olson

    I’m kind of hearing two things:
    A potential need for professional critique.
    An unanswered call to examine landscape changes on a larger scale.

    I’m hearing from some students that the crits they are getting are unsatisfactory – geared toward their programs, perhaps, but myopic in relation to the greater landscape. Trace was talking about this to some degree in the color in landscape discussion.

    Andrew – could Land8 have a critique page or a section specifically set aside for people to easily navigate to and comment on projects that people want to have critiques on? I know it COULD work on the general discussion, but the turnover is so fast that it might not work for a time-sensitive project. It may also be a way to increase membership from universities / profs / interested professionals. It could be a really fun interactive forum. Personally, I would love to have this available as I work by myself. It would have to be confindential somehow, though….I wonder how that could work?

    Second, could we come up with a design challenge that looks at change on a landscape scale and would be open to any solution or investigation at any scale?
    Here is my idea – I maintain that network technology is having a an impact on small towns in the US – jobs are less connected to location and people are choosing where to live with more freedom than ever before. The consequence is that highly educated knowledge workers are relocating to small towns bringing an influx of money and life to the towns, their schools, their volunteer opportunities. Is this trend real and if it is what does it mean for the design of everything from the small towns themselves to transportation systems, energy systems, food production, education, everything…..
    We could post the challenge, give it a deadline and have everyone post their solutions, investigations, writings, etc. and see how it works. I think it could be publishable – the experiment is newsworthy at any rate!
    What do you all think?
    Would we be able to get participation?

    Tanya Olson

    You can place yourself on the locator map on Land8Lounge, I found out. I think its really cool – if I want to visit France I could contact some of the LAs there are ask for tours or information….great idea.
    I’m not too worried about my house being raided! I don’t have anything anyone would want – a bunch of drawings on trace paper???!!! ha!

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