Greentown 2.0: Where Landscape Architects Network with Enthusiasts from other Walks of Life

Landscape Architect, Kurt Culbertson refers to Landscape Architecture as “a calling”.  Those who have devoted their lifetimes to the profession understand his extreme description. Our goals cannot always be achieved in one or two or 10 years. The goals of a landscape architect transcend decades sometimes in the idea making, band-wagoning, lobbying, discussion, funding and development of plans. This does not even include the sometimes decades to see the final conception of a design finally pay off fully for the next generations.

Greentown 2.0 has this shared vision. on April 22, 2014 in South Bend, Indiana, the conference brought together people from the public and private sector to “connect the dots, to inspire and to work together to remake our communities. From healthy living to local food, energy to green infrastructure, water to outdoor space.”

The Conference seems more of a celebration and collaboration than a series of lectures and learning sessions. Homeowners were able to reach out to designers and politicians in ways that everyone felt as if they were all on the same level of discussion and consideration.

Sessions included:

Creating a Sustainable Region: How Communities Can Work Together
From Northwest Indiana to Michiana to West Michigan, this regional panel is designed to bring communities together to enact measurable, sustainable change both regionally and locally. The panel will consist of city officials, mayors and sustainability managers that have experience gaining support and driving action.

Energy Efficiency to Renewable Energy: Public and Private Sector Successes and Opportunities
From renewables to energy efficiency, government, businesses and homeowners are changing the energy landscape to save money and help the environment. Hear from professionals in the public and private sectors to learn what companies and communities can do–and how to do it.

Creating a Diverse Business Community
How do we create communities that welcome and invite diversity? How do we bridge  gaps and focus on the triple bottom line – economic development, environmental effectiveness and social justice – to create truly healthy, sustainable communities? To have sustainable communities, we must be intentionally inclusive. This workshop will lead participants in identifying opportunities to grow communities by including  underserved populations.

Placemaking: The New Ways of Thinking About Our Communities
What defines a community? It’s the common ground where people gather – from housing, squares, streets and plazas to parks, green spaces and water fronts. The biggest opportunity for sustainable growth available to our communities is the collaborative design of our built environment, the process of Placemaking. 

Creating the Framework for a Sustainable Region

Join representatives from NIRPC and Southwest Michigan to be part of the first, official planning meeting for the proposed Michiana Regional Community Sustainability Partnership. This session will provide an overview of existing regional and local sustainability plans and encourage discussion around the mission, structure, funding strategy and membership requirements for the new partnership. (2)

The last session allowed people from all walks to integrate their ideas in small groups and talk frankly about what works and what will make a difference. The day was filled with creative art-making and idea sharing.

There was a moment when attendee Antonius Northern came up to the Indiana Chapter of ASLA table and pointed to a masterplan of the area and said, “I grew up right here” (3)  A 20-minute long engaging conversation happened. This type of one-on-one interaction is what Kurt Culbertson meant when he said that Landscape architecture is a calling. Culbertson also references George Kessler’s ideals of “designing for people” (4). This Greentown event exemplified that ideal.

Top Photo: Steve Ruby and Jonathan Geels from The Troyer Group. -Mishawaka, IN Antonius Northern-nPower-South Bend, IN.

Bottom Photo: Bill LaDitka-Wightman & Associates-Benton Harbor, MI,  April Westcott-Irrigation Design Source-Fishers, IN., Chuck Lehman-Lehman & Lehman-Mishawaka, IN 


(1) Culbertson, Kurt  4-16-2014 George Kessler in Indianapolis Lecture-Landmark Center, Indianapolis, IN.

(2) .

(3) Northern, Antonius 4-22-2014 Greentown 2.0 South Bend, IN.

(4) Culbertson, Kurt 4-16-2014 George Kessler in Indianapolis Lecture-Landmark Center, Indianapolis, IN.

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