Leslie B Wagle

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  • #234556

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Well in a nutshell our problem has always been getting into the process early enough to even demonstrate the enhancement of aesthetics. But I think you are stressing that to even be at the influence table requires good technical skills or why would anybody invite us at all? And I kind of worry about what students are coming to expect. I hesitate to answer the young writers who give opinions on future trends. It hardly makes sense to me. I feel like saying, sure, we LA’s are going to be seated at some urban Davos-like convening of the world-mind to plot the course of the built environment…when really all most of us can do is to keep underlying values in the picture as we meet real project conditions and constraints. That “inner circle” idea may exist for members of major firms on well budgeted projects, but won’t be the role of the typical small practice. We must be able to cover the technical side without failing on that last half of what you wrote.

    #233057

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I’ll make an attempt at this, although it is U.S. in context and may date back a few years although I’m in contact with more experiences than just my own.

    1. The mystery only you can solve. There are various ways, but you could start by asking yourself what you want and then plot how to position yourself best…although once you get some work, it has a tendency to roll in the same direction. So, if you want to tackle residential, you could offer to assist design-build firms and offer to give talks to garden clubs, newcomers, etc. while if you want to work on more various types (industrial, multi-family etc.) and include grading plans, storm drainage, etc. you might contact area architects and engineers for times they are overwhelmed. Even if you aren’t licensed, there may be somebody in the office who can go over your work to be sure it can pass under their seal.

    2. This has been done even in the paper hand drawing days, with work carried or mailed in, so it certainly can be offered on line, but will have to be marketed. Once you have some samples, set up a flicker or Land8 portfolio to refer to or at least have some samples to send as attachments to aid in discussions. I don’t think it would be a majority of firms but on the other hand, even one who doesn’t want to go with a full hiring might send you repeat work on an as-needed basis.

    3. That is really a matter of luck in pulling in some of the possibilities in 1. or 2. above, and depends on size of project, etc. But if you are still slow because of just starting out, or you can’t tackle what could cause you financial liabilities, you need to not overprice yourself and also learn there is some work to avoid, even when hungry. I think having some other part time income that uses graphic skills would be a support strategy.

    #212662

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I thought this had earlier answers but I may have it confused with another post. The question in various forms (whether to change degrees etc.) comes up a lot and you may want to scan earlier history of postings to see more professional answers.

    Basically, I didn’t have to incur debt myself due to being in an earlier era when education wasn’t so expensive. What I can say is that the field is not as recognized or established as a “necessity” in development as we all would like to believe it should be, or may become. Unless you are in a fortunate market and well-established firm, there is real exposure to economic downturns, although yes it can be satisfying when things are good. I know $40-$50k doesn’t sound fabulous for a beginning salary, but you can hardly expect $80-$100k with no license or experience. So the debt could be a drawback unless all roads you look at are equally debt producing.

    Urban Planning demands much less creative graphic design skills and is I think better entrenched in local government organizations. It definitely is not about highways and traffic systems unless you gravitate towards transportation planning. Even then, you would be doing studies and engineers the designing. Most planners work on long-range land use / “area” plans, updates to local ordinances, zoning cases, conditional or special use cases, variances, historic preservation. They also review submissions for building permits and check plans for proper setbacks, watershed compliance and other issues that may need revision. (Fire, public services, police etc. add separate comments before issuance of permits). At least that is my experience.

    As far as office environments, nope if the office can’t afford it or the local government is using older structures there is no guarantee of any aesthetic office space but I’ve never been in a truly dark or depressing one either.

    I hope that helps, sorry for late response.

    #197172

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    That is a great condition of use statement. Unfortunately when I tried the NOAA, their photo had even more leafed out forest and I couldn’t see as much of the pavement edges as from google, bing, etc. Fortunately, topo was good enough from their GIS to go ahead. I just somehow thought that those aerial sources would had “stiched” overlapping photo coverage in a way that compensated for any warp around the edges from center of camera (my primitive way of expressing it) but wanted to warn others it’s not so great. You can tell that buildings are sort of “leaning,” but I guess I thought surfaces wouldn’t be distorted noticibly.

    #150794

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Well I have a shelf more like accumulated ones over the years I thought I would keep and use to “flip through” at least when faced with some specific need, but actually the internet has since impacted by also becoming a rich source of insights and comparisons.

    So, one thought is: decide if the books are technically helpful in some way (photo inspirations when hitting a creative block; samples of details if not sure what is a standard applicable to a project, reality pictures to show clients who aren’t visualizing something etc.) Then maybe you wouldn’t feel like you have to read everything cover to cover and consider it a reference library. In that process, you may pre-screen them and toss a few, become more familiar with what the keepers have to offer, and maybe even decide to read a few. Otherwise, it can seem daunting once out of school to find the time to read heavily and I don’t think it’s a crime to read in a more targeted way as needed during research on a project. That way you stay productive and also over time accumulate more knowledge.

    #150858

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I think we don’t understand why would you want a master’s in a different field than you have already studied? Some people come from another field INTO landscape architecture by getting a master’s in landscape architecture. If you already have a bachelor of LA, then changing to something else for a master’s is not likely to help you in LA.

    If you want to work in something else, then figure that out and inquire from people in the other field if your LA degree will help you. A master’s in urban or conservation studies might value your background, but not something like medicine or fine art, for example. Pardon if I don’t understand the question well.

    #150864

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Well, no easy answers. I only lurked on the last example of this question as the other posts were not only in depth from personal experience but because I don’t actively want to discourage anyone. On the other hand (as I’ve written in private to others) some food for thought:

    I honestly don’t see enough vigor in the economy yet to sweep in everyone who is on the sidelines in LA, which I think is because most starting and mid career independent LAs have to compete for work vs. an elite realm of people with “connections,” or else market themselves vigorously. Overall, to get a chance to do anything really exciting or challenging, you have to get a seat in a large multi-disciplinary firm.  Then again, there was a contributor here that had “made it” quite handsomely in a few years of a solo career. Every generality has exceptions.

    I don’t know what I’d tell the British lady to do instead but she’s may be overly optimistic to think that LA somehow is desperate enough for new workers that she can breeze in from a side maneuver like a masters degree. If the software has gotten too expensive or overwhelming in the field where she has experience, I think she would be better off looking into helping design firms improve websites with animation in their online portfolios, etc. At least she’s ahead on that even if it would take some adjustments. Your question is a little different with the horticultural and construction experience already in place.

    So this is a main point that you probably have run into anyway….there is a characteristic of landscape architecture & construction unlike painting on a canvas when the inspiration hits, or playing in a band who makes music for whoever will listen. It’s more like making movies in that you must have both a CLIENT and RESOURCES to support your work becoming reality vs. mental exercise…and sometimes even if you think the first is tied down, you face later client loss of passion to follow through. Then to top if off, there can be just plain withering of funds or other priorities take over and sideline the project.

    If you think you have the stamina to face all of that, well go for it. The big surprise losses happen in a lot of other kinds of fields also….whole buildings that never go up when land deals fall through, bakeries and bookshops and malls that close from traffic re-routing, locally produced textiles that get walloped by cheap imports, etc. Even Maya Lin designs have failed or never left the drawing stage. And what you say is true about the body limits (why my husband left horticulture for getting CNC machinist training), so there is that as well. I’m sure other members will offer other insights.

    #150888

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Well considering the time of its creation, I admit it may be well-known (just not to me) …showing how I’m behind on some things. Obviously if it could become a template it would have been replicated elsewhere so guess that question is already answered.

    I still picture people slipping and spraining ankles on it etc if not getting snake-bitten. It does make a place for snails etc. in the final maturation but also seems kind of contrived to start from flower sketches laid over the land, or in one of her other projects, making lakes into things like “mouse faces,” although harmless enough if big issues get solved.

    More of a magazine interview with her is here: https://ssa.ccny.cuny.edu/blog/patricia-johanson/

    #150936

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with what they said but it would probably be more familiar to me stated differently. Or I should say more meaningful if explored more deeply. In other words, it’s their answer to attaining “success,” but there are various links in google for things related to success…and they are all over the place. The ones interpreting success in a business sense are more similar to these guys (believe in yourself, don’t let others define you, take reasonable risks etc.) . Others are spiritual guru types that stress how real success is more about balance and keeping other values in the mix like family and smelling the roses on the journey, etc. I would have gone with something like “balance,” with a multi-based definition of success…. but once a goal is chosen, whether marriage or playing the piano, it is often mostly about hanging in there over bumps that might look like mountains (commitment). Then again, some mid-course corrections may be inevitable too. In other words, keep in mind the old country song “know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”

    Or the spiritual version “help me to have the courage to change the things that I can, the serenity to accept the things I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    #150987

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Right, on Olmstead writing but his parents took a lively interest in nature, people, and places and helped him buy a farm when young and eye problems prevented his progress in college. He also seemed to focus on learning agricultural matters as he travelled, and seemed to grasp for a deeper understanding of the link between how the land was used for the betterment of society as he went along. And that must have shown up in the design submission with Vaux in the competition for Central Park. I suppose we could say his career that included his social critique literature and building of political connections -culminating in becoming a conservationist- is meandering, but it seemed to have a core. It’s great to broaden insights with travel, no question there. But I suspect he had a people/places focus throughout. Then, work and fortune linked up his experiences to serve a central purpose and leave a remarkable legacy. 

    #150989

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Well the article doesn’t tell the whole story and maybe he got an irresistible (to a young person) offer and most of us never face such a distraction. I’m not inclined to think it was a language problem since he can write. He had a Master’s rather than 4 or 5 year degree. But he didn’t seem to have a survival problem, which is what puzzled me…and the depiction of what LAs actually DO seemed weird…how many of us just present a design and claim it is the best possible one?

    I have to wonder if he had a bad mentoring situation that didn’t let him in on the process of solving a problem, in order to communicate the proposal well to the client…and was just left to draft it up or couldn’t handle the normal process of required revisions. (The job as a first job sounded a little strange). With a father who’s an architect, how could he not know that leaving things to nature isn’t exactly an option in cases where there is a site needing design in the first place? How are you going to accommodate delivery vehicles, handicapped, pedestrians….and for that matter, satisfy zoning, watershed, and other permit reviewers?

    #151153

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Andrew Garulay, RLA had the best answer to the current baffled interpretations of Trump voting earlier in the topic  Yes – I could change my mind – but I think things are actually more business as usual than the press wants them to be. There’s nothing they or invested out of power drama-inducing figures would love more than a “bad guy” and “virtuous massive uprising” myth to keep an uproar going, healthy for the country or not.

    Separate thought: Powerful men are rarely, well actually never in my memory, people I would want my kid to really imitate. But there are different magnifying glasses and all have astigmatisms based on underlying political leanings. I’m not sure I think either of the fear depictions are inaccurate so much as reshaped according to point of view. Conservatives truly think they are accepting of people from elsewhere, but  they hold the country as a coherency concept that is counterpoint to any foreign individual’s personal difficulties, and they don’t think it is obligated to fill non-citizens needs at all times, in any numbers, from anywhere.  They want to be sure newcomers can contribute to it with out costing it dearly for several generations, or exposing (all descriptions of) its current members to undue risk. Sorry, guess I’m wasting everybody’s spare brain cells in this one and need to get to work on my still turbulent LA reflections.

     

     

    #151156

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Craig, I find the rescue question a profound one I might want to answer you privately. Just a quick thought on the effectiveness of both rallies and protests, which I think are fundamentally the same. They pump up the already-converted; but outsiders find them both alienating and tiresome. Unlike a sporting event with unknown outcome, who if not a stalwart believer would sit through a political thing full length, even the big party conventions? Media knows better than try that, so all we get are highlight bits. I kind of doubt most of us are among the hardy few that have spent time at either one 🙂

     

    #151161

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant
    #151163

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant
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