Forum Replies Created
October 20, 2015 at 5:44 pm #151721
“ASLA’s standard ‘me too’ strategy of copying the architecture profession for lack of any original ideas”
So true.October 20, 2015 at 5:14 pm #151722
Thanks ida. Alan, come on now. Mark said it, Play Nice. Stick to the issues.
OK LEED. Is it arbitrary? The benchmarks are taken from existing standards from an array of municipalities, associations, agencies, etc. – or local regulations per the project’s location, whichever is most stringent. Hardly arbitrary. Maybe sometimes not the most stringent science out there, which can change quickly. Maybe not one’s preferred science/standards. But the grounding is based in accepted standards determined by municipalities and various industries, it’s not arbitrary. LEED also provides an opportunity to challenge those standards, in the greater sense.
Now what, unfortunately, is arbitrary is the claims too many in landscape architecture make about the outcomes of projects without evidence. Let me be clear, I am NOT disputing the values of our profession – I am talking about the way we communicate them. Making mere claims that we improve habitat, improve water quality, boost property values without having valid evidence to back those claims leaves us vulnerable. That’s why I say more dollars need to be invested in landscape research. Research will grow and fortify our industry far more than any rating system, even if research proves our assumptions (claims) wrong. The rating system is one way to inspire more research.
LEED, as all rating systems, is a test or experiment. A means of defining the ill-defined (sustainability). It is not without flaws, it is not perfect, and it is susceptible to poor design decision making (the bike rack example). It exists because it adds a layer of accountability to decision making that didn’t exist before – on part of the clients, design teams, contractors, building managers, and so on, making talking to one another more acceptable and possible than before. As any new system, it takes some degree of incentive to attract users – and the suggestion that clients’ will buy in merely for a plaque is silly, the incentives are more inclusive and lucrative than that. It takes a critical mass of users to start making widespread progress toward the goals, then the results can be measured and determined if it works, how it should be improved, to determine if the “experiment” is worth the investment. So far, the results are mixed depending on what study you look at – it may be safe to say that the more (reasonable) implements that are in place (ie the higher level of certification achieved) the more favorable results (energy reductions etc) will be the result. Not all levels of certification perform the same.
LEED and other rating systems exist because a door was left open for their existence. A lot of people concerned about carbon, energy, water, habitat saw room for a different vision for land development, and they did something about it. They put condensed resources in the hands of decision makers, even if a project does’t pursue certification there exists a set of targets and suggested pathways for building the environment more sensitively. What LEED can do for schools is, I think, the entire program’s most significant contribution. Much of what LEED sets forth is subject to human intervention and abidance by the “rules of sustainability.” Select a building site near two bus lines – great intention but if society doesn’t accept it, it won’t make an impact. Put lights on sensors but an employee can flip a light switch and override the good intention and there go your energy savings.
SITES is in its infancy and hasn’t reached a critical mass to test its value. Since it embodies so much of what landscape architecture is by definition, it may not catch on to the extent of LEED. It may “arm” other professionals of the built environment with enough checkboxes that clients and design teams may feel they don’t need an LA on a project. Or it may empower more LAs and creat greater opportunities. Or it may fizzle out. But what it won’t do is tell any landscape designer how to design.
Of course the green industry makes money. That a non profit or a movement makes money and generates jobs does not mean that profit is its sole reason for existence.
Finally, my question to you all is that if a rating system brought architects, engineers, contractors, clients, building managers, and others together at the table, why would you not want to be included? Rating systems are likely not going away any time soon. Are you not hurting our profession by not taking your place at the table and working toward and using your voice to improving the system?October 15, 2015 at 4:13 pm #151728
I’m sorry to hear this. LEED projects *should* follow an integrated project delivery method, in which the full team works together from day 1. Being brought in for only six weeks, and being told how to design rather than you contributing as an equal collaborator, should not have happened, so the process you experienced was flawed. It was not true to what LEED preaches, and it sounds like the LA functioned more as a sub to the architect as might be the case even without a sustainability-driven rating system. Luckily that is not always the case. And of course, not every project or client aspires to attain rating system certification.October 15, 2015 at 3:34 pm #151729
Again, let’s stick to the issues. No one person’s CV bares significance here. Whether I’m a PLA licensed in three states who believes good outcomes are possible from SSI, a PE considering going back to school for an MLA, or an emerging LA professional who is working toward licensure – what does it matter? I was merely wondering who is encroaching on the real pros, how they’re doing it, and what that even meant.October 14, 2015 at 11:25 pm #151731
I am not “another non landscape architect,” and I am not “telling you what to think.” Beyond that, let’s just stick to the issues.October 14, 2015 at 10:50 pm #151733
Alan and Mark, what does “trying to encroach on the real pros” mean? And to whom are you referring, “those without credentials something to put behind their names”?October 14, 2015 at 10:36 pm #151734
Perhaps, perhaps not. But landscape architects are not the only ones who work in the built environment. At the very least maybe you can agree that SSI – and LEED, etc – raise awareness of critical issues and landscape-based solutions to a wider audience of professionals and CLIENTS? Can’t you agree that systems and plaques entice more property owners and municipalities to invest in and implement more sustainable landscape solutions? As to whether or not the systems are arbitrary, that is why more dollars need to be invested in landscape research. At least SSI encourages long-term monitoring, which I think is its greatest contribution. And that is something landscape architects typically do not do.October 13, 2015 at 10:26 pm #151735
Sustainable Sites Initiative has not been subsumed by LEED. GBCI is the third-party administrator for both LEED and SSI, which are independent rating systems intended to make schools, buildings, landscapes, communities healthier, happier places for the long term. Many do not consider them “BS marketing strategies”, it is a shame that you do.