Check out Charles A. Birnbaum's article on the year's ten notable developments in landscape architecture, which appeared on HuffingtonPost.com on December 22, 2011.
"With funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) launched a series of educational, Google SketchUp animations designed to introduce some basic sustainable landscape design concepts to the general public. Metropolis magazine, in praising the effort, called one animation “Landscape Architecture for Dummies,” but really the goal was to briefly, clearly illustrate the breadth and depth of a relatively unknown, yet important, field of design that actually affects all of us.
The animations, created by Daniel Tal, ASLA, also presented ASLA with an opportunity to show people how landscape architects use sustainable design approaches to solve pressing social, environmental, and economic challenges."
To view the other animations, visit http://www.asla.org/sustainablelandscapes/videos.html.
by Mark Vlasic
In late spring 2010 I was approached by my friend Allison Rowland to help organize a Saturday charette to design a community garden. Allison lives in the Canyon Rim neighborhood of Salt Lake County. A relatively recent addition to the neighborhood, she initially thought little of vacant lot behind her property. As time passed, she contemplated the space and how it could be put to a better use as a community garden. Discovering that the the site was owned by a local church, she approached the leaders with her garden idea, which was received positively. Within weeks she had organized a small group of nearby residents and others interested in gardening, and the Canyon Rim Community Garden was born.
I was invited to attend one of the first organizational meetings. About ten people showed up, and together we surveyed the site. I think we were all taken aback by the poor condition of the site. Rocky soil interspersed with large heaps of dirt and construction debris was the dominant feature, with a healthy dose of weeds thrown in for good measure. We reconvened to discuss design options, and quickly settled on a radial design that maintains the existing debris hills where they lie, thereby eliminating the backbreaking and expensive work of removal. It was decided to plant the largest hills with blackberries, brambles and pumpkins as part of a communal garden patch.
After receiving permission from the owner to start the garden and obtaining insurance coverage in May 2010, Allison and her crew of volunteers began working in earnest on the 100 foot by 100 foot garden. Clean-up, plot layout, etc. commenced immediately thereafter, with participation by scout troops, neighbors, experienced gardeners and others. Planting started around May 15, with great help in the form of seedling plants donated by Wasatch Community Gardens, a local community-based nonprofit that provides opportunities for individuals to grow their own food in urban gardens.
A fun fact is that the garden was established with virtually no money - almost everything was donated or completed with volunteer labor. Gardeners include people from Bhutan, Burma, Mexico and the surrounding neighborhood. Most paid $25 for a small plot or $40 for a large plot, including water. The Bhutanese and Burmese gardeners are refugees, and the cost for their participation was covered through donations to "adopt refugee gardeners" or through a grant that Salt Lake County Refugee Services, which places refugees in community gardens around the valley. Payments didn't cover the first-year's costs completely, although it is hoped to make up the difference over the next several years.
If you are interested in becoming a member, or would like to learn more about this and other community gardens in the area, please feel free to contact Landmark Design for more information.
by Lisa Benson
The National Park Service has contracted with Landmark Design, Inc. as part of a larger design team to take two National Park Service projects through the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) Pilot Program.
SITES™ is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.
Landmark Design will lead the effort to document the sustainable practices implemented on the new Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado and the Bat Cave Draw and Visitor Center Rehabilitation in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico.
Landmark Design was part of the original design team led by ajc architects, inc., which prepared design and
construction documents for the Visitor and Research Center. The Visitor and Research Center will be located in close proximity to Highway 160, allowing more convenient access to visitor information and resources. The site sensitive landscape design surrounding the Visitor and Research Center reflects this national park's mission to educate the public about the archeological, biological and physical resources of the park and their interconnectivity. Revegetation of the site will be accomplished through a mix of native and drought tolerant species while addressing concerns of fire danger. The project has been designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Construction is now underway.
The Bat Cave Draw and Visitor Center Rehabilitation was through a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and by landscape architects at the National Park Service’s Denver Service Center.
Parking lot runoff containing contaminants such as motor oil and antifreeze has been found in cavern pools. This greyfield project removed the existing parking area adversely impacting the cavern and rehabilitated it to a natural state using vegetation native to this national park. Additional work was done to collect and treat runoff in new parking areas to protect the cave and to revegetate areas adjacent to the visitor center. Construction was completed this past summer.