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Landscape Architecture Magazine

Landscape Architecture Magazine September 2019

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United States
American Society of Landscape Architects
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
yes, a trillion trees

I read with interest the editor’s article commenting on a recent study in the journal Science that recommends an immediate global reforestation strategy to plant at least a trillion trees to fight climate change (“A Trillion, Give or Take,” Land Matters, August). I was rather taken aback by the article’s tone in challenging this highly commendable recommendation by seasoned scientists. Their exhaustive research and their findings substantiated by empirical data illustrate that a massive reforestation is “the most effective way to fight global warming.” Prior to their study the scientists believed that there were other, more effective ways to fight climate change in addition to cutting emissions, such as consumers’ switching from meat to vegetarianism. However, per their findings, tree planting was deemed to be more effective because trees are…

3 min.
step one

At its spring meeting in May, the ASLA Board of Trustees revised the Society’s Code of Professional Ethics to address sexual harassment. The wording is as follows: Members shall not, in the conduct of their professional practice, engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other protected class. The code already has a long section called “Rules of Procedure for Filing and Resolution of a Complaint.” After a process plays out, it includes among its remedies expulsion from the Society. To a section outlining terms of expulsion, the board added a passage, here in italics. Expulsion from the Society shall be a permanent termination of membership, including rescission of individual awards and/or medals conferred by the…

3 min.
safe harbor

Each spring, tiny young Chinook salmon, a threatened species, make their way downstream from the Duwamish River into Puget Sound, where they feed and grow bigger before heading out to the ocean. The fish are “hardwired” to hug the shoreline, says Jeff Cordell, a principal research scientist in wetland ecosystems at the University of Washington. That instinct helps them survive: Nearshore waters penetrated by plentiful sunlight produce the invertebrates salmon need to fuel up, and predators are less likely to lurk there. But that kind of shallow water habitat can be hard to find in an urbanized estuary like Seattle’s, where a 7,000-foot-long seawall armors the central waterfront. When the wall had to be rebuilt to bolster seismic safety, city planners, landscape architects, biologists, engineers, and artists came up with three…

2 min.
singapore gone wild

Amid the dense housing of Singapore, you don’t expect to see a flock of herons or an open grassland. Nor are you likely to see kids digging their toes into sand alongside a wading tide pool. Yet these unexpected sights are all part of the new Lakeside Garden on Singapore’s west side, a potential model for the ways water can be handled ecologically in a highly urbanized space. Designed by Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, an interdisciplinary design firm with offices in Singapore, Germany, and China, Lakeside Garden is the first phase of the Jurong Lake Gardens project, itself part of a larger planned redevelopment of this section of the city. The designers have dramatically increased urban engagement with nature, in part through a major upgrade to an outdated drainage system in an…

3 min.
the glass is greener

It is easy to paint landscape architecture as an inherent “greener” of communities, particularly when it comes to green infrastructure and the profession’s more recent emphasis on creating and sustaining urban ecologies. But every project has an environmental footprint, including, in some cases, the destruction of wilderness areas hundreds of miles from the project site through sand mining and soil removal, which provide the raw material for landscape soil blends. “We put ourselves out there as purveyors of sustainability, but meanwhile we’re kind of like these crazy organ harvesters, borrowing healthy soil and transplanting it somewhere else,” says Richard Roark, ASLA, a partner at OLIN in Philadelphia. “I was like, can we stop that?” That is exactly what OLIN is attempting to do through a multidisciplinary research project known as Soil-less…

3 min.
keep it lean

“Stormwater projects should be simple but elegant, low cost, and built quickly in highly visible locations where they can inspire other projects.” That’s the position of Kevin Perry, FASLA, a principal of Urban Rain Design in Davis, California. Perry, who has won several national awards for green streets projects throughout the United States, says he wants to make stormwater treatment more strategic. He’s using the University of California, Davis, campus, where he teaches in the landscape architecture department, as a living laboratory to test an approach he has termed “Tactical Green Infrastructure.” Perry’s Student Leadership in Green Infrastructure club recently completed its third project, a 780-square-foot rain garden that absorbs runoff from a large lecture hall, for less than $5,000. Earlier projects transformed a dull patch of concrete into a rain garden…