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Landscape Architecture Magazine

Landscape Architecture Magazine February 2016

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American Society of Landscape Architects
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12 Edities

in deze editie

3 min.
a good scrubbing

Something astounding happened in December that I still can’t believe: At the end of a turbulent session, on the eve of what will not be a pleasant election year, Congress passed a law banning plastic microbeads in consumer products, and President Obama signed it. It was a notable moment of near unanimity in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, where the bill, introduced last March, had the support of both Republicans and Democrats, especially members from the Great Lakes states. In the New York Times, John Schwartz called the legislation “strangely charmed.” Microbeads are used in face scrubs, body scrubs, and some toothpastes to give skin and teeth that coveted glow. But things get ugly as the beads go down the drain to your nearest waterway, because wastewater treatment…

4 min.
a square on a seam

Along the 19-mile stretch south of Los Angeles that was bulldozed to build Interstate 105, there are acres of leftover space, not quite freeway and not quite city. This land, a buffer between the bermed freeway and the various communities it tore apart, has sat in limbo for decades. But a new project in the working-class city of Lynwood, across the interstate from Compton, has transformed a segment of this buffer zone into a mile-long linear park. Officially opened as Ricardo Lara Linear Park and named after a state senator, the 5.25-acre park was designed by the Los Angeles office of SWA Group, led by principals Ying-Yu Hung, ASLA, and Gerdo Aquino, FASLA. Sitting between a two-lane street and the hillside leading up to the freeway’s sound wall, it’s one of…

2 min.
the soul of sag harbor

Edmund Hollander, FASLA, likes to joke that he’s preparing the landscape of his future home— but don’t expect to see his latest project on the cover of Architectural Digest. Oaks for Oakland is a volunteer initiative to rehabilitate Oakland Cemetery, in Sag Harbor, New York, where the landscape architect has had a home for nearly 25 years. The cemetery, the resting place of such luminaries as the author Nelson Algren (1909–1981) and the choreographer George Balanchine (1904–1983), has served the village for nearly 175 years, and many of its trees, having weathered innumerable hurricanes and nor’easters over the centuries, are dead or dying, putting visitors and grave markers in danger. Among the many markers under threat is the Broken Mast Monument, a nearly 20-foothigh marble ship’s mast erected in 1856 that…

2 min.
wichita looks to its wetlands

Hundred-year-old wetlands within the city limits of Wichita, Kansas, are being turned into a 93-acre public park, portions of which could be open as soon as this fall. Besides protecting an important ecosystem, the project also represents a new direction for park design in Wichita, the state’s most populous city. Located on the far northwest side of the city, the new park departs from the mainstays of Wichita’s existing urban parks in favor of the more passive immersion of walking trails, boardwalks, and a wetlands viewing tower. Troy Houtman, the director of Wichita Parks & Recreation, says the project challenges the expectations people often have about their local parks—“not just here in Kansas, not just here in Wichita, but across the country,” namely that “it doesn’t always have to be a…

2 min.
complete streets, simplified

If approved, changes to the design guidelines of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will make Complete Streets easier to implement. The FHWA has proposed reducing the number of “controlling criteria” on roads with speed limits of less than 50 miles per hour to two, down from 13, maintaining requirements only for design speed and structural capacity. According to the FHWA, the changes would significantly cut the hassle involved with projects that seek to deviate from standard lane widths and uses. Public comment for the change closed in December, and the federal rules are expected to be published in the Federal Register in 2016. Under the current rules, exemptions are required for elements typical of Complete Streets such as dedicated bus lanes, bike lanes, median islands, and additional crosswalks. “You have to…

2 min.
cities in 27 patterns

There seems to be no limit to how we map our cities. We make maps of a city’s waterways, its food deserts, even the solar-energy potential of its rooftops. We make maps that show what Manhattan will look like if sea levels rise 100 feet and maps that tell users where it’s illegal to fly a drone. For the past several years, Stephen Wheeler, a professor in the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design Program at the University of California, Davis, has been making his own maps. Published in the Journal of the American Planning Association this past October, Wheeler’s maps show existing patterns of development—categorized and colorcoded— in 24 metropolitan regions around the world, from Atlanta to Rome to Lagos, Nigeria. Wheeler identified 27 types of built landscapes, including the “urban…