American Society of Landscape Architects

Landscape Architecture Magazine

Landscape Architecture Magazine August 2019

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United States
American Society of Landscape Architects
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

SARAH COWLES (“This Land Is Her Land,” page 132) is the cofounder of Isthmus Group, a landscape design and planning studio based in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. You can follow her on Instagram @ditch_daily. “I was very curious about the site planning and architecture of women’s lands, because there are few schematic representations of actual women’s lands. I researched how art directors and screenwriters depict fictional women’s lands in media, and how architecture, character attitude, and costuming of these communities function as rhetorical devices in a given narrative.” GWENETH LEIGH, ASLA, (“Tunnel Vision,” page 78) is a writer and landscape architect based in Canberra, Australia. You can reach her at “American engineers traveled to Australia at the turn of the 20th century to supervise the fit out of the Mead Morrison feeder…

3 min.
a trillion, give or take

Ireland is covering itself in Sitka spruce. The Sitka (Picea sitchensis) grows fast in the island’s damp, mild air, in clay soils loaded with water. Those conditions are much like the tree’s native range along the upper left coast of North America, where in vestigial stands it reaches heights of more than 300 feet, though most of it has been logged over time. Ireland, according to a recent report in The Guardian, is trying to reach 18 percent tree coverage, up from its current 11 percent, as part of a sweeping plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and to avoid large fines for emissions by the European Union in the meantime. But some people aren’t liking the Sitka spruce, and have even tried to sabotage its planting. They…

3 min.
a bet on a blueway

Momentum already had been building for a new green- and blueway system for Africatown, a community in Alabama that was founded in 1866 by the last group of people to be brought to the United States from Africa in the Atlantic slave trade, when a rare discovery brought international attention to the neighborhood. In May 2019, a team of marine archaeologists announced it had found the remains of the Clotilda, the slave ship responsible for transporting Africatown’s founders to the United States and the subject of Zora Neale Hurston’s posthumous best seller Barracoon. “A lot has happened in the weeks since the ship was found,” says Bob Brzuszek, ASLA, a professor of landscape architecture at Mississippi State University who has worked with students in Africatown. Most recently, M.O.V.E. Mobile~Gulf Coast Community…

3 min.
natural resting place

In the summer, the 400 grave sites in a section of West Laurel Hill Cemetery outside Philadelphia that is known as Nature’s Sanctuary are marked only by a meadow blazing with native scarlet bee balm (Monarda didyma). Memorial stones are set into a nearby wall. The area, which is designated for green burials, is the first cemetery to earn certification under the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES). To date, approximately 50 landscapes have been certified through the SITES program, which was developed jointly 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. But Nature’s Sanctuary is the first burial ground. “The model here is assisted ecological succession, where the maintenance for the site will be…

3 min.
indiana invitational

The Miller Prize, named for Xenia and J. Irwin Miller, the latter the CEO of the Cummins diesel engine company that sponsored top-tier modernist architecture throughout Columbus, Indiana, is the centerpiece of Exhibit Columbus, a relatively new annual event that seeks to celebrate the modernist heritage of Columbus while making it relevant to contemporary audiences by inviting new work. For its inaugural exhibition, the Miller Prize focused on pavilionscale installations that worked in dialogue with Columbus’s many modern architecture standouts. This year, organizers wanted the prize to address the notion of what makes this town of 47,000 in southern Indiana a singular center of mid-century design by celebrating the interstitial spaces of the city and “the spirit of the community.” That led them right to landscape design. “Landscape architecture was a…

3 min.
desert promenade

Chandler, Arizona, wouldn’t exist without canals. Starting in the 1890s, a network of aboveground waterways channeled water from the Salt River and became the lifeblood of the town. Over time, most of the city’s smaller lateral canals were paved over. But one survived, along Commonwealth Avenue near downtown Chandler, and was eventually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now that canal has a bold new identity that manages to both update and restore the waterway to a previous form. The improvement is part of a streetscape project led by Phoenix-based J2 Engineering and Environmental Design that increases pedestrian safety and connectivity in Chandler’s growing downtown core. Whereas rivers around the world are being renaturalized, the designers found that the most environmentally and culturally sensitive solution here was to channelize…