Landscape Architecture in the news

Let’s be honest, not all news is good news. Hell, most news is depressing news. It can be somewhat difficult to see past the scope of what’s “bad”, to see what’s actually really, really “good”.

Landscape architecture has a funny way of being represented in the media. More often, articles pertaining to the field of landscape architecture are exclusive to those in the profession or in fields related. However, landscape architecture has found its way into mainstream media, just not in the most obvious way.

I wanted to bring attention to “news” about landscape architecture that you should know about, and like me- perhaps get excited about, too.

We’ll start large scale, and move our way into a more local scale.

  1. CityLab
  • CityLab is a resource I often look to for news related to landscape architecture, urban planning, and architecture on a global scale. If you’re looking for specific target articles, look no further than the CityFixer
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Credit (CityLab)
  • One article specifically I want to pull your attention to is the article about cleaning the Seine in Paris to be swimmable by 2024 . You read that right, Paris, France has the same problems that Toledo, Columbus, and Cleveland have when it comes to cleaning up the bodies of water that are integral identities to these cities. What is the proposed solution to cleaning the Seine up? Aquatic plant beds to filter the water.

2. Next City

  • Next City is similar to CityLab, but organizes it’s information in more general subjects. The article about the Chicago River Planning Process talks about the state of Chicago’s River in the past, the present, and now the future.
    • “A lot of folks recognize that the rivers are attractive, yes, and that a lot of what we currently think of as industry — breweries, digital manufacturing, 3D printing — is industry that’s wholly compatible with a riverfront habitat.”
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The Chicago River (Credit: Metropolitan Planning Council)

3. Reeling it back into Toledo, Ohio. Toledo has been a city whose received plenty of flak for decades. The city and the resilience in those who live in this community are building on the city’s current assets – The Toledo Mud Hens (Triple A affiliate for the Detroit Tigers), The Toledo Museum of Art, and The Toledo Zoo (Rated #1 in the country)- to strengthen the city’s economy.

  • Downtown Toledo Master Plan has its very own website that will be sharing updates on the progress of the plan for the city. Times are changing for Toledo!
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Credit: Downtown Toledo Master Plan

 

Define Landscape Architecture

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ParKIT, Washington D.C. 2015

A little over 3 years ago, I was wallowing my way through some difficult transitions that come with being a college student. For me, the toughest transition was finding the right college major. Sitting in my apartment, I would panic that I couldn’t and possibly wouldn’t find a major or profession that I could see myself focusing on.

I enrolled in “Making and Meaning of the American Landscape”, a writing class for landscape architecture majors without the slightest clue in what this class was all about. With time, a better understanding for what landscape architecture might entail became more clear. I came to understand that it plays a major role in the way the world works

I would continue to change my major a few times before the idea of landscape architecture revisited me. A professor in the program reached out to me, and offered to open the conversation about perhaps switching to the program, and pursuing a future career in the field. After a few meetings, an application, and an acceptance, I jumped head first into the program.

 

In addition to being taught the basics of landscape architecture, aka how to grade the topography of sites, construction documents, etc, I’ve been learning how to think. In design school, it’s not about creating something “cool” but rather training your brain and eye to pay attention to details, process, and the composition. To an even further degree, we’re pushed to question why things are they way they are.

Since I started this program, I’ve become more and more inspired but also fired up about creating and designing smart spaces. In becoming slightly obsessed with talking about landscape architecture, I’ve come to find that it is still a profession that is “behind the scenes”. I want to bring that conversation forward, and offer some precedents of what I define as landscape architecture.

I’ve compiled a list that merely skims the surface of what compiles my definition of landscape architecture.

  • The Atlanta BeltLine
    • “The Atlanta BeltLine utilizes an existing 22-mile historic rail corridor that encircles the City of Atlanta as its foundation. Pedestrian friendly rail transit and 33 miles of multi-use trails will follow this corridor and spur off from it. The completion of the Atlanta BeltLine will bring together 45 intown neighborhoods and also link them to the entire metropolitan Atlanta region through a collection of transit offerings.” – Atlanta BeltLine Overview
  •  Rust Belt Riders
    • “Rust Belt Riders is a company dedicated to creating wealth from waste. We strive to create well paying jobs in communities that have seen decades of divestment and offer an alternative model for how companies operate and support the communities across Northeast Ohio.” – About Rust Belt Riders
  • Bruce Munro: Sonoran Light at Desert Botanical Garden
    • Field of Light, featuring 30,000 individual spheres of gently blooming light nestled on the hillside of the Garden Butte, cascading down onto theSonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail.” – Bruce Munro: Sonoran Light Event
  • Gowanus Canal Sponge Park
    • “The Sponge Park™ design equally values the aesthetic, programmatic, and productive importance of treating contaminated water flowing into the Gowanus Canal, an EPA Superfund site.” -dlandstudio
  • Yes We Can Architecture: Qui est “in”, Qui est “out”
    • “‘It’s fun, healthy and kids will love it’, The Hudsucker Proxy, Joel and Ethan Coen, 1994.”
  • Janet Echleman