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The following news articles are geared toward students and other professionals.
Landscape Architecture
The QueensWay Moves Forward Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:31

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With the success of the High Line, every city seems to be looking again at their old railroad tracks, seeing them as untapped assets instead of eyesores ready for the scrap heap. Chicago is getting ready to reveal its Bloomingdale Trail next year, while design work is moving forward with the Beltline in Atlanta. Now, a neighborhood in Queens, NYC, seeks to turn a 3.5-mile-long stretch of abandoned Long Island rail track into the foundation for a new park called the QueensWay, joining the ranks of those with major urban rails-to-trail projects. The Friends of the QueensWay and Trust for Public Land (TPL) just announced WXY architecture + urban design and landscape architecture firm dlandstudio, two New York-based firms, were selected to lead a comprehensive $1 million design and feasibility plan. These two firms beat out 29 other competitors.

The Trust for Public Land writes: “When it is finished, the QueensWay will create a 3.5 mile linear park along an old Long Island Railroad track path, stretching through central and southern Queens. It will connect multiple communities and provide green space for 250,000 people in the borough. The park will also celebrate the borough’s diversity, with art, sculpture and food from around the world.”

Susannah Drake, FASLA, AIA, Principal, dlandstudio and NY ASLA Chapter President, said: “Connected ecologies—be they natural, social or cultural—are critical in the urban environment. Where Central Park is the heart and lungs of Manhattan, QueensWay, with sensitive design, can become a critical artery of green open space for a diverse, vibrant community, offering opportunities for recreation, education, community gathering and ecological productivity to our great city.”

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The two firms will lead a strategic planning and conceptual design process for the QueensWay, inviting local participants to contribute to the vision through workshops, meetings, and social media.

The plan will be financed by a $467,000 grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, in cooperation with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council. Another $140,000 will come from NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection. City funds will be used on “environmental and green infrastructure assessments.” Additional private sector donors include Citi, the Tiger Baron Foundation, and the Booth Ferris Foundation.

Learn more about the scale of the QueensWay in this brief video:

Image credits: WXY architecture + urban design


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Park by Swarm Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 10:42

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What if communities formed new parks when they needed them? What if these parks could be formed by swarms of bicycles? If that sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, get ready because landscape architect John Bela, ASLA, at Rebar and artist Tim Wolfer at N55 have created Parkcycle Swarm. While this concept has been explored in a few locations in Europe, the team just created four small mobile parks for the Participate public arts festival in Baku, Azerbaijan.

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In DesignBoom, they write Parkcycle Swarm “explores the possibilities of the public sculpture, while at the same time raising awareness of cycle-power and green space through a participatory activity.”

San Francisco-based urban design and public art firm Rebar first tested the Parkcycle concept for one of its famed Park(ing) Days. They describe the system as a “human-powered open space distribution system designed for agile movement within the existing auto-centric urban infrastructure.” In their lingo, “Parkcycle effectively re-programs the urban hardscape by delivering massive quantities of green open space—up to 4,320 square-foot-minutes of park per stop—thus temporarily reframing the right-of-way as green space, not just a car space.”

Here’s one instance of the concept in Copenhagen, Denmark:

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N55, a Copenhagen-based public art group, sees each unit as modules in a broader system.”The Parkcycle Swarm can be seen as a DIY urban planning tool that is as an alternative to the top down urban planning that dominates most cities in the world. N55 encourage persons to build their own cycles and form swarms and hereby influence their local urban environments.” They even propose certain “formations” for traveling.

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According to N55, each bike-park can be designed to fit with local bicycle standards. In their open-source manual, they show how to create one to comply with EU bicycle design standards. They encourage bike-parkers to create their own local standards, too.

See more images.

These types of DIY urban planning and landscape architecture projects appear to be coalescing into a nascent movement. A number of urban design, landscape architecture, and public art organizations are exploring bottom-up concepts. Together, these experiments are being called a range of isms, including DIY Urbanism, User-generated Urbanism, Flexible Urbanism, or Adaptive Urbanism (one non-ism variation is Iterative Placemaking). Clearly, this is just the beginning, and these designers will foment more creative experiments yet.

To explore this world further, check out an upcoming 3-day conference organized by University of California, Berkeley and Rebar called Adaptive Metropolis, September 27-29.

Image credits: (1-2) Parkcycle / Yarat, via DesignBoom (3-8) Parkcycle Swarm / N55


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New Residential Design Competition: Suburbia Transformed Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 11:07

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Suburbia Transformed 3.0, a new residential landscape design competition sponsored by the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design, aims to identify new residential works that “go beyond ‘green’ to address the aesthetic quality of human experience.” The goal is to show how “such sustainable landscapes can be beautiful, inspiring, perhaps profound; and serve as examples for transforming the suburban residential fabric, one garden at a time.”

The organizers seek both “built and visionary (unbuilt) residential landscapes” from both professionals and students. While there are no monetary prizes offered, winners will become part of a publication and traveling exhibition.

According to the James Rose Center, “James Rose is remembered as one of three Harvard students who rebelled against their Beaux Arts training in the 1930s, helping to usher landscape architecture—kicking and screaming—into the modern era. Yet somewhere after Harvard and well into the real world, Rose lost faith in the modern planning and design professions he had helped to inspire. By the mid 1950s, he had retreated from public practice and spent most of the latter part of his career designing private gardens that were in direct contrast to the environmental excess and cultural banality of the emerging contemporary post-WWII suburb.”

Rose called his private gardens, which were made with found objects, recycled materials, and native plants, “space-sculptures-with-shelters.” His novel approach had a purpose: to merge a “conservation ethic into a modern design aesthetic.” Rose’s point was that a place needed to be beautiful in order to be sustained (and sustainable).

To succeed in this competition, which is based on Rose’s philosophy, designers will need to:

  • “Make the most of what’s already on the site (earth, rocks, plants, structures, water) before importing or removing anything.
  • Use local, inexpensive, low-energy-consumptive, non-polluting materials and construction techniques before others.
  • Consider the landscape’s potential to create useful resources rather than consume them.
  • Consider the relationship of the site to larger environmental systems.
  • Consider means for guiding future growth and evolution of the garden.”

The competition is open to landscape architects, landscape designers, architects, individuals, teams or firms. Students will be considered in a separate category.

The high-profile jury of landscape architects include: Andrea Cochran FASLA, Principal, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture; Tobiah Horton, LEED AP, Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; David Kamp, FASLA, LF, NA, Dirtworks; Keith LeBlanc, FASLA, Keith LeBlanc Landscape Architecture, Inc.; and Darrel Morrison, FASLA, Ecological Landscape Design and Management.

Entry forms are due by February 18, 2014, with submissions due by March 20. To submit, the fee for professionals is $115 and $50 for students.

Check out previous winners, too.

Image credit: Suburbia Transformed 2.0 winner / James Rose Center


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Landscape Architecture in the News Highlights (August 15 – 31) Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 09:10

eriecanal
For more LA in the News, check out
LAND, ASLA’s newsletter. If you see others you’d like included, please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Q&A: Kim Mathews and Signe NielsenMetropolis, 8/15/13
“Here the principals of the New York firm, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Kim Mathews, RLA, ASLA and Signe Nielsen, RLA, FASLA, talk about the evolution of their profession, their commitment to teaching, writing, lecturing, their research-informed work, as well as the new appreciation of design in the public realm.”

Talking BloombergThe New York Times, 8/16/13
“Overall, Mr. Bloomberg has added about 800 acres of new parkland to the city, the vast majority of it outside Manhattan; and he has invested record amounts in revitalizing old parks. The aim is now for every New Yorker to live within 10 minutes of a park. A mayor who made parks, indeed.”

Bringing Back the Night: The Fight Against Light PollutionYale Environment 360, 8/19/13
“The relatively simple act of shielding our lights — installing or retrofitting lamp fixtures that direct light downward to its intended target — represents our best chance to control light pollution. While we seldom leave our interior lights bare, most of our outdoor lighting remains unshielded, sending light straight into the sky, into our eyes, into our neighbors’ bedrooms.”

Going Vertical: The History of Green WallsLandscape Architects Network, 8/25/13
“Green walls: Function or fad? As cities and buildings all around the world are being covered in green, we take a look the phenomenon of green walls.”

Hudson Yards Offers Hot Market Banal Towers, Curvy CondosBloomberg News, 8/26/13
“Related is hunting worldwide for a monumental artwork as the plaza’s focus. Landscape architect Nelson Byrd Woltz will redesign the plaza around it. I’m hoping for the sublime not the ridiculous.”

These articles were compiled by Phil Stamper, ASLA Public Relations and Communications Coordinator

Image credit: Erie Canal Harbor Buffalo, NY / Courtesy Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects


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Landscape Architecture in the News Highlights (August 15 – 31) Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 09:10

eriecanal
For more LA in the News, check out
LAND, ASLA’s newsletter. If you see others you’d like included, please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Q&A: Kim Mathews and Signe NielsenMetropolis, 8/15/13
“Here the principals of the New York firm, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Kim Mathews, RLA, ASLA and Signe Nielsen, RLA, FASLA, talk about the evolution of their profession, their commitment to teaching, writing, lecturing, their research-informed work, as well as the new appreciation of design in the public realm.”

Talking BloombergThe New York Times, 8/16/13
“Overall, Mr. Bloomberg has added about 800 acres of new parkland to the city, the vast majority of it outside Manhattan; and he has invested record amounts in revitalizing old parks. The aim is now for every New Yorker to live within 10 minutes of a park. A mayor who made parks, indeed.”

Bringing Back the Night: The Fight Against Light PollutionYale Environment 360, 8/19/13
“The relatively simple act of shielding our lights — installing or retrofitting lamp fixtures that direct light downward to its intended target — represents our best chance to control light pollution. While we seldom leave our interior lights bare, most of our outdoor lighting remains unshielded, sending light straight into the sky, into our eyes, into our neighbors’ bedrooms.”

Going Vertical: The History of Green WallsLandscape Architects Network, 8/25/13
“Green walls: Function or fad? As cities and buildings all around the world are being covered in green, we take a look the phenomenon of green walls.”

Hudson Yards Offers Hot Market Banal Towers, Curvy CondosBloomberg News, 8/26/13
“Related is hunting worldwide for a monumental artwork as the plaza’s focus. Landscape architect Nelson Byrd Woltz will redesign the plaza around it. I’m hoping for the sublime not the ridiculous.”

These articles were compiled by Phil Stamper, ASLA Public Relations and Communications Coordinator

Image credit: Erie Canal Harbor Buffalo, NY / Courtesy Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects


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