News & Events
LAF 31st Annual Benefit
Fri, Oct 21, 7:00-10:30pm
Civic Theatre, New Orleans
Enjoy a festive evening while supporting LAF research and scholarship programs.
If you’ll be in New Orleans for the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, we hope you’ll join us for these fun and thought-provoking events. LAF will participate in three education sessions, close out our 50th anniversary year with an epic Benefit featuring live jazz, and present highlights from our landmark Summit and a call to action for the future. We hope to see you!
Research and Practice: What Does It Mean? Why Do We Do It?
Fri, Oct 21, 10:30am-12pm
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 271
This Education Session with LAF’s Heather Whitlow, Eric Kramer of Reed Hilderbrand, and Kate Orff of SCAPE features an interactive panel discussion about how and why we undertake research, how we assess its legitimacy, and how we might better transform knowledge into practice.
LAF 31st Annual Benefit
Fri, Oct 21, 7:00-10:30pm
The Civic Theatre (*Ticket Required)
Join top designers and leaders from practice, academia, and industry for a festive evening with great food and drink, amazing company, and a live performance from jazz icon Kermit Ruffins and The Barbecue Swingers. Proceeds support LAF’s research and scholarship programs.
Women in Landscape Architecture: Pathways to Success
Sat, Oct 22, 11am-12:30pm
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 261
Moderated by Margaret Plumb of Design Workshop, this panel session features LAF’s Barbara Deutsch, Christine Ten Eyck of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, and Thaisa Way of the University of Washington sharing their personal career paths, while discussing the opportunities for female innovators in the field.
LAF Booth in ASLA Expo Hall (#100)
Sat-Sun, Oct 22-23, 9:00am-6:00pm
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Hall E-F
Visit our booth to help LAF celebrate 50 years, see highlights from our Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future, and add your voice to The New Landscape Declaration, our 21st century call to action for the profession.
What’s Next: The Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future
Mon, Oct 24, 10-11:30am
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 356
LAF’s Barbara Deutsch, Frederick Steiner of PennDesign, Laura Solano of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, and Kristina Hill of UC Berkeley present highlights from this landmark event and reflect on developing a 21st century call to action to achieve sustainability.
In addition, Kona Gray, President of the LAF Board of Directors and Lucinda Sanders, LAF Vice President of Leadership will be panelists at the Sunday morning general session on Designing for Diversity/Diversity in Design.
By Kate Chesebrough, 2016 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist
Life creates life by making anew and reconfiguring material. Today, we are covering our planet with garbage. We have plastic bobbing in waters after storm events and hillsides strewn with illegal dumping. Waste in the landscape is an indicator of the need for care. Its presence uniquely signifies spaces that have been forgotten, are de-valued, or are otherwise being robbed of integrity. We must counter the mindset and the material of waste with creative strategies.
Philosophy of Waste
Trash is deeply seated in everyday cultural practice and is the result of deeply held values. Assigned worth indicates whether it was wasted or time well spent, wasted energy or a meaningful investment of intention. The concept of waste is a black hole that blame, regret, and frustration can be thrown into.
Garbage is a physical manifestation of manufactured materials with the eventuality of uselessness. The social and environmental costs of producing waste are externalized from the production of shiny new things. Wasteful practices depend on an economic system that prioritizes immediate gratification and maximum profits, but minimizes accountability.
Waste informs and creates scenarios outside of itself. Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter describes an “agency of things” that reverberate across natural and cultural systems. Waste is filling the landscape as it escapes the intended stream of material disposal. This is where landscape architects clearly need to act.
As designers and landscape stewards, we need to have a seat at the table and exert influence during cultural, economic, and legislative discourse about waste. What if myths about the value of materials are kept alive by voices louder than our own? The opinion of the landscape architect is profound, as we speak on behalf of the landscape and the public as a codependent whole. Critical discourse about post-consumer waste means that it is no longer worthless, allowing us to re-identify with waste as both a concept and a material reality. That pause is the only place where ideas can be tested and change is possible. These are political acts. We all have a stake in this.
The presence of waste in the landscape is illustrative of how we can design better places and holistic systems. A thoughtful waste inventory reveals where it accumulates, what it is made of, and what it was used for. These patterns inform complex dynamics of cultural practices, user groups, topographic and hydrologic relationships, and how the site connects with others. This is an imperative design challenge, and our potential responses are limitless. We can lead the way to clean up the mess.
We can create places that hum with life at many levels. Our creative process must be generative if we wish to carry on. We must recognize waste as a political decision, as a social responsibility, and a material opportunity. We can accept this design challenge for the sake of the landscape. Together we will promote the agenda of an aesthetic of abundance.
2016 Olmsted Scholar Finalist, ASLA Associate Member, and SUNY-ESF graduate Kate Chesebrough is a landscape designer, artist, activist, and yoga instructor living in Ithaca, New York.