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New LAF Program Manager for Research Initiatives

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is delighted to announce that on March 1, Megan Barnes will join the organization as Program Manager for LAF’s research initiatives, including the Landscape Performance Series, Case Study Investigation (CSI) program, Landscape Performance Education Grants, and research partnerships.

meganbarnes-226wMegan’s background is in landscape architecture, international development, and the nonprofit sector. A two-time Peace Corps volunteer, she recently returned from Panama where she led a university program to develop a hydroponic garden and supported Panamanian wildlife conservation efforts. Her past experience also includes outreach and management work for the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy and horticulture training and master planning for Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Megan fills a critical staff role for LAF, leading our efforts focused on the measurable environmental, social, and economic impacts of sustainable landscapes. Linda Ashby, who has been serving as Interim Program Manager for the CSI program, will continue on through May to provide support and ensure a seamless transition for the five participating CSI teams.

We are thrilled to have Megan on board!

Time to Get Active: Resources for Advocacy and Engagement

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Climate change, infrastructure investment, public health, social equity, the EPA — whatever issues you are passionate about, it’s time to use your voice! LAF’s New Landscape Declaration asserts the vital role of landscape architecture and calls upon landscape architects to commit and act upon their ideals. One of the key calls to action is:

“We will work to cultivate a bold culture of inclusive leadership, advocacy and activism in our ranks.”

To help cultivate this culture, LAF is spreading the word about current issues and resources to help you make your voice heard. While landscape architects are uniquely positioned as designers, there is also much we can do to ensure that our leaders, policies, and institutions are working to address the defining issues of our time: climate change, species extinction, rapid urbanization, and inequity.

Follow us on Twitter (@lafoundation) to get updates on upcoming legislation, hearings, and tools for civic engagement. Here are a few of our favorite resources:

General Resources

Curated Sets of Action Items

  • 5 Calls
    https://5calls.org/
    Select the federal issues that are important to you, and based on your location, the site provides phone contact information for your representatives and an example script.
  • Natural Resources Defense Council - Take Action
    www.nrdc.org/actions
    This website makes it really easy to send messages to the appropriate decision-maker on a wide range of environmental and public health issues.
  • 350.org - Campaigns
    https://350.org/campaigns/
    This climate change and climate justice-focused group offers petitions, mobilizations, and other ways to get involved.
  • National Parks Conservation Association - Take Action
    www.npca.org/advocacy
    This website makes it really easy to send messages to the appropriate decision-maker on federal, state, and local issues affecting our national parks.
  • Alt National Park Service - Legislation Tracker
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mOJ-zjAcSNeI7b7HGKzE8U26c8LTQczJk3vLUEjdYW0/edit#gid=1028168339
    Rougue National Park Service employees compile and update this summary of bills that impact public lands and wilderness.
  • ASLA iAdvocate Network
    http://advocate.asla.org/app/register?1&m=15471
    Sign up to get email alerts with information and tools you need to quickly and effectively communicate with your policymakers about issues important to the profession

What resources are you using to follow and weigh in on issues of concern to landscape architects? Please share using the comments section below.

Environmental Metrics for Washington, D.C.'s 11th Street Bridge Park

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The 11th Street Bridge Park will be Washington, D.C.’s first elevated public park and a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education, and the arts. As a result of a unique partnership with the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), park managers now have a set of metrics and recommendations to track performance towards the park’s key objective of improving the surrounding environment.

Expected to open by late 2019, the park will be built on the piers of the old 11th Street Bridge spanning the Anacostia River.  The park is being designed by OMA+OLIN, the team that won a seven-month design competition. The park vision, design, and desired impacts have been informed by an extensive community outreach and consultation process.

Over the past year, LAF partnered with the 11th Street Bridge Park staff to document environmental performance goals and objectives, make recommendations to collect baseline information, and propose a set of metrics and methods that can be used to effectively evaluate the Bridge Park’s performance once it is built and operating. Many of these metrics can also be used to test scenarios and inform the design of the space.

The 11th Street Bridge Park Landscape Performance Analysis: Environmental Metrics report can be accessed here or in the Resources section at: http://www.bridgepark.org/news-resources

The report draws on LAF’s seven years of experience measuring and documenting the performance of exemplary landscape projects for its Landscape Performance Series. It represents an important, but often overlooked, first step in the performance evaluation process: thinking about and documenting how success will be defined and measured. This should be done from the earliest stages of a project and refined throughout the design process.

LAF hopes that this partnership with 11th Street Bridge Park can serve as a model for how landscape performance should be integrated into the design and development process. LAF will continue to pursue similar collaboration opportunities through grants and fee-for-service partnerships.

LAF plans to stay involved with the 11th Street Bridge Park project as it moves through the design process and hopes to partner to evaluate the performance of the site and produce a Case Study Brief once the park is built and operating.