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LAF's First Park(ing) Day Full of Fun Surprises

LAF celebrated Park(ing) Day in downtown DC on Sept 20, joining thousands around the world who showcased the power of parks by creating temporary parklets in metered parking spaces. Park(ing) Day 2013 saw at least 22 pop-up parks designed and built in DC by nonprofit organizations, design firms, businesses, and city agencies.

parkingday01LAF's park spanned two M St parking spaces.

LAF partnered with Valleycrest Landscape Companies to design and build a “light touch” space, in which all materials were borrowed, repurposed or on their way to a permanent home. Hay bales lined the park to create comfortable seating and shield visitors from traffic, while dogwoods and a street tree provided shade. Purple muhly grass destined for a park in Virginia framed the space, and caught visitors’ eyes from across the street with their distinctive color. The centerpiece of the installation was cornhole — a beanbag toss which lured many a downtown office worker into a break from their routine! 

parkingday05Visitors played dozens of games of cornhole.

More than 150 people spent time in the park during the Friday lunch hour, with hundreds more stopping to observe and photograph the space. For LAF staff, the most memorable part of the day was seeing the many different ways people chose to use the space.

Visitors played dozens of games of cornhole, making an impressive number of three point shots! LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch’s cornhole skills were showcased in this Park(ing) Day video report from the local NBC4 station. Bloggers, fellow designers, non-profit professionals, and environmental activists visited the space, many of whom toured the various temporary parks in the city.

parkingday03GW University students spent time sketching.

Patrons of a nearby food truck used the hay bale seating to enjoy ice cream and root beer floats. Several young families stopped by the space to take photos. An art class from George Washington University made a surprise visit, spending about a half an hour sketching the parklet, plantings, and surroundings.

Park visitors expressed how much they enjoyed seeing a bit of extra green in their city. Thanks to all who came by, and many many thanks to ValleyCrest Landscape Companies!

For more photos of the day’s festivities, visit LAF’s Flickr page.

For a social media play-by-play, check out LAF’s Storify summary.

LAF to Participate in Park(ing) Day

On Sept 20, streets across the world will look a bit greener. It’s Park(ing) Day, an open-source day where citizens, designers, and organizations reclaim parking spaces to create temporary public parks. The global event seeks to raise awareness about the high percentage of our built environment devoted to parking – and the many other creative, inspiring ways this space could be used.

LAF is partnering with ValleyCrest Landscape Companies to design and build a pop-up park near the LAF office in downtown Washington, DC. Located in front of 1900 M Street, LAF’s parklet will offer downtown workers a lighthearted break in a newfound green space. Open from 11am to 2pm, the park is designed to be “light touch,” and will be constructed with re-purposed materials including haybales, dogwood trees, and grasses, either borrowed or destined for another home. The centerpiece will be a social and recreational element designed to introduce a little bit of friendly competition for visitors – come visit and see for yourself!

2013 should see active involvement in Park(ing) Day throughout DC, including from the District Department of Transportation, which recently announced its first-time participation. Since its inaugural year in San Francisco in 2005, Park(ing) Day has inspired participation across 6 continents, with parklets designed across North America and Europe, as well as in New Zealand, Indonesia, and South Africa.

parkingdayheader

LAF Charity Reception at the 2013 Landscape Architects' Expo

Join the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) on Friday, February 8 in Long Beach, California for a special charity reception aboard the Historic Queen Mary overlooking the scenic Long Beach Harbor. The event is part of the Landscape Architects’ Expo (LA Expo), a two-day trade show and educational conference on February 8-9.

queen-mary-nightimeThe Historic Queen Mary

The “LAF Charity Reception” begins at 6:30 pm with complete deck access, live jazz, hors d’ oeuvres, and a keynote presentation by Calvin Abe, FASLA and special guest Andy Lipkis of Tree People: “The Strawberry Patch: A New Urban Paradigm.” All proceeds support LAF’s research and scholarship programs. Support the profession and LAF by attending this fun and educational event for only $95 (includes parking).
Register Here!

The LA Expo also features a “Free Seminar” with LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch, FASLA on Friday, Feb 8 from 10:30am-12:00pm. Barbara will present the Landscape Performance Series, an interactive set of resources that provides tools and information to quantify benefits, show value, and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions.

About the Landscape Architects’ Expo
The LA Expo was created specifically for Landscape Architects, Designers, and Commercial Specifiers in the western United States. The LA Expo is a regional venue in which Landscape Architects, Specifiers and those who provide goods and services to the profession can get together to exchange ideas, introduce new products and technologies, establish and renew business relationships, and talk projects.

LAF Events at the ASLA Annual Meeting

If you’ll be in Phoenix for the ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, we hope you’ll join us for one or more of the following events to support and raise awareness about LAF programs. We’ll celebrate the fifth year of our acclaimed Olmsted Scholars Program, showcase the new resources in the Landscape Performance Series , and promote the 2013 Case Study Investigation (CSI) progam.

lafatasla1Sonoran Celebration, LAF’s 27th Annual Benefit
Fri, Sept 28, 7:00-10:30pm
Join top designers and leaders from practice, academia, and industry for a vibrant and memorable evening at the Phoenix Art Museum. Enjoy cocktails, fine food, and live music all while raising money for LAF’s research and scholarship programs. We’ll celebrate the fifth year of LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program by recognizing the 2012 scholars and $25,000 winner, catching up with past Scholars, and making a special announcement about the program’s future.

lafatasla2LAF Booth in ASLA Expo Hall (#446)
Sat-Sun, Sept 29-30, 9:00-5:00pm
Visit our booth to learn more about LAF, register for the Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes, meet the 2012 Olmsted Scholars, and learn how you can participate in our 2013 Case Study Investiga- tion (CSI) program to document the benefits of high-performing landscape projects. On Sunday, we’ll be conducting video interviews, so come prepared to share your thoughts for inclusion in our Conversations with Leaders in Landscape series - we’d especially like to hear from past Board members, scholarship winners, and research grantees.sweepstakes-e-announce

Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes
Sun, Sept 30, 4:30pm
Join us at our booth in the ASLA Expo Hall as we announce the winner of our one-of-a-kind trip for two to New York City, featuring a day of private tours led by Michael Van Valkenburgh and staff. You can make a donation to register to win right up until the drawing. Entrants need not be present to win. All sweepstakes proceeds support LAF’s research and scholarship programs.

aslaedsessionAssessing Performance Education Session
Mon, Oct 1, 8:00-9:30am
Don’t miss Assessing the Performance of Landscape Projects presented by LAF’s Heather Whitlow, Kurt Culbertson of Design Workshop, and Bill Wenk of Wenk Associates. Learn methods and tools to identify and quantify performance benefits based on two years of success, challenges, and lessons from the Landscape Performance Series and Case Study Investigation (CSI) program. Then hear how Design Workshop and Wenk Associates are using landscape performance in their respective practices to set goals, develop design strategies, assess the effectiveness of designs, and show value of landscape solutions to clients and other stakeholders.

Leaders Roundtable: Technology and the Landscape

Each year, LAF and Landscape Forms co-host a Leaders Roundtable to foster dialogue among distinguished design professionals about emerging trends in design and professional practice.

In June, fourteen leading landscape architects met in Philadelphia to explore the impact of technology on the design of the landscape, the experience of landscape, and the way professionals conduct their practices. The meeting was moderated by landscape architect Rodrigo Abela of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, who kicked off the discussion by observing that, “The people in this room are probably the last generation who will remember the world before we were connected.”

While participants’ use of digital technology varied, all were very aware of the way cell phones, laptops and tablets impact the design and use of outdoor spaces. A short video and excerpts from the dialogue are below. For a full summary of the conversation, see the Roundtable Report on Technology and the Landscape.

“Two hundred years ago the landscape was the source of productivity in human settlement. It would be amazing if technology could make us more productive in the landscape again. Landscapes are good for you. The more we can encourage work activity out there, the better.”
                    — Richard Roark, LEED AP, OLIN

“People in cities are not necessarily looking for a full-blown experience of nature, but they are interested in being outside and bringing technology with them. If we embrace technology in a helpful way and make even the smallest space incredible, that will help them notice nature in those moments when they look up from the screen.”
                    — Laura Solano, PLA, ASLA, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

“Metric technology will make us better informed about people and the environments we design for them. It’s inescapable.”
                    — Lee Weintraub, FASLA, Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture