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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:
- A Handy Flowchart to Make Your Way Through the Political Maze
Having trouble separating fact from fiction, news from noise? This well-researched chart guides you from info to action.
- Senate.gov and House.gov
These clearinghouses let your find your Senators/Representatives, see committee activities, track active legislation, see past votes, and more.
From bills introduced to hearings schedules and videos of proceedings, this website provides a wealth of resources.
Curated Sets of Action Items
- 5 Calls
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
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
This climate change and climate justice-focused group offers petitions, mobilizations, and other ways to get involved.
- National Parks Conservation Association - Take Action
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
Rougue National Park Service employees compile and update this summary of bills that impact public lands and wilderness.
- ASLA iAdvocate Network
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.
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 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.
To date, over 800 built environment professionals from around the world have signed LAF’s New Landscape Declaration, a new vision and 21st century call to action for landscape architecture. Have you signed?
By signing the Declaration, you join us in asserting the vital role of landscape architecture in solving the defining issues of our time: climate change, species extinction, rapid urbanization, and inequity. Together, we can amplify our voices at this critical time when the talents and services of the landscape architecture community are so vitally needed.
Here are some of the inspiring comments we’ve received:
- “It’s time to reinvigorate our profession with a new and bold vision that addresses the complex social, environmental and political challenges facing the planet.” — Jeffrey Hou, Seattle, Washington
- “As a landscape architect and environmentalist I believe our unique skill set is desperately needed. Especially now.” — Kerry Mattie, North Haven, Connecticut
- “Never has there been a more urgent need for us to join hands and walk in the same direction towards this complex common goal.” — Amy Rampy, Austin, Texas
- “The New Landscape Declaration is an eloquent call to action for the immediate and long future of our profession and our world. Every design decision needs to be made within its context.” — Ann Milovsoroff, Shelburne, Vermont
- “Landscape is our remedy for our sicknesses.” — Tiganila George, Bucharest, Romania
- “The need for interdisciplinary cooperation and vision has never seemed so urgent. As a profession people must engage at the policy level and also at the entertainment and political realm in new and innovative ways. We must show the value of landscape architecture as a means to better our communities and the environment of those communities and the natural areas within and around them.” — Ann English, Rockville, Maryland
- “What I connect with in this declaration, is it’s relevance to all corners of the globe. Let’s foster imaginative solutions that are tangible.” — Bernice Rumble, Salt Rock, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
- “Let’s turn words into action and double down on our commitment to our field and to our shared future.” — Roberto Rovira, Miami, Florida
- “We have a collective vision, let’s share our collective tools, and achieve some collective goals faster for the sake of the planet.” — Brian R Nicholson, Denver, Colorado
- “As an ally, I am inspired by your thoughtfulness and heart. Please, please, landscape architects, carry on!” — Daisy Barquist, Baltimore, Maryland
Show your support by signing the New Landscape Declaration and sharing it with your colleagues, students, classmates, clients, and others. www.lafoundation.org/declaration
LAF has selected 13 high-performing landscape projects for the 2017 Case Study Investigation (CSI) program. CSI is a unique research collaboration that matches LAF-funded faculty-student research teams with design practitioners to document the benefits of exemplary landscape projects.
Participants from each firm will serve as liaisons and work with the 2017 CSI Research Fellows to evaluate and quantify the environmental, social, and economic performance of the selected projects. The resulting Case Study Briefs are published in LAF’s award-winning Landscape Performance Series database of over 100 projects.
With projects spanning three continents, 2017 CSI promises to be an engaging experience with marked additions to the Landscape Performance Series. Projects this year include a pedestrian trail that connects two oceanside cities, a former ballast quarry, three healthcare facilities, a master planned community, two reclaimed elevated rail lines, and more.
The 2017 CSI program kicks off in February and runs through early August. The resulting Case Study Briefs from these participating firms and projects will be published in the fall:
- ASPECT Studios
The Goods Line, Redfern, New South Wales, Australia
- Design Workshop
Wayne Ferguson Plaza, Lewisville, TX
- HGA Architects and Engineers
Hennepin County Medical Center Whittier Clinic, Minneapolis, MN
Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, Owensboro, KY
Virtua Voorhees Hospital, Voorhees, NJ
- James Corner Field Operations + Friends of the High Line
The High Line, New York, NY
- McGregor Coxall
Ballast Point Park Birchgrove, Sydney, Australia
- PWP Landscape Architecture
Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney, Australia
- TBG Partners
The Shops at Park Lane, Dallas, TX
Harvest, Argyle, TX
- Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning and Design Institute
Yanxiu Park, Liaoyang City, Liaoning Province, China
Huludao-Xingcheng Coastal Trail, Huludao and Xingcheng, Liaoning Province, China
- Wenk Associates
TAXI II, Denver, CO
We appreciate these firms’ interest in the landscape performance of this impressive list of projects, and we look forward to working with each of them.
LAF’s 2017 Case Study Investigation (CSI) program kicks off next week with six faculty CSI Research Fellows. CSI is a unique research collaboration that matches faculty-student research teams with design firms to document the benefits of exemplary high-performing landscape projects. Teams develop methods to quantify environmental, economic, and social benefits and produce Case Study Briefs for LAF’s Landscape Performance Series.
CSI Research Fellows lead the CSI collaboration, work with firms to identify measurable impacts of select projects, develop evaluation methods, and oversee the case study production process. These select faculty members receive an honorarium and funding to support a student research assistant.
The following LAF CSI Research Fellows will lead the five 2017 Case Study Investigation teams:
- Richard Plunz, Columbia University
- Hong Wu, PhD, Pennsylvania State University
- Simon Kilbane and Andrew Toland, University of Technology Sydney
- Taner Ozdil, PhD, ASLA, University of Texas at Arlington
- Shan Jiang, PhD, West Virginia University
We look forward to working with this distinguished group! From February through early August, the CSI research teams will work to document the performance of 13 exemplary projects. Stay tuned — next week, we’ll announce the projects and firms selected for participation.