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Image credit: Tao Wu and Kristin Schwab/UConn Illustration

A new approach to social resilience through landscape architecture: “Landscape architecture is not a subject commonly associated with refugee settlements. But in a field of study where resilience is often applied to help fortify coasts against erosion or to safeguard habitats against loss, UConn landscape architecture researchers have begun using their expertise to encourage resilience in a different form”

Ballot measure aims to preserve Salton Sea: “A project to protect Californians who live near the Salton Sea from deteriorating air quality could sink or swim based on the outcome of a June ballot measure. Proposition 68 would allow the state to borrow $4 billion through bonds to fund parks and environmental protection projects, including $200 million for a plan to preserve the rapidly shrinking Salton Sea.”

8 photos shot by Ansel Adams of 1940s Los Angeles: Fortune magazine sent Ansel Adams in the early 1940s to photograph Los Angeles to capture images to accompany a piece about the area’s booming aviation industry. He left with more than 200 photos that capture what the city was like at the time. The magazine ultimately ran just a few of his images.

ASU grad sees landscape architecture as a path to social justice: “I think it’s important that landscape architects transition from working for typical firms to working directly with neighborhoods because in terms of sustainability, social equity is highly under-addressed…There were no street trees. The first thing I started to do was pull historical maps from 1930 until now and you can see there were almost no trees from then until now.”

The Lichenologist: A short documentary about Kerry Knudsen, curator of lichens at the University of California, who just gave a talk at The Huntington Library about the various lichen species found in Southern California. We also recommend this profile titled, “The Ex-Anarchist Construction Worker Who Became a World-Renowned Scientist“.

Design by Ma Yansong, MAD Architects; Image courtesy of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. 

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art Breaks Ground in Los Angeles
“The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art broke ground yesterday in South Los Angeles’ Exposition Park. Designed by MAD Architects’ founder Ma Yansong, the $1-billion, 300,000-square-foot museum will house George Lucas’s extensive collection of art and transform existing parking lots on the site into 11 acres of new green space…”

Who owns water? The US landowners putting barbed wire across rivers
“Prohibiting access from the public is privatizing what has been historically ours, and the way this happened is chilling,” says Robert Levin, New Mexico director of the American Canoe Association. “The process was hasty and moved through more quickly than it should have been. From a recreation standpoint on this, you start to worry about an erosion of inclusion.”

Why does Australian landscape architecture have a gender problem?
“Evidence points to significant pay disparities between women and men in landscape architecture. To better understand the issue, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects is launching a new gender equity study in collaboration with Parlour and Monash University’s XYX Lab.”

Herbal high: the best landscape architecture across the world
“From verdant visions to paved paradises, Wallpaper*’s round up of garden design and landscape architecture will give you a herbal high. Visit these grass-filled zen courtyards and bucolic botanical gardens for ideas from green-fingered designers and architects across the globe – make sure you’re in landscape mode.”

$1.6M grant may turn sediment into port city pay dirt
In ports throughout the Great Lakes, landscape architects, scientists and engineers may soon spin muddy sediment into environmental gold. “Our project tries to build on recent work called ‘beneficial use’ of dredged material. It positions sediment and dredged material not as a waste product that must be disposed of as cheaply as possible, but instead as a resource, a building block for the community and ecology.”

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Will the LA River through Downtown ever look like this?: “Splashy new renderings show what a greened-up LA River—surrounded by parks, jacaranda trees, restored marshlands, and new high-rises and mixed-use development—might look like decades from now.”

Why MacArthur ‘genius’ Kate Orff says designing for nature can protect our cities: “We have to design adaptive landscapes that can accept flood waters or extensive green roofs and streetscapes that absorb rain. But we also need to mitigate the projection of carbon in the first place and decarbonize our built settlement pattern. For me, that is the combination of landscape design and urban architecture that I try to operate in.”

Obesity Thrives in the Suburbs: “So why is obesity less common in densely built areas? The obvious answer is walkability. When amenities are within easy walking distance there is, quite simply, more incentive to walk to them, while densely built environments can also de-incentivize driving because of their congestion and limited parking. The study’s authors also suggest another factor.”

Young Architect Guide: What Is Behavior Modeling in Architecture?: “Behavior modeling programs employ complex algorithms that predict, with an impressive degree of accuracy, the way people will move through a space under a given set of conditions. They’re most often used to analyze the design of buildings that accommodate large crowds, like transit centers and stadiums, though the range of events and decisions that can be modeled is quickly expanding. This means the range of scales and project types that can be analyzed is expanding, as well, increasing the usefulness of these programs to architects who incorporate them into their design process.”

Things to do in Los Angeles This Fall: “The 26 best places to visit in LA, from the iconic Stahl House to a highly acclaimed exhibit on radical women artists.”

Will the real Los Angeles please stand up? “To the world, Los Angeles seems like a hyper-real fabrication. But what lies behind the mask? Foreground speaks to LA resident and landscape urbanist Mia Lehrer, ahead of her keynote lecture at the 2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture.”

Speculative Urbanism: Must-Read Megacities of Science Fiction & Fantasy: “Urban worldbuilding is at the heart a lot of speculative fiction classics. But authors don’t develop the history, geography and ecology of their imaginary worlds in a vacuum. Often, their creations reflect present (or predicted) conditions right here on Earth.”

Native or Invasive: “Lantana is not well suited to questions about origins. The plant’s genes were muddled to begin with by plant breeders and have further intermixed across wild populations. Wild lantana after two centuries of adaptation to tropical climates is not the same as its tame cousins relaxing in California gardens. It’s fitting that one of lantana’s landing points across the Global South—the Indian subcontinent—also happens to have one of the most genetically diverse human populations on Earth. But it is targeted by policy makers as an invasive, as an invader, as a rootless hybrid immigrant doing just a little too well for itself in its present environs.”

Map Drawings of the Landscapes: “The map-landscape-drawings present a visually distinct means to document a place, a site, a landscape. Paying homage to Corner and MacLean seminal book, Taking Measures across the American Landscape, the purpose here is to interpret the Southern Ontario landscape in a similar fashion.”

Behind the U.S. Botanic Garden there’s … an architect?: “A garden can mature and evolve in a way that a building cannot,” says Nick Nelson, the botanic garden’s landscape architect. “I still do love the power of a hand sketch and a hand-drawn perspective. Even though I’m not selling anything, I still need to sell people on my idea.”

Dallas, TX, USA | OJB Landscape Architecture | Client: The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. Photo Credit: Dillon Diers Photography

The 2017 ASLA Professional Awards Announced: “The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced its 38 professional award recipients for 2017. Selected from 465 entries, the awards recognize the best of landscape architecture in the general design, analysis and planning, communications, research, and residential design categories from the United States and around the world.”

Should Architects Work With Nature or Resist It?: “Frank Lloyd Wright famously urged architects to follow nature’s lead. But as the planet warms, and with sustainability an inadequate response, they may need to pursue a more defensive, “resilient” position.”

How to Design Our Neighborhoods for Happiness: “Neighborhoods built without sidewalks, for instance, mean that people walk less and therefore enjoy fewer spontaneous encounters, which is what instills a spirit of community to a place. A neighborly sense of the commons is missing. You don’t have to be a therapist to realize that this creates lasting psychological effects. It thwarts the connections between people that encourage us to congregate, cooperate, and work for the common good. We retreat into ever more privatized existences.”

How Much Are Trees Worth to Megacities?: “A team of researchers led by Theodore Endreny of SUNY’s College of Environmental Studies and Forestry sought to quantify how leafy infrastructure pays dividends in 10 chock-full cities—and the extent to which the benefits could compound if those areas went greener.”

National monuments protect meaning, not just landscapes: “Over time, our understanding of the Pueblo peoples’ connection to the landscape evolved, as did the way the Antiquities Act was implemented. In 2000, President Bill Clinton designated Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (just over the Colorado line from Hovenweep). Instead of targeting individual sites, it blanketed a relatively large swath of landscape. “Canyons of the Ancients was perhaps the first to explicitly recognize that ruins do not tell the entire story,” says Bruce Babbitt, Clinton’s Interior secretary at the time. “That ancients lived in, hunted, gathered and raised crops, and developed water and religious sites throughout the larger landscape.” This ethos was taken to another level when President Barack Obama designated Bears Ears National Monument 16 years later.”