dis 1ii6utio


MARCH :1.010 VOlUME 100 • NUMBER 3



Up in the air at a Philadelphia arboretum, green roofs cruise into uncharted waters, and every/lower telis .0 story in an international competition drawing on traditions both ancient and modern.

Edited by Linda Mcintyre


City United,

Park Fragmented

TIro des zgn writers share their thoughts on the Rose Kennedy Greemoay.

By Marty Carlock and Heidi Hohmann, ASLA


High Tide~ Low Tide

A seaside public art project weathers design by committeeis).

By Marty Carlock


Hesurrecrinz the

"Ad 0Q 1 , ..

venture-city e '


Two new pu.ygrounds in Central Park honor the past and offer hope for the future 0/ playground design. By Daniel Jost, ASLA


Jl n awphitheal",' allhe Gaie!1XIJ' Tmilhead

in the M amwell Srmrmm Preseroe ml,· ughtly within the existing de.,·ertlttml<ca-pe, rmge 100. PhMof!,t",'ph b)-' Christ~phu Brrnlfj~~ ASl..tL

2ilandscape Architecture MARCH 2D 10

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Mastering Landscape Architecture

A survey 0/ graduate programs gives a glimpse 0/ the future 0/ the professio«.

By LollY Tai, FASLA, and Rob Kuper, ASLA


Thinking Big ... and Small

PhiWdelphia Green is a flexible nonprofit working at a variety 0/ scales to fight blight, create community, and beautify its namesake aty.

By Daniel Jost, ASLA

4ila ndscaae Architecture MARCH 201 D

Gateways to The Desert

Three new trailbeads 1m Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve are designed to have as light a touch as possible on the existing landscape.





Borrowing the Beach

A Maltbu coastal garden creates a natural link between mountains and sea.

By Debra Prinzlng

BOOKS 1112





Don't Sweat the Invasion

Some scientists are challenglflg comientional app roache 5 to invasive species.

By Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow

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61 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010



Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA

IN T E RIM ED ITO R I aar'vid~o,dZJla .. la . «r«

Lisa Speckhardt

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Christopher MeGee

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Daniel Jost, ASLA WRITER/EDITOR I djost@asla.org

Lisa Schultz

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Jane Roy Brown; Lake Douglas , ASLA Diane Hellekson , ASLA; Peter Jacohs, FASLA Frank Edgerton Martin; Linda Melntyre E. Lynn Miller, FASLA; James L. Sipes, ASLA Kim Sorvig; James Urban, "FASLA




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T. Carter Crawford, ASLA

Sara A. Hage, Associate ASLA Safei Eldin Hamed, ASLA

Todd D. Johnson, FASLA Frank Lewis, ASLA

Nancy S. McLean, ASLA

Pam King Phillips, Student Affiliate ASLA Scott O. Reese, ASLA

Stephanie A. Rolley, FASLA Ronald B. Sawhill, ASLA

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Should Arid Regions Be Landscaped?

F YOU NEED CONVTNONG that land does fundamentally matter, visit Earth's arid regions. Better yet, live there awhile. You will be reminded how dependent human survival is upon the services land offers---or, in the desert, withholds. Perhaps more

important is the reminder that our construction, our cultures, and our theories all rely deeply on the morethan-human world.

Modem humans readily believe that ani y human culcure matters, but philosopher Hannah Arendt once observed that "the reality and reliability of the human world rests primarily on the ftct that we are surrounded by things more permanent than the activity by which [our works} were produced." Most permanent, surrounding, and essential [0 human reality is the land itself.

The American West is an ideal (but far from simple) place to contemplate land's importance and relationship to 11Umans. Land in the West is primal and mythic. Western land is scary enough that Western culture has both revered human ruggedness and insisted on re-creating Elsewhere to make these stark lands palatable.

These matters are not just hiscory: Tension between land as land and landscape as human creation recurs constantly in landscape architectural thinking. Our hopes (and pretensions) of suseainabilicy have amplified questions long part of Western debate:

Who (and what species) belongs or is native? How much reshaping of the land is legitimate?

Both thoughtful and glib answers abound. In the world's harsher landscapes, though, dogmatism about man and nature soon grows dusty, sun bleached, and weatherworn.

Rachel Hill's discussion of the McDowell Sonomn Preserve outside Phoenix (see "Gateways to the Desert," page 1(0) observes people moving to the desert to "get away," but bringing developmenc with them. These "amenity migrants" (for a growing literature, Google the phrase) are sometimes in conflict with those who consider themselves Westeto "natives. n Nonetheless, they can create strong economies based on the value of place (rather than extractive resources).--aided by landscape architects, among others. Yet even "sustainable sites" or "green buildings" in quantity add up to land depletion and disruption. Our works are bounded by the land's carrying capacity. And that's a concept, starkly visible in arid areas, that even sustainable developers fear to confront.

Should we then leave arid lands alone? Hill's praise for the Preserve appearing "as if nothing were ever altered" COntrasts with Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow's reprinted column (see "Don't Sweac the Invasion," page 132), which questions conservation of native

vegetation. Tuhus-Dubrow usually reports on social issues and squeezes the invasive species issue into sociological terms. The widely respected Precautionary Principle (err on the side of caution where ecological impact is unknown) becomes "guilty until proven innocent" and a prejudicial "white list" of allowable species. In this view, humans have an absolute right to reshape all lands, and respect for existing landscapes is merely romanticism.

Muddling social and ecological dynamics won't help solve the tamarisk (salt cedar) dilemma raised by Tuhus-Dubrow. This horticultural import threatens to homogenize desert riverbanks, not because it is inherently evil or the victim of prejudice against "aliens," but because these rivers, dammed for irrigation and hydropower, no longer flood and thus cannot support cottonwood forests. The real culprit is land economics. By exporting water, humans changed the land. Tamarisk survives: a botanical Rugged Individual, a cowboy displacing the natives. Bad guy or good guy? Ecology might have a chance of answering; sociological metaphor just obscures things here ..

Chief Seattle reminded our: colonizing forefathers that we belong to the earth, OOt the other way around. As place shapers we ate still debating what this means in practice. Especially in arid places, we cannot afford to forget that the living land, itself, matters.


Kim Sorvig Santa Fe, New Mexico Contributor, Building to E ndur« Design Lessons o/Arid Lands

MARCH 20 i c La nclscape Arc hiteet ure 113



- environmental-



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On the Inaugural Issue of Landscape Ardlitecture

IT IS A SIGN of the sound development of the new profession of landscape archireccure that the American Society of landscape Architects is issuing as the official organ of the Society a quarterly magazine entitled "Landscape Architecture." A few issues of the magazine will put before the public the very practical nature of the profession and its wide scope. The public needs to be taught that landscape architecture embraces city pl arming, the arrangement of formal courts, playgrounds, and gardens in compactly built cities, the decoration of highways, and the utilization for human enjoyment of such broad open spaces as forests, water-courses, cultivated fields, and natural meadows provide. Every variety of plantation comes within the province of the profession, and every variety of decoration for house-lots, sites of public buildings, station grounds, and factory yards. landscape architecture is primarily a fine art, and as such its most important function is to create and preserve beauty in the surroundings ofhurnan habitations and in the broader natural scenery of the country; but it is also concerned with promoting the comfon, convenience, and health of urban populations, which have scanty access co rural scenery, and urgently need to have their hurrying, workaday lives refreshed and calmed by the beautiful and reposeful sights and sounds which nature, aided by the landscape an, can abundantly provide.

I rejoice with you that the first number of "Landscape Architecture" is shortly to appear.

CHARLES W. ELIOT AJricou, Maine September 24, 1910


Facing Economic Facts

AM I MISSING SOMETI-HNG in LandJillpe Anhitecture? Where have been the articles and commentary concerning our profession within the worst economy since the Depression? To read our flagship publication each month, no one would guess there's anything wrong at all-but there most certainly is.

Our profession is ooe of the hardest hit in this meltdown, and I represent one of the many casualties. laid off almost a year ago, I've had little choice but to hang out my shingle and try [Q survive. There are countless stories like mine with tragedies and blessings interwoven. This profession is in the middle of a major reshaping because of this economy, and LandS(llPe Architel"tffre seems to be miss ing it.

What an opporruniry, if not obligation, for our professional leadership to acknowledge our situation and provide ideas, advice, and a sounding board among our own. The Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks is a ClUrem example of the important lessons we learn from history and hindsight.

I urge you to take a much bolder step toward engaging our circumstances in this most difficult time and letting us know you care.

BUCK PITIMAN, ASLA jark.J()'!wifle, Florida

The Realities of Research in Landscape Ardlitecture

I HAD THE PLEASURE OF ATTENDING the panel discussion about building research connections (at the },$LA Annual Meeting in Chicago) that was reported in january's issue.

As a strong believer in advancing our profession through deliberate research, I'd like to respond to some of the issues that emerge as a result of this discussion.

There are certain realities clouding the answering of this question and acting upon it [Q better design our academic programs, structure our research, and make Out profession relevant.

landscape architecture departments must compete for funding, faculty, and influence within academic environments populated by doctoral programs. As a result, faculty searches are favoring candidates holding a PhD as a basis fur facilitating tenure and assuring the flow of resources. The number of landscape architecture PhDs is extremely limited, so candidates may well come from related disciplines such as geography or plan-

"This profession is

in the middle of a major reshaping because of this economy, and landscape Architecture seems

to be missing it. "

ning. How will cheir research and teaching change our programs and advance the effectiveness of landscape architecture graduates?

Furthermore, LS the decision about the content of the handful of PhD programs specifically called "landscape archirecrure" a local or a collective one? Is the PhD at the service of the university that hosts it, or at the service of the profession as a generator of future instructors' The relevancy of research to practice must begin here.

Researchers need to develop models whereby landscape architects can integrate relevant advances in other disciplines into Out practice, as well as respond to the rapidly changing way of life that results from such advances. How does all of this affeCt the way we approach landscapes?

Some research models being developed by landscape architecture firms were discussed during the ASLA Annual Meeting panel discussion. While the scientific collection of data that supports

MARCH 201,D Landscape Architecture [ 15


evidence-based design is extremely important, the general collection and infusion of research into a firm's design process promises aquanrum leap in the 'Way we do business. Not only does the approach described by Skip Graffurn, ASLA, reduce redundancy in the initial phases of project work, it also creates added value and content to landscape architectural practice. It is also likely that the more we are able to work collectively, the more we can prosper as a profession. That, in turn, will allow us to be more effeCtive and influential conrribu-

tors to soo ety.

We try to distinguish ourselves by how we package our work, when in reality, there is very little substantial difference in what we do to the untrained eye. Perhaps we need to distinguish ourselves by the web of human relationships we cultivate and our ability to enable people to negotiate change. Providing our clients with a process that is based in research is a surer way to have a lasting effect and enable our entry

into a broader field of consulting

that forms a natural bridge between practice and academia.

The financing of research can be a strong impediment to the majority of landscape architecture firms due to their lack of economies ofscale. The trick may lie in sifting out the research that is daily taking place and capturing it. On a smaller scale, 5 percent of an annual billing of $100,000 is still $5,000 that can be dedicated per year to a strategically chosen effort, thereby advancing a firm's value and effectiveness. On a larger scale, or on mixed scales, strategic alliances such as those formed every day in every other profession should be sought after.

For some landscape architects and their firms, research may be entirely market driven. We research the things we need to do the work that falls into our laps, Alternatively, we can look to our academics to keep us tuned in to the currents of civilization so that we can speculate about the nature of future landscapes. This will allow us to discover how we can influence their

161 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

form and be more proactively engaged as a profession in determining outcomes.


HAVING BEEN REEDUCATED into landscape architecture after being educated as au engineer, I have found the research culture in design professions perplexing in many ways. In both applied sciences and engineering, research is done cooperatively between academia and private firms to the benefir of both. Students often conduct research that is funded by government or private grams and done under both academic and nonacademic supervision at uruversmes.

" The more we are

able to work collectively, the more we can prosper

as a profession. "

Their findings are published and presented co a larger audience for peer review. This minimizes redundancy of research and maximizes the benefit for all those involved: The firms sponsoring the research gain access to resources at universities, faculties gain a source offunding for their research, and students gain valuable contacts and experience conducting current research. These fields are able to guide the direction of their future and they find themselves more resilient by focusing more on outside funded research when economic climates are tougher.

TIle president's call for "green" jobs and providing federal funding to that end, professionals clamoring for data to support innovation, and students eager to participate in cutting-edge research should create a perfeCt storm to take on new initiatives for landscape architects to direct the research culcure for the public good. These initiatives could occur at private think [auks, in collaborative models within current academic institutions, or under the umbrella of ASIA. I believe this recession has shown us

that we must be able to be in better control of our financial stability, and research would seem like a logical support structure in times of growth as well as in tougher times.

In terms of a more shared knowledge base between design professionals, the Open Archicecrure Network built by Architecture for Humanity provides au exemplary model of how a large number of professionals can come together and provide numerous examples of their work to each other. By being collaborative and open about their work, these designers provide a great forum for peer review and a chance for the profession as a whole to move forward, building on one another's work. A collective body of knowledge in constant growth is the surest way to move forward,

eliminating much of the redundant frustrations and allowing the profession to achieve its foremost goal: to create a better place for all people.


Diversity Important to Landscape Architecture

I FOUND "A Diverse Education" to be a relevant and timely piece about

our profession. As I write this letter, on Marcin Luther King's birthday, the imporranee of diversity in landscape architecture is even more profound. The relevancy, the longevity, and, frankly, the job security of landscape architecture are highly contingent upon the diversity of its practitioners. Simply pur, the more professionals we have who come from a variety ofbackgrounds->whether they are urban or rural, immigrant or citizen, wealthy, working, or middle class, white, yellow, brown, or black-the better equipped we as a profession will be to handle any type of design or planning issue that confronts communities within the United States.

Morgan Scares ptOgram is inspiring in its rnenroring of students and the design values that it promotes. Emphasis on the necessary community-scale design is key in landscape architecture education and just as relevanc as the flashy, expensive projects. Everyone needs a safe place to play and a solid route to get to work, but we don't all have to have access to a High Line or Mil-

Iennium Park every day . .MSU is on a great path to preparing an excellent generation of young, diverse designers who can only improve our profession!

RADi--UKA C. MOHAN, ASSOOATE ASLA Saint Palll, Milmesota

Author Responds to Book Review

I W Al'JT TO TI-{ANK Landscape Architecture for reviewing my book Google SketchUp jor Site Design (January). I would like to provide some clarification regarding the review's description of the book.

First, the described processes and work flow apply to all versions of Sketch Up, but the book was written with and for SketchUp 7. The book reviews theory covering best practices to modeling landscape architecture projects. The theory extends into every part of the book, including the AutoCAD to Sketch Up and terrain modeling sections. The manuscript uses a hands-on, learn-as-you-do approach to ensure that readers absorb both the concepts and the theory. This allows landscape architects to apply Sketchl.Ip to aU stages of design: concept, schematic, and design development.

As a practicing landscape architect, my goal was to provide the kind of tool that my fellow professionals and students would find most useful. I would also hope that it is useful enough co make it off the library shelf and onto the desktops of all those who ate using Skecchl.Ip,

DANIEL TAL, ASLA Lakewood, Colorudo


THREE OF THE IMAGE CREDITS for [he article "Campus Crossroads" in your January issue were incorrect. The opening image on page 84 and the two images on page 88 were taken by Elizabeth Felicella. Elizabeth is the most prized photographer of our built work at bfYVA and we want to make sure she is given proper credit fur her fabulous work.

NATE TREVETHAN Michael Van Valkenlmrgh Associates Brooklyn, New Ywk

THE RETROSPECTIVE on lawrence Halprin that appeared in the February 2010 issue stated that Halprin won the "ASLA Gold Medal" in 1.978.10 fact, Halprin won the ASLA Medal in 1978.

AMfRICAN SOCIETY OF lANDSCAPf ARCHIHCTS 636 m STREn NW. WASHIN6TON. DC 20001·3136 202'090-2444 • FAX 202-090-2205 • WWW.ASLA.UHE

MARCH 2010 Lanclsc31pe Atchllectute 117

A slightly irregular look a


TREETOPS are all the ruge these days. Ecorourism destinations include a tree house restaurant in Auckland and a t(r)eahouse inJapan. And fur the stir-crazy office worker there are even tree house offices popping up in the Pacific Northwest. Add to this list the University of Pennsylvania's Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia.

Out on a Limb; a new permanem installation at the arboretum, invites you to literally experience trees as the birds and

HUMAN HABITATS Treetops as Teachers

Arboretum installation gi~ oisitors a .squirre6-eye view.

squirrels do. Visitors move from solid ground into the canopy through a series of gently sloping boardwalks, wooden gateways, and human-sized habitat structures thac reach heights of up to 50 feet. Con-

structed of galvanized steel and locally harvested hardwoods, the branching walkways wind through woodland habitat vignettes rising out of some of the oldest tree specimens in the collection.

The stark contrast of steel with the organic texture and structure of the surrounding hardwoods is jarring at first, but lead architect Alan Metcalfe says it was intentional. The designers at Metcalfe Architecture & Design, working with arboretum

181 La ndsc ape Atc h lteetu re M Aft C ~ 2010

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director Paul Meyer, CVM Engineers, and Forever Young Treehouses, wanted to remain honest about the fabricated character of the exhibit while still retlecring and respending to the natural architecture of the surrounding mature forest and providing space for learning and connection.

One of the most popular spaces in Olft on a Limb is a convergence of boardwalks, affectionately known as the "Squirrel Scram-


Even the Ocean Is Going Green

C mise JhiPJ take green roof technology to the high JtW.

CRUISE SHIP PASSENGERS can now enjoy earth in addition to water and sky, thanks to green roof technology. Three Celebrity ships now feature the Lawn Club, the first live rurf installations on mobile sites. And Royal Caribbean's new Oai1.1 of the Seas is home co Central Park, which features a new concept in ship layout.

Central Park contains 12,000 tropical plants placed among seating areas and artwork It connects the various "neighborhoods" that make up Oasis and is used for games and relaxation. According to Royal Caribbean, a horticulturist will offer educational programming for the passengers. The lawn Club, located on the upper deck of the Celebri-

20 I La ndseape Arc h itectu te M A HeM 20 In

ble," where two oversized hammocks hang several stories above the ground. Metcalfe says the intent of the "Scramble" was to provide the feeling that one is suspended, literally, in the canopy. Adults and children alike can be seen enjoying these structures, some reclining in the dappled sunlight, others actively exploring rhe space, climbing and playi ng as squirrels or chipmunks might.

Other points of interest include a giant nest woven of grapevine at the end of a swinging suspension bridge and a teahouse pavilion that provides an outdoor classroom space and broad views iota the surrounding woodland. For hours, admission, and progmm information visit the Morris Arborerum online at -uq{)IlJ.nwrrisarblJl"e/um.org.


ry ships, offers a green place for passengers to relax, picnic, or play light lawn spans.

Growing about half an acre of lawn on the deck of a ship poses some significant challenges.

Plants in Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas were chosen for salt tolerance and a low potential to spread pests and diseases along the ship's route.




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But thanks to Jorg Bruening of Marylandbased Green Roof Service llC, Celebrity was able to do JUSt that.

The Celebrity ships are built in segments in a shipyard in Germany. The green roofs fur the Lawn Club are engineered using the German FIJ.. green roof guidelines and are adjusted for the shipboard environment, says Bruening, who designed the roofs. The green areas are tested just like the rest of the ship during 10 days of sea trials; they must successfully withstand high winds and inclines. In addition, the turf must rolerare salt and extreme temperatures and be durable enough to withstand the programming requirements.

Two lawn keepers with backgrounds in golf course maintenance are employed on each Celebrity ship to care for the turf. The ships are eq uipped with weather stations to keep ahead of the rurfs irrigation needs. Irrigation is optimized and stormwater runoff

M OSAlCULTURE, the art of sculpting with plants, is a somewhat neglected aspect of garden design history. Inspired by Renaissance gardens and the parterres of the French royal court, the tradition of using floral displays in the form of two-dimensional emblems is still practiced throughout Europe. China, Korea, and Japan have their own traditions of rnosaiculture within their respective garden traditions. Ac the 2009 International Mosaiculture Competition in Harnamac-

22 I La ndsc ape Atc h itectu re M Aft C ~ 2010

The project covered 2,000 square meters and comprised 12 separate sculptural forms covered with more than 540,000 p,lants.

su, Japan, the Grand Honorary Awardwinning entry, creared by the City ofMontreal, was inspired by a literary work about-what else-plants.

Sturdy turfgrass allows for golf games by Celebrity's "lawn Clu b" members, The novel assembly was designed usingthn .... tested German green roof guidelines and technology.

is collected in a retention tank. Mowing and trimming are done with rechargeable equipment and waste is incinerated onboard.

Operators of these new vegetated vessels hope their passengers will enjoy these floating gardens just as much as gardens on tetra firma. This new application of green roof technology seems to be taking the cruise industry by storm: Both Celebrity and Royal Caribbean have plans for more green ships.


Mo ntraal's exh i bition will be featu red in Sha ng· hal's "8ette r City,. Bette r life "Expo, ru n ning from May throughOcl.ober.

Jean Giono, one of modern France's most distinguished writers, wrote The Man Who Planted Trees in 1957. Thirty years later Frederic Back adapted the tale of Elezard Bouffiers single-minded restoration of the arid fields and forests of Provence, France, as an Oscar-winning animated short film, and the Story still resonates in the Boreal forest of Quebec , where Back lives and works.

More than 860,000 visitors attended the exhibition in Hamarnatsu over a 10-week period. Montreal's project covered 2,000 square meters and comprised 12 separate sculptural forms supported by sophisticated metal armatures that are covered with more than 540,000 plants. The whole was superbly integrated inco the site and appeared to be a natural part of the park setting.

The 240 maples included as pare ofMonrreals entry will be transplanted to a neighboring high school site, while the exhibit proper ha.s been donated to the city of Shanghai to celebrate their 25 years as twinned cities. It will be featured in the Universal Expo 2010 Shanghai "Better City, Better Life," which l1J11S from May through October.

Additional information is available on the web site, u!l.I-W.mOSaiC71/ture.ca, -PETER JACOBS, FASLA

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Two design writers share their thoughts on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Editor's Note: In Manh 2008, landscape Architecture republished a Boscon Globe critique of the long-awaited park corridor atop Boston's Big Dig. This was mowl)1 an important projed to cover, given the number of landscape architects involved and the degree to which it wottld transform the city. ManJl readers felt, hou'eVC1i that by simply publishi11g this reprinted article, we failed to properly address landscape architatuYe from the landscape architect's point of view. We agree with ),01<. Last year, we aseed two of 011r regular uJ1ltrib"torJ to visit the gremu!ay for themselves and protide es their honest cmeSJments. Ina Jornewhc,t unusual nwve for this magazine, we're giving yOl1 two cuticles in one. Let's reopen the disutJsion.


SIXTEEN YEARS IN THE MAKING, the greenway atop Boston's infamous Big Dig (the mammoth project to put [he Central [traffic} Artery underground) was officially dedicated in August 2008. Its plants have some growing to do, buc the general plan is finished.

last April I hiked its more than one-mile length and back, hoping to see how it looked, how well it worked, and whether anybody was using it. In Boston, April is tOO early for any but the most intrepid foliage, so I returned for another stroll in midJuly. The first impression is that the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is misnamed-s-ir is actually the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Pavedway. There is some grass; there are trees and plants, but because of its verdant name, I expected more.

I expected more cohesion, too. The greenway's master planners decided to treat it as four separate parks: Chinatown, Dewey Square, WharfDisttict, and North End. Those who know Boston can see that the four distinct parks reflect (Continued 071 Page 26)

241 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010


HE COMMON CRY OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT, "If you want to make an omelette, you've gOt to break some eggs," definitely applies to Boston's Big Dig, which has been an eggbeater in the heart of Boston for [he past 20 years. To-

day the benefics of that demolition are clearly apparem in [he open spaces of the Rose Kennedy Greenway that now stands in place of the elevated Central Anery.

I visited the completed greenway on a bright June day and was impressed by the new perspective it provides of Boston. After walking down the narrow shaded canyons of State, Milk, and High streets, bursting onto the open sunlight of the new corridor feels like an awakening. Finally, there is a place from which to observe, on foot, Boston's full parade of architecture, from [he excesses of the Zakirn Bridge at the Charles River to the wharf buildings on [he harbor to the layers of commercial buildings downtown. Many buildings gain new prominence in the skyline: The quirky Custom House Tower, for example, shines bright against the dark towers (Crmtinued on Page 32)




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(Continued/mm Page 24)

their environs: the Chinese community, the financial district, the perennially busy waterfront, and the historic Italian enclave.

Yet I would have liked to see some unifying element, if only in the walkways. The design of this pristine new space was undertaken by committees, and it shows. The paving underfoot changes block to block, sometimes from side to side in the same block, from a random pattern of black and tan bricks to stone dust [Q cement to six-by-sixinch pavers to granite slabs to marble flagstones with quotes incised on them. The Chinatown park is almost all paved-i n designs too subtle to be noticed unless you are looking for them.

Bur the open expanse of sky above this new space is so welcome that Bostonians and rourists alike revel in it. North of the greenway are the towers of the city's financial district, its streets dark and canyonized, City dwellers can pop Out of that warren to 15 sunny acres with glimpses toward the harbor. It will take some watchfulness to make sure the greenway remains like this. High-rise developers are already salivating at the prospect of exploiting what has become prime real estate on both sides of this open space, and within the greenway itself the city has earmarked a block for the Boston Museum, an idea whose eventual form and content are as yet unclear.

I began my walk at the Chinatown Park, which is separated from the rest of the greenway and pretty hard to find. This park is the work of Carol R. Johnson and Associates of Boston, collaborating with Turen-

r our major sections of th e greenway were assign ed to differe nt landscape architecture firms. Reflecting the character of distinct neighborhoods, the final

plan sacrifices unity of design.

261 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

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Built along the route of the central artery, now underground, the green· way curls around the dense, dark canyons of Boston's financial district, left. Strollers, bottom, enjoy a segment that is somewhat shielded from til e six I anes of su rfa ce traffic borderi ng the pa rk,

seen by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (Mass Han). South of a freeway air vent building are a few shrubby trees, a little grass, and a few iron benches. On the black-and-ran brick of this area, a farmer's market-a much-hailed addition-has been appearing twice a week during the growing season. The landscape in this part of the greenway is temporary, pending a final project. Landscape architects Mary Ann Thompson Associates and Michael Van Valkenourgh Associates, both of Cam bridge, ate in charge but will have input from Mass Hort .. No informacion is available yet on what the design will be. Oak trees, grass, coroneasrer, and dwarf juniper appear, then in the next block beds of daffodil, day lily, spurge, and now and then a red-twig dogwood. Along here Mass Hort has inserted helpful species identification rags, something that would be welcome on the rest of the greenway.

At Congress Street, gravel paths begin meandering through the greenscape, willie red brick paves the oucside walkways. The land is sculpted into low contours with planting beds on the small slopes In the next block, the path turns inexplicably to cement; it is slightly sunken, CUt off from street traffic, creating a moment of calm. A tangle of creeping roses and head-high grasses adds a faux-wildemess feel.

In April there were no places, once I left South Station, to buy food except the James Hook & Co. lobster shack on the harbor side of the greenway. A lobster roll is an appropriate Boston snack, so I was pleased three months larer [Q find the lobster purveyors relocared to face the greenway. A Panera sandwich shop is also visible across the block. I didn't see any rescroorns once I left South Station.

The Whru.fDistrlct, designed by EDAW and Copley Wolff Design Group, is introduced at High Street. Here the tone of the walk changes abruptly Oppos ire the archway of Rowe's 'Wharf Hotel,

A mishmash of conflicting ideas, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is what. we can expect when politicians are in charge.

scape of Beijing. The open and well-used plaza is surfaced with a colored concrete map, designed by California artist May Sun, of Chinatown and contiguous areas. At its east end this park boasts an appropriate and understated piece of an, a red architectural element referencing an Asian gate Here the plaza gives way to the best section of the greenway. It's a mini-oasis, with a waterfall flowing briefly in a shallow stream toward the plaza. This water feature is paired with Oriental endemics: bamboo, rhododendron, cherries, peonies, iris, and chrysanthemums.

The main part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, working souch to north, begins across the intersection from teeming South Station, the rail terminus from points south and west Dewey Square's landscape beds have been planted by volunteers over-

MARCH 201,D Landscape Architecture [ 27

which affords a glimpse of the sea, is an empty green circle. This piece of grass cries out for something special; I would vote for a work of kinetic art that would move with the harbor breezes.

Next a wide swath of sterile marble paving seemed co rush me on to the next block, but then I noticed an arresting detail. The stones are engraved with quotations from immigrants to Boston, capsule versions of their stories, their difficulties and trepidations. Here and there are more surprises fur the observant park user. For instance, in the marble-paved area, names of the historic wharves are CUt into the walkway: Long Wharf, Central Wharf, India \Wharf. But these are only discovered by a pedestrian walking along the city side of the park.

A broad quadrangle of turf occupies the next block and is dedicated to public events. Even in the cool of spring, there were people here: moms pushing strollers, workers sitting on benches with a sandwich. The nearby Rings Foutltai11, a flat bull's-eye, entices kids to walk into it and tty to outguess its randomly programmed spouting patterns. London plane trees are intended to, in time, create a great boulevard in this segment. J winced a bit on seeing the material chosen for the iHothers' \Valk, a few dozen ugly tan bricks commemorating, I suppose, people's mothers. Many were Kennedys.

The city's art commission was unforcunacely not involved in the greenway's planning. The single original piece is Harbor Fog, an ungainly, stackedup collection of metal shapes containing colored LEDs located in the WharfD iscricc section. Ax iutervals, steam blows out of them. The work, by

281 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

Boston artist Ross Miller, is fun, but it is SUITOlmded by an ellipse of rough, squared-off, randomly placed boulders, which mayor may not be meant as seating. If there was any title-artist label on this work (there should be), I failed to find it. Miller's work is more effective at nighc, Similarly, the Light Blades=-esx tapering towers designed to perform nighttime displays, also in the Wharf Disrrico=-looks puzzling in daylight. The Greenway Conservancy, working with U rban Arts (an entity at Massachusects College of Art), has begun to host temporary art pieces. This year a kinetic work, Botanica, by George Sherwood is on site. After State Street and a view of the New England Aquarium, the greenway curves left again and heads northwest. On the water side, the existing Columbus Park adds some greenery and another view of the sea.

The plan gets yet more didactic at Milk Street (plaques about the fishing industry) and Mercantile Street (boulders carved with maps dating to Colonial times and summaries of the area's history). In July acarousel, luring mmilies from nearby Quincy Market, was operating in this area-e-exactly the SOrt of amenity the space needs. A line ofSegway riders passed, but I failed to find where their machines were rented. A family-friendly park like this cries OUt for a few food carts: ice

popular Rings Fountain a"racts cream and hot dogs, maybe, but why not a few falafel stands and pretzel purveyors, too?

Over its length, the greenway curves in a big back-facing "C,·' at first heading northeast, then norrh, then northwest. In the anernoon, an unwelcome amount of shade slants across from nearby

Kids try to outguess the Rings Fountain s randomly programmed spouting patterns.

FI ush wit h the grou nd, the

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buildings, more so in winter than in summer, There is a commitment to build no scruccures at all, ever, on the greenway itself---the Boston MuseLUTI appears to be an exemption -but there is a good deal of talk about developing choice parcels alongside it. The existing buildings ate low rise and are already affecting the greenway; it would be a mistake co go higher.

The park is interrupted at Commercial Street, dwindling to fragments of lawn and requiring some nimble pedestrian footwork as traffic exits from a nearby harbor tunnel, Then the greenway resumes with the North End parks.

At Hanover Street eateries begin to appear, and none tOO soon. I was hungry enough to Stop at the first candidate, Mother Ana's, which turned out to be a bar with dark paneling and a typical bar menu. Though calorie laden, the cheese-soaked potato skins were delicious. The greenway skirts the city's famed Italian section, the North End. This last segment is a peaceful one, thoughtfully designed by Crosby, Schlessinger, Smallridge U.C of Boston and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd. of Seattle and London. It is conceived as the "front porch" to this traditionally ethnic section of the city . Planted with clematis that so far is struggling, it features a pergola shading a dutch of benches looking into the afternoon sun. A few steps down, shrubs and magnolias puncmate a grassy lawn, which is sliced by a long fountain referencing a canal that once ran through this spot. In April a woman lay on the rurf sunbathing, despite 55..cIegree temperatures--......an indication of how desperate Bostonians are for spring still. Beyond the official park, on the last scrap of green, was a mao practicing cai chi.

During the greenway's development, some concern was raised over how these green spaces would be maintained so activities

301 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

A ted arch lteetu ral spa nl n the Ch Inatown

park, abol'e, references Asia n temp le gates.

A lack of co herent vlsi on In som e sectlnas, be/ow and bottom, results ;n meandering

paths, broad greenswards, and marble plalas with assorted features.

like imptomptu tai chi could continue. After years of wrangling over. which poli tical entity should maaage the space, it has been deeded to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. Acting as steward, the conservancy will improve and manage the greenway, raising private money in tandem with funds from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Workers in conservancy garden carts were already present this spring.

The Big Dig was sold to the taxpayers as a way to knit the city back together, replacing an overhead expressway with parks. The greenway is an uneasy truce: Pedestrians still have to traverse six lanes of traffic to approach the harbor, and the greenway itself is sliced with a cross street every block. The temptation to jaywalk is huge.

A mishmash of conflicting ideas, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is what we can expect when politicians are in charge. At one point the greenway was to have enjoyed a single conceptual design by one landscape archirecture firm. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, however, which oversaw the early stages, decided to parcel out pieces of it to various firms. The lack of teamwork is unnerving. Couldn't they at least have agreed on some unifying pavement underfoot?

Outstanding results came in the form of the waterfall in Chinatown, the pergola in the North End, and the popular, unpredictable Rings Fountain. The park's fans plead it needs time to mature; in the meantime, I'd like to see more public art, more grass, more eats. Nonetheless, it's much, much better than it was.

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(Continued from Page 24) of the financial discrict, while [he grandiose arch of Rowe's Wharf finally becomes a true harbor gate-

way. New viewsheds likewise emerge from the corridor: from the North End, City Hall is now Juxtaposed against Beacon Hill, while farther south the Federal Re-

serve building is revealed in silhouette against the morning sky. In other words, the removal of the elevated Central Artery makes viewers remap, as Kevin Lynch once put it, their "image of the city." This is no mean feat for any urban design project.

However, a project's success not only lies in what's been destroyed, but also in what's been created. Here, thar's a collection of serviceable parks and plazas that comprise a ribbon of open space, unified to a large degree by grass and trees and dense drifts of notyour-usual-traffic-island plantings. A standardized set of wellbuilt, bomb-proof details and a simple materials palette-s-granite, concrete, stainl.ess steel, and mote gtanire-e-ries the ribbon squarely to Boston srreetscape traditions. Unfortunately, though, the linear gesture of the greenway is less cohesive for pedestrians than for cars. The greenway's program and COntext vary greatly along its length, and in

many places, the backs of buildings face the open wate.rfall and. cobbled stream at

space, discouraging access. Between the tiles of tile lIortl! end of the Chinatown

park spaces are also some confusing connections park provide a welcome respite

and convoluted crosswalks, particularly at the from the city frJ;!nzy. This strei1::h

greenway's northern end. In other places, the rib-

The designers' goal-to make these parks an oasis in the urban grid-has been achieved.

Separated from the rest of the

bon's cross-sectional dimension diminishes, leaving pedestrians surrounded by a river

of cars. At these poims the corridor feels more like a glorified freeway median than an urban plaza. Indeed, from a pedestrian standpoint, the greenway works much bet-

ter in stitching the ciry back together across the gap of the former artery, especially in facilitating connections from harbor edge to central downtown. Although such pedestrian traffic existed before, it is now made visible in the open space of the greenway and perceptibly energizes the ciry. On my visit, I watched well-suited lawyers hurry from Souch Station to their downtown offices, young professionals amble from Congress Street offices to Chinatown lunches, and flip-flap-shod tourists stroll from Quincy Market to Long Wharf and the North End.

Then again, the greenway was intended to do more than facilitate circulation; it was designed as a major addition to Boston's open space network. The four park areas within the corridor succeed reasonably well in providing a range of new outdoor spaces where urbanites can eat, exercise, and relax. MostI y, though, the parks counteract the corridor's potential for monotony, each one riffing on the greenway's standard details and materials. This is particularly true of the Chinatown Park, based as it is in one of Bosrons distinct cultural microclimates. The park uses culturally significant plants (ginkgo, iris, and bamboo) and traditional forms

greenway and hard to find, the

is planted with Asian endemics.

32 I La ndscape Atc h itectu re MAR C H 20 10

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and materials (the granite blocks of the founrain recall the Tai Hu rocks common in Suzhou gardens) to project a distinct Asian flavor. The park is saved from being too cloying by the dramatic fOrms of the red metal gareway and cage~ like structures that frame bamboo plantings. Unlike the rest of the greenway parks, the Chinatown Park benefits from its location on a widened sidewalk, immediately adjacent to buildings, rather than being surrounded by traffic. This gives the Chinatown Park an intimate feel that the others lack, particularly at its northern end, where raised planting beds and fountains mask the sight and sOW1d of vehicles. The only odd note is the large Chinatown encry plaza at Beach Street. Though it was easy to envision the plaza used for special occasions such as the Chinatown Main Street Festival, on the sunny morning when I visited it felt abandoned, However, the conviviality of the flower-lined northern walkway, where a dozen people on the granite seat wall shared lunch and conversations, more than compensates ror the plaza's lack of user - fri endli ness.


In contrast to the cultural specificity of the Chinatown Park, the green spaces and plazas of the Dewey Square Parks to the north seem generic. The plaza at its southern end is more remarkable for the way thousands of commuters cross 10 lanes of traffic at the Summer Street intersection than for its futuristic, crystalline Red Line Stations or its op art checkerboard paving pattern. On its northern edge, this plaza unrolls into a grassy plinth terminated. by the blank facade of a tunnel air intake building .. From this angle the space neither celebrates nor hides this infrasrrucrural evidence of the freeway flowing beneath the greenway. On the building's far side, a composition of planting bed, benches, and street trees addresses the structure in a much more successful manner. Here, people scopped to catch some sun and check their Blackberries.

The discricrs twO green blocks to the north, however, are clearly

341 La ndscape Atc h itectu re MAR C H 20 10

meant to be the focal point of the Dewey Square section of the greenway. These miniature rolling greenswards ate bisected by curvilinear, crushed stone paths and enclosed by fluid landforms. If the spaces feel unfinished, it's likely because youthful tree plantings don't yet relate to the larger spatial container of the surrounding buildings. The sight of a young banker napping on a sunny slope, as only the homeless generally do downtown, is proof that the designers' goal-to make these parks an oasis in the urban grid---has been achieved. Yet the small scale of the spaces diminishes this achievement. Like a Faberge egg, the spaces feel tOO small, tOO precious. Their coy, self-conscious quality is enhanced by the drifts of flowering perennials, neatly labeled with Latin and common names. For me, this recalls the didactic paternalism of Loudon's Derby Arboretum, and I wonder about the relevance of 19th-century park vocabulary in the 21st--cemury city. But I also suspect the bright colors and great diversity of cultivars make these plantings popular with the gardening public.

The Wharf District, the next portion of the greenway to the north, is probably equally popular with the public, filled as it is with most of the greenway's "interactive" elements. Although they fit the giant scale of these largest open spaces of the greenway, the participatory Rings Fountairl and the theatrical Light Blades seem more de rigueltr urban attractions than sitespecific public art like Millennium Park's Crown Fountain in Chicago or Han Plaza's Noguchi-designed Dodge Fountain in Detroit. More appropriately related to Boston are the Harbor Fog installation and the MotherJ' Walk, though the paver purchase program of the latter seems hopelessly outdated and incongruously small town. Still, the placement of all these interactive experiences i n the heart of the tourist district makes a great deal of programmatic sense .. Cost-free, fun, and physical, they nicely complement two nearby tourist draws:

Quincy Market with its relentless commercialism and the educationally focused Freedom Trail. But my favorite aspect of the Wharf

A rar~ sael ud ed spot 0 n Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway

lures lunehers, above. Puzzling

elements in daylime, Light

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District Parks is the way their presence reinvigorates long Wharf and Christopher Columbus Park, thereby reconnecting city to harbor.

The neighboring North End Parks also reconnect me city to its heritage, buc unlike the Chinatown Park the North End Parks ate less a cultural representation of Boston's Italian neighborhood than a physical threshold to it. Where visitors once ducked through a stinky underpass to emerge into the North End's tunnel-like streets, they now move up generous terraces and through a curtain of fountains and pergolas to confront the district's new urban edge. TIle oft-used "front porch" metaphor is thus an apt one, though the space is not nearly as folksy as the term implies. In met, the North End Parks contain the most modern and least predictable design vocabulary of the greenway. The play of geometries is all diagonal lines, parallelograms, and arcs, rather than the romantic curves of the Dewey Square parks or the rectangles and circles of the Wharf District parks. The detailing similarly eschews any ornamentation of a 19th-century urban past, despite the surrounding historic archi-

recture, and is instead consistently smooth and streamlined. Certainly the design's historical references are so deeply embedded in the design to be irrelevant co the uninformed visitor-the park's water features are more significant in modifying the sound, temperature, and feeling of me environmenc than in expressing the presence of a long-lost 18th-century millstream. Carried perhaps by the slightly brooding presence of the large-scaled and darkcolored pergola, the overall mood of the space is more subdued than the test of the greenway, tOO, a mood not inappropriate given that the landscape might be read as a longhealed scar formed after the violence done by the original Central Artery. Despite all this, the park fits its context surprisingly well, in part due to the designers' sensitivity to the way the city and its citizens interact with me greenway. Examples include the reconfigured sidewalk allowing an expanded outdoor cafe at Joe Tesci's Italian restaurant and the busy, brick-paved, bollarded


361 La ndscape Atc h itectu re MAR C H 20 10

parking area at the grocery and pastry stores between Hanover and New Sudbury streets. Both of these areas perpetuate me oldworld, market atmosphere of the North End. If I have a complaint with the North End parks, it may be with their overall scale; they seem tOO expansive and extmvagant for the quaint neighborhood [licked behind them. And like the Chinatown plaza, on this average summer day, tbe North End terraces were basicallyempty, the few coffee drinkers and vagrants sleeping on the benches seemingly dwarfed by the space.

Indeed, a feeling of vacancy haunts many of the greenway's open plazas and large grassy lawns, as if they await an event to fill the city and spill over into me greenway. With any luck the corridor's lack ofbustle-as discurbing ro city officials as it is to visitors-will soon be banished by promised commercial and residential development within and around the corridor. Boston certainly doesn't need another public space as windswept, unused, and reviled as City Hall Plaza.

Yet I believe the greenway will be spared City Hall Plaza's dismal fate. Overall, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is a lot less like City Hall Plaza and a lot more like its namesake: well man-

nered and well manicured, ambitious yet hard to dislike. And like Rose Kennedy, the greenway is so deeply traditional that it is unlikely to challenge or offend. The calculated result of decades of design, thousands of public meetings, and billions of dollars, me greenway truly atones for the worst sins of urban renewal. It proves that bold acts of destruction can be tempered with creative design sympathetic to human needs. But the project's traditional nature also means that the greenway remains a rather predictable solution to a 20th-century urban planning debacle rather than an innovative vision of 21st -cenrury urban landscape. Regardless of what inventive engineering may lie beneath it, the greenway's thin veneer of parks and plazas offers little that's either aesthetically or functionally new. In the final analysis, the greenway is no less---but also no more----than landscape architecture at its most conventional best. I

The greenway truly atones for the worst sins of

urban renewal.

Once grimy and noisy, edges of

the greenway ate now promoted to prime real estate. Decrying bnilding proposals that would

deprive the pa rk of sn nlight,

advocates h ope to restrict

low.rise structures.

Heidi Hohmann, ASLA, is an associate professor of landscape an-hiteaure at louo State University,

development alOl!gside it to

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MAINE'S COAST is studded with industrial sites that have been long abandoned-but are now finding new life. On Poreland Harbor, a property formerly used as a dry dock by the shipbuilding company Bath Iron Works has been rehabbed as the $22.5 million Ocean Gateway Project. Where there were wasteland and no access to the sea, there's now the International Ferry Terminal, host to the catamaran ferry to Nova Scotia.

Alongside it is a unique pocket park hosting appropriate seaside arc. It is designed to reflect the ebb and flow of the tides; to those who first see it at low or midtide, it may be puzzling, yet it is handsome when the sea surges in.

Because Maine has a One Percent for Art law, the scate arts commission held a competition for artwork at [he ferry site. Boston artists Mags Harries and Lajos Heder, consulting with Portland landscape architect Pat Carroll of Parrick Carroll Associates, came up with the winning art proposal for the rwo acres adjacent to the ferry terminal. Harries/Heeler Collaborative boasts a long list of major landscape projects incorporating public art, including Terra Fl'fgit at Miramar Regional Park in Broward County, Florida; Sunflowerr in Austin, Texas; and Arbors and Ghost Ii'eef in Phoenix. In Boston they are best known for Harries's bronzed lost gloves in a subway station.

For Portland Harbor, Harries and Heder fused art and nautical knowledge into a work called M(j(JilTide Garden. Their long saga in Maine is something of a lesson for artists and landscape architects on the pitfalls of public commissions.

The project scatted well enough: When Harries and Heder were among the finalists competing in 2004 at the Maine Arts Commission, their presentationa much more comprehensive design called Stone Ship Tidal Park--was so impressive, says chair Donna McNeil, they were quickly VOted $40,000 for a design fee. "The idea was, we would raise money elsewhere

MoonTide Garden, a unique sea-edge

park In Portland, Maine, top, featnres public art iii ll ored to its rna·

ri De location. Stripes of rna rsh grass thriYe in the tida I ebb and flow.

Stones, rigid, a rJ;! sl IYJ;!red to i nlli.

cate the h igl! est spring-tide rna rh.

381 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010


A seaside public art project weathers

design by comm~ittee(s). By Marty Carlock

the first comp'any: to

have its ::'01':11

of National Mall.

The site posed problems for the artists and landscape architects charged with creating it. A "crib" once used for holding dredged materials in an industrial area, the site was judged too fragile for the artists'

original monumental concepts.

to make the project happen." Adds Susan Moreau, policy specialist at the Maine Department ofT ransporration, the idea of raising funds "didn't scare us, because of the location of the park. \'Ve want-

ed to make a scaternenc." Setting their sights on half a million to a million dollar.s, they found grants and private support of more than $100,OO()..........before the site's problems began to swface.

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401 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

Pan of the area is a "crib," an area surrounded by pilings and used to contain dredged materials scraped off the harbor bottom, Fearing that the material in the crib was contaminated, planners some time ago had it capped with georextile fabric. Atop that went a layer of small, sharp-edged rocks

about a root and a half deep, to hold rhe cap in place.

On street level next to the crib was a small area that "was JUSt fenced off and full of debris," says Carroll. 'There was no access to the water," Now cleaned up, that SPO[ is a tiny park inviting walkers toward the art, an enigmatic collection of upright boulders.

For reasons no one remembers, a few granite steps lead from meet level down

onto the crib's stony floor. The crib is inundated, partway up the steps, at the highest tides, so the artists suggested incorporating tidal pools and stripes of marsh grass. Wi th Carroll, they sketched plans for a stone plaza shaped like a ship.

At one point the Portland Fishermen's Monument Commission lobbied for a heroic seaman's sculpture like the famous one in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Harries and Heeler don't like to imitate other art, so they made a counterproposal: a ceremonial area on the deck of their proposed stone ship (its shape would be modified to look more like a fishing boat) plus fish-shaped pavers engraved with names of lost seamen. The fishermen were satisfied.

Meanwhile, to add to the bureaucracy, says Moreau, "the city required us to come up with an additional committee to oversee the refined design." Politicians were invited into the mix, along with representatives of art entities and the fisherman's memorial com-

mittee. Harries and Heder met half a dozen

times with that larger committee, presented their plans twice to the city council, and cankered separately with the fishermen more times than they can count,

The engineering firm Childs Engineering, working with Haley and Aldrich, a geotechnical engineering firm, took a year and a half to analyze the site. "We suspected this would not be good news," Moreau says

"We tried to keep everybody engaged."

All the initial ideas received a blow when marine engineers found that the crib would fail under the weight of the planned stonework ship. The estimate to shore up the crib with riprap was around $1.5 million. Whose responsibility it would be was unclear. A second blow came when the city, which owns the site, said it couldn't affurd such an expenditure; as a result, the city's comrniccee rejected the project. Moreau was still determined:

"This didn't persuade us to drop the whole thing. We didn't want a sentence without a period on it."

At that point the planners went back to their drawing boards to devise a Lghtweight work of art.

Uhey set] their sights on half a million to a million dollarsbefore the site's problems began to surface.


MARC H 2010 Lanclscalpe Atchllectute 141


maximum height the water reaches on the boulders. Later the artists, as~ sisced by studencs from Maine School of Art, applied a noncorroding aluminum coming-meant to mimic silver leaf-to the COntours of the boulders down to the highwater mark. Except at highest tides, the rocks sit exposed, half silver and half granite. Ten strips of marsh grass radiate from the steps into the space enclosed by pilings.

At the top of the steps is a lawn area. "We had hoped to have lawn just between the trees and leave the rest to be a meadow, wildflowers," Carroll says. "But the city wanted it all lawn. " This small area is organized by nine honey locust trees (Gleditsia triacanthOJ) and crossed by a board-

walk of plastic Trex decking in two colors, gray first and reddish near the steps. 'The honey locusts are salt tolerant and give a filtered shade, not a heavy shade," Carroll says.

Blighting the entire concept m-e four six-inch metal cylinders protruding from the ground Carroll says nobody knows what they were intended for, perhaps lighting, but they aren't wired.

Funding was still available. The deparrmem of transportation had appropriations set aside for art and landscape planting, and there were other fimds=-for example, money left over from building a harborside walking path, the East Promenade, which ends at the terminal. Moreau patched all these pots of money together.

"The state department of transportarion asked us what we could come up with for $80,000,'· Harries says. She downsized the art, proposing a simple but poetic solution: boulders sitting on the existing plot of small riprap, marked to indicate the high-water mark at highest tides.

Carroll and the artists culled 10 boulders from a condominium construction site in the city, about a quarter-mite away. These big, rounded rocks are simply dug into the rocky flooring, some uptight, some not One is low enough that high tides (over it completely. At a spring tide, Carroll visited the site and calculated the

"The state department of transportation asked us what we could come up with for $80,000," Harries says.

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421 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

Removal would be possible, Moreau thinks, except they might concain toxic materials and "there would be the cost of disposing of them. I hope we can get them ouc someday."

The artists' initial concept of bands of marsh grass (Spartilla patem) was the only idea to survive the planning process. It, tOO, encountered difficulty. Carroll obtained the plants from a local supplier who deals in wetlands restoration. The nrst year the grass was planted too late and failed to grow. Replanted, it is now flourishing. The strips, afoot wide and 50 to 150 feet long, are encased in a coarse fiber mesh to keep the grass in a tidy line. The species can't tolerare total inundation all the time, Carroll says, but it does need periodic saltwater flooding. Its maximum height is about two and a half feet; it will be green June through October, dead-grass tan the rest of the year.

Moreau is satisfied with the outcome. "We did it on a shoestring.We didn't compromise the integrity of the artists. It's a big statement. "

MOl»ITide Garden will have a large, ever-changing audience: Some 40 to 50 cruise ships dock in Portland per year, Carroll estimates, and from May to October the catamaran ferry departs from here three days a week. MoonTide is theoretically a temporary installation because of the unreliable structure of the crib. But McNeil says, "It will be here until the crib collapses."

AI/thor orA Guide to Public Art in Greater Boston, lVlarty Carlock contributeJ frequently to landscape Archi tecrure.

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MAR C H20! 0 La ndscane Atc hllect Ute I 43


Two new playgrounds in Central Park honor the past and offer hope for the future of playground design. By Daniel Jest, ASLA

us. playgrounds with their slick stretches of asphalt. co!lJIftd, convoluted slides, and free-fwm sculpture;, for climbing are among the world's saj'tSt, cleanest, and mas t indestructible. B I'ft are they what children tI)~mt? Of course not, says Lady Allen of Hurnoood, 68, a prominent British landscape anbaea and president of the lVorldOrganization for Early Childhood Edecation. After a month} JUI'VI).' of the East Coast's Jhmvpim playgrounds, the no-nonsense duwager observed trirplJl that they are "an administrator} heaveN and a child's hell. " Said she; "1 t is

441 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

time we da-idcwhether our playgroffllds are to be de.rigned for adults, '/[120 love to be neat, or fvr children, who love to be dirty. "

-TIME, JUNE 25,1965

I T'S BEEN NEARLY 45 YEARS since Lady Allen's visit, yet ml_lCh ofher criticism ,still rings true. Allen was an early advocaee for adventure playgrounds, spaces where children could creace their own environments using hand tools and scrap materials. Inspired by kids playing in junkyards and on

construction sites, Danish landscape architeet Girl Theodor Ssrensen created the first such playground in 1943" Following World \'Var II, adventure playgrounds sprang up throughout Europe; however, most American parks commissioners resisted the trend. Even then, Americans tended to be more "insurance conscious," as Timeput it, fearing that lawsuits might result from leering kids play with bricks, nails, and 5."lWS.

But while few true adventure playgrounds were ever built in the United Stares,

Allen's visit, along with unbuilt works by Isarnu Noguchi, helped to inspire a major shift in American playground design during the mid-1960s. Jacob Riis Plaza in New York City (1966) by M. Paul Friedberg, FASL\, and architect Richard Dartners Adventure Playground in New York's Central Park (1967) were among the earliest and most publicized examples of what some now call the "adventure-style" playground. Unlike most playgrounds of that erasprinkled with stand-alone monkey bats,

swings, teeter-totters, and slides-these new adventure-style playgrounds offered a child-scale errvirorunenr with linked play features where kids could not only exercise but also participate in creative play that nurtured their development. Designed by architects, landscape architects, or sculpmrs, they were carefully integrated into the landscape and often resembled environmental arc.

Today, most landscape architects avoid designing playgrounds due to concerns

A.n cie ntPIa:ygrou n d, left, was an important work by Richa rd battner; one of a handful of designers who revolution ized playgro u nd design iu the United States du ring the 19605, drawing on InspIration from adventure playgrounds In Europe. It was recently renovated by the Ce ntral Park

C onservanc;y, w11 i c h prese rved the spirit of the pIa ce, above,but few of the original struclnres.

about liability. Play equipment is almost always specified from catalogs, which, until recently, seemed to be dominated by lifeless pole and platform structures. "Maoufacrured play environments across the land are filled with dullness, overloaded with boredom, emasculated of risk, and often empty of the vivacity of children at play," wrote German T Cruz in a letter to Landuape Architecture in January 2008. Adrian Benepe, New York City's Parks and Recreation Commissioner, has echoed chat

MARCH 201·D Landscape Architecture [ 45

Playgrounds have "become less fun as we worry more and more about liability.

view. Playgrounds have "become less fun as we worry more and mote about liability," he told Time lase year, "We've effectively dumbed them down in the name of safety."

Few adventure-style playgrounds rernai n. The codification of safety guidelines in the early 1980s and the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, have led many schools and parks deparcrnenrs to tear out their old playgrounds when major repairs are necessary and replace them with new manufactured equipment.

New York's Central Park is a notable exception. Driven by a small group of preservationists and parents, the Central Park Conservancy has attempted to retain the spirit of a handful of historic playgrounds using a mix of preservation, reconstruction, and (more controversially) historicist re-

design. The work culminated last summer with the renovation of Ancient Playground by Danner and the Tarr Family Playground by William Jacquette, Kenneth Ross, and James Ryan, both origi nally built in 1972.

More than JUSt case studies in historic preservation, these two playgrounds are a wake-up call that will give heart to people concerned about the state of playground design. Designed to meet both ADA and ASTM standards, the renovated playgrounds are slightly less challenging than their predecessors and seem to attract slightly younger crowds; however, they are mote challenging than most playgrounds being installed roday They suggest that it is still possible for landscape architects to design stimulating, aesthetically pleasing playgrounds for small children.

New Mood at the Conservancy The Central Park Conservancy did not always take such a progressive approach toward its historic playgrounds. During the early 19905, "there was this sense that they were outdated and dangerous," explains lane Addonizio, associate vice president for planning at the conservancy. There were arguments within [he conservancy about whether they were protected under rhe park's landmark designation. Addonizio credits advocacy groups such as landmark \\7est! with opening their eyes to the playgrounds' value.

In an essay titled The Politics of Play, Michael Gorkin, a landscape architect and playground historian, chronicled the fight to save Datrner's Adventure Playground---the first adventure-style playground in

We've effectively dumbed hem down in the name of safety." -ADRIAN BENEPE

Central Park to be preserved to any extent. The seeds for that playground's preservation were sown in the public process associated with the original design. Back in the 1960s, neighborhood parents were demanding a safer and more creative playground at 67th Street, explains Gerkin, and Dattner, who was hired by [he Joseph and Estee Lauder Foundation, actually held design charretces with these parentS to solicit ideas and build trust, This practice was quite novel at the time and was covered in The New York Times as an emerging trend.

Many patents and children involved in the original process had fond memories of

Adventure Playground and the relationships it fostered. One of those parents, Arlene Simon, who is now president of the preservation group landmarkWesrl, says her daughter had such warm memories of the play ground that she was photographed [here for her page in her high school yearbook. So when Simon heard about plans co replace much of the playground with manufactured equipment in 1996, she helped organize some of the parents involved in the original. process into a group called Friends of the Adventure Playground. Eventually, she even convinced Danner to become involved and advise the

conservancy as a pro bono consultant. "I asked the conservancy: 'Is this man dead ?". she explains. "Why wouldn't you go back to [he original architect when this is such an important playground?"

While Simon is still disappointed with the loss of much of [he sand surrounding the playground (see "Removing Sand," page 54) and the demolition of the original wooden pyramid, her group was able to convince the conservancy to preserve much of the original design. Wood components were mostl y removed and replaced since they were becoming splintery, bur the concrete structures did not require

The Tarr Fa mil)' Playground was designed as Dlscovell' Play Park b"y Jacq uette, ROSli, and Rya n In 1972, opposite bottom. The eonserva hey'S re novations here prese IVed or re-created many of its Iconic featu res, above and below. The tire swings were relocated, opening up Views 10 a volcano-sha ped el imber.

Unfortunately, the trees Integrated into thlsplaygrouhd were lost last summer when 80-mile-per-hour winds ravaged trees thronghout the park.

Highlights of the conservancy's renevatl ons of Ancient. Playground, right, and the Iarr Familv Playground, be.low, Inelude: [AI concrete obeli sk with slide i [BI saud play area; leI toddler water feature; [D J be n c h es; I EI restroom; IF J orlgi nal co n c rete pole prese rved; [G I historic OsbofJ1 Gates; I H I pu bUc entry pi aUl; III swings; U I com-

posite climbing structures Iwoodl; IKI climbing pvramid with tnnnels and ....

sll des; III n ndulati ng I andfonn; I M I tire swings; I N I origi nal obe lisk/wate r tower pre- ....." served aud reactivated; 101 water spray feature; IPI safety snrface; IQI cUmber; IRI tree house; 151 toddler male; (TJ cUmbingcone with tunnel and slides; lUI net climber; and IVI bridge.


( B ~


481 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

any alterations and did noc represent a serious safety risk, so the designers were able to leave them as they were without making them conform to rodays standards,

The nnd Street playground, renovated in 1999, was another struggle for preservationists, but for nearly a decade, whenever the conservancy has renovated one of its adventure-style playgrounds, it has entered the project with the goal of respeccing the original design. The conservancy has consulted with the original archiceccs on all of the renovations since then, and it has worked with preservacion advocates and other community members who use the playgrounds to try to resolve their differences with thoughtful design,

-, N

Destroying the Playground to Save It

Chris Nolan, ASIJ\., [he conservancy's vice president for capital projects and its chief landscape architect, has led the efforts to develop a clear understanding of the playground industry design standards-ASTM F 1487, the U.S. Consumer Product Ssfery



Commission's guidelines, and ADA guidelines for playground design. Nolan says that for the most pan, the standards are pretty reasonable "The point ofASTM [and the other standards) is not to make the playground perfectly safe and sterile; its to prevent critical head injuries, entrapment where kids get scuck, choking hazards, and conflicts in play." Despite the rules, a creative designer will still find room to encourage risk taking, he says.

Nolan acknowledges that playground design can create liability risks, but he notes that such risks are inherent in almost any project roday. Even if you specify manufactured equipment, "It's not a complete shifting of liability," he says. "That's why a lot of people won't do site design for playgrounds at all." The important thing is to understand your prefessional obligations, the rules you need to follow.

Nolan's research has led

concrete obelisk. He says that during conversations about the project, Danner stressed the importance of preserving the path as an entry procession. But there was a major obstacle to preserving it. A brick pyramid used for climbing abutted the path, and there was no safety surfacing to protect children who fell off. Either the pyramid would need to be pushed back or patt of the path would need to be interrupted with some sort of safety surfacing.

"Some people get very hung up 00 the notion of lieerally preserving the original features as artifacts, but jf you get too focused on one piece, things around it may have to go," says Nolan. More of the original feel may be preserved if everything is rebuilt.

In the end, the conservancy chose to keep the idea of a concrete axis and rebuilt everything with a new pyramid, shifted over slightly, designed to compl y with industry standards. Only tWO pieces from the original. construction remain at Ancient Playground-e-n concrete pole used as part of a sundial and a second concrete obelisk at the cencer of the playground. The rest of the playground has been redesigned to look much as it did before,

But some changes were made to the massing. One of the challenges in restoring adventure playgrounds is that under modern standards, each piece of stand-alone equipment is required to have irs own use zone so there are no conflicts between kids

The seeds for Adventure

Playground IS

preservation were sown in the public process associated

wnh the original design.

him to take a perspective

that is not always well received by preservationists. "To keep [these adventure-style playgrounds}, you need to change them," he says. "Sometimes you need to reconstruct them entirely .... The overall concept and the design vocabulary ate the same, but they've been reconfigured to respond to conrernporacy views on safety and access ibili ty. "

To illustrate why major redesigns are often necessary, Nolan points our an important axis at Ancient Playground, a concrete path running from the entrance to a large

sol Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

playing on neighboring pieces of equiprnent (though certain types of equipment allow these zones to overlap somewhat). This might require the removal of key pieces of equipment. However, by making the equipment functionally or physically linked to form a composite piece, large gaps between separate structures may not be necessary, says Nolan. At Ancient Playground, a new concrete bridge was designed to link two Structures so they could both be included in the new design. The bridge also extends a wheelchair-accessible tmvel path further into the playground.

Many of the changes at Ancient Playground have been controversial within the preservation community Simon and Gotkin both say they were surprised and saddened by the number of changes to this playground, which they viewed as one of Darcner's most important. TIley don'c like the new bridge, which they view as jail-like, and they say raising the parapet walls on an elevated water course to make them comply with modern standards for barriers dramatically altered its form. They believe the extent of this change was not dear in the plans they reviewed (which did not include sections).

At ,An cif.mt PI aygrou nd. left, either the pyramid would I'! eedto be pushed back, or apart of a path 01'1 axis with a con crete 0 belisk would

h ave to be replaced with safety surfaei I'Ig.

The la ndscape a rehltscts chose to push bac k the pyramid, below.

They are particularly unhappy over the loss of the original concrete work. They say the new concrete was not formed as well as the original and its color is much less appealing-a cool gray rather than the earthy beige color used in the original.

However, Gerkin and Simon say they are generally pleased with the renovation of the Tan Family Playground, which preserves more of the original structure. William )acquette, Kenneth Ross, and James Ryans design for the playground included a tree house, a loop for tricycles, a water play area, and a large volcano-shaped structure with large areas of open sand. While there have been some alterations, many of the original play elements and spatial relationships remain. If anything, they've been improved. The conservancy replaced the brick facing on the volcano-shaped climber and all of the original timber elements, bur much of the old concrete work is still visible. The conservancy also did a much better jobofinregrating sand play areas into this project.

"Some people get very hung up on the notion of literally preserving the original features as artifacts, but if you get too focused on one piece, thi ngs around n may have to go." - C H R I S N 0 l AN

While the results at each playground were somewhat different, it's worth noting that the conservancy generally took the same approach at both playgrounds. The Tarr Family Playground was just much more adaptable to modem standards because it had less structure and more open sand areas in the original design.

One interesting dynamic that deserves further exploration is that in both projects, the original architects had certain features they believed to be very important, but others that they were willing to sacrificeand they were less interested in preserving these elements than the preservationists. A shed used to store materials at the Tarr Family Playground was removed, despite opposition from Landmark West!, after Jacguette said he didn't mind seeing that go. But jacquerre convinced the conservancy to retain the red tile accents on the volcano-shaped climber.

Danner was a bit disappointed with some of the changes, but he says he is generally happy to see new life breathed into Ancient Playground-to see it swarming with children. "All these [preservation projects} are a balance," says Dattner, "I think I've been convinced by Chris [Nolan}, who now has an encyclopedic knowledge of the safety standards, char the

541 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

modifications had to be made. Given the pressure from all sides, I think the conservancy has struck a reasonable balance."

Removing Sand

Of all the changes at Central Park's adventure playgrounds, the most controversial has been the removal of the saud that originally surrounded the play structures and irs segregation in smaller, more manageable areas. Danner promoted the use of sand for its value in creative play, and parents in the

1960s and 19705 embraced the material, as it provided a much softer landing than the asphalt paving round in earlier playgrounds. But maoy parents today see sand and think dirt. Even those who appreciate its value for sculpting seem to like the idea of segregating it so they can avoid it some days. "You won't find many parents who say they want more sand," explains Lane Addonizio while walking through Ancient Playground. Deborah Metric, a mother there with her six-year-old and l l-monrh-old children, overhears and nods in approval.

Datrner, though he understands the conservancy's decision, laments the loss of the saud. He says one of the reasons he surrounded the equipment with sand was so that "the parents would generally stay out." Today, parents walk all over the structures following rhei r children. "There's a community that's against sand because they're afraid of dirt, but there's a price for kids in freedom and independence from their parents," Danner believes.

I [wasn't JUSt mothers who hate din that doomed the large expanses of sand. Play equipment surrounded by sand is not accessible to children or parents who use wheelchairs. "It's preserving discrimination," says Addonizio, "preserving design that keeps them out"





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While the Americans with Disabilities Act clearly requires that public play areas be made accessible, what it requires in practical terms is far less clear. The u.s. Access Board, an independent fed.eml agency that creates guidelines for barrier-free design, released ADA Accessibilicy Guidelines fur playgrounds nearly a decade ago. However, as of this writing, they have not been adopted by the Department of Justice, so they are not legally enforceable standards.

If or when they will be adopted is anybody's guess-they remain under review. But they are the only available interpretation of how ADA applies to playgrounds, so they are treated as de facto regulations. "The law says you have to provide an equal opportunity to all regardless of disability, which is vague enough to be virtually impossible without the aid of a more specific standard that interprets what that means in practice," says Addonizio.

561 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

The guidelines do not prohibit the use of sand as a safety surface per se, but when altering old playgrounds that are completely surrounded by sand, at least some of that sand will likely have to be removed to meet their requirements for providing play feacures at ground level and accessible paths. "You can't have one piece that's accessible offin rhe corner," says Nolan. "The ADA requirernents are very specific about making sure the play is integrated."

Another issue with sand, as with any loose material used as a safety surface, is it requires regular maintenance to keep the sand clean. "You need to make sure it is dean of foreign objects-leaves, sticks, broken glass ... use your imagination," says Nolan. "You also need to make sure it has the proper depth [necessary fur impact attenuation}." Areas beneath swings and at the bottom of slides

The play equ i pme nt at both playgrou nds was 0 rigi· nally surrounded by a sea of sand where kids could c reate sa nd scu Iplures, top Inset and above. But most ef the sand has been replaced with a mix of pouted -Iu-place rubber a nd polypropylene safety surfacing, top and left, due to maintenance con-

ee rns, accessib i I it}' requ i rements, and pa te nts wh 0 wanted the option of avoiding the sand on some tn ps to th e pi aygrou nd.

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require regular raking since the activity of play can displace the sand. For that reason, Nolan says, sand is not the best safety surface for swings and slides.

Simon says she is perplexed by claims that sand cannot be used due to modern standards. She notes chat architect David Rockwell's plans fur Imagination Playground, a modern take on the adventure playground with a "sea of sand," were receiving a great deal of praise in the local and national press at the time these renovations were undertaken. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates' much-publicized design for Teardrop Park also uses sand at the base of a slide. If these playgrounds could make sand work, why couldn't the conservancy? Part of the reason may be that within these designs, there are few other pieces of equipment within the sand that need to be made handicapped accessible.

The replacement of the sand h as mad e it possib I e for peop Ie in wheelcha i rs to access

the playgrouQ d, top. However, as Datb! er poi nts out, SUlTOn Ad ing th e pi aygron Ad in sa Ad had the positive· effect of creating a separate spa ce for play free from parents, an d th at has been lost, below. Small sand areas have been

preserved at each of the playgrounds and remain popular w,ith kids, bottom.

Ierns associated with that material. Of course it has none of the benefits for play either. But as the conservancy demonstrated at the Tart Family Playground, it can be integrated with sand play areas to create the appearance of a sea of sand.

Many parents say they like the new safety surfacing. "I like the bouncy sruff," says Apollo Kuijano, "It's definitely good for the kids." Avisha Mekonen agrees: "It's like a mattress."

"This is the first time we've used it to the park, but I'm optimistic it's going to be a great surface for us ," says Nolan.

Designated Play Surfaces

In adventure-style playgrounds, the play equipment and site construction are incegrated. This can present challenges when interpreting safety standards that were designed co address more typical playgrounds containing freestanding equipment. Defining play equipment versus site construction becomes key to determining requi rements for use zones and safety surfacing. According to ASTM F1487, "any elevated surface for standing, walking, sitting, or climbing or a flat surface larger than two inches wide by two inches long, having less than a 30-degree angle from horizonral," is considered a "designated play surface."

So flat-topped concrete walls that are integrated with a playground can present a challenge. Rather than adding safety surfacing alongside these walls, Nolan has dealt with the issue by creating new walls with a chamfered edge or, if the walls are curvilinear as at the Ancient Playground and a chamfer is not possible, by rounding off the top,

The Yshaped concrete pieces that are assembled into a maze at the Tarr Family Playground presented a similar problem-Nolan wanted to keep them close together to create a child-scale maze, but what if kids tried to use them as a balance beam and tell off onto one of the adjacent pieces of concrete? The tops of the forms constituted designated play surfaces and requited a clear (Continued on Page 62)

Polypropylene Safety Surfaee and Drainage

For its earlier playground renovations, the conservancy used rubber mats or poured-in-place rubber surfacing within the use zone to replace the sand. However, these materials have a tendency to get hot in areas that are not shaded, and they make the playgrounds feel much more urban. They also aren't permeable.

One of the biggest challenges in renovating old adventure-style playgrounds (or building new ones) is dealing with drainage. "These sites are not JUSt flat pieces of ground where we can manipulate the pitch so water drai ns away," says N01m. They are carefully integrated into the topography.

Man y adven ture-sty Ie play ground s were designed with sand safety surface at a low point on the site, and if you replace that sand with an impermeable surface, you must provide drainage. However, drains cannot be placed within six feet of

581 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

a designated play surface---a metal drain is not a particularly soft surface to fallon.

Using a polypropylene carpet system seems to solve this problem. Unlike the other materials, the polypropylene carpet system is free draining. The carpet can be specified with a sandy color, which recalls the aesthetic of sand with none of the prob-

w c:


Across the country, ASLA and its chapter will celebrate National Landscape Architecture Month in April by engaging the public in conversations and activities that highlight the profession as a career choice, demonstrate what landscape architects do, and communicate the environmental benefits of sustainable landscape design.

Be part of the celebration! Contact your local chapter and see how to get involved. Tap ASLA's National Landscape Architecture Month resources online at www.asla.orgllamonth to plan an activity. Commit your firm to reaching out in substantive ways to students, the public, and potential clients. And use www.asla.org/sustainablelandscapes to prove how your work benefits the environment, communities, and everyone's quality of life.


ASLA Librdry & fdu(:dliull Advocacy Fund


Restoring Playgrounds

s YOU WANTTO RESTORE an old playground or design a new one. Here are some of the issues you may face and examples of how they have been dealt with at

two playgrounds in Central Park.

Removlng Potentially "Dangerous" Equip· ment: Some playground equipment that was popular in the 1970s is no longer recommended for use in public play areas. Rope swings are one example. Kids used to be able co take turns swinging on a rope between two wooden decks at the Ancient Playground. Today, the standards say that "swings can't be attached to another piece

of play equipment and ropes must be tied down at both ends," explains Chris Nolan, ASLA. "Free-swinging ropes that may fray Ot otherwise form a loop are not recommended because they present a potential strangulation hazard," notes the US Consumer Produce Safety Commission (CPSC) in its Handbook/I)/" PiaygroundSafety. Some other examples of playground equipment that is "not recommended" for public playgrounds today are multiple-occupancy swings (with the exception of tire swings), heavy metal swings shaped as animal figures, and swinging gates. Merry-gorounds and seesaws, despite rumors to the contrary, are not discouraged by modern

60 I La ndscape Atc h itectu re MAR C H 20 10

standards, as long as they are designed and sited. properly.

Play Tunnels: "In many of the playgrounds we've renovated, there are concerns about the tunnels," says lane Addonizio. Before the conservancy rook over stewardship of the park, some tunnels were closed. off. However, in recent years the conservancy has taken a different approach. "It's really about paying dose attention to what the specific concern is and addressing that," Addonizio explains.

Parents' main concern with the tunnels was that it was difficult for an adult to get inside jf there was an accident or their kid was refusing to come out. There was a sense that people were spending the night in the runnels or using them for illicit activities, and the conservancy wanted to make sure that police officers could see into them. Also, there were occasionally problems with kids peeing in the runnel at the Tart Family Playground where there is no restroom nearby, causing the tunnel to reek of urine. These problems have been solved by providing slightly larger openings that parents and maintenance people can fit through and police can see into. Cheek walls abutting the openings were also redesigned to provide wider views into the tunnels. At Ancient Playground, the entire structure was rebuilt, but at the Tarr Family Playground, the conservancy was able to lower the level of the ground a few inches, allowing it to preserve most of the original concrete work.

Now, most of the parents have a much more positive view of the runnels. Apollo Kuijano brings his two-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter to the playground every Sunday. "My daughter loves the tunnel," he says. "That's basically why we're always here"

Tire Swings: In old playgrounds, tire swings were often placed in dose proximity to each other. However, rodays ASTM and CPSC standards require that each swing have its own bubble of space. Swings tend to be installed. in flat empty spaces, but at Ancient Playground Nolan undulated the ground plane beneath the swings ever so slightly to add play value to the area. "There is nothing

that says you can't manipulate the ground plane," he says, A poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing covers the whole area.

Guardrails and Barriers: The overuse of barrier rails, which provide 00 play value, has been one of the biggest problems with playground design of late. Guardrails must be provided on most elevated SUfftces where there is a drop greater than 30 inches at playgrounds designed for children between ages five and 10. Protective barriers are required for drops four feet and over=-chac is, unless the platform is part of a climber. There are a number of places at the Tarr Family Playground where protective barriers would have disrupted the flow of play or compromised the aesthetics of the design. So rather than installing barriers, a significant stretch along a linear platform has been redesigned as a series of climbers with handles that kids can grab on to

HandhoJds on Brick Climbers: The handholds that children use to climb the pyramids at Ancient Playground and the volcano at the fur Family Playground were both originally recessed into the surface, However, this traps water, which can freeze and damage the mortar, says Nolan, causing bricks to come loose. To avoid this problem, the brick hand holds at Ancient Playground now stick out like "rocks" on a climbing wall. At the Tan Family Playground, the conservancy decided the red tiles set into the handholds of the volcano-shaped climber were a distinctive feature of the design, so they remain recessed, with the understanding that they will require a bit more effort to maintain. The mortar on the bottom of each handhold is routed. into a groove to encourage proper drainage, and the conservancy agreed to have its maintenance staff brush Out debris that gathers inside to discourage water from getting trapped there.

The slopes of the pyramids have also been altered so that they are dearly OOt ramps. "If the slope was too gradual, a kid could just walk up the pyramid standing up and that would be dangerous," says Nolan. "The steeper angle requires that they ascend the climber in a prone position and use their hands."

Water and Sand: Sand and water go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, having sand areas and spray pads in dose

proximity can create maintenance hassles, according to the conservancy. Before the playgrounds were renovated, there were constant issues with sand clogging the drains. In the water play area, the spray pads are separated from the sand areas. "It helps to make it challenging to bring the sand to the {fountains}," says Nolan.

This does OOt mean they are discouraging sculpting with sand and water. There is a small push-button water feature in one of the sand play areas at the Tarr Family Playground that provides kids with water where they need it.

Water Play: These two playgrounds mark the first time the conservancy has experimented with push-button water features. "Before these reconstructions, the spray features were turned on in the morning and ran all day long--even when no one was using them," says Addonizio. The user-operated features help to conserve water, and as Nolan notes, "Pressing the burton also becomes a play element itself."

One of the signature features of the Ancient Playground is an elevated water course that children can walk in. Water originates from a central obelisk, streams down a chaddar (a tilted plane of concrete inset with sleek black pebbles), then travels along a raised path, turning before it finally cascades from the edge of a cantilevered concrete surface. At least that's what it used to do. The conservancy was concerned about

small children drinking the water as it cascaded from the surface---other kids had been stepping in it after all=-so the designers came up with a clever solution. When they rebuilt the concrete structure, they inset a strip drain to catch me water a few feet from where the water feU down . .A new pipe releases fresh water from the edge of the play equiprnen t, just beyond the drain. While the delighrof water spilling over the edge is preserved, the water that falls from the edge is actually potable.

MARCH 201·D Landscape Architecture [61

(Continued /mm Page 58) zone. To discourage their use as balance beams and comply wi rh the standards, the conservancy capped each of the existing concrete pieces with a curved metal form.

Drawing Kids to Play Outside

The parents and children who lise the sites are generally happy with the renovations. "[Ancient Playground} is now the best playground in the city," says Metric, and she says she's been to all of them with her six-year-old. Many speak favorably of the replacemenc of splintery old wood equipment and che new play surfacing. But the strongest praise is aimed at the tunnels, climbing pyramids, and other features that carry on the spirit of the original design.

One thing noted by a few of the parents is that these playgrounds seem to serve eight- and nine-year-old children better than most other playgrounds they visit. "The playground {near our house} is

JUSt a babyish playground," says Maggie Bryer. She says the Tarr Family Playground is much more exciting for her eight-year-old daughter.

"This is built for all ages, compared to other playgrounds," notes Avisha Mekonen at the Tan Family Playground. ''We've even seen high school kids playing here, texring. It's nice to see them. Today they don't get enough exercise because of all the high-tech stuff." Bur, on a recent fall day, while the site was swarming with adult caretakers using equipment such as slides with their young children, there were few children over nine years old. Another mother mentions the renovations have discouraged groups of teens from hanging Out here-a good thing in her view. "Kids here usually skew from tWO to eight or nine [years old]," says joli Golden, who often brings her family to the site.

The uniqueness of the playgrounds was also a common refrain among parents

621 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

visiting the sites. "Ic's different," says Mille Rodriguez, visiting with her sevenyear-old niece. "Most other parks are all the same."

"This structure here caught my sons eye and he wanted to check it out," says Michelle Allison, pointing at the volcanolike structure at [he Tarr Family Playground. "We have a little playground across the street and it's JUSt the typical play structure. This is more interesting because it has a whole lot more to look at and lots of things to climb on."


• ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Playgrounds (2000), 'www.aaess-boardgovlplay. • ADA Standards for Accessible Design (1994), www.ada.glWladastd94.pdf

• ASTM Standards for Playgrounds, 'l/JUJllJ.astm.orglstanJardsIP 1487. htm.

• For more information on the hi.story of the adventure-style playground and the restoration of Danner's Adventure Playground, see "The Politics of Play" by Michael Gorkin, an essay published in Preserving Modern Laruhcape Architecture: Proceedingsfr(rlfl the Wave Hill Corlj-erence, edited by Charles Birnbaum, FASLA; Spacemaker Press, 1999, uJU}lIJ.spacemakrfrpresJ.Com.

• Public Playground Safety Handbook, US. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Ulww.cpJc.govlcpslpub!pubs!3 25 .pdf

PROJECT CREDITS FOR TARR FAMILY AND ANCIENT PLAYGROUND RENOVATIONS: Owner. New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (Adrian Benepe, commissioner). Design: Central Park Conservancy (Douglas Blonsky, president; Christopher Nolan, ASLA, vice president for capital projects; Gary Dearborn; David Turner, ASLA; Steven Bopp, ASLA; Steven Fusco, Kathleen Lessard, Jennifer Wong, Kim Finney, Heather Rubenstein, David Baker, Jar McBride). Ancient Playground comfort station renovation: Koutsomitous Architects PC, New York. Site contractors: An-

11Ie conservancy e appe d the top of each of the con crete fo rms, top, so they wou I d not qllal ify as a designated play surfa ce til at would

req ulre a lise zone. Parents noted that these adventure-styl'e playgro unds seem to have

m ore to offe r eight- and n i ne-year-olds than most of the oth er pla,ygro unds they visit, left.

cient Playground: Deborah Bradley Inc., New York, and Mecrotech Contracting Corporation, Mount Vernon, New York; Tarr Family Playground: FGI Corporation, Bronx, New York. landscape contractor: Home & G-arden Kraft Inc., Millford,

A Conversation with M .. Paul Friedberg

M. PAUL FREltlBEftG, I'ASLA, has bee n called the father of the adventu re pi aygrou nd in th e lin lted States.H is de si gn f or lac 0 b Riis Plaza in 1966 hlow lost) led to a revolution In the way play· grounds were designed In this llOuntry. Later, he worked with a couple different manufacturers to des ign lines of playground eq ui pment. Lilmlscape Archifecture asked him about his work back then and his t1loughts on the current state ofplayg;ro und design.

LAM: What made the playgrounds you worked on in the 1960s so revolutionary) FRIEDBERG: People living today can't understand whar it was like in the 1950s and 1960s. Robert Moses had one model for a playground and you couldn't change it-.......aswing, a slide, monkey bats, and a seesaw with a fence around it. The Playground Corporation of America and Creative Playgrounds-two privately owned companies-were proposing a different approach, but the approach was still more or less an affectation. It proposed forms that were more contemporary but they didn't necessarily address the notion of play itself, which is really where the change occurs.

The psychologists began to research the value of early childhood development and what play had to do with it. Up until that time, people thought play was a custodial acrivicy-c-coget rid of the kid. You find the 19605 parents began to take it more seriously. Mothers and fathers were more interested in their children and research indicated that the playground was not stimulating enough to be of value to the child.

The adventure playground was a revela-

New Jersey. Wood play equ(pment: Columbia Cascade Company Inc., Portland, Oregon. Custom metalwork: Custom Fabrication Inc., Harpursville, Ne\'I York. Funding: Ancient Playground: Carol & David Feinberg, New York Oty Council (Council Mem ber

non, In Europe, they took the rubble of che war, they gave tools to kids, and they licerally built their own playgrounds under the supervision ofa playground monitor.

So we come to the 1960s. lady Allen of Hurrwood had written some books documenting the adventure playground. She said in her book that American playgrounds were designed by insurance companies. That was basically true.

When I had the opportunity to do the Riis Houses on (New York City's} Lower East Side, I had two kids I watched them, and what was interesting to me was that what they found to do outside the playground was much more dynamic than what they did inside. At the playground they kept coming over and asking for raisins.

We began to see the value of something called linked play. The playground became an environment and everything in the playground was a pan of that environment. Still this was not an adventure playground because it was static. There were all sorts of nice things, but it didn't have what a playground really should have: [loose elements that kids control themselves}. TI1e reason we could not have these was because it didn'c have supervision, and without supervision, you can't control these loose elements.

Eva Moskowitz), New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Osborn Gates at Ancient Playground: Nancy and Daniel Paduano. Tarr Family Playground: J elf & Patsy Tart, New York City Council (Council Member Phil Reed).

The basic issue in American playgrounds is we supply maintenance but not play leaders. You need. someone who's srimulacing. It's like education, like books in a school. You need a teacher to add the magic-to bring the books to life. (Editor's Note: Rirhard Dattner's Ariventllre Playgr01Jrtd did originally have lOOJe partsmodular panels that could be !/Sed to huildsmal! struaure: For the fin! decade or so, neighhorhood parents raised money to pay for a playground Sl1jJerviJor. H oueur; as their childml grew, the original parents lost interest, arid by 1980, there was no I{)nger a playground SUjJerviJor.)

LAM: How were these playgrounds different from the average playground today? FRIEDBERG: I r's all about challenge. Challenge is integral to the notion of play. What do kids do in the country? They climb a tree and they full. It's part of the modicum of life. I'm not saying make it dangerous, but make it a balance, The playgrounds today are designed to a large extent by the safety engineers. Little by little, in order to jusrify their existence, they keep looking for more and more elements to limit the design of the playground.

LAM: Were you ever sued for any of your playground designs'

FRIEDBERG: No. For other things but not playgrounds, I've been very lucky, LAM: What are your hopes for the future of playground design)

FRIEDBERG: The landscape architecture profession really should have a strong role in evaluating the safety standards. We are so acquiescent. We cave in. I think there are ways of establishing criteria that are less banal-that are less restrictive and more creative .... Manufactured objects should be available in a way that allows them to be used creacively, through integrating them into topography and other things .... I hope for the next revolution.

MARCH 201·D Landscape Architecture [ 63


A survey of graduate programs gives a glimpse of the future of the profession.

By Lolly Ial, 'FASLA, and Rob Kuper, ASlA

MLA Programs on the Rise

HE NUb1BER OF master of landscape archirecrure (MLA) programs has grown since the degree was established in the 1900s. According to ASiA's Council on Education (COE),

accredited MiA programs in the United States increased from 14 to 38 since 1985. At present, three institutions are in the candidacy stage and 13 institutions are in the planning stage. Student enrollment has also grown. Between 2001 and 2004 the total number ofiill..A applications rose,

as did the number of students accepted, by 34 and 29 percent, respectively.

The growing number ofMlA programs and students bodes well for the growth and advancement of landscape architecture. Beginning in the late 1990s, ASLA and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) recognized that more scuclencs would need to enroll and graduate from professional degree programs to meet the demand for current and projected services. COE summarized its concerns in a 2007 white paper, stating that "con-

641 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

srderably more attention will need to be given to creating new [professional degree] programs if we are to produce more graduates at the rate deemed necessary co meet demand." Resources for recruiting students at many existing institutions are limited; increasing program capacity by adding faculty and space for instruction is currently unlikely. Engineering and architenure degree programs also compete for potential students or place pressure 00 landscape architecture programs to increase admission standards that may limit enrollment. So far, attempts to recruit students between 1985 and 2000 proved most fruitful at the graduate level, where almost three times as many MiA programs were created as bachelor of landscape architecture (BLA) or bachelor of science io landscape architecture (BSLA) programs.

A rise in the number ofML.A programs and students is timely. The current need for more programs occurs as the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says the landscape architecture profession will grow dramatically between 2008 and 2018. An increase in employment of 20 percent is projected, a climb exceeding those in other occupations. Also of note, U.S. NClW and \Vorld Report ranked landscape architecture as one of the 50 best careers in 2010_ This optimism may bring more attention to the merits and structure of graduate programs.

Based on the CELA member instirucions, 49 schools currently offer an MiA degree program in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Oceania. Twentyseven of these institutions (55 percent) responded to a survey we conducted in 2008. 111is article summarizes the findings of the survey, It discusses students' criteria for selecting programs, srudencs' motivation for enrolling, and the future challenges ofrvlLA programs.

Students' Criteria for Selecting Programs

Along with ND..A program information, we asked program chairs to provide names of lMLA students to answer a questionnaire focusing on their MIA experience. Of the 74


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AM [R I CAN S OCI m Of lAN 0 SCAP[ ARCHil[ CTS 636 m SlRHl NW. WASHINHON. DC 20001-3736 202-098'2444 • fAX 202·898·2285· WWW.ASlA.DN§

661 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010


.MLAgraduates and current students who received a questionnaire, 35 responded (47.3 percent). 'We found that students select institutions based on several criteria, including tuition, concentration areas, faculty expertise, reputation, and degree completion time. This new information may be helpful in recruiting more students. Students cited COSt and concencracion areas most often as the basis for their selection.

1UmDNi. MIA programs within state urnversities can be relatively inexpensive and provide the incentive for students to enroll in stare. Fifty-six percent of responding schools indicated that their annual in-state tuition is below $10,000. Florida A&M University responded with the lowest annual tuition rate of $1,800. Twenty-four percent of schools indicated annual in-state ruition rates between $10,000 and $20,000, most

Number of MlA Programs In the United States

Year Total #
1985 14
1991 22
1996 29
2004 32
2005 35
2001 36
2008 37
2009 38 Source,' ASLA, Jalluary 2010

MLA prn 9 rams cum ntly i n eand idacy: 1 C em SOl" Un vel's Iy

2 Un versi Iy 0 I M aryl and

3 Un vers Iy 0 I Soulh err Cal itor n ia

Other un ive rs iti e s devel opi n 9 MLA pro grams: 1 Illinois Inslilule of Techno ouy

2 Un VArsi Iy 0 I Tenr eSS8f,

:; Penn SI81e lin v8rsi Iy

4 Wasringlon lIniver:o.ly 1St LOll sj 5 Rulgers Un ivers it'}

6 Polytechn c Lriversily of Puerla r,ico 7 Ar ZOIl a Slate Un ivers ty

8 T8 mple Un ivero ity

Universities That Offer an MLA

I nstituti ons in the Accreditation

Uniled Slates & Canada Through Administered Through

Un iversily of Ali zon a Tucson, AZ

Auburn University Auburn, AL

Ball State Un i versity Muncie, IN

Un iversity 0 f B riti s h Columbia

Vancouver, British Colu mo ia Un iversity 0 I Cal ilo rn ia Berkeley, C/',

Cal ltorn i a State

Po Iyl ech ni c Un lve rs ity Pomona, CA

Chatham University Pitlsburgh

City College of New York New York City

CI e mson Un iversity Clemson, Soulh Carol ina Un iversily 01 Colorado Denver

Cornell University Ithaca, NY

Un iversity of Florid a Gainesville, FL

Florida A&M University* Tallahassee, FL

Flori da I nte mati on al University


UI] iversity of Georg i a Athens, GA

Un iversity 0 I G u e I ph Guelph, Onlario

Harvard University Cambridge, MA

Un iversity 0 II11 inoi s Champaign, IL

Kan sas State Un iversity Manhattan, KS

Lo u i sl an a Slate Un lve rs fty Baton Rouge, LA

Un iversity 0 I Man iloba Winn iDeg, Man i Lotta

Un iversity 0 f Maryland College Park, M D

CWllflUe(} on page 69


College of Arcllileclu re and Landscape Archi lecture

Sdhool of Landscape Architecture· hltpi/landscape.arilona.edu College of Architecture, Design, and Conslruclion

School of ArchiLecture • wwwlandarchauburnedu

College a I Alchitect u re and Plann ng

Department 01 Landscape Architecltlle

wfIW.bsu, edu!iandSOJpe

School 01 Architecture and Landscape Arch itecwre Department 01 LBndscape ArchKecrum

WfIW. 5ala, uDe. ca/programs/landscape -arc/lilecture

College of Envi ronmental Design

Department of Landscape Archllecrure & Environmental Planning /JIlp i !iaep, ced. berkeley. edu

College of Envi ronmental Des;gn

Department of Landscape ArcMeclure wwwcsupomona.edu/-fa

ArL and Design Division· ww.:)', chalham edu/deparlmen/s! arldesign/gradua /e/landscapearch

Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Atchitecture

wflWl ,ccny. cUlly.edu/praspeclivelarcfll'leclura/index, ctm Department of Planning & LBlldscape Architecture

WWl\( clemson, edu/caah/lsndscapeafclJiteclUre

College of Arclliteclu re and PIB~ning

Department of L andscape Arch~eclUrEl • WfIW. coden vet: edu! aClldemicsicolfeges!arc/lilectureplllnning/programs/maslersi mlalpages/mla.aspx

College of Agriculture and Life Scien ces Depa rl men I of Landscape Alchilec!ule wwwlandscape,comell.edu

College 0 I Desig n, Conslruction, and Plan n ing Department of Landscape Architecture wwwdcp,ull,edu/landscape

School of Architecture hllp'//famusoa,llelidegrees/grad/mlarch/progdasc School of Architeclure

Department of Landscape ArchReclUre

wflWJiu, edu/-soa/land_arcfll'leclure.!llm

College of Envi rorrnem and Design wwwced,uga.edu/lfJdex,php/degrelJ/lis//cat/mla School of Environmen la I Design and Rural Development Deparlment o! Landscape ArcMeclUm www.uoguefph.ca/sedrd/LA

Graduate School of Design

Depa rl men I of Landscape Alchilec!ule WMN. gsd. harvard. edulacademic/la

College of Fine an d Appl ied Arts

Department of Landscape Arch~ecture • WW~~ lalldarcfl, uiuc, adu College of Alchitectu re, Planning & De.sign

Department 01 Landscape Architecture • hltp:!/capd.ksu.edu/larcp College of Art an d Design

Robert Rei ch School of Lan dscape Arch itO'cture www.design.lsl/.edul/a.htm

Faculty 0 I ArcMecture

Depa nrren I of Landscape Architeclure htip://umaniloba, calfacullies/archi/eclure/programs! fandarchi lecture/Index. hlml

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Department 01 Plant Science and Landscape Architecture WWl'I( larch, umd. edu























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AMERI[AN somTY Of lANOSmE AR[HlTEm 636 En STREET NW, WASHINGTON, O[ 20001-3736 202-090·2444 • fAX 202·090-2205 • WWW.ASLA.DNu

681 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010


of which were between $10,000 and $12,500. In COntrast, annual tuition rates at private universities such as the University ofPennsylvania may be as high as $47,000, regardless of residency status.

CONCENTRATION' AREAS. Most schools indicated offering three or more concentration areas such as (1) design, including urban design and landscape planning; (2) ecology, including landscape restoration, landscape preservation, and susrainabiliry; (3) history; (4) theory; and (5) others, including compurer applications, professional practice, landscape management, communication, landscape engineering, and construction. Analysis of the survey dam revealed that the vast majority of the schools (81. 5 percent) focused on design and ecology. More than half of these respondents also indicated an emphasis on history, and just under one-third (29.6 petcent) noted an emphasis in all four core areas: design, ecology, history, and theory (see "Curriculum Concentration Areas in i\fLA Programs," page 74).

Design a1,d ecology. The focus on design and ecology has become more prevalent in .MLA. programs as worldwide attention has been given to environmental issues in the past 20 years. For example, rhe University of Virginia believes that MIA programs need to modify their curricula to continue advancing me knowledge base. Their program has "recenrered each technical course around several common questions based on the most recent work in ecology and hydrology" that address brownfield and infrastructure design. The University of Minnesota's pro~ gram emphasizes communiry, the aesthetics of landscape, and ecology, with the latter having a critical focus on water.

Recently accredited and developing programs stress design and ecology too. Lisa Kunst Vavro, ASU, founding director of the MIA program at Chatham University, said her program focuses on three aspecrs of susrainabiliry: ecology, sociology, and economy. New programs are also emerging with this focus. Temple University is initiating an MLA program with a concencracion in ecological landscape restoration. Kristen Brown, a student pre-enrolled iu

Conlinued from page 61

Un iversity 01 Mass acnusetts LMB

Amr,erst, MA

I nsti1uti ons in tlte Accreditation

United States & Canada Through Administered Through

Un iversity 01 M lebi gan LMB

ArlnArboi, MI

Ull iversity 01 Min n esota LAAB

Mi n neapo lis

Miss issi pp i State Uni v ers ity LAAB'

Mississipp iSla Ie, MS

Morg an Sia te Un ive rs ity LMB


University 01 New Mexico LMB

A1buquerq ue, NM

State Ull iversity 01 Ne w Yo rl< LMB

Call e 9 eol Environmental

Sc ience an d Forestry

Syracuse, NY

North Carol ina State LAAB


Ra!eigh, NC

Ohio Slate Universrty LMB

Colu mbus, OH

Un iversity of Okl a h a ma LMB

Oklahoma City

Un iversity 0 lOre gon LAAB

Eugene, OR

Un iversity 01 Pe n nsy Ivan ia LMB

Phi ladel phia

Rhode Island School 01 Design LAAB Providence, RI

Un iversity of Southern t
Los Angeles, CA
Ulliversity 01 Texas, Arlingtoll LMB
Arlington, TX
University 01 Texas, Austin LMB
Austin, TX
Texas A& M Un ivers ity LAAB
College Station, TX
Texas Tech University LMB
lubbock, TX
University ofToronto CSLA
Utah State Un iversity LMB
Logar, UT
Un iversity of Vi rg in la LMB
Cha~o lIesville, VA
Coilliill.Jed Oil page 11 College 01 Social and Behaviorill Sciences

Department of landscape ArchKeclufEl and Regional Planning ~fI( umass.eduilarpllildex.Mml

School 01 Natural Resourc€s and Environment www.snre.umIC/l.edu/!a

College 01 DesilJll • Departmenl of landscape Archileetuf€ tIIlp i/landarc/), cae: umn, edu

College 01 Agriculture and UI e Scien ces

Deparlmenl 01 Landscape Archilecture • www.lalc.mssta/e.edu

School of Architecture and Plami n g

Department oIL alldscape Architecture w~.morgal),ediJlsc/)aol_oL8rchi/ec/ure_aild_J)lalliliilgl academiCS_8ild_departmenlS/laildscape_arcllileclure.hlml

School of Architeclure and Plarni n 9

Department ollardscape ArchRec!ure

ilItpilsaap, Ullm, edulen/academic-proglamslgraduale-degreesl grad- landscape-arch/grad - landscape-arcll-dlrec/or html

Department of landscape ArchKeclum

/llip i/fia, est edu

College 01 Desig n

Department 01 Landscape Arch~eclllie

hitp i lilcsudesign. orgicoiltenl/lndex. cfm/fuseacHonipage! fileIl8meI18Ildscape_archileclure,hlml

College 01 Engineering • Austin E. Knowlton School of Arrni!eclJJre Department olUmdscape ArcMecllifEl

hllp iiklw Wi/Oil, osu.edul?colllent=53

College 01 Archilectu re

Division 01 landscape ArDhitecture • Illlp:l/la, coa, ou.eau Selloo' of Architecture and Allied Arts

Department 01 landscape ArcMec!ure

http://ianriarcil. uoregon. edu

School of Des ign

Depa rtmen I of Landscape Architecture

www design. upenn, edu/landscape- archi/eclure

landSC8ll8 Architecture Department

ilIlp:! !landscape, (iso', edu

School of Architeclure

IJllp.l lard]. usc. edulProgramsiGradualeDegreeslJndCeritficalesl MaslerofLandscapeArc/lilecture

School of Archilectuf€ • Departm snt ollan dscape Arch itecture w~.uta. edu/arcllilec/ure!academidgrad/academic_ grad_landlllm

School of Archi leclure • Deparlm en I 0 ILa n dscape Arch i I ec lure http://50a ,utexas. edu/la/prospect

College 01 Archileclure

Department olUmdscape ArcMecllifEl & Urban Planning http://archweb.lamu,edul/aup

College of Agricullllfal Sciences and Natural Resources Department of lardscape ArchHeclufEl • www./arc./lu,edu

John H. Da n iels Facu Ity 01 Ar chi lecture, lan dscspe, and Design w~.danieI5>ulorolllo, ca/programsimaster_oLlandscape_ architecture

College 01 H u mani lies, Arts, and Socia I Sciences

Department of landsc8ll8 Architecture ard Environmental Planning WmI( U5U. edu/laep

School of Archi lecture

Depa rl men I of Arch i leclure and La n dscaDe Arch i I ee lure www arch. virginia edu/landscape


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• •




AMfRICAN so[lHY Of lANOSCAPf ARCHIHCIS 636 m STRHT NW. WASHINHON. OC 20001·3736 202·098·2444 • fAX 202·898·ZZ8S • WWWASllOIJ6

70 I Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010


Temple's .MLA program, suggested that Ml.A applicants are seeking such specializations: "I wanted to combine my undergraduate degree from Michigan State in Agriculture and Natural Resource Communications (with a specialization in Environmental Studies) with my love for design and horticulture."

Bleaioe: Electives distinguish one .MLA program from another, define the program's niche, or prepare students for a thesis or capstone project. Thesis research at Auburn University, for example, usually centers on cultural landscape history. Seminars offered

Nearly 60 percent of schools have faculty working within a research institute or center.

explore the 20th-century American landscape through the writings of J. B. Jackson, invesrigace the historical and cultural implications of a specific site, and introduce contemporaty theories of urban design, culrural theory, and geography using case studies. At the University of Melbourne, a course titled "Contemporary Theory and the Australian Landscape" relates to the specialization in indigenous conceptions of landscape. Srudenrs in this course develop an undersranding oflandscape architecture theory and work to understand the way that the Australian landscape has been perceived by irs inhabitants and how those perceptions have changed with time. Examples of unique elective: courses elsewhere include diasporic cultures, media and urban space, cinema and the ciry, material culture studies theory, urban habitats, wilderness and rusticity, and healing landscapes.

Breadth qfswdy Pat Taylor, ASIA, director of the MlA program at the University of Texas at Arlington, responded to our survey in support of a broad curriculum, saying, "We avoid foci and concentrations as much as possible under the conviction that our obligation is to educate for all aspects of land-

Conlll1ued from page 69

I nsfituti ons in the AGcreditation

Uniled Slates & Canada Through Administered Through

Virg i n i a Po Iytech ni c In stltute LAAB and Slate Un ive rsi.ly

Blacksburg, VA

University of Washington LAAB


I nSli luli ons in

Eu rn pe, Austra I ia, ami OC{lania

College of Architectu re and Urban Stud ies School 01 Architeclure + Desi gn

Department 01 L;mdscape Arch~ecturEl • WWW, lar. arcl] , vt, edu

College of Buil t Environ menls

Department of Landscape Architec!ure

I1Ilp i/larch. be. wasl1li1glon.edu


Throu gh Adm i nistere II Th ro u gh

Un iversity 0 fAde I aide Ade laille, Australia

Un iversity 0 f Canberra Canberra, Australia

He ri ot -Watt Un iversity Edinburgh, Scotland

Le ed s M etropol itan Un iversily - Leeds, UK

li n co In Un iversity C<mterbury, New Zealand

Un iversity of Me Ib ourne Mel boume, Australia

Royal Mel bou rn e Instilute of Techno logy

Mel bourne, Australia

Faculty or the Profess'ons

Sellool of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Design www.arclJ.adelaide.edu.au

Faculty of Arts and Design· Sellaol of Design and Arcllitecture www.canberra.edu.aulfacullieslarls·designJ fandscape-l1rc/Jilecture

Ed inburgh Call ege of Art

Schools of Architecture and Landscape Arcllileclure wwweca.8cuk/!ndex,php?ld=654

Faculty a I Arts and Soci ety

The Leeds Selloal of Architecture, Landscape & Design wwwleedsme{,ac.uk/as/ald

Division or Environment, Society, and Design School of Landscape Arcllitectu re

WNW lincoln. sc nIl Aboul- L lilcaln- University/UniversitystilJGlure-and-staffiAcademic-staff-and-faculties/Faculty-afEnviranmenl-Saciely-and-Df>-sigIlISchool-ot-LanciscapeArchitecture

Mel bourne Selma I of Design www.msd.unimelb.edu.aullandscape

College of Desig n and Social Context

School 01 Architecture and Design

Department 01 Landscape AfcMeclum wwwrmil.com,8u/brawse;lD=labm12keblmp

LAAS' The Landscape Arellileclure Accredilil!ion Board accredls ~rsl proressional degree programs in Ihe Uniled Stales and i Is I errilories,

CStA The Canadian Society of Landscape Arcllitects Accreditation Council accredits programs in Canada,

- Accreditation data nat available

• Granted initial sea editatian by LAAB t Granted Gandidacy s talus by L~AB

scape architecture practice." Several other institutions also mvored a broad curricuIWIl. At the University of Florida students are exposed to the "breadth of landscape architeccure and allowed individual exploracion in depth" Clemson University said it "does not have a particular emphasis area. Design studios are the main focus." Lincoln University focuses on "conceptual contents of landscape architecture and applied research through design thesis."

For some students, this "big picture" approach to studying landscape architecture is just what they're looking for. Lisa Orr, ASLA, a graduate of Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in art history, want-

Accreditauoll dalE current as af January 2010

ed a broad view of the profession and "to cover as many different things" as possible while enrolled. Doing so eventually allowed her to develop her own area of interest while gaining a sound tooting in the core knowledge base of the field. Lucy Dialal, a graduate of Florida A&M University, is another example. She had an undergraduate degree in architecture and pursued an :MIA to gain a diversi lied perspective on design,

FACULTY EXP£RnSE. Faculty expertise and research typically influence the concentration areas within MLA ptograms. A significant number of the responding schools (81.5 percent) indicated that faculty were


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MAR C H20! 0 La ndscane Atc hllect Ute I '71


involved in sustainable design or research, and more than half of the schools (59"3 percent) said they had faculty who were working within an associated research institute or center. According to Taylor at the University of Texas at Arlington, "Location and faculty interests automatically pull a program in certain directions, even while the curriculum remains fixed." Many students chose their school based on the faculty members' expertise. For instance, Colleen

Corballis, Student Affiliate ASLA, now an MLA student, said that she chose to attend U tah State because faculty expertise suited her interests io both ecology and historic preservation.

DEGREE COMPL.ETION TIME. The degree completion time for a first professional MLA (MLA D degree is typically three years for candidates already possessing a BA or BS degree. Two years is typicall y required to receive a second professional NfLA (MLA II) degree for candidates having a BSLA or BLA degree.

The curriculum varies between twoand three-year MLA programs. Three-year

MLA degrees contain foundation COLUses, including horticulture, site engineering, history, professional practice, and digital communications, that prepare students without a BLA. For example, at the University of Maryland, three-year MI.A Students must enroll in the courses "Woody Plants for Mid-Atlantic Landscapes," "Digital Mapping and Drawing," "Garden and Landscape History," "Environmental Analysis and Site Engineering," and a graduate design studio in the spring semester of the first year. Two-year NfLA students, on the other hand, must only enroll in a graduate studio, landscape arch i-

Admission Requirements, Duration of Study, and Tuition of MLA Programs

Accredited I nstltutlonsl n the United Stales & Can a da

Admissions Requirements

Advanced Standing

Du rali on of Stu dy

2008-2009 Annual Tuition

Aubu rn Un iversity


$10,200 in $21,6000111

Un ive rs ity olGa Ii 10 rn ia, Berkeley

1,2,3,~,5, 7

Chatham University


Corn e II Un iversily


Florida A&M University

2,3,4,7,and evidence of dBSig n & scholarly work

1 (mea m mended), 2,3,4,5,6

1,2, 3A5, 6, and Interview

1,2, 3,4,7, TOEFL & q u BSHonnaire 1,2,3,4,5

University 01 Florida

University 01 Georgia

University 01 Guelllh

Harvard Un ive rs ity

University 01 Illinois


Kansas state Un ive rsity


University 01 Maryland

University 01 Minnesota

I, 2, 3, ~,_6 (p relerroo bl[l not recu ired) 2,4,5

min. GPA 2.8


min. GPA 2.5

M lssl s s illP i State Un iversi ty

Morgan Stale University

University 01 New MexiGo


72 I La ndsc ape Atc h lteetu re M Aft C H 2 e I 0

Appl"cants wi BlA are admitted to the final year & enroll in electives wI concentraled swdy.

App I" cants wi bachelo r's degree in LA, architecture, or environmental plarni n g en ler 2· year prog ram wi flexi bi lily r or sp eca liza 1i0il.

ApD I" can Is wi BlA enler 1 - year progra m; appli can ts wI BArch enler 2-year program

Appl"cants wi BlA enter 2-year MlA advanced degree Gurricul u m wI corcen !rated sludy.

Course requirements vary based on student's undergraduate degree.

App I" cants wi BlA enter second year 01 program fa Ilowi n g curriculum 01 tllin:l-year sludenls.

Appl"cants wi SlA degr~e enter 2·year program 'III

con C€furated study Ihose witi1 work experjence e~leJ (inal year

App I.eon Is wi B Arch may need 80 credi I hours to graduale.

Appl"cants wi BlA degree enter 2-year program 'III concentrated study.

Appl"cants wI BlA not required to lake proficiency courses,

App Ilca~b wi SlA enter 1 -ysar program wi co~centr alioli study ard can apply credillo MSlA program.

Applicanls wi BLA can be admitted 10 2 -year program.

ApDI-cants wi BlA enter 'I .S-year research-based MSlA program Others wi design degrees may enter 2-year program.

Case -by-cass basis: app Ii canls wI BLA or re lated degrees may enter 2 -year program.

1 yr - 30 credits 2 'Irs - 54 credils 3 yls "'" 96 credits 2 ,{rs - 52 credits 3 yls - 72 credits

1 yf - 44 credits 2 yrs - 65 cred-ts 3 yrs - 78 cred"ts 2 V[s - 60 credits 3 vrs - 90 credits 3 vrs - 90 credits

2 VIS - 52 credits

3 .5 yrs - 9'2 credits

2 yrs - 52 cred"ts

3 yrs - l8 credits

3 yrs - 16 courses

1 .5 yrs - 60 tledils 2.5 yrs - 80cledils 3 yrs - 1~0 credils 2 yrs - 48 cred·1s 2.5 yrs - 72 credits 3 'Irs - credils'

3.5 yrs - 90 credits 5 .5 yrs - 165 credits

2 'Irs - 40 credils

3 VIS - 71 credits

1 if. - 30 credits

2 VIS - 60 credils

3 yrs - 88 cred·ts

2 yrs - 30 credits

3 yrs - 74 credits

1 .5 yrs - -36 credits 2 yrs - 60 credil~

3 'Irs - 90 credits

1 'If - 32 credits

2 'Irs - 48 credils

2 yrs - 57 credits

3 'Irs - 87 credils

$10,213 i~ $25,219 out

$20,065 w/oullees in/oul

$23,750 inlout

$1,800 in $3,750oul

$7,850 in $23,730 out $7,654 in $22,9;360lll $5,200 CAD $5,039USD

$8,860 in $25,164 out

$12,528 in $25,164011t $11,000 in $24,000 out $r6,942 in $26,180 out

$5,151 in $12,502oul $6,480 in $10,278oul

$4,800 in $13,0000llt

tecrure research methods, and a specialization elective.

Several instirucions offer an.MLA degree in one or one and a half years to candidates with a BLA, depending on their background. Those institutions include Auburn University; Chatham University in Pittsburgh; the University of Minnesota; and the University of New Mexico. Some of these institutions offer courses during the summer and some provide credits for courses taken already and/or for life experience. Shatter programs ate attractive to MIA degree seekers, particularly nontraditional students who have work experience.

Shorter programs are attractive to ... nontraditional students who have work experience.

Programs that offer distance learning provide another benefit of convenience for some students (see "Distance learning:

Back to the Future," Landscape Architecture, March 2001). However, for many candidates who have had a career outside landscape architecture, an MLA is attractive because it can be acquired faster than a BSLA (four years) or BLA (five years).

At Kansas State, students have the unique option of pursuing a five-and-a-half-

year MLA as their first college degree--without receiving a bachelors of any kind According to Stephanie Rolley, ASiA, chair of the landscape Architecture and Regional Community Planning Department at Kansas State University, "The.MLA degree is 165 credits (11 semesters). The student enters as a freshman, takes intensive studio and seminar [courses] during the summer, and applies to the graduate school at the end of year three."

Accredited Institutions in Admissions

the United States & Canada Requirements

Advanced Standing

2 yrs - 30 - 4 2 credits 3 yrs - 66 credls


Duration of Study Annual Tuition

$6,900 in $10,920 Ollt

State University of New York, Coli e 9 e of Enviro n menial Science and Forestry

Un iversity of Okl a hom a


1,2,3A5 (recommended), 6

University of Pennsylvania -"'1 2, 3, ~f5c5

Texas A&M University 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, interview

Texas Tech University 1,3, 5

University ofTexas, Arlington 1,2, 3,5,6

University ofToronto 6

Utah State Un iversity

1,2, 3A5, 6

University of Virginia

1,2,3,~/5, 7

Accredited Institutions in Admissions

Europe, Australia, & Oceania Requirements

Applicants wI BLA enler MS program wI concemaled study; otters wI d ElSign degreElS en ter 2 - year MLA.

Students wI ElLA enter 2-year program wI a research focus andtllesis.

Depends upon applicant's background.

Applicants wI BLA degree enter 2-vear program.

Applicants wi ElLA enler 2"year program.

Applicants wi ElLA or related degree may enler 2-year program.

Case-by - case basis. appli can Is wI B Ncll or BLA may be granted advanced sian di n g.

Applicants wi BLA enter 2-year program, available through onl ine d is!ance leami n gin Illture_

Applicants wi BlA enter 2,year program wi cO[lcentralion study; th ose wi arch degrees en ter 2 -vear program.

Advanced Standing

2 )'rs - 47 credits 3 'irs - 69 credits 2'ftS 19 credits 3 'lIS - 28 cred"ts

2 'lIS - 48 credits 3 'irs - 80 credits 2 'iIS -36 cred'!s 3 'Irs - 76 credits 2 yrs - 62 credits 3 yrs - 92 credits

3 yrs - 15.5 credits

2 'irs - 30 credits 3 'irs - 84 credits 2 'irs- 61 credits 2 'I IS - 65 credits 3 yrs - 97 credils

$3,566 in $8,270 out $47, 000 in/oul

$5,780 in $-11 ,400 out

$3,850 in $4,250 out

$7,000 CAD (dojllestic) $19,000 CAD (Inl'~ $18.41'1 uso

$2,567 in

$8,218 out

$12,140 in $22,140oul

2.5 yrs - cred"ls"


Duration of Study Annual Tuition

Li n coin Un lversity

Un iversity of Me Ib oum e


Other rnstitution s

Admissions Requirements

$7,792 in $-15,512 alit

GI e mson Un iversity (i n can di da c1)


work e~pelience

Pe n n State Un ivers ity (in development)

Tempte University

(in development)

'Information nol available

APD Ii cants wi ElLA may enter 2 -year professional M LA program.

Applicants wi BLA entel accelerated program.

Advanced Standing

Applicants wi BLA from a 5-year program enter 2-year program. Applicants 'w! BI_A from a 4-year plogram may C!lmplet~ degree In less than 3 years.

Ke y 10 ad miss ion req u 1 re me n Is 1 PortfoliO

2 L etters of recom mendalion

3 Iranscnots

~ l.elter of intent

5 GRE scores

6 MinimumGPA 3.0

2 'irs - 200 credits

3 yrs - 300 credits (researah option avail., blll not accredited)

Duration of Study

2 yrs - 51 credits 3 yrs - 99 cred'ls

$5,575 NZO (dom.) $26,800 NZO (Inrn $19,888 USD

$24.200 AUD (dom.) $27,650AUO (Inl'l) $25,6~5 USD

2008 ... 2009 Annual Tuition

2 yrs - 40 credits (MSlA) $-15,468 in 3 yrs - 82 credits IMLA) $27,084 out

2 'irs - 44 credits $13,572 in

3 yrs - 70 cred'ts $20,088 OLJI

7 Resume

MARCH 201·D Landscape Architecture [ 73


Candidates' Motivation "for Enrolling in MLA Programs Candidates were attracted to the MIA due to an interest in the field and the ability to enroll withouc an undergraduate degree in the discipline. Many students were surprised they could enter (he field without a design background. Amy Washma of the University ofF1oridasaid, "I was so excited to learn that I could pursue a master's degree without having a bachelor's degree in the subject. I wantjed] to become a landscape architect, but my bachelor's degree is in geology." Crystal Gaudio at Berkeley explained, "My undergraduate degree was in English literature, and I loved studying it but was not interested in the professions associated with it. I discovered landscape archi recrure, fell in love with the idea, and was able to apply." Maura Blackmon of me U niversiry of Georgia provided orher reasons sne was attracted to the degree: "It was faster to earn a master's than a bachelor's, and I wanted the challenge of graduate-level work."

A majority of the responding students (60 percent) have an undergraduate degree in another discipline, such as biology, English literature, an hiscory, fine arts, history, geology, geography, finance, natural resource management, and ecology. Whatever their background, srudenrs sought a

good fit between their undergradu-

ate and graduate degrees. Shaun O'Rourke of the University of New York in Syracuse wanted to explore applying his undergraduate ecology degree in design. Janna Tidwell, ASLA, of Texas Tech University had an undergraduate degree in horciculture and was overseeing residential landscape installations, but she wanted to be mote creatively involved on larger projects.

About 30 percent of responding students had an undergraduate degree in an allied or related field such

as architecture, engineering, environrnenral design, and horticulture. Jennifer Walker, Associate ASLA, of

the University of Georgia had a BS

in horticulture and enrolled in the

74 I La ndsc ape Atc h lteetu re M Aft C H 2 e I 0

More than 80 percent

of schools say their programs focus on design and ecology.

MLA prograra after working five years in landscape design. She said she "questioned the validity" of her design work and returned to graduate school to study the conneccions between environmental design, ecology, the political economy, and the production and consumption of food. Sandra Rolph, Associate ASLA, of the University of Minnesota had a BS in environmental science and wanted to have a more direct impact on the built environment.

Of the remaining responding students, two had a BLA and one had a master of city and regional planning degree. This refleccs what Carl Sreinicz, Honorary ASLA, found in a 1.997 article in LaIld.JeajJe Anhit~aure;' The Dumber ofBLA srudents who go on to study for an MLA is at most 12 percent, but more realistically 5 percent (see "The Shape of Things to Come?" Lzndrcape Architecture, December 1997).

Curriculum Concentration Areas In MLA Programs



" GO

e l.



Design & E&!!Iogy




With or without a BLA, MLA students' specific area of concentration when enrolled fell into one of four categories: 15 (43 percent) in urban design/planning; 13 (37 percent) in ecology/sustainable landscapes/ historic preservation; five (14 percent) in a broad view of landscape architecture; and twO (6 percent) in theory. Many of the students chose urban design and ecology be' cause of their interest in studying and advancing current topics in these areas. Other topics highlighted by the respondents include landscape urbanism, urban decay, suburban sprawl, urban watersheds, aesthetics and the environment, sustainable design, cultural and historic landscapes, historic landscape preservation, and ecological restoranon,


A Future Challenge of the MLADegree

The number of MLA programs and S(Udents throughour the world has gWWD, helping to meet some of the need for practieing landscape architects. As reports have shown, the services and knowledge oflandscape architects are needed. However, the growth and significance of the MIA degree in the future face a challenge. According to

Stephanie Rolley, a member of the COE, "This is an appropriate time for om profession [0 develop a degree nomenclature that dearly arciculates the full spectrum of land-

scape architecture practice," from learning technical information needed to communicate with contractors, engineers, and rnainrenancesraff to doctoral work advancing professional knowledge. She remarks that the MIA degree needs to provide future practitioners with greater breadth and depth in critical thinking as well as advanced understanding of specific topics.

The bfLA degree currently plays at leas t three roles. It has accommodated students of various backgrounds through a raage of degree completion times and has served as: -a firsr professional degree (threeyear :MI.A I) for students coming from unrelated fields. Tlus MIA provides [he basic landscape architectur-

at skill set and knowledge and allows fur focus on a concentration area.

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for academic positions. The MLA II may also provide a varied perspective in design to scudencs with undergraduate degrees in allied fieJds such as architecture and planning. -a terminal, non baccalaureate, five-anda-half-year MLA degree (which exists only at Kansas State), This MLA provides the

entering freshman with undergraduate foundation courses and transi OODS to graduate research courses. In this model, the school must recruit and enroll the student as an undergraduate. The effectiveness of this new model can be assessed with the first graduati ng class in 2011.

-a terminal degree (two-year MLA II) for students seeking advanced studies in a concentration area and the credential required

I nstituti ons in the United States & Canada

Descriptions of Concentration Areas by Responding Institutions

Curriculum Concentration Description

Aubu rn Un iversity

Un ive rs Ity olGa lilo mla, BerKeley

cnatn arn Un ive rsity Corn e II Un iversily

Florida A&M University

Un ive rs ily 01 Florid a

Un ive rs tty 01 Georgi a University 01 Guelph Harvard Un lve rs ity University 01 illinois Kansas State Un ive rsily

University 01 Maryland University 01 Minnesota

M iss is sippi State Un iversity Morgan State University University 01 New MexiGo State Un ive rs tty 01 New YorK, SyraGuse

University 01 OKlahoma

University 01 Pennsylvania

University 01 Texas, J\JIington

Texas A&M University

Texas Tech University Universtty ofToronlo Ulah State Un iv ersity

University 01 Virginia

Institutions in Europe, Australia, and Oceania

Emplmsis on landscape urbanism, landscape ecology, landscape history, and theory. Thesis requires significant research, usually in cui tural landscape history, and a desi gn test of lIlesls.

Oilers second pro fessi ona I MLA in environ mental plann ing. Concmtration in environ mental plann ing, social factors in design, and lacuHy interesis. Applicants v~th suitable background may enroll for joint degrees offered' with archilectule and city and regional planning.

Program caters to second- career professional students. Focus on three prongs of sLJSfainable design-ecological, social, and economic. Emphasis on culturalland15cape studies. Distinguishing degree requirements include courses in archaeology, anthropology, landscape preservation, and history!theory

Maj or foc i are com mllnity design and diversity in the profession. Department interacts with architecture, horti Glillure, environmental sci ence educa I io n, and plann' n g.

Students exposed to breadth of landscape architecture, and individual explorations are enoouraged. Ol1e semester of studying urban design ebroed in Paris is offered.

Professionally orienled with broad applications in environmental, oultural, hlslorlcal, and physical design. Til a ru ra I-UIDan interfaC€ is stressed as well as environmental design and food reseafch.

Desi gn a nd theory are emphasized.

Special ze in Ihles areas: cui tural h I>ri tage design, ecological design ill1d techno logy, an d com munity and urban landscape design. Program sO'e~s to prepare students to practice, advance, and contribute to lhe profession of landscape architecture. Design, feSilarch, communication, and design implementa~on are some of the program's goals

Focus on susta'nable urbanism in Ihe ChesapeBke Bay watershed witll hislory and Uleory being strong components.

Concentrate on three themes: aeslhetics of landscape, ecosystems services and landscape scale, and spatial and process integration in communities. WaLer is a critical focus. Brood spectrum of oracnce is presented and research melhods are inlegrated inlO capslone requ ire ment.

Response not provided.

Urban community design is emphasized. Community-baSild studio projects dis~nguish program from others.

Strong focus on site and urban design. Graduate certificates in 'preservation and regionalism' and 'town design' are ollared. Core areas of curriou lum are in commu n ity desig n and planning, cui lural landscape sludies and conservallon, and landscape and urban Ilcology.

General landscape architectural practice ill1d sustainable urban landscapes are locussd upon, Community-based projects in Oklahoma are an invaluable lacet of the program.

Design, theory, and history are stressed. Projects locus on large-scale sHe and urban design as well as the representation 01 ideas ill1d inlernalional and oross-disciplinary collaboralion.

Ava id corcen Ira lions as mu cll as possible Educa te fOI all aspects 01 landscape arc h ilec tu ra I practice toea lion and faeul Ly in teres I s do ou II program into regiona I issues such as wa tersnecs

Program accentuates urban design and nonmolorized Iramporlalion design, laJldscape COflSlrucUon lechnology, evidence-based design methodology, landscape history, planning, and environmental protection and enhancement. Actual landscape problems are attempted in graduate s!tldios.

Desi gn, construc~on, and plan n ing are empha0ized.

Til e three foci are ecology, urbanism, and di gital med ia and how each relates 10 design.

Program concenlrates on sustai nab Ie lalldscapes, open space conservation plann illg and green space desi gn, cultural and histori c landscape$, and community planning and urban design. TIle program has a slrong loundation in ecology!wildlile, environmental planning, and sustainable design.

Formal concernatons are not ollered. Students typically develop conceiltraHon in architecture, representation, or ecologically ba15ed design as well as urban planni n 9 or arch itec tural history!pf€servati on,

C urric ul u m Gon ce ntration Des c ription

University 01 Melbourne

li nco in Un iversity

Five professional enlfy programs are architeclUre, construction management, landscape architecture, properly, and urban planning. Specialist professional development programs in property valuation, pl.anning and design, and urban design are available.

Program focuses on Ihe conceptual content of landscape architecture. Graduates are capable of playing a significant role in landscape planning.

761 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

As recencly as 2001, fear of losing potential students to architecture programs concernplacing five-year master's degrees spurred some to comment in a Landscape Architecture article that "the five-year master's may be the only option" for an undergraduate landscape architecture program to survive (see "The Academic Landscape Architecture Program: Traditional or Evolving?" Landscape Architecture, August 2001). As our survey has shown, several MLA. programs offer an MLA in one or one and a half years by granting advanced placement to graduate applicants with BLA degrees. This may explain why few five-year MLA. programs have surfaced since Kansas State began its program. The growing number of MI.A programs and students also suggests that attention and resources are shifting from undergraduate to graduate education, from proposing five-year MLA. degrees to using one-, two-, and threeyear MI.A degree tracks suited to a variety of applicants. Awarding an MI.A degree to students with unrelated undergraduate backgrounds suggests that the skills and knowledge needed to enter the profession can be compressed, thus calling into question the current state oflandscape architectural education as a whole.

Consequently, the undergraduate and graduate degrees in landscape architecture may be becoming more alike than different. While the current model of the MLA degree contributes to the growth of the profession by receiving applicants with a wide array of educational backgrounds, it may not be doing enough to advance landscape architectural knowledge. In 1997, before the sharp rise in MLA program numbers, Patrick Miller, FASLA, former ASLA president and professor at Virginia Tech, surveyed ASLA fellows and found that landscape architectural education was seen as deficient in theoretical and technical expertise, research and res ti ng, and academic rigor ("A Profession in Peril?" LandJcape Architecture, August 1997). The deficiencies, he scared, could affect the basis of professional decision making and prevem "consistency within the knowledge base of the profession."

Miller suggested an educational model that clearly defines the role of the MLA degree. The general practitioner/specialist

model, based on the medical profession, would require those interested in pursuing landscape architecture to first receive an undergraduate liberal arts degree that would not prepare them for practice. Following their undergraduate degree, Students would then enroll in an MI.A program to acquire a knowledge base shared by all MI.A programs and a core skill set for general practice. Should an MLA graduate decide to seek advanced knowledge, he or she may continue his or her education and specialize in an area, finalizing the education with certification.

Facing the challenge of specifying the nomenclature and role of the MLA in the

The undergraduate and graduate degrees in landscape architecture may be becoming more alike than different.

future may require a move away from a multifaceted MLA degree toward the development and certification of specialization areas. Doing away with the BLA and BSLA is highly unlikely given the number of students currently using this route to enter practice and the need for more professionals. As the MLA develops in the future, appropriate nomenclature, curriculum and focus, and degree completion time all must be considered. Howattracrive these are to potential students will affect enrollment. It might also be beneficial to repeat Miller's survey of ASLA fellows and practitioners with particular emphasis on the effects, if any, MI.A graduates have had on the profession.

Nonetheless, the MLA degree is expanding along with the profession. A passionate and healthy debate on curriculum, focus, and how it can be (or should be) distinguished from undergraduate educacion may be 00 the horizon. Practitioners

and academicians must examine the MLA degree and identify ways to accommodate new skills and disciplines that will effecti vely produce creative and critical thinkers, designers, researchers, and leaders, while also advancing scholarly knowledge in this exciting profession. J J

Lolly Tai, FASLA, is a professor and Roh Kuper, 11SLA, is an assistant professor in the Department ofLa11dsrape ArrhitiXture mid Honiculsure at Temple University i11 Ambler,. Pmns)'/vania, Tht)'would like to extend their appreciation to all the instiuaions and students that responded to their survey to make this stud), possible. Thanks a/so to Temple landscape architeaure alumni] obn Rebb, Class of 200 5; Peter Emerson, AmlCiate ASLA, Class of 2009; and A1lna Lavinia Schmitz, Class of 2009, for their assistance with this project.


• 'The Academic Landscape Architecture Program: Traditional or Evolving?" by Karen Hanna, FASLA; Landscape Architerture, August 2001.

• Accreditation Procedures and Accreditation Standards, Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board, September 2002.

• "Best Careers 2010: Landscape Architect," U,S, News and World Report; wusaus neus. comlmoneykareerslarticiesl200 91 I 21281 latldsmpe-architect-2.html, accessed February 12, 2010.

• Gracing the Profession, American Society of Landscape Architects Council 00 Education white paper, April 2007.

• Model of Landscape Architecture Education, American Society of Landscape Architects Council on Education white paper, December 2008.

• OCCltpatio1Jal Outlook Handbook, 20 I 0- 201 I Edition, Landscape Architects, United States Bureau ofLabor Statistics; WU)Ul.b!s.gw! ()(v/{)[(Js039.htm#outlook, accessed February 12,2010.

• "A Profession in Peril?" by Patrick Miller, FASI.A; Landscape Arrhitectllre, August 1997. • "The Shape of Things to Come?" by Carl Sreinirz, Honorary ASLA; Landscape Architeaure, December 1997.

• "Training vs. Education: Should design schools prepare students for the world of work or the world of ideas?" by William J. Thompson, PASLA; Landscape Arr:hitlXture, September 1990.

MARCH 2010 Landscape Architecture 177

UIRKY AND COLORFUL, L1s Parcelas Garden is among the most unusual gardens you'll ever see. Found objects such as old table legs and co- tanks function as sculptures within the space. Neighbors sit at purple picnic tables beside a "casita" (little house) filled with memorabilia from the gardeners' home country, Puerto Rico. But what is now a vibrant place for growing food and community gatherings once tore this neighborhood apace. It was a series of vacant 100s, an eyesore, a place where drug deals were made-until Philadelphia Green helped a small group of neighbors reclaim the space.

Many aging i ndusrr ial cities have faced difficult challenges: vacant lots that bring down property values, run-down parks that are magnets for criminals, and pollution caused by combined sewer syscerns. Buc few cities are addressing these challenges as effectively Of as holistically as Philadelphia.

781 La ndsc ape Atc h lteetu re M Aft C H 2 e I 0


Philadelphia Green is a flexible nonprofit working at a varietv of scales to fiaht

.' 0

blight, create community! and

beautify its namesake city.

By Daniel Jost, ASlA

Then again, most cities don't have a partner like the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). A nonprofit organization chat dates back co 1827, PHS was originally founded as a membership organization for plant enthusiasts to exchange information. Bur after raking over the annual Philadelphia Flower Show in the 1960s, the society had a rather pleasant problem--it was suddenly taking in more money chan ic knew what to do with. So, it began investing revenues from the event into surrounding neighborhoods through a program called Philadelphia Green.

"Philadelphia Green started 36 years ago with only one person and a truck," says Nancy O'Donnell, a landscape architect who is one of the programs directors. It began as a way to create community gardens on vacant lots, but it has come to fill a variety of niches within the city-wherever its blend ofhorticulture, planning, community organizing, and design skills are useful.

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Today, Philadelphia Green employs more than 40 people including nine landscape architects. W'hile some of its funding still comes from the flower show, it also gets fimding from a variety of foundations and public contracts, Through Philadelphia Green, PHS is no longer just sharing horticultural information among a few avid gardeners; it is also teaching local stakeholders how to take back their parks and even use them for storm water infiltration to minimize the stresses on the city's sewer system. It is an important parmer in the state's efforts to increase the tree canopy in urban areas through a program called Treevitalize. And it is leading the drive to stabilize vacant properties in Philadelphia.

While many nonprofirs work toward similar goals, few have created change on


bars to develop a dozen large community gardens and numerous small ones.

The gardens not only help to spruce up neighborhoods and bring communities together, bur some also contribute to local food security. Philadelphia Green sponsors a progmm called City Harvest, which provides fresh produce to local food pantries. Each spring, inmates in the Philadelphia prison system nurture seedlings for this program in the prison greenhouse. Other community members plant the vegetables in

so large a scale. Philadelphia Green's hand has been felt in more than 100 parks, on thousands of vacant lots, and on streets throughout the city.

Addressing Vaeant Land

When it began in 1974, Philadelphia Green focused on using community gardens to stabilize vacant land in neighborhoods plagued by disinvesrrnenr. Over the years, the organization has helped neigh-

Phiiadel,phia'sGreen's landscape design and management team, here, includes nine landscape architects. !Top row from I eft to right: Ma rk 'a ron ish, David Elliott, Marcus Johnson, and Marilyn Romenesko; middle row: Linda Walczak, Nancy O'Donnell, Julie Snell, E lila beth. Keal)', an d B rl an Cox; front row: Joan Kapczynskl and Amanda Leon. Not pictured:

Matthew Soule,Gretchen Trefny.1


80 I Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

the community gardens, rend to them, and donate their harvest.

But establishing community gar~ dens is only a small part of Philadelphia Green's program to address vacant laud By the early 1990s, it was clear that building gardens alone would not be sufficient co solve the city's problem. "With the number of vacant lots {in Philadelphia}, it was just impossible co keep up;' says O'Donnell, "especially since the younger generation was showing less interest in gardening. n

Starting in the New Kensington neighborhood, in partnership with the New Kensington Development Corporation, Philadelphia Green began testing a "clean and green" approach. First workers clean up vacant properties, then they beautify them with lawns, trees, and wood-slat fences. Funding to start the program and demonstrate how it would work came from the William Penn Foundation, but most of the funding over the years (and all of it today) comes from the city's Office of Hous-

ing and Community Development. Under the current arrangement, the city demolishes any vacant buildings on site. Then, Philadelphia Green draws up plans, handles bidding, and hires [he contractors to implement the site work.

"Community outreach people from Philadelphia Green meet with city council members and others to select the sires to be transformed;' says Marcus johnson, a land-

LasParcelas Garden wa.s tra:nsfonned from a va cant lot hrlo a cultural gatheri ng space. ITh e colerfu I shed hints at tbe gardell's q u irki n ess.1

scape architect with Philadelphia Green. The organization uses GIS to track vacant properties throughout the city. Johnson says they focus on sires near schools and community centers where children are likely to pass, in business districts and other areas where redevelopment is likely, and 00 streets with rnauy adjacent properties in need of stabilization Greening multiple lors io close proximity at once allows the program to have a greater impact and reduces expenses through economies of scale.

The city does not necessarily take ownership of the lots prior to greening. "Sometimes the lots still have private owners," says johnson. "Back taxes ate due and no one has heard from the owners since the 195 Os or 1960s. The Licenses and Inspections Department writes up a citation for


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MARC H20! 0 La ndscane Atc hllect Ute 181

the land-that it is unrnainrained-c-and that gives lLS permission to do the work and hire the contractors."

That's where Philadelphia Greens landscape architects step in. TIley visit the sites and sketch up a map of the existing conditions, noting whether there is a lot of trash or unhealthy trees, abandoned vehicles, or a

fence that needs to be removed. They eliminate tall, opaque fences that criminals can use for hiding and chain-link fences, which catch trash and make it hard to clear weeds.

Bid documents, drafted in CAD, help the landscape architects determine how many cubic feet of soil will need to be brought in, how many trees will be plant-

ed, and how many linear feet of fence will be installed.

A new wood-slat fence surrounds every property Philadelphia Green has beautified. "The purpose of the fence is to prevent trash dumping, but not to prevent access," says Johnson. The fences have become a symbol of the project. "The fence sends the message that someone is raking care of this," says Linda Walczak, another landscape architect at Philadelphia Green. And often without any transfer of ownership, neighbors who live in row houses without yards of their own are using these lots-setting up small wading pools or


821 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

barbecuing there. "People come in and sort of personalize them," notes O'Donnell as she passes a lot where neighbors have built a gateway from twisted branches. Over the years, 10 percent of the Iors have been redeveloped, some remain in the program waiting for some undetermined future use, and one has been con-

verted into a park-a site on 22nd Street between Montrose and Carpenter streets.

One important aspect of the program is that the lees continue to be maintained weekly from April through October by contractors hired by Philadelphia Green as pan of the contract with the city. "You can transform it, but if you don't rake care of it,

it doesn't take long for the lot [Q go back to the state it was in," says O'Donnell.

"Sometimes, in the first six months the fence will get broken or the site will be dumped on," says Johnson. "BUt we keep maintaining it and it usually stops."

Abnur a year ago, the price of beautifying these lots was averaging around $1 per square foot-including the soil, fence, and lawn. Maintenance averages 12 co 14 cents per square foot annually, says J ohnson,

Like the community garden program, the goals of this project are much greater than beautification; there is asocial component. Part of the purpose of (he project is to



MAR C H20! 0 La ndscane Atc hllect ure Is 3

provide Jobs for unskilled workers living in these neighborhoods and give them some of the skills they'd need [Q rW1 their own landscape contracting businesses. Through a program called Community LandCare, Philadelphia Green and the city contract with 16 community organizations to pick up trash on 2,600 lots that have not been chosen for stabilization. Some of these organizations have developed [he capacity

Believe it or not, tills small lot, above, was dedicated pari!! and. Th rough its mbe: of community organbing and technical knowledge, Philadelphia Green helped neighbors take back the space, fop.

to act as contractors and maintain stabilized lots within their communities by weed whacking and mowing the lawns. Typically, 80 percent of the maintenance contractors hired each year are comm unitybased and minority-owned businesses.

A few people who have received horticultural training from Philadelphia Green have been hired to do installation work: spreading soil, planting trees, and installing fences. "Because it is a training exercise and [in an effort to} to keep costs down, we actually purchase all the trees, topsoil, and grass seed ourselves," says Johnson. "It helps us maintain quality."

"More than 200 jobs have been created through the programs," says Bob Grossman, who heads the vacant land program at Philadelphia Green. To date, the program has stabilized more than seven million square feet ofland in the city. A 2005 study by Susan M. Wachter of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania argued that improving vacant lots in New Kensington increased the value of surrounding properties by as much as 30 percent.


841 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

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Rev,italizing Neighbo.rhood Parks

Philadelphia Green's parks reviralizarion program has also had a significant impacttouching 106 parks by the end of2009. Due to funding cuts in the 19805, some of Philadelphia's neighborhood parks, such as Carroll Park in West Philadelphia, had become derelict by the early 1990s. They were W1ITlOWed, strewn with trash, and had become centers for crime in the community. "Not only did children not go in [Carroll Park}, dogs didn't go in," explains Joan Reilly, senior director of Philadelphia Green.




--=:~:-:::-:=;~=.,..__~ - N

First, organizers at Philadelphia Green help =

neighbors develop a friends group, then land· lllllllll(-

scape architects work with the community to create a m aster plan for the space.

"There were serious drugs, broken glass, and a lot of dumping."

Philadelphia Green works with the communities surrounding such parks to help them develop the capacity to create change. With the support of the William Penn Foundacion and partners at the ci rys

Department of Recreation, they organize independent friends groups for each park that raise funds, hold workdays, recruit volunteers, and reach out to neighborhood businesses and others that might help. "It's really all about building relationships, and we help them in their capacity to do that," says Reilly. "We work with them to get the resources fur a master plan ning process

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Philadelphia Green has helped to transform

mo re til an 100 neigh boli! ood pa rks, an d in til e process it h as developed re latlonsh ips throughout the city. So, wheu the Philadelphia water department wauted to demonstrate sustainable stormwaler m,anagement techniques, it partnered with th e orga "IIat ion to reach ollt to these com mil nitles •. Philadelphia Green. has tested sustal nab Ie tech nlques at Llbe rty La nd s, left, on st reets I as shown In th e d lagram,center/, and at Cliveden Springs, bottom.

when it's JUSt going to be shot out in two weeks?" explains Reilly. '''Why should we repair the plumbing when it's JUSt going to be damaged again)' As we did more, the government wanted to do more because more things seemed possible to them. Now when the city workers came through, people would be thanking them, bringing out iced tea in the summer, Carroll Park is an extraordinary space where there are all kinds of activities. four seasons a year,"

Even after the parks are reclaimed, Philadelphia Green often continues. to work with the friends group, offering them support on programming the park and channeling volunteers to the parks that need them. Philadelphia Green also hosts an annual event where local park acIvocares celebrate their successes and have a chance to network with others to see how they are solving similar problems.

Building these networks has helped to increase the level of political support for Philadelphia's parks. "In the last mayor's election, greening was a big issue," says Reilly. "When we had our green forum, every

candidate came, and they all had positions. Thar would have been unheard of 15 years ago. They get the notion that trees don't vote bur om tree tenders do, and now they're communicating with them regularly."

and then we help them facilitate that process."

A major cleanup event is usually one of the group's first actions. Sometimes, sites with a history of dumping require

more than one cleanup. At Car- ~~~,lr,LL5IIltS

roll Park, a small, committed ....... """'""""""""PF'f -----!~lj£RIt'"-''----'------'''-'-'"''I

group of neighbors agreed to ~ .. ,=~.:= --~~.~~~~~~


clean up trash on a weekly ba-

sis, to make their intentions to take back the park clear. With

the debris out of the way, the

city was suddenly able to cut the grass on a regular basis, and as the park started to look and feel better, the criminals who had thrived there began to find it less attractive for conducting their business.

Meanwhile, landscape architects and planners at Philadelphia Green worked with the Carroll Park friends group to create a master plan for the site and then draw up construction documents for the various improvements. One of the hallmarks of Philadelphia Green's approach is its belief in early and sustained action. Rather than waiting for the funding needed for a complete makeover, they make small, incremental changes as soon as the funding becomes available. At Carroll Park many benches were broken, and these had become a symbol of the park's neglecr , so replacing

~a~'I0~~ COt4PAM arv .... i'!OtoI

those benches became a high priority. That was followed by a new playground, then an entry garden and, most recently, a spray pad.

As more and more improvements were made to the park, irs maintenance improved as well. "Before, the government would say, 'Why should we replace that Iightbulb

Sustainable Stormwater Demonstration.s

One of the most recent relarionships Philadelphia Green has developed is with the city of Philadelphia's water department. Around 2005, the city began to

861 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010


881 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

The Philadelphia Musellm of Artis among the high-profile landscapes where

Ph ll a del ph la Green has acted as th e contractnal client, using a grant from a separate no n profit that does not h ave the capacity to oversee the work..

look inco alternatives to piping storrnwacer that would reduce the stress on the city's combined sewer system. At the time, the warer department only had one planner on staff and no landscape architects.

"The idea of designing green swrmwater infrastructure is relatively new for the city of Philadelphia," says Glen Abrams, Affiliate ASLA, who manages the city's sustainable stormwater program. "It requires a much more collaborative, interdisciplinary process than conventional infrastructure, and we need to have planners and landscape architects working with our engmeers.

But their technical skills weren't the only things the scaff ar Philadelphia Green brought to the cable. "They helped us connect with a number of parks' friends groups," says Abrams. "[Philadelphia Green} had been working in these neighborhoods for quite some time and

they were trusted. It gave us some legitimacy to partner with them."

Over the course of four years, the ciry contracted with Philadelphia Green co work on a number of small demonstration projects. At Oiveden Park in Germantown, an area along the edge of the park was redesigned co handle runoff from the adjacent SHeet. At Waterview Recreation Center, Philadelphia Green tested porous concrete, the firsr use of the material on city property. Philadelphia Green has even experimented wi th holding stormwater on vacant lots. "Trying to integrate green infrastructure inco a dense urban environment is full of challenges," says Abrams. "Some of the things that make Philly very charming [such as the narrow streets and the historic row houses} make ic difficult to integrate green storm water management." These constraints are forcing the city to look at

stormwater management in a slightly different way than cities such as Portland and Seattle. For example, on Norris Street, Philadelphia Green began experimenting with directing storm water into tree pits using a custom grate that allows water to eorer from the curb at each individual pit.

These demonstration projects helped lead to a citywide plan called Green City, Clean \Vaten, which was released last September. This 20-year plan aims to implemem sustainable storrnwacer solutions citywide co make Philadelphia compliant with the Clean Water Act.

While the water department is no longer partnering with Philadelphia Green in the same capacity, Abrams expectS their relationship to continue. "For us to have a really comprehensive impact, we'll really need to collaborare with many panners and attract a whole range offunding sources," Abrams explains. "Our mission is fairly limited. The moneys {the water department] invests will need to be targeted toward greening for a specific function-for stormwater. If we want to see a whole street planted, it means we'll have to partner with programs like PHS, our parks and recreation department, and the stare's Treevitalize program."

Further Collaborations

Philadelphia Green is nor just working on vacant lots and neighborhood parks-it has worked au some of the highest-profile landscapes in Philadelphia by parcnering in their planning and supervising their maintenance. At the Philadelphia Museurn of Art (where Rocky Balboa made his triumphant climb up the stairs), at Logan Square, and elsewhere, the organization has acted as a client representative for founclations or conservancies that do not have the staff or technical expertise to monitor the work themselves. Both of the projects mentioned above were funded by the Pew Charitable Trust. At the art museum, Philadelphia Green was the contractual client for landscape architects at Wallace Roberts & Todd. At Logan Square, OLIN was the landscape architect.

Similarly, when the Fairmount Park Conservancy raised money to complete a master piau for Hunting Park, an SO-acre site, it brought in Philadelphia Green to help handle the public process. "They hired us to make sure the right people came out

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901 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

and participated so that the plan would be rooted. in people's hopes and dreams," says Reilly. "and to build a core group of people who would be stewards of the park." For thar project, Philadelphia landscape architecture firm Wells Appel actually created the physical master plan.

Fai rmount Park is also the name of the city department that historically managed much of Philadelphia's park system, including [he large riparian parks meant to proten the city's water supply. Like Philadelphia's Department of Recreation, with which it is in the process of merging, Fairmount Park has been working with Philadelphia Green for a number of yeats. The grounds of the art museum, Hunting Park, and Logan Square are all owned by Fairmount Park.

"Early on, folks from Fairrnounr Park would look at PHS and say, 'W'hat are you doing in our world?" S<"lys Mark Focht, FASLA, the executive director of Fairmount Park, who will preside over [he merged departments. "And at PHS, they'd wonder why the city wasn't getting more done." But today Focht says his

Ma flY cities face d with pop 1Iiation loss iI nd blight se em to foe LIS solely on large, "silver-bullet" projects, but Philadelphia Green's work shows the impact small, in(:remental adions can have withiQ .. (:ommunity,

department has come to appreciate what Philadelphia Green can bring to the table, and he often gives presentations with Reilly abour [heir work together.

"Ics easier to get things done because there are more bodies to spread the work around," says Focht. "If my small staffbad to handle the cornmunicy engagement process, we simply couldn't do as many projects each year. And having PHS literally knocking on doors to bring people out to public meetings; I would never have the staff to do that. Government doesn't have the luxury of mar level of resources."

Philadelphia Green also helps [he city leverage privace funding. "We gave [Philadelphia Green} some planning money to come up with ideas for. the Ben Franklin Parkway, [which is another landscape managed by Fairmount Park]," says Donald Kimel man , managing director of the Philadelphia Program ar the Pew Charitable Trust. ''What happened in the course of the planning process is that a lot of people gO[ excited about fixing the landscape all at once, and we ended up with partnerships with the Knight Foundation, the William Penn Foundation ... [and others]."

"Every city talks about collaboration and parcnerships," notes Reilly. "It's a Iietle bit like motherhood-who could be against it? But in Philly, we put the time in and we're seeing amazing results because of it."

Philadelphia Green continues to be iovolved with many of these sites long after the initial capital improvements are made, overseeing their maintenance. This ongoing relationship with many of the sites where it works makes Philadelphia Green a very effective client represencarive. 'They know how to do landscapes that are appropriate for their location and appropriate to the resources to sustain it," says Kirnelrnan,

PHS recently began a campaign to raise funds to endow the maintenance of some of (he high-profile sites it oversees in perpetuity. "What we're bringing there is something that would be hard for the city to replicate," says O'Donnell.

Lessons for other Cities

So what can other cities learn from Philadelphia Green? It would be impossible to replicate (he organizationexactly elsewhere, and frankly, it wouldn't make much sense to try. Most cities don't have their own (wellfinanced) horticulture society, and the program's growth has been quite organic. In some cases, it has filled gaps unique to its home city thar may be handled effectively elsewhere by a nonprofit conservancy, a local government department, or. some combination of the two.

But that same flexibility is part of what makes the organization intriguing as a model. It's a local nonprofit that is not connected to a specific park, as a conservancy often is, or a single mission, like a parks department. Instead, it builds on the skills of its employees and its connections within the community, changing its programs as the city's needs and funding streams change.

Philadelphia Green's contributions also show the value of small incremental actions within the community. Often, it seems, cities tend to focus on a few big showpiece projects meant to draw tourists or suburbanites, bur such projects alone will not bring people back to live and work in cities with deteriorating neighborhoods. Philadelphia Green is not only thinking big, but thinking small. In the process, it is making big things happen. I J."





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MARC H 2010 Landscalpe Atchllectute I 91

C AILED "THE PCH" by locals, the four-lane Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, is sandwiched between Carbon Beach and the rowns rugged hillside. The highly trafficked thoroughfare is fronted by an eclectic

mix of megarnansions built shoulder

to shoulder along the sand and crowded strip malls on the opposite side of the road.

Here, restaurateur Peter Morton, who created, expanded, and subsequently sold the wildly popular Hard Rock Cafe chain and me Hard Rock casino and hotel in Las Vegas, asked landscape architect Pamela Burton, PASLA, to create an exterior environmenc compatible with his new Richard Meier-designed waterfront compound. The architecture spans three contiguous lots and incorporates a contemporary, 1- shaped, concrete, glass and teak residence and a guesrhouse separated by a lap pool, courcyard, and boardwalk.

Principal of Sanea Monica-based Pamela Burton & Co., Burton faced a twofold design challenge; to integrate the parcels into

921 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

A Malibu coastal garden creates a natural link between

mountains and sea.

By Debra Prinzing

a si ngle landscape using an environmentally sensitive approach and to hide the adjacent highway, neon, and noise while emphasizing the natural beauty of Malibu's terrain.

"The big idea was to use the Japanese concept of the 'borrowed landscape," Burton explains. Her design makes use of Malibu's IConic natural fearures-----the ocean and beach to the west and the hilly terrain, chaparral, and arroyo to the east.

Burton borrowed these vistas and connecced them with plants in the residential

Where lawn might otherwise appear, Pamela Burton, JASlA, has infused t1le garden with native and ornamental grasses, top, including Nassella tellu;ssima, Muhlenberg/a cap/llar/s, and Miscallthus sluens;s 'Morning Light..'

landscape. For example, the texture and foliage of PodocarpttJ gracilior, planted as an eighc-fooc hedge along the property's east perimeter, a four-

some of mature Arbutus 'Marina' rrees, and a graceful African sumac (Rhus laneea) block the highway from view and blend visually with

the sage- and native-grass-covered chaparral.

To the west, the irnpossible-ro-ignoresea and shore are an extension of the propercys interior landscape. With the ocean only a stone's throw from the outdoor entertaining decks, Burton wanted. to invite the Pacific into her client's domestic environment. She envisioned a beach within a beach rather than a rradicional lawn but had to convi nee her client that a landscape without water-intensive green turf was possibleeven essential. "1 felt that the overall texture of the courtyard space would seem rather thin with just curf." As an alrernarive, Burton proposed installing dry beach sand and drought-tolerant plantings that could endure the intense elements (sun, wind, and saltwater are ever present here)

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Bluion envisioned a beach within a beach rather than a traditional lawn-but she had to convince her client.


and also provide calm, texture, and movement. "After all, we ate helJ: at the edge of the continent," says Burton. "The architecture is so powerful and built for this location. And the garden needs to be a link, a transition, berween the ocean and the hills, Once I introduced him [Q the 'beach' concept, Peter responded well to the idea of ambulating through a dense garden space inStead of a Bat plane of turf"

941 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

The vln e-cloaked entry trellis, fop

left, provides se ree ning an d shade. The plan, top right, shows how the beach-sand path moves through the space. Exterior park-

Ing uses permeable paving with planted Joints,above. The designer's rendering, right, illustrates how each element of the land· sea pe relates to th e larger natu· ral and mau-made environment.

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The paradigm shift from lawn to sand allowed Burton [Q move forward with the design program and plant specification. The borrowed landscape and use of multiple viewpoints enlarge the usable oucdoor spaces, which are bracketed by the main house and rheguesrhouse, Throughout, the open feeling of being at the beach is evident.

Guadalupe Beach sand from the central California coast mimics the natural contours of the shore and doubles as a lowmaintenance ground cover, mulch, and path material. The Guadalupe sand was purchased from Gordon Sand Co., which owns a quarry 190 miles north of Los Angeles where high-strength industrial sand

961 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

is produced. That proximity co the site makes the sand a "local product" according co LEEO standards, "TIle sand is 85 percent quartzite in content, with granules that are 'subangulat'---not angular and not round->which gives it the pink, HuffY, sexy 'Marilyn Monroe' quality we like," says Burton.

The landscape follows the "1" of the primary residence, filling the entire span of the property's east perimeter as a buffer against traffic and then wrapping around the house toward the ocean. The garden's entry is placed literally at the edge of the city sidewalk, adjacent to the garage and a permeable concrete driveway with a planted "grid" of thyme ground cover (a similar second driveway leads to the guesthouse at the property's southeast corner).

An entry trellis, draped with a golden chalice vine (Sofandra maxima), screens commercial signage and billboards that

B u rto n created a natu ra listie, beach -Insp ired laudscape,rop, for her client's Malibu residence. An informal walk created with

Gu ada I upe Bea c h sand, /e.ft. moves th rough the pro pettY, co nnecting the domestic landscape with til e greater enyi ronm ent.

-- _- -_--- ~-~-~--.


would otherwise be at eye level when viewed from the home's front door. The vine's brilliant gold, trumpetlike flowers hint ar the slmny floral and foliage palette within the gate. In response to her client's request for lots of color, Burton used yellowblooming plants, including a durable 'Graham Thomas' rose, yellow kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos 'Bush Gold'),]erusalem sage (Pblomis jrutievsa), and Mexican marigold (TageteJ l116da). Gold-and-green variegated plants, including Dnranta repem 'Variegara' and Ph()tmium 'Yellow Wave: sparkle in the intense light of the beach.

A slender, bronze-edged reflecting pool and water feature parallels the entry walkway, its music further masking the nearby street noise. Visitors can continue to the home's front door or turn south, stepping onto the sandy path and strolling coward the 12-by-50-foot saltwater exercise pool. The pool is aligned perpendicular to the shore, suggesting a flowing stream that appears connected to the blue ocean on the horizon.

The sandy path arcs as a half circle around the house and leads past the pool to a teak boardwalk that appears as a bridge over the

Seen from above, the ocean beachts pulled into the garden, top. Rhamnus californica 'Eve Case' provides a soft bonndal}' near the outdoor deck., above. Arbutus 'Marina' and a matlln;! Ficus macrocarpa 'Florida' provide screenillg, below.

981 Landscape Architecture MARCH 2010

reconstructed arroyo. Flowering grasses (Nassella tenuissim«, Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light,' and Muhlenbergia capillaris) and the beach-tolerant Arb11tuJ trees mimic narure beyond the domestic landscape.

Burton points out that the teak (originally selected by architect Michael Palladino, managing principal of Richard Meier & Partners, as cladding for the home and as the outdoor decking) is an appropriate material for a saltwater setting. "Teak in particular is naturally disease and rot resistant," she says. "It fits in with the beachside context and weathers very well, developing a natural patina of its own."

The landscape also references a dry creek (or arroyo, as it is called in Spanish) with a band of differing foliage texture running through the garden toward (he ocean. While water does OOt actually flow through the property, the arroyo is, says Burton, "expressed with waves of grass, planted in beach sand." The motif emulates California's naturally occurring dry creeks chat channel seasonal rains from the mountains to the sea. The meandering paths of sand moving through a semiwild landscape complement the contempormy architecture and also reflect the original California coastal habitat. Burton explains that these paths "could otherwise have been made of brick and been very linear, but we're always looking for a new way of developing a solution. We're feeling what the earth is doing and responding to it."

Required by California Coastal Commission regulations, wave up-rush studies determined the location of an underground head wall to be built on the site. The uprush study evaluates potential oceanfront

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