In honor of National Landscape Architecture Month this past April, landscape architects across the country hosted a variety of activities to celebrate the profession and explain how their work contributes to the public’s well-being.
“Since its founding in 1899, public health has always been an integral concern of the landscape architecture profession,” said Nancy Somerville, executive vice president and CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects. “Landscape architects create spaces that promote physical activity, including parks, recreational facilities, bicycle paths, walking trails, and complete streets that offer alternatives to a reliance on cars.”
A new ASLA brochure, “Designing for Your Health and Well-Being,” describes how to promote healthy living through landscape architecture.
Some of the events throughout National Landscape Architecture Month include:
Building a series of rain gardens for Joplin, Missouri, which is still recovering from a devastating tornado, by the Prairie Gateway chapter
- Three walking tours in San Diego County
- A “sketch walk” at Columbus Circle and Lincoln Center in New York City
- A wetlands walk in Southern California
- A self-guided walking tour of downtown Indianapolis’s significant landscapes Idaho/Montana chapters worked with students and the local high school environmental education program
- Showing a documentary film, “Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life,” in Boston that explores the need and importance of reconnecting people with nature
- Community-based garden design In Utah, carried out by the Wasatch Community Gardens and the Utah Chapter of ASLA
- Garden design workshops in three Alaskan cities
Junior high students put up a thank you poster they designed for a youth-led trail design workshop in Boise, Idaho
National Landscape Architecture Month also encompasses Earth Day on April 22 along with the April 26 birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), the father of landscape architecture, designer of New York City’s Central Park and other iconic landscapes. As part of a greater public awareness campaign, landscape architects held simultaneous events coast to coast in honor of Olmsted.
Creativity Takes the Cake on 04.26.12
Nevadans drew complete streets in chalk, which were featured on the news by the local CBS affiliate. Students at Cornell drew attention to landscape architecture with a forced-perspective guerrilla installation on their campus. An image of their work spread through social networks in a way you might call viral. In Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter spoke to a crowd about the profession in a downtown park. Landscape architects rallied in front of the Capitol in Sacramento. University of Arizona students invited attendees for coffee and a cake shaped into Central Park. And the locals in Rochester snacked on cupcakes made to look like the landscape architecture logo.
University of Cincinnati 200 – Pieces of cake given out, 100 – Flyers highlighting great works of landscape architecture in Cincinnati given out, 3 – Volunteers, 1 – Good time had by all
Weather did not even keep the public away. Organizer Sue Steel said, “We had horrible weather in Rochester – but that didn’t keep the crowds away; apparently people will do just about anything for free cupcakes.”
Volunteers handed out magazines from Burlington, VT to Honolulu. Bike and walking tours sprang up in Miami, Seattle, and San Diego to take people on a ride through their environment, as designed by landscape architects. In fact, San Diego’s walking tours received saturation news coverage. You’ll still find chalk scrolls in Rosie the Riveter Park in Richmond, CA. Kentucky planted trees in honor of Frederick Olmsted’s birthday. And at the Philadelphia event, organizers constructed a contour model in the spitting image of the founder of American landscape architecture – in birthday cake.