February 19, 2018

American Society of Landscape Architects praises introduction of Living Shorelines Act

American landscape

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) applauds Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ) for introducing the Living Shorelines Act, which would provide critical funding to the nation’s coastal communities, and develop flood-resistant green infrastructure projects that integrate plants and local ecosystems.

In the aftermath of major hurricanes and superstorms, the United States has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in evacuation, clean-up and rebuilding efforts. The Living Shorelines Act will promote the use of nature-based systems and materials to help coastal communities address climate-related weather events and rebuilding efforts in a more resilient and cost-effective manner. The bill also includes a provision to require communities to monitor, collect and transmit data on living shoreline projects, which will provide critical metrics on the benefits of these green infrastructure projects.

Landscape architects are on the front lines of protecting coastal communities from the destructiveness of storms. They work with nature as they design projects that control flooding, restore shorelines and provide thriving eco-habitats. In designing these environments, they collaborate with local residents to ensure that the infrastructure provides opportunities for recreation and economic and educational benefits.

“The Living Shorelines Act is smart policy for our nation, and gives communities options for their planning toolbox,” says Nancy C. Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA. “Green infrastructure helps position coastal communities to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters and provides critical services that improve human and environmental health.”

“As a landscape architect, I support this legislation because it will allow communities and design professionals to work together in developing long-term solutions for transforming our coastal communities,” says Kate Orff, ASLA, founder of SCAPE Landscape Architecture and the first landscape architect to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. “Creating a built environment that protects and sustains us must include natural systems. Robust coastal ecosystems are critical next century infrastructure.”

ASLA urges all its members to use the iAdvocate Network to contact their members of Congress about cosponsoring this important legislation that will help protect coastal communities and highlight the critical role landscape architects play in their health, safety and welfare.


New £100m School of Architecture and the Built Environment for University of Wolverhampton


New plans have been submitted by the University of Wolverhampton for its School of Architecture and the Built Environment at its £100m Springfield Campus development.

A decision was taken to alter the scheme after pre-construction works on the historic site discovered structures of some of the original buildings were not viable so could not be incorporated into the plans.

The campus development project aims to transform a 12-acre, grade II-listed former brewery.

Associated Architects has designed the new school which centres around the original clock tower building and combines it with a large new building. The university has said the designers have worked closely with conservation specialists, planners and Historic England.

The iconic clock tower building will be restored and a new building wrapped around it.

The 85,034 sq ft build will include specialist teaching and social learning spaces, design studios, specialist labs, multi-disciplinary workshops, lecture theatre, café, offices, meeting rooms, ICT rooms and a top floor ‘super studio’ with double height ceilings.

When completed, it will provide space for nearly 1,100 students and 65 staff, with the number of students projected to grow over time to more than 1,500.

The school will specialise in supporting skills in architecture, construction, civil engineering, building control, building services, facilities management, quantity surveying, planning, construction management, housing and commercial. It will also house a brownfield research centre.

Deputy vice-chancellor Jackie Dunne, who is the university’s project lead for Springfield, said: “We think the new design is really exciting and will be a fantastic addition to the city. Springfield is a key strategic project for the University and we are committed to realising the vision of the site and the part this will play in regenerating Wolverhampton.

“We felt it was important to retain as much of the site’s heritage as we possibly could within the new scheme and have sought to retain, protect and celebrate the character of key existing buildings.

“All the available options were considered and we have selected the best design and build option working within a heritage site, working very closely with Historic England and the council’s planning department.

“This is the biggest and final part of the first phase of Springfield’s redevelopment and one of the biggest capital projects we have ever undertaken.

“Once complete it will offer an unrivalled built environment hub and centre of excellence which will be among the biggest and best in Europe.”

The plans for the School of Architecture form the largest part of the first phase of the £100m redevelopment of the site to create the Springfield Campus. The aim is that it will still be completed in the 2019-20 academic year as planned.

It will join the West Midlands University Technical College, which opened in January 2017, and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills Hub, which will open this year.

The scheme is being project managed by Rider Levett Bucknall. The design team is also made up of conservation advisors Rodney Melville & Partners, mechanical and engineering by Couch Perry Wilkes, quantity surveying by Faithful and Gould and structural and civils engineer Atkins, which will also provide landscape architecture.


Plant trees now to reduce HS2 impact, says green expert

plant trees

A green spaces expert is calling upon landowners to plant trees in order to lessen the environmental impact of the new High Speed Two (HS2) rail network.

Deric Newman, general manager of national tree supply, planting and relocation specialist, Glendale Civic Trees, says it’s imperative that planting projects begin as soon as possible along the affected routes in order to provide the most benefits.

Hundreds of green spaces across the country are at risk of damage as part of the creation of the new high-speed railway network, which has been designed to create better connections between cities, and cut journey times.

Preliminary works are underway on phase one of the £56bn project, which will see high speed trains running between London and Birmingham when completed in 2026. The second phase will run between Crewe and Manchester, and West Midlands and Leeds, and is expected to complete in 2032.

Deric says that trees are extremely effective in providing a visual barrier to related construction work, while helping to reduce noise pollution by absorbing sound.

“HS2 is happening, so we need to protect what we can now, and mitigate the overall impact wherever possible,” he said.

“Trees, specifically large ones, require a number of years to grow and establish. It’s crucial that they are planted at the largest possible size now, not only to have the best effects once the railway becomes active, but also to reduce the impact of the construction phase.

“We know that trees have a number of benefits, from producing oxygen and acting as carbon sinks, to creating aesthetically pleasing landscapes, as well as helping to prevent flood damage and providing habitats for wildlife.

“Where HS2 is concerned, large trees, especially evergreen species can create very effective screens, and when planted in substantial numbers can reduce noise pollution.

“The key is to begin planning and delivering planting projects in good time, ensuring the correct and most suitable species have been sourced, as there is a finite number available.”

Glendale Civic Trees was founded in 1963 and has provided tree supply, planting and relocation services across the UK for more than 50 years.

For more information visit www.civictrees.co.uk, call 020 8950 4491 or email info@civictrees.co.uk.

Five cities selected to develop global water resilience framework


Cities from five continents have been selected to contribute to the development of a global framework for water resilience. The City Water Resilience Framework (CWRF), developed by Arup with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, will help cities better prepare for and respond to shocks and stresses to their water systems.

Amman, Cape Town, Mexico City, Greater Miami and the Beaches, and Hull were selected because they represent the range of water challenges facing cities around the world. They have also been selected because of their diversity in terms of size of population, geographic location and economic status and because of their commitment to taking a strategic approach to resilience. Four of the five cities are part 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, which helps cities around the world become more resilient in the face of physical, social and economic challenges.

As part of this partnership, the project will explore each cities specific water concerns through field research and stakeholder interviews conducted with Arup. Data and findings will be used to establish qualitative and quantitative indicators to measure city water resilience, for use in any city anywhere. The resulting City Water Resilience Framework will be a global standard for water resilience, which enables cities to diagnose challenges related to water and utilize that information to inform planning and investment decisions.

  • Amman, the capital city of Jordan with a population of 4 million, is not located near sources of water and regularly experiences drought. The city also experiences unusually heavy rains, leading to flooding in the lower-lying areas of the city.
  • Cape Town, in South Africa with a population of 3.7 million has been experiencing severe drought, due to three years of low rain fall. Officials have warned that there are fewer than 90 days left before the city’s water supply runs dry.
  • Mexico City, the largest of the cities participating, has a population of 21.3 million. The rapidly growing city is heavily reliant on underground aquifers, and is at serious risk of running out of water in the future. Mexico City is also located on land that was once a lake, making it particularly prone to flooding.
  • Greater Miami, and the Beaches, with a population of 5.9 million, is a coastal location with a high groundwater table and complex canal system, making it particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. Tidal flooding events are already becoming increasingly common, causing significant disruption.
  • Hull located in Yorkshire United Kingdom, has a population of 323,000. With 90 per cent of the city standing below the high-tide line it is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. The city has experienced extensive flooding in recent years.

The development framework is being overseen by a Steering Group with representatives from The Rockefeller Foundation, 100 Resilient Cities, the World Bank, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) and The Resilience Shift.

Andrew Salkin, senior vice president of city solutions at 100 Resilient Cities, said: Of the more than 1,000 applications for the 100 Resilient Cities Network, more than 60% indicated challenges with water – too much or too little – as critical resilience risks. There is tremendous opportunity for the cities in this cohort to provide lessons and expertise to the many cities around the world grappling with water challenges.”

Mark Fletcher, global water leader at Arup, said: “A changing climate coupled with rapid urbanisation is increasing the frequency of water related crises facing cities. Increasingly, unpredictable rainfall, flooding and droughts are impacting cities across their water cycle. To develop a global framework we’ve selected five diverse cities, all facing very different water challenges. By understanding a wide range of issues, being played out in different contexts, we will be able to help all cities to understand how to assess the risks they are facing, and how to prioritise action and investments to become more resilient.”


OJB Landscape Architecture wins the AIA Collaborative Achievement Award for Klyde Warren Park

OJB Landscape Architecture

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced Klyde Warren Park, a freeway deck park in Dallas designed by OJB Landscape Architecture (OJB), as the recipient of the 2018 Collaborative Achievement Award. This award “recognizes and encourages distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession.” The park will be honored at the 2018 AIA Conference on Architecture in New York.

OJB Founder and President, James Burnett, FASLA, said, “We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the AIA. A project of this scale takes close collaboration with many groups. We teamed with great partners that shared our vision to knit downtown back together by way of this important park.”

Klyde Warren Park is a 5.2-acre urban deck park constructed over the eight-lane Woodall Rodgers Freeway, one of the busiest freeways in Texas. For many years, the freeway severed the city’s Arts District from Uptown, but since the park’s opening in 2012, it has transformed the city by bridging that gap and creating a new heart of downtown.

Creating a world-class park required the collaboration and participation of many dedicated parties. Conceived as a Public/Private Partnership (P3), the park’s construction was funded jointly by the City of Dallas, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the US Department of Transportation and private donations to the non-profit Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation (WRPF). Design and engineering was carefully conceived to overcome the unique site challenges. The community engagement process allowed the citizens of Dallas to have a voice in the program, and was an important part of the park design.

The park has had a strong economic impact on the downtown district, creating new development sites and increased density near the park. WRPF operates the park under a long-term lease with the City of Dallas. The park offers multiple programs for all ages including Dallas Opera simulcasts, free concerts and performances, regular fitness classes and a rotating menu of the city’s most popular food trucks. The park has had a strong economic impact on the downtown district, creating new development sites and increased density near the park. The park’s adjacent area has seen over $1 billion in new developments since the opening in 2012.  Environmentally, this LEED Gold-certified park sequesters approximately 18,500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually and intercepts over 25,000 gallons of stormwater runoff and maintains a strong native plant palette.

Klyde Warren Park has become an integral and endeared open space in the fabric of Downtown Dallas.

To learn more about OJB, visit www.ojb.com and read more about AIA’s Collaborative Achievement Award.