Light is not often the first thing that one thinks of when considering the built environment, but in fact, as to the photographer, light is a primary ingredient to the success of any site design. In contrast to other professions that utilize light, the impact of light on the built environment is constantly in flux. In its complexity there are three types of light: continuous, absorptive and emissive. In the science of the light spectrum, the fact is that light behaves like a wave and is defined by its wavelength frequency. Simply put, light of different wavelengths is perceived as different colors.Continue Reading How the Spectrum of Light can be used in Landscape Architecture
When it comes to the biggest trends that will reshape the urban environment in the future, it’s not just the architecture that will change. The next major revolution in urban design will be by landscapers. In fact, in some cities, landscaping — in the form of parks and other green spaces — is already making an appearance.
The positive effects on health, comfort, happiness and even local wildlife are startling. Let’s take a look at some of the major cities around the United States that have put landscaping to work as part of their urban design.Continue Reading Landscape Architecture: Shaping The Urban Future
“Moving to the city,” “live-work-play,” and “sharing economy” – these are some of the soundbites of the new generation. As some metro areas compete to recruit and capitalize on the next workforce, are they overlooking or even sacrificing sound planning principals that focus on the long term retention of the next wave?Continue Reading Should we plan for families in the ‘new’ city?
Jane Jacobs wasn’t bullish on urban parks. She preferred active sidewalks. In her classic urban planning (sociology?) book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, she noted that parks created “borders,” that often result in blighting or “slumming” along their edges. She attributed this circumstance to a lack of diversity of uses, a lack of density, and many other factors, and how they interrelated (her “organized complexity”). Continue Reading Are cities building too many parks and plazas in their downtowns? The experts weigh in . . .
The justifications for the use of native plants in landscapes usually center on environmental reasons. The reasons run the gamut from water conservation to supporting local fauna. Rarely are aesthetic reasons given. Perhaps that circumstance is the result of the subjective nature of aesthetics. However, there are aesthetic reasons for choosing native plant landscapes that are fairly objective. The following are a few:Continue Reading Four aesthetic reasons to landscape with native plants
When we think of a city, we don’t necessarily think about its parks. Instead, the metro areas, shopping opportunities, entertainment venues and other aspects come to mind. However, even though parks and other natural areas are a relatively small component of modern urban areas, the impact that these features have on the urban population is enormous.Continue Reading The Effects Of The Natural Landscape In Urban Environments
The City of San Diego at 1.3 million and counting according to 2014 data, and notably the 8th largest city in the country, is unique at best and honestly still a small town. Planners, politicians and policy makers to name just a few, are in constant pursuit of definition for this city and our region. Ironically, this pursuit has been going on for the past 100 years with the first Panama-California Exposition in 1915.Continue Reading What is San Diego’s identity?
Urban landscape architects, civil engineers and city planners face a number of sustainability challenges with no single or simple solution. Among the issues common to many metropolitan areas:
- Preparing for climate changes and/or intense precipitation events that cause excess storm water runoff;
- Replacing outdated architectural designs that introduce contaminates into the water system; and,
- Partially or completely losing natural flora and fauna.
In recent years, the concept of green infrastructure (GI) has grown in popularity and importance for sustainable outdoor design, architecture and construction. Continue Reading Add More City Parks For A Sustainable Future
The Salk Institute is an other-worldly place as I had seen it on posters and calendars for many years before I experienced it first hand. At certain times of the day, nearer sunset, the space can take your breath away. The concrete and granite buildings and plaza are much more transcendental than harsh.Continue Reading Beyond Lou Kahn
For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. Redevelopment has evolved into smart growth, transit oriented development, and complete streets. In the last 15 years or so, the urban renewal efforts have had a receptive audience as people, tired of the car oriented lifestyle of the suburbs, are returning to urban cores and older urban neighborhoods. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated.Continue Reading 6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal.