Klyde Warren Park Wins Open Space Award

Klyde Warren Park Wins Open Space Award

10/22/2014 by Jared Green

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Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas, won the Urban Land Institute’s 2014 Open Space Award, which recognizes “public spaces that have socially and economically enriched and revitalized their communities.” Completed in 2012 by landscape architecture firm The Office of James Burnett (OJB), the 5-acre park is a green roof, decking over the sunken Woodall Rogers Freeway. As the highway was submerged, a new living, breathing space was made possible. The park now connects the city’s downtown cultural district with the mixed-use neighborhoods to the north, helping car-centric Dallas become a healthier, more walkable place.

According to OJB, the park brings it all. There is a “flexible, pedestrian-oriented design, offering a mix of active and passive spaces.” Spaces are either grand or intimate. In the grand category, there is a sweeping pedestrian promenade with botanical garden and great lawn, with fountain and performance pavilion. Smaller spaces include a children’s park, reading room, games area, and dog park.

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These spaces enable all kinds of activities, ranging from “yoga classes and lectures to outdoor concerts and film screenings.” James Burnett, FASLA, said: “Great cities have great parks, and Klyde Warren Park has quickly become the new heart of downtown Dallas.”

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The park also incorporates sustainable design elements. The landscape itself has a “continuous canopy of Pond Cypress,” and much of the design is characterized by the “use of native tree and plant species,” which are all kept alive through the Texan summer through a water reclamation and purification system. There is a high-efficiency lighting system throughout, featuring solar-powered light poles. The buildings, which have been certified LEED Gold, use geothermal energy for temperature control.

M. Leanne Lachman, Chair of the ULI Global Awards for Excellence Jury, said: “Klyde Warren is not only successful in fixing an urban fracture that isolated development and challenged the existing potential for the area; it also demonstrates that a long-term vision and commitment are critical to foster a sense of place and community, with lasting positive rippling effects.”

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Introducing the Landscape Architect’s Guide to Portland, Oregon

10/07/2014 by The Dirt Contributor

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Portland, Oregon, is more than a trendy place to visit—it has long been ahead of the curve on urban design and sustainability, thanks to smart leadership and a willingness to experiment and innovate. The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Portland, a project by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), explains Portland’s cutting-edge approach to sustainable urban design.

The guide provides both Portlanders and the millions of tourists who visit Portland annually a deeper understanding of why Portland is one of the most livable and sustainable cities in the world. The guide is also meant to educate city leaders, urban planners, and designers across the U.S. and around the globe.

According to Mark A. Focht, FASLA, president of ASLA and first deputy commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Portland’s landscape architects have played a crucial role in making the city a better place to live. Their contributions trace back to the early 20th century, when the Olmsted Brothers laid out many of the critical urban plans and park system, and continue with today’s generation of landscape architects, who are creating waterfront parks, beloved urban plazas, and cutting-edge bicycle infrastructure.

“Portland’s designed landscapes are integral to its urban fabric,” says Focht. “Landscape architects have long played a major role in designing the city’s public realm, and the key spaces between buildings that serve as the connective tissue for communities. These spaces include parks, plazas, streets, and transportation infrastructure.”

Topical tours offer both printable bike maps and Google maps. The guide also includes tours by district. People will be able to view the guide on their smartphones, tablets or desktop computers.

The website was created by ASLA in partnership with its Oregon Chapter and 11 local landscape architects, who are designers of our public realm and leaders in sustainable design.

The guides are:

Brian Bainnson, ASLA, Quatrefoil Inc.
Bennett Burns, ASLA, independent landscape architect
Mike Faha, ASLA, GreenWorks, PC
Kenneth Helphand, FASLA, University of Oregon
Rachel Hill, ASLA, AECOM
Lloyd Lindley, FASLA, independent landscape architect
Carol Mayer-Reed, FASLA, Mayer/Reed Inc.
Jeff Schnabel, ASLA, Portland State University
Jean Senechal Biggs, ASLA, Portland Bureau of Transportation
Rebecca Wahlstrom, ASLA, Olson Engineering Inc.
Robin Wilcox, ASLA, Alta Planning + Design

The guide is organized by the facets of the sustainable city, with sections on:

  • The Built Environment – how building and landscape work together to enhance sustainability.
  • Food – how the city’s local food system works, from urban farms to “food cart pods.”
  • Energy – how Portland has among the highest renewable energy use in the U.S.
  • “Grand Parks” – how the original Olmstedian park system is still key to livability.
  • Health – how parks are designed for users with all kinds of disabilities, even Alzheimer’s.
  • “People Spaces” – how the city creates a sense of civic pride through its plazas.
  • Social Equity – how the city helps the homeless and addresses the impacts of gentrification.
  • Transportation – how Portland created one of the best-integrated, most people-friendly transportation systems.
  • Waste – how the city achieved one of the highest recycling rates in the country.
  • Water – how it led the country on green infrastructure.
  • Wildlife – how its park system also serves other species.

This is the third in a series of guides focused on sustainable American cities. The first, The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Washington, D.C., was launched in 2012, and The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Boston, was launched in 2013. They have been viewed more than 150,000 times to date.

Remaking (Some Of) San Diego

Makers Quarter is an experiment in bottom-up planning.

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San Diego’s latest megaproject, Makers Quarter, is downtown redevelopment with a twist. Like developers elsewhere, the team of Lankford & Associates, Hensel Phelps, and HP Investors hopes to lure young professionals to the city’s East Village with a dense mix of residential, retail, and creative/tech office space. But while the group has sketched out a retail strategy as well as a block-by-block program with designers like Gensler, Skyport Studio, BNIM, JWDA, and Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects, they are relying on an experiment in bottom-up urban planning to fill in the gaps. That experiment is SILO, a 25,000-square-foot temporary event space on a former dirt auto-repair lot.

“In the past there were a lot of efforts by our Redevelopment Agency to stitch together the community’s voice, but through more traditional means,” said Stacey Pennington, lead planner for Makers Quarter. “What’s different here is that we’re utilizing some of the raw space to—in a very experiential and immersive way—understand what the community likes.”

SILO launched last September, when Makers Quarter teamed up with the San Diego Film Festival for a debut of films. Since then, the space—a fenced-in, dirt-floored rectangular lot punctuated by a silo—has hosted a variety of events, including plays and art shows, and the team has commissioned several murals and street art installations. “Part of the SILO experiment is to activate the neighborhood, which before was just an on/off ramp to the freeway,” explained Pennington, who says that more than 10,000 people have participated in activities over the past year.

The Makers Quarter team will draw on SILO’s successes to fine-tune their master plan and program a permanent public plaza. “The other layers, in terms of what we’ve learned, will intersect on each block as we transition into full development,” said Pennington.

As for the rest of the neighborhood, which the team will develop over the next 5-13 years at an estimated cost of $900 million, the aesthetic will draw on the area’s history as a warehouse district. Renderings show mid- and high-rise mixed-use buildings clad in brick, stone, and metal, with an emphasis on indoor-outdoor spaces, including terraces and sidewalk seating areas.

The developers plan to preserve the Coliseum boxing club as an anchor, and will retain historic facades when possible. “In terms of new build, we want to express that texture, character, and honesty in a very modern and functional way,” said Pennington. “There’s an absolute interest in authentic story lines. Instead of just interspersing random development, it’s coming to life in different ways on each block.”

Downtown San Diego’s demographic has evolved significantly in recent years, said Pennington, tilting toward the young and well educated. “It’s not just about building attractive places to work and live,” said Pennington, “but to really create an environment where you get the spontaneity, the ideas, and the collaboration that come from just being located in the same area. I think that’s something many cities got right 100 years ago—we’re trying to reinvent the wheel.”

Anna Bergren Miller