Sustainability Resource Guides from ASLA

14 12 2009

The website for ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) has a fairly new section devoted to resources for sustainable design and planning. If you haven’t wandered across it already you should take a minute to see what it has to offer. It is aimed at national and local policymakers, government agencies, design professionals, planners and students. Resources include hundreds of project case studies, research papers, organizations and other government resources on sustainable design.

The following description of the five resource categories is taken from an announcement by ASLA, they include:

  • Green Infrastructure ( covers park systems, wildlife habitat and corridors, urban forestry and green roofs.
  • Sustainable Transportation ( covers sustainable transportation planning, siting sustainable transportation infrastructure, designing safe and visually appealing transportation infrastructure, green streets and reducing the urban heat island effect.
  • Sustainable Urban Development ( covers fighting sprawl, sustainable zoning, reusing brownfields, investing in downtowns, open spaces and sustainable urban design.
  • Livable Communities ( covers sustainable land use, place making, green schools, sustainable housing, sustainable employment growth and health, safety and security.
  • Combating Climate Change with Landscape Architecture ( covers site planning, open spaces, plant selection, stormwater management and other areas.

While the site is a little hard to navigate, (if you like what you see, I suggest you bookmark the above links to be able to find them again) this is a good resource that pulls a lot of varied information together into one area. It has potential to be not only helpful for designers, planners and people who speak the sustainability language, but also to be useful to vastly wider audience. I understand they are also always looking for new projects, research, case studies, etc. to highlight, if you want to contribute you can contact ASLA @

-Sara Putney

Educational Awareness and Green Infrastructure

26 10 2009
While attending the recent Tennessee ASLA conference, and sitting in on a lecture about native plants, a presenter made an offhand comment stating that public education is the most important thing we can do to raise awareness, because if people don’t know about things then how can we expect them to care? Whenever possible, HPI has incorporated interpretive graphics into public projects such as greenways or parks, to highlight the history of the place or unique features of the site. Recently we have been provided the opportunity to create educational signage about sustainability for two newly completed projects – the first for a private developer and installed at Hill Center Belle Meade and the other for the City of Nashville for the renovation of Deaderick Street.

Environmental Stewardship campaigns have been around a long time with recycling awareness programs, Arbor Day, etc. Incorporating educational signage about sustainability into the built environment adds another facet to this type of non-formal education for the general pubic and is another perfect opportunity for landscape architects to become involved. Some traditional public awareness methods require the people to find their way to specific websites (the EPA has a couple of great sites geared towards the younger age groups; Environmental Kids Club or Polluted Runoff) or people have to just happen see things in the media. While these are all good, they may make it hard to target a wide range of groups.

The cool thing about putting educational posters in the built environment is the wide audience that you can target. For instance, a lot of different people on their way to the supermarket in Hill Center Belle Meade, or to their office buildings or the theater on Deaderick Street, will walk by these signs everyday. We just hope it sparks interest and provides a topic of conversation to raise even more awareness for sustainable practices.

Rainwater Harvesting Sign at Hill Center Belle Meade

Rainwater Harvesting Sign at Hill Center Belle Meade

Highlighting the Sustainable Practices in Deaderick Street Construction

Highlighting the Sustainable Practices in Deaderick Street Construction