VAN ALEN INSTITUTE – Forum – Flight Patterns: Challenges of Urban Ecology & Diversity

Flight Patterns:

A Forum on the Design Challenges of Urban Ecology and Biodiversity
Moderated by Natalie Jeremijenko, New York Prize Fellow
Tuesday, February 10, 2009, 6:30pm at Van Alen Institute
30 W. 22nd Street, 6th Floor | New York, NY 10010

In response to the crash of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River on January 15th, and to the growing number of “bird strikes” to aircraft in metropolitan areas, please join Natalie Jeremijenko for a lively discussion and debate about the perceived threats of birds to public safety, and about the real risks and challenges we face in planning and designing for urban biodiversity.

Participants include Jeremy Edmiston, Architect and principal of SYSTEMarchitects; Paul Mankiewicz, Biologist, Plant Scientist, and Director of the Bronx-based Gaia Institute; Eric Sanderson, Landscape Ecologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Founder of the Mannahatta Project; and Kim Tripp, Director of the Jamaica Bay Institute at Gateway National Recreation Area.

This program is free and open to the public.

For more information go to the SOURCE: Van Alen Institute

Schwarzenegger’s restructuring proposals – SFGate.com

SFgate reports (via AP)

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently released 18 proposals to streamline government, a scaled-back version of his 2004 California Performance Review. His office projects the total cost savings at $126 million in the first year. One of his proposals is to eliminate the Landscape Architects Technical Committee, cutting 6.5 positions. Savings: $162,000.”

SOURCE: Sfgate.com – Schwarzenegger’s restructuring proposals

Event for TODAY – Univeristy of Toronto – BULTHAUP SPRING 2009 LECTURE SERIES: NATHALIE DE VRIES

LECTURE – “Recent Work”

Nathalie de Vries is a principal architect and founder of
Rotterdam-based architecture, urbanism and landscape design practice
MVRDV. The firm was set up in 1991 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and
Nathalie de Vries after they won the first prize in the Berlin Europan
Competition.
Tuesday February 3, 2009
6:30 PM | Room 103 | 230 College

Event Website

Survey Shows Growing Economic Struggles for Landscape Architecture Firms – ASLA

ASLA reported

Washington, DC, February 2, 2009 — The troubled economy continues to drag on landscape architecture, as two-thirds of firms reported below average billable hours last quarter according to the latest Business Quarterly survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). In addition, less than 13 percent of firms plan to hire in the short term, down from 25 percent in the third quarter last year.

Of the 579 offices responding, 31 percent reported average or above billable hours in the fourth quarter last year and 21 percent reported average or above inquiries – down from 44 and 43 percent, respectively. When comparing the fourth quarter of 2008 to the same quarter in 2007, 66 percent reported lower billings and 75 percent reported reduced inquiries.

“Except for unique local situations, demand for landscape architecture work will continue to slow in the near term,” said Nancy Somerville, Executive Vice President and CEO of ASLA. “Increasingly, we’re seeing firms turn to overseas clients as the pipeline of domestic work slows across public and private sectors.”

The survey also asked about client demand for turf grass and lawns. Nearly one third (32 percent) of firms reported demand for alternatives to traditional lawns. The top reasons clients request alternatives include lowering upkeep time and maintenance (44 percent), saving money on utility or maintenance costs (42 percent), and reducing environmental harm (28 percent).

To address demand for lawn alternatives, nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) respondents reported using regionally appropriate, non-invasive vegetation instead of grass expanses. Additionally, 38 percent incorporated water harvesting elements, and 36 percent used a variety of hardscapes and permeable surfaces. Ten percent used food/vegetable gardens as an alternative to a lawn.

Compared to the third quarter, your fourth quarter 2008 billable hours were:

Well above average – 3.1%

Slightly above average – 9.9%

Right where they usually are, average – 18.2%

Slightly below average – 33.7%

Well below average – 35.1%

Compared to the third quarter, your fourth quarter 2008 inquiries were:

Well above average – 0.9%

Slightly above average – 6.0%

Right where they usually are, average – 14.6%

Slightly below average – 25.3%

Well below average – 53.3%

Compared to the same quarter a year ago, your fourth quarter 2008 billable hours were:

Higher – 14.5%

About the same – 18.2%

Lower – 66.4%

Don’t know – 0.9%

Compared to the same quarter a year ago, your fourth quarter 2008 inquiries were:

Higher – 7.4%

About the same – 16.1%

Lower – 75.4%

Don’t know – 1.1%

Do you plan on hiring any employees in the first quarter 2009? (multiple answers):

Experienced landscape architect – 4.2%

Entry level landscape architect – 3.2%

Support staff – 4.4%

Intern – 3.2%

Not hiring – 87.2%

Demand for traditional turf grass or lawns in projects recently completed or currently working on:

Demand has dropped in place of alternative design elements – 32.2%

Demand remains unchanged – 66.0%

Demand has increased – 1.8%

Principle reasons clients ask for alternatives for traditional lawns (multiple answers):

Lowering upkeep time and effort – 44.4%

Saves money on utility or maintenance costs – 42.0%

Reducing environmental harm – 28.1%

Preferred an aesthetically pleasing design alternative – 13.9%

Received a government incentive such as a tax break or quicker approval – 5.4%

Other – 13.2%

Alternatives used in place of traditional lawns: (multiple answers):

Planting regionally-appropriate, non-invasive vegetation in place of grass expanses – 58.7%

Incorporating water harvesting elements, such as rain gardens – 37.8%

Increasing use of a variety of hardscapes, including permeable surfaces – 35.5%

Retaining lawn, but replacing high-maintenance grasses with hardier, native varieties – 34.3%

Introducing food/vegetable gardens – 10.3%

Incorporating more structural elements – 8.1%

About the Survey

The ASLA Business Quarterly survey asks quarterly benchmarks on key statistics including billable hours, inquiries, and hiring plans. The Q4 2008 national survey was fielded January 7 through January 21 with 579 firms responding.

About ASLA

Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 18,200 members in 48 professional chapters and 68 student chapters. The Society’s mission is to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use their “ASLA” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at www.asla.org.

Construction is moving along at Rees and Simcoe – West 8

West 8 announced

“Construction is moving along at both the Rees and Simcoe wavedecks. The wavedecks, which will open this summer, will provide unique gateways to the waterfront of Toronto and will create more publicly accessible spaces. Over the next few weeks, construction activities will include H-pile installation on the north wall at the Simcoe Slip and fish habitat installation at Rees Slip.

The two new wavedecks are part of a series of three. The first one, the Spadina wavedeck, was opened in September 2008. The wavedecks are part of the first phase of implementation of a strategic masterplan for the Toronto Central Waterfront prepared by West 8 + DTAH, see also:

http://www.west8.nl/projects/all/toronto_central_waterfront/

http://www.west8.nl/projects/architecture/spadina_wavedeck/

http://www.waterfrontoronto.ca”

[SOURCE: West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture / news / Construction is moving along at Rees and Simcoe]

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