FEATURE: Interview with Jason King

Sustainable Sites is an initiative with a interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.

jk_headshot


Jason King is a Senior Associate at Greenworks
and an enthusiastic landscape architect who shares his passionate views at his sites Landscape+Urbanism and veg.itecture. He has just been appointed to the Sustainable Sites Technical Advisory Group for the US Green Building Council (USGBC) so we thought it would be a good opportunity to interview Jason about Sustainable Sites and his role at Sustainable Sites Technical Advisory Group.

WLA: What will your role be with the Sustainable Site Technical Advisory Group?

Jason: As part of the Sustainable Sites Technical Advisory Group, our regular activities will include working within the group to evaluate existing and future policies related to Sustainable Sites for all version of LEED, and specifically provide input on issues such as interpretation and Credit Interpretation Rulings (CIRs) on a bi-weekly basis. Specifically, I am going to be the primary credit guardian for the SSc5.1, Reduced Site Disturbance: Protect and Restore Open Space, and to work as a sub-guardian for a number of other credits. The entire group collectively makes determinations – this is just the first point of contact on specific items, sharing the load a bit.

My goals are really to move the LEED system and its interpretation of sustainable sites in a significantly more realistic and robust application. Determining what open space is and what it means to site users, or what components make up habitat are big questions – and can’t be oversimplified into mere square footage coverage. The challenge is to find ways to move the concepts forward to more specific and increasingly rigorous goals, but do so in a what that is accessible and integrated into the system. We need to constantly raise the bar, but not lose the momentum by making things overly onerous.

WLA: How important is LEED and Sustainable Sites to the future of landscape architecture?

Jason: I think it’s vitally important. Based on the success of LEED in the building-related industry, and how it’s really become a touchstone (for better or worse) for sustainability, our voices and roles in this process will be very important. One way is to be advocates for changes in LEED that reflect sustainability as we see it, beyond the simplification that often is the case in creation of green building systems. LEED isn’t going to go away, but rather evolve as we learn more and evolve from sustainable to regenerative design. The Sustainable Sites Initiative, developed by ASLA, is a good step in our future. It’s in the early stages, and not without issues that need to be resolved, but is much more of a true site-specific guideline that will really give us direction on defining sustainability in the landscape.

WLA: Most Landscape Architects are instinctly “green” and “sustainable”. How do you see the role of Sustainable Sites of built environment professionals?

Jason: It’s true that our education and experience makes landscape architects green or sustainable by nature. Many of the ideas we do as common practice are not considered specifically as ‘sustainable’ design to us, just what you do as a landscape architect. When compared to some other disciplines these ideas are much more innovative, or at least more contextual. Still, we have a great challenge in both quantifying these ideas into a system framework, and making sure we are vocal advocates for change, not allowing other disciplines to determine what role we play in design. The integration of landscape and buildings is fascinating – as landscape architecture, rather than just being ornament applied to the exterior, is becoming enmeshed in architectural form, building systems, and the environmental performance. The possibilities for integrated approaches are incredible.

As we get more prominence and a greater voice in project design processes, we will be able to more truly represent the profession and move forward an agenda that is both more sustainable, regionally adapted, and reflective of the common notion of what is a sustainable site.

We would like to congratulate Jason on his appointment and thank him for taking the time to answer a few questions.

By Damian Holmes – 12 August 2009

EDAW AECOM planning 26,000 homes at Luton Gateway

The Luton Gateway is one of a number of local delivery organisations set up across the UK in areas identified by the government as being in a prime position to deliver housing……The Luton Gateway has a target to deliver an additional 26,000 homes and 19,000 jobs by 2021.

EDAW AECOM, a leading design and planning consultancy, has been appointed to complete an infrastructure schedule, requirement model and delivery plan and to refresh the Integrated Development Programme (IDP).  This will ensure that the appropriate infrastructure needed has been identified to allow the area to meet the required targets.  Work is already underway and it is expected that the study will be completed by October 2009.

SOURCE: Luton Gateway News: Overview via Planning Resource

Waters Edge re-defines city architecture

Queensland Business Review reports

A new development in Brisbane’s West End is set to draw inspiration from the river city, with nearly an acre of waterscape and open subtropical gardens. Upon completion, Waters Edge will comprise two, eight-story residential buildings, surrounded by 4,000sqm of water-scaped grounds.

Landscape architecture firm EDAW AECOM says the position of the site provides the opportunity to translate the qualities of the river into a central feature of the design.

SOURCE: Queensland Business ReviewWaters Edge re-defines city architecture

Oshawa teens try their hand at urban planning

newsdurhamregion.com reports

When it comes to buying basic essentials in downtown Oshawa, a trio of local teens recently learned that it can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Megan Swift, Shaneh Fielding and Kaytlyn Sollows were among more than 60 young people who spent the past few months helping the Province of Ontario learn more about what’s right and what’s wrong with cities…….

SOURCE:  newsdurhamregion.com – Oshawa teens try their hand at urban planning.

AND NOW WHAT: Rethinking Spatial Practice During Crisis – The Architecture Foundation

In April 2009, The Architecture Foundation organised three roundtable debates to examine the nature of the dramatic economic and ecological challenges facing built environment practitioners. The debates were titled – AND NOW WHAT: Rethinking Spatial Practice During Crisis. The Architecture Foundation recently posted the video on Vimeo. Interesting to watch with many valid points to think about the built environment profession.

SOURCE: AND NOW WHAT: Rethinking Spatial Practice During Crisis from The Architecture Foundation on Vimeo.

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