Underpass Park unveiled

Before-after-Underpass-Park_West-screen-res

A derelict area beneath a series of overpasses in the West Don Lands is going to be transformed into the most extensive park to ever be built under an overpass in Canada, and the first in Toronto.

Located within the West Don Lands – home to the 2015 Pan American Games Athletes’ Village – Underpass Park will cover a total of 1.05 hectares (2.5 acres) under and around the Eastern Avenue and Richmond/Adelaide overpasses, between Cherry Street and Bayview Avenue.

Designed by renowned landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg in association with The Planning Partnership, Underpass Park embodies design excellence and is the epitome of innovative urban park design.  The design creates a socially-engaging park for community members of all ages and abilities by incorporating public art, recreational space, playful climbing structures and play areas, flexible community space, community gardens, and public gathering places.

Before-after--Underpass-Park-Rendering-evening-screen-res

[IMAGE SOURCE: Waterfront Toronto]

UK Survey finds shortage of landscape architects

Green space skills: 2009 National employer survey findings, a survey commissioned by CABE and English Heritage, is the first to reveal the full extent of skills shortages in the green space sector in the UK. The report has found that 14.9% of national employers found landscape architects hard to recruit due to skills shortage. Landscape architects were also on top of the table as the hardest to recruit out of all the green space skills.

22% of  respondents from the Private sector stated that it was harder to find landscape architects whereas only 8.5 of respondents in the Public Sector  found it hard to find landscape architects due to a skills shortage.

Green space skills shows an urgent need to address the skills shortfall to tackle climate change. Planning, design and management are what are needed to help to adapt green spaces to a changing climate, and these were exactly the skills which employers felt their staff most lacked.

The report also identified several priorities to counter the shortage including:

- Develop and maintain a strong evidence base to make the case for investment in green space skills

- Improve the availability and quality of training, including continual professional development

- Increase awareness of the sector and the opportunities it offers, to encourage more people into the sector

Download the report at the [SOURCE:  CABE]

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Olympics reinvigorates Vancouver’s Granville Street

Granville Street, Vancouver 2010

Image by popejon2 via Flickr

During the Winter Olympics in Vancouver a newly updated Granville Street by PWL Partnership Landscape Architects has become a lively impromptu event space for buskers, street hockey, olympic pin sellers and more. The street has been closed to traffic for 30 years with only buses allowed back in the mid-1970′s. Retail groups have lobbied to have cars reintroduced to the space. However, the success of the space which is usually the domain of club-hopping group has caused planners and downtown businesses to rethink the future of the space post-Olympics.

Could this be the catalyst for a renaissance of pedestrian malls in cities?

Read more about Granville Street during the Olympics at the [SOURCE:Globe & Mail - Games reignite dream of a car-free Granville]

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$2.2 billion for Great Lakes Restoration: EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency will spend $2.2 billion over five years on the Great Lakes to clean up polluted water and beaches, restore wetlands and fight invasive species such as Asian carp in a revitalization effort.
In 2010 $475 million is budgeted under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan.

The Initiative builds upon 5 years of work of the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force (IATF) and stakeholders, guided by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy. The IATF includes 16 cabinet and agency organizations, including: EPA, State, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, HUD, Transportation, Homeland Security, Army, CEQ, and Health and Human Services.

Chicago Breaking News reports
Billing the effort as light on study and heavy on action, environmental leaders say they’re seeking to heal the Great Lakes ecosystem from “150 years of abuse” and to ensure that “fish are safe to eat; the water is safe to drink; the beaches and waters are safe for swimming, surfing, boating and recreating; native species and habitats are protected and thriving; no community suffers disproportionately from the impacts of pollution; and the Great Lakes are a healthy place for people and wildlife to live.”

[Vancouver Sun - U.S. looks for help in battling Asian carp invasion]

[M.live - Asian carp may swallow federal Great Lakes Cleanup funding]

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Competition Shortlist is a who’s who of design

Recently the contest organisers of the Gateway Arch Design Competition announced the shortlist for the second round of the competition and it reads like a who’s who of built environment design from around the world. This competition is shaping up to be one of the most interesting for 2010 and the jury will have a hard job on their hands picking a winner.

The lead designers and design teams are:

  • Behnisch Architekten, Gehl Architects, Stephen Stimson Associates, Buro Happold, Transsolar, Applied Ecological Services, Limno-Tech, Herbert Dreiseitl, Arne Quinze, Peter MacKeith, Eric Mumford
  • FIT (Fully Integrated Thinking) Team – Arup, Doug Aitken Studio, HOK Planning Group, HOK
  • Michael Maltzan Architecture, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Richard Sommer, Buro Happold
  • Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Steven Holl Architects, Greenberg Consultants, Uhlir Consulting, HR&A Advisors, Guy Nordenson and Associates, Arup, LimnoTech, Ann Hamilton Studio, James Carpenter Design Associates, Elizabeth K. Meyer, Project Projects
  • PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas, Ned Kahn, Buro Happold
  • Quennell Rothschild and Partners and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Vishkan Chakrabarti, Buro Happold, Atelier Ten, and Nicholas Baume
  • Rogers Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Urban Strategies, Local Projects, Arup
  • SOM, BIG, Hargreaves Associates, Jaume Plensa, URS
  • Weiss/Manfredi, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Mark Dion

The nine design leaders and teams now have five weeks to complete their teams and present full qualifications to the competition jury, Stastny said.

In addition, local contractors, minority, disadvantaged, or women-owned businesses and others are invited to meet Feb. 18 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Old Court House with representatives of the short-listed design groups for potential teaming opportunities.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for these businesses to learn about the project and to begin considering participating,” Stastny said. “We look forward to a strong turnout.”

The final stage, Stage III, to take place over the summer, will include a 90-day design concept competition to explore the finalists’ design approach and test their working methodology.

The public will be invited to two events this spring and summer. A “meet the designers night” will be held in late April. This summer, there will be a public exhibition of the designs. Details will be available soon.

The final jury pick will be announced on Sept. 24, 2010. The project is set to be constructed by Oct. 28, 2015.

The new design is called for in the National Park Service’s General Management Plan, which was developed with extensive public input over an 18-month period and approved Nov. 23, 2009.

The competition is sponsored by the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, which includes National Park Superintendent Tom Bradley, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, community leaders from Missouri and Illinois, academics, architects and national park advocates.

A full list of registrants for the competition, “Framing a Modern Masterpiece: The City + The Arch + The River 2015,” has also been released. It can be found with other competition information at www.cityarchrivercompetition.org.

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