The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is closing 41 parks and 14 historic sites across the state and reducing services 23 parks and 1 historic site.
According to the Press Release
The Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) today put forward a list of closures and service reductions in order to achieve its proposed 2010-11 agency savings target and help address the State’s historic fiscal difficulties. As part of a comprehensive plan to close an $8.2 billion deficit……
The plan also assumes $4 million in park and historic site fee increases that will be identified at a later date, and the use of $5 million in funds from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to finance OPRHP operations.
Over the past two years with the Global Financial Crisis hit nearly every nation across the globe and as a result landscape architects where laid off in large numbers. This was hardest felt in the USA due to lack of work and collapse of the home building market.
Governments from USA, UK, Canada, Australia, China and many other countries kick-started their economies with Financial Stimulus packages which has given some firms more work but has created just enough work to sustain the staff they had kept on.
At World Landscape Architect, however I have noticed in recent weeks that results for tenders and competitions seems to appear on the web more and more frequently.
Will there be a shortage of landscape architect with economies picking up and more work coming into companies? Well if we go back to late 1990′s to mid 2000′s there were many reports of shortages of experience staff at landscape architecture firms in UK, Australia, New Zealand, UAE, North East Africa and some parts of Asia which was driving up salaries and as a recent article by Mark Smulian at Planning Resource raised the issue that CABE has fears that a shortage will occur again….
Like planning, landscape architecture has never really recovered from the 1990s recession. People left the profession or chose not to enter it, leaving a gap in experience. CABE fears a repeat in this recession and say a minimum of 550 new entrants a year are needed on landscape courses.
[SOURCE: Planning Resource]
Will there be a shortage remains to be seen but the outlook looks good for landscape architects currently unemployed with more work and projects appearing daily and the growth in sustainable design and trend of developments and cities incorporating ratings systems such as LEED ND and Sustainable Sites. Also there is a large amount of work that will be generated with the explosion on new cities in Asia and North Africa and the renewal of many towns and cities throughout the UK and USA. Therefore, if your unemployed there is hope yet and if your employed help push your local Universities and Professional Institutions to keep promoting the profession even more so during the current times of stagnant or slight growth to encourage more students to go into the profession and encourage those thinking of leaving to rethink their long term careers.
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?
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates – Cambridge, Massachusetts
Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg – Vancouver, British Columbia
The SWA Group – Sausalito, California
Partnered with: Corush Sunderland Wright Ltd. (Ottawa), The ARCOP Group, J.L. Richards & Associates (Ottawa), WESA (Ottawa), BuildGreen Solutions, CMS Collaboratie Inc., Professional Environmental Recreation Consultants Ltd. (PERC), PHA Lighting Design, Ned Kahn
West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture – Toronto, Ontario
Partnered with: Robertson Martin Architects Inc., The Municipal Infrastructure Group (TMIG), Halsall Associates (Ottawa office)
Williams, Asselin, Ackaoui & Associates Inc. (WAA) – Montreal, Quebec
Partnered with: Éclairage Public Inc., Michel Dallaire Design Industriel Inc., Les Architectes FABG, Vinci Consultants, Linda Covit
With this selection, the work of the design firms will begin promptly with the gathering of information and ideas for the new open space. On Wednesday, February 24 and Thursday, February 25, the selected design firms will be meeting with the City, the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the Parks Canada Agency in a design symposium. Community groups and citizens will be able to learn about the design teams’ background and past projects, and provide comments about what they think should be built in the open space.
Competitors where given some advice and on the designs for the site including
……. more than one presenter that proposals needed to be environmentally sustainable, “preserve the historic integrity” of the site (including the Aberdeen pavilion), with an emphasis on “soft over hard landscape.”
Later in the day the design teams presented their previous work to the City and NCC.
In October 2009, Seattle Parks selected SvR Design + Hewitt as the primary design consultant for four Belltown blocks, from First to Fifth Avenues will be turned into Seattle’s first park boulevard with swales and natural landscaping. Last month SvR Design + Hewitt presented two different design options for Bell Street in the Seattle neighbourhood of Belltown to the community to receive feedback.
The design team presented two options for the first area of the project between 4th and 5th Avenue. The design team walked the audience through a comparison of the options requesting input on the “Sluiced Surface” option and the “Measured Movement” option.
The community offered positive feedback and direction for the design of the park. The community encouraged the designers to look into a combination of the two designs emphasising the importance of safety, activation, lighting, and using green / recycled materials.
Nate Cormier, senior landscape architect at SvR, said the two designs are meant to represent “bookends” of the area’s history. Bell Street and the area around it have changed dramatically in the past 100 years. Tons of rock and soil that originally formed a steep hill there were removed and the land was regraded.
After receiving the communities feedback the team will come up with a single design and present it at a public meeting in April. Construction should occur in 2011.