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.
By Damian Holmes
SIDENOTE: The article by Mark Smulian at Planning Resource titled ‘Greening our cities‘ is a great article that looks at the role of landscape architects, our strengths and weaknesses.
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]
The City of Ottawa released the names of the 5 firms that have been short listed from the 21 submissions received to compete for the design of Lansdowne Park’s open space.
The short listed firms are
- 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.
For more information go to the Lansdowne Park’s open space website.
[SOURCE: City of Ottawa]
RELATED STORY: Ottawa Citizen – Five firms compete for Lansdowne redesign
Joanne Chianello of the Ottawa Citizen wrote a follow up piece about the Lansdowne Park Competition reporting on the initial meeting between the City, NCC and the design teams.
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.
Read the full article at the [SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen – Designers told to ensure Lansdowne’s uniqueness]
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.
The Daily Journal of Commerce – Seattle has two designs for park along Bell Street cited
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.
For more information and to download the Presentation PDF go to [SOURCE: Seattle Parks & Recreation]
VIA: Daily Journal of Commerce – Seattle has two designs for park along Bell Street
IMAGE SOURCES: Seattle Parks & Recreation (SvR + Hewitt)
Existing Conditions looking along Bell from 4th to 5th Avenue
View Larger Map
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]
New York Times recently published When Parks Must Rely on Private Money by DIANE CARDWELL concerning the struggles of cities to fund the construction and maintenance of parks throughout the USA. Many parks are funded through selling of land or revenues generated by carparks or taxes from new nearby developments and others are funded by residents and companies donating funds in return for naming rights or plaques. Cardwell cites examples of parks that have been constructed with the use some private funding including Millennium Park in Chicago and the Highline and with the tradeoff causing issues in some cities.
The article stimulated a few ideas I have had during my career. I find that funding of new or redevelopment of parks is a often a fine line between private and public funding, which often blurs the line between public and private space. Private funding often causing issues with residents because of naming or commercial activities in the new park that create a private area.
An ever-growing trend for cities around the world is to justify the cost of construction and maintenance of parks through inclusion of private funding or commercial activities such as paid parking garages, retail shops, restaurants, or areas that are commercialised for entertainment(concerts, festivals, etc). How to strike a balance between private and public funding is very complicated process for each city and requires research and consultation.
Many cities find it hard to redevelop parks with the use of public money as it is often controversial as parks are sometimes seen by residents as non-essential. Residents see hospitals, schools, and police as essential services within the community whereas parks are seen as non-essential and that public monies would be better spent on other services. To avoid this cities seek private funding in return for naming rights or a commercial development on or near the park. Now the question is how far to go with private funding and how much is the park compromised by accepting the funding in return for naming right or commercial development?
This issue of public and private funding will become more and more prevalent around the world as developers of retail and residential developments blur the line between public and private space by creating spaces in developments that are town squares and parks that can be accessed by the public. This blurring will cause some confusion with city residents as to what is public space and what is private. It also raises the question – Are developers going to develop parks and maintain them or will it always remain the domain of the local government?
Private development of public parks as apart of residential developments or commercial developments, which are then handed to government after certain period is already occurring in some parts of the world. Will this become a growing trend across cities for small and large parks? Or will it remain only in residential developments?
By Damian Holmes
3 months after WLA reported in Marysville Moving On that the Marysville Urban Design Framework was released for public comment now comes news that the UDF has been fast-tracked and approved by Victorian State Planning Minister Justin Madden. Marysville was the township that was destroyed during the 2009 bushfires.
Mr Madden said that Murrindindi Shire Council had played a key role in the formulation and review of the UDF, working in partnership with the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority (VBRRA) and with the community who had major input into the framework.
Minister for Regional and Rural Development Jacinta Allan, speaking from Marysville, said the new framework was designed to address the social and environmental needs of the community in the immediate and long term.
“The framework will build on the existing Marysville rebuilding projects such as the Gallipoli Park Masterplan, Marysville Motor Museum Shopping Centre, and the $7 million school and children’s hub.”
[SOURCE: Victorian State Government]