Leading up to the 2018 ASLA Meeting in Philadelphia was a hectic time prior to making the 30-hour door to door trip (Melbourne Australia to Philadelphia) to attend the meeting. Although called a meeting it could be considered a conference which provides learning through various formats including field trips, education sessions, an expo and more.
Over the four days, I attended numerous education sessions that dealt with a wide range of topics including Eco-cities, Augmented Intelligence, Modernist Landscapes (Restore, Remodel, Redo), Public Art, Climate Change, Public Realm – Equity & Beauty, Soils, Landscape Maintenance and more. I think that this is the strength of the ASLA event is that it is not a themed conference that has a specified topic with the experts in one area of landscape architecture, it is a conference which has a wide range of topics with experts presenting material that is pertinent to the topic. Attendings can then pick and choose from various education sessions during the day based on their interests or pick something totally new.
At the same location is the Expo, which allows attendees to circulate through and see the latest from product suppliers, ask questions and take home some new ideas. It seemed the big trends this year was oversized timber log playground equipment and integrated lighting, power or wifi in urban furniture. Outside the daytime hours of ASLA meeting, there are several events held by universities, non-profits (The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Landscape Architecture Foundation), design firms, product suppliers and media including Land8 and Landscape Architecture Magazine.
Going to a conference such as ASLA also allowed me to visit the tourist sites of Philadelphia and also visit some of the recent projects including the newly renovated Love Park and stage 1 of Rail Park.
Attending the event is sometimes a bit overwhelming at the start due to the vast number of attendees (I estimate between 4,000-6,000 people) however, this is also one of the reasons I go as I get to meet people that I have only ever engaged with through social media or email, and these meeting whether organized or serendipitous in the hallways makes the ASLA meeting even better. As with many conferences, it is not just the presentations that provide food for through but also the connections made and casual side discussions that make it worthwhile.
Images Credit | Damian Holmes
Article Written by Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of WLA.
He is also a registered Landscape Architect with extensive experience in Australia, Canada, and China.