Land News 15 Nov 2010

Can We Ditch Our Cars and Embrace High-Speed Rail? – [LAist.com]
LAist blog looks at the work of Roger Sherman co-director cityLAB in relation to High Speed Rail (HSR) and the planned billions to be spent across on HSR across USA.

Downsizing the American Dream: The shrinking house [USAToday]
A look at how the size of the median USA home has dropped in 200 square feet since 2007

Look to Vancouver, town planners told [ABC Online]
Comments from John Norquist from the Congress for the New Urbanism at the City of the Future: Australian & US Perspectives conference currently being  held in Brisbane.

London’s Cultural Strategy: We must continue to invest in creativity [Mayor of London]
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) at the launch of his Cultural Strategy which will be published after public comment.

Public gets a say on Peavey Plaza – [Star Tribune]
Landscape architect candidates seeking to be lead designer for the renovation of Peavey Plaza ( will be interviewed on Tuesday. The renovation is expected to cost $5-6million USD. Originally constructed in 1975 and designed by M. Paul Friedberg has numerous maintenance issues over the years. The renovation of the plaza as Minnesota Orchestra prepares for $45 million hall renovation and expansion in 2012.

Designs for Santa Monica Parks Discussed at Joint Meeting – [The LookOut News]
Landscape architect James Corner and members of his New York-based design team unveiled the latest version of their plan for a pair of adjacent parks to members of Santa Monica’s community on Saturday.
[We will try and get images and post them on World Landscape Architect]

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Uganda gives away part of city wetland – [New Vision]
NEMA has given National Housing and Corporation housing estate part of Bugolobi wetland situated between Kampala city and Lake Victoria . The Bugolobi wetland cleanses water that runs into Lake Victoria, one of Africa’s Great Lakes.

Henn Architekten to design Wenzhou’s CBD – [Bustler]
Henn Architekten was last week awarded 1st prize in an international design competition to design an area of Wenzhou CBD.Wenzhou, a city of 1.4 million people (urban population) situated on the East Coast of China. The 5 towers of  400,000m2 mixed use space was designed based upon the Wenzhou river delta where the Oujiang river flows into the East China Sea.

LAP students create vision for future of downtown Muncie [BSUDailyNews.com]

Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning, 40 fifth-year students, led by landscape architecture professors German Cruz, Malcolm Cairns and Simon Bussiere, participated in the renovation design of Main Street between Madison and Walnut streets.
[We will try and get images and post them on World Landscape Architect]

Second Rate Urbanism – [landscape+urbanism]

Jason King takes a second look at Duany’s comments in the The Man who Reinvented the City

Prunings LXI – [Pruned]
Looking at Global Distribution of Aerosols

Infrastructure Gives Societies the Ability to Connect [Triple Pundit]
FedEX take on Infrastructure=Access

‘Art, Architecture, Scandal and Class in America’s Gilded Age’ review: Firm remade the urban landscape [NJ.com]
Book Review by Kathleen Daley of ‘Triumvirate: McKim, Mead and White: Art, Architecture, Scandal and Class in America’s Gilded Age’ by Mosette Broderick  (Pubished 26 October 2010)

Spotlight on trams: Helsinki [Guardian]

George W. Bush Presidential Center begins construction – [SMU Daily Campus]

TD Bank a step back for urbanism at RI Ave [Greater Greater Washington]

We are always on the lookout for more links and information for readers – email them to damian@landreader.com

For more Links from Todays news

Continue reading Land News 15 Nov 2010

White House launches Urban Affairs website

The White House launched the Office of Urban Affairs website including a blog and Innovations and Ideas page where US citizens can submit ideas and best practices. This is a follow up to the Urban Tour which included 9 city centers and the Inter-Agency working group on urban policy.

The OUA blog states that the launch of the website is to

This effort is an important addition to our ongoing conversation on the Future of America’s Cities and Metropolitan Areas. We have already met with many urban stakeholders, elected officials, and academics; and we’ve been around the country visiting places that are on the cutting edge of urban innovation. But today we are establishing a more direct relationship with you – the American people. You are the ones that are innovating every single day – you are the innovators. You tackle government bureaucracy with creativity and leadership; you overcome a slow economy with public-private partnerships; and you turn distressed neighborhoods around with determination, hope and, above all, hard work.

The President knows that government doesn’t have all the answers. He knows that the best solutions come from you in places like Auburn Gresham in Chicago, South Lake Union in Seattle, and the small city of Flagstaff, Arizona – just to name a few. We know there are many more out there and we want you to share them with us.

Submit your idea or best practice (US Citizens)

[SOURCE: Office of Urban Affairs Blog – Announcing the White House Urban Affairs Website]

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Will there be a shortage of landscape architects after the Crisis is over?

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.

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Landscaping With a Lighter Touch – NYTimes.com

A recent article by William L. Hamilton at the New York Times about landscaping enhancing property values interviewed some landscape architects and clients and many drew the conclusion that people are heading towards more low maintenance gardens with few features. Out with the outdoor kitchen and in with the kitchen garden. More native plants and natural aesthetic.

The landscape architects in the article were:

Mike Mushak (CT, NY) said his clients were more interested in growing vegetables and getting their hands dirty than owning and operating the elaborate outdoor appliances…..

Anne Howerton(SF) said “how much work you want to put into maintaining a property, at any price point.”…….

Andrea Cochrane(SF) said about clients with green intentions – “They’re definitely aware, but when people look at the amortization — the payback — they tend to cut it out. I’ve become a little jaded about that.”…..

Perry Guillot(NY) stated that “High, high maintenance, that’s moved on,”……..“It’s like having five bad kids in the house, constantly needing things.”

Read the full article at the the [SOURCE: New York Times – Landscaping With a Lighter Touch]

Bulldozing Cities – GOOD.IS

Dan Kildee is the treasurer of Genessee County, Michigan, the county which contains the city of Flint. His recently written a guest post at GOOD.is. He starts his post

The quality of a city is determined by what life is like for the people who live there—not by how many people live there.

So why is my suggestion that my hometown of Flint should shrink—reducing the “built” environment—creating such a stir? Is our American obsession with growth and expansion so pervasive that a community would rather fail at being large than succeed and become a smaller place?

Read the full post at the SOURCE: GOOD 100: Bulldozing Cities

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