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What’s your favorite landscape?

Share it this April as part of World Landscape Architecture Month

Submitted by Dalton LaVoie (Sacramento, CA)

It’s April 1. Spring has sprung. April Fools pranks abound. And – more importantly – it’s the first day of World Landscape Architecture Month!

Organized by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), this month-long observance celebrates the profession of landscape architecture and the design of public and private outdoor spaces across the globe. As the cornerstone activity, ASLA has launched a worldwide social media campaign to showcase the diversity of spaces landscapes architects design, from the truly extraordinary to the beautifully ordinary.

The campaign is powerful in its simplicity: it asks anyone who it reaches – landscape architects, casual blog readers, social media perusers – to take photos of their favorite landscapes while holding up a wallet-sized card that reads “Designed by a Landscape Architect,” and then share those photos on social media channels with the hashtag #WLAM2015. The photos are rolling in, and already the results reflect the remarkable contribution the profession makes to our communities and our environment.

For example, take Artivio Guerrero Park here in Sacramento. This newly opened park returned recreational space to an existing neighborhood of over 6,000 residents who had seen a once thriving community-built pool and tennis site fall into disrepair. I actually visit this park often, and am always thrilled to see how many people are there, playing, smiling, and building their community once again. We focused the design on creating an engaging and educational space that’s also really fun – with its incorporation of native plants and wildlife in the structures, things that spin and slide, and a creative blend of both active and passive features. This kind of park gets kids excited about play, being outside, and being connected to nature, while also thoughtfully integrating the needs of their parents (#shade #seating #nearby). And it was designed by a landscape architect.

In another park example, Nova Scotia’s Open Hearth Park has literally transformed the community. On what was once dubbed Canada’s most toxic site, a 125-acre waterfront park is now the community’s crown jewel. Here, landscape architects led the challenging task of designing a beautiful, functional, and sustainable park atop layers of complex remediation systems. It was an amazing feat that has reconnected the community back to its waterfront. And it was designed by a landscape architect.

WLAM is also highlighting places you might not know a landscape architect's skills were at work. The surroundings of the California State Capitol building (designed by The HLA Group), for instance, are all about balancing security with aesthetics, from the (attractive) pneumatic bollards to the plantings that mask concrete barricades and vehicle-rated post-and-cable networks. As a result, these features blend seamlessly into the surroundings while still providing the layer of security needed to keep our elected officials safe. And it, too, was designed by a landscape architect.

That's the magic of the #WLAM2015 campaign. With an image and a few words, it can capture and illuminate the value of a profession whose work sometimes goes unnoticed, even when it’s right in front if you. Whether it’s park space or protected space, functional or artistic, large or small, WLAM is taking this diversity of designed landscapes across the globe and bringing it to light.

Now we want to hear from you. All this month, we invite you to share the spaces that are special to you in your corner of this vast place we all call home. Have a favorite park? Share a photo. An urban plaza that forms the heart of your city? Share a photo. A cherished sports field or bike trail? Share a photo. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #WLAM2015 in your post and tell us why this spot means something to you. You can also check out what others are sharing by searching #WLAM2015 on Twitter or Instagram, or by visiting ASLA’s ongoing collection. These spaces create the character of the communities we inhabit, and showcasing their diversity and beauty is what World Landscape Architecture Month is all about. I once heard landscape architects referred to as a generally “shade-loving species.” For WLAM, it's time to get some sun.

Dalton LaVoie is a landscape architect and volunteers as the public awareness representative for the California Sierra Chapter of ASLA and as a member of the Public Relations and Communications Advisory Committee for ASLA National.

Dalton LaVoie

All this month, we invite you to share the spaces that are special to you in your corner of this vast place we all call home.

Artivio Guerrero Park in Sacramento, California (designed by Stantec)

Designing for security at the California Capitol Building (designed by The HLA Group)

Open Hearth Park in Sydney, Nova Scotia (designed by Stantec)

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