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SCAPE land and design in the Upper Midwest

summer 13

The Awards Issue

Best in Minnesota landscape architecture for 2013 PLUS Lessons from a community garden Urban street trees, how to survive Influencing behavior change Embracing the Mississippi Bikeways through the 窶話urbs Growing space for health

Publication of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

President’s Message Healthy by Design, Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life, ASLA-MN’s theme this year, speaks to what we do professionally in our communities as well as how we engage and support one another. Our membership includes more than 250 landscape architectural professionals and affiliates. Our events and publications reach a much larger community of over 700 in landscape architecture along with allied and emerging professionals. Our work touches the lives of thousands on a daily basis. ASLA-MN remains a healthy and active member-driven organization.

This edition of _SCAPE celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of our members whose work reaches across the country. We also celebrate the contributions of several individuals in our community who through their foresight, leadership and diligent work have made our communities healthier places to live. Looking toward our future, we recognize the work of four amazing students graduating from the University of Minnesota this year. Enjoy their work on the following pages. Please join me in congratulating all of them and in encouraging all of us to continue achieving more innovative and meaningful work and bringing our communities to life. ASLA-MN has had a busy year between our gathering last year at the Science Museum of Minnesota and this year’s Awards Celebration and Gala at The Marsh. Our Executive Committee has stayed the course by focusing on our membership and what we have heard from you in the past by providing networking and educational activities, community and social activities and just having fun with colleagues.

With all we have been doing, there is still more that we can do together. Many of you have asked what you can do to help and we have many opportunities for you to do so. Please ask me or any of our Executive Committee members how you can help. If you’re not a member, consider joining ASLA - the importance of advocating for our profession is crucial to our community’s success. Thank you again for your leadership in our profession, your engagement in our communities and your commitment to our environment. Without all the things you do we could not be bringing life to communities and communities to life. Thank you, Bryan Carlson, FASLA

President ASLA-MN We couldn’t accomplish all the activities we undertake without great sponsors, volunteers, chapter members, leadership, and the many friends of landscape architecture! I’d like to thank all of you who share your resources and time with us to make us more successful.

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


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ASLA-MN is the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) which represents nearly 300 professionals in the landscape architecture profession through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship. ASLA, the national organization, has more than 18,000 members and 48 chapters, representing all 50 states, U.S. territories, and 42 countries around the world.

_SCAPE Editorial

Executive Committee

Editor Ann Rexine

Bryan Carlson, FASLA President

Copy Editor Jason McGrew-King Publisher JS Print Group Duluth, Minnesota

Tony Wotzka, Assoc. ASLA Director of Education & Professional Development

Chris Behringer, ASLA President-Elect

Tiffani Navratil, Assoc. ASLA Director of Events

Craig Wilson, ASLA Past President

Colleen O’Dell, Assoc. ASLA Director of Public Relations

Ellen Stewart, ASLA Chapter Trustee

Marjorie Pitz, FASLA Fellows Representative

Kathryn Ryan, ASLA Treasurer

Adrienne Bockheim, Assoc. ASLA Student Chapter Liaison

Michael Jischke, ASLA Secretary


Shannon Sawyer Acting Student Chapter President

Lil Leatham, ASLA Co-Director of Awards & Banquet Gabrielle Grinde, Assoc. ASLA Co-Director of Awards & Banquet Ann Rexine, ASLA Director of Communications

Heidi Bringman, ASLA Duluth Committee Chair Michael McGarvey, ASLA Government Affairs Committee Chair

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Summer 2013 | Issue #17



URbAN EDGE Eric Swanson MN, ND, SD, WI 800.430.6206 x1333 D E S I G N . C U LT U R E . C R A F T.


Chapter Buzz In this information age, ASLA-MN strives to harness and broadcast the various opportunities for local landscape architecture professionals to stay connected. Throughout the year, the chapter provides avenues to become an advocate for the profession, obtain continuing education credits, participate in public design projects, and meet new people.

Education This past year, our education programs provided learning opportunities for landscape architectural and allied professionals with the opportunity to earn more than 24 professional development units for licensure. We are currently helping to plan two upcoming events: the 2013 International Low Impact Development Symposium in St. Paul from August 18-21 and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Clean Water Summit, Social Theories and Practices on September 12-13.

Advocacy We are spreading the word about landscape architecture and lobbying for the interests of our profession. Within the past year ASLA-MN participated in the AIA-MN Expo, the Northern Green Expo, Hedberg’s Education Day and Expo and Bachman’s Education Day and Expo. Our members have also participated in numerous activities with allied organizations, AIA-MN, ULI, the APA, and HALS to name a few. On April 25, Ellen Stewart, Chris Behringer and Bryan Carlson spent the day in Washington, D.C., advocating for landscape architecture and lobbying for small businesses. They asked our members of Congress to support investment in innovative water infrastructure systems, transportation networks that provide ‘complete streets’ to improve safety in our communities, and community revitalization through our parks.

ASLA- MN supports the Next Generation of Parks Lecture Series together with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, the College of Design and the Landscape Architecture Department, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Walker Art Center. Our chapter has been participating in planning with the Walker Art Center and Artist in Residence Fritz Haeg on his Edible Estates program. Watch for this all summer! ASLA-MN helps students from the University of Minnesota Landscape Architecture program achieve professional success by supporting a variety of programs including portfolio reviews, fundraising, mentor programs, and student juries. And, of course, we celebrate the profession of landscape architecture with our Annual Celebration and Gala. Our awards recognize the work of professionals and students and individuals and organizations that make significant contributions to the profession and their communities through their leadership and service.

Publications Our E-Newsletters keep us up-to-date with news about the chapter and other information of interest to landscape architects and allied professionals. _SCAPE magazine is published twice a year with great articles focusing on our theme, our award winners and our annual directory of members.

Networking & Fun

Events & Activities

Opportunities for networking and fun abound with: Women in Landscape Architecture-WILA, Sole Practitioners-SOLO, mentors, jurors, our annual Bowling Brawl and golf outings and our re-kindled happy hours, which are always a good opportunity to visit with friends and colleagues.

Last June, the chapter designed and built a temporary pop-up park called Feeding the Flyway on the Minneapolis riverfront near the Stone Arch Bridge. It was a HUGE success with more than 1 million visitors throughout the summer! In September the chapter dismantled the park - all materials were repurposed and the swamp white oak trees were moved to a permanent location in Folwell Park in Minneapolis where they will continue to give back to the community for a long time.


If you would like to learn more, or if you are not a member and are interested in becoming one, please visit and contact any one of our Executive Committee members. We are always accepting new members - join today!

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


University of Minnesota

Department of Landscape Architecture Update By Kristine Miller, UMN | LA Department Head & Professor

Thank you to ASLA-MN and _SCAPE for this chance to update readers on what is happening in the University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture. Our goal is to use this opportunity to connect with local professionals and alumni and keep you informed about news and events. This first edition will introduce you to our faculty and staff and give a snapshot of some of our initiatives from the 2012/13 school year. We continue to grow our outstanding reputation for integrating research, teaching, and outreach at the intersections of art, ecology and community. Our renewed focus matches the challenges faced by practitioners like you and the communities you serve. We invite you to get in touch (via Facebook and LinkedIn by using search engine keywords University of Minnesota and landscape architecture) for each website.

Faculty and Staff Updates We have had many changes in our faculty over the last year. As many of you know, Professor Lance Neckar retired in Spring 2012 after 26 years of service. Neckar served as Department Head and Associate Dean for the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture; he has accepted a new position as the Robert Redford Chair of Sustainability at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. Associate Professor Bob Sykes retired in May 2013 after 31 years of service, including seven years as Director of Graduate studies. Sykes also led our foreign studies program and Cities on Water. He was an early supporter of our RAs-in-Practice Program, which pairs talented graduate students with local firms, agencies, and non-profit organizations to solve research questions. I accepted the Department Head position last summer after three years as Director of Graduate Studies and 12 years on the faculty. Professor Rebecca Krinke returned from a single-semester leave in fall 2012 to continue serving as Director of Graduate Studies. During her leave, Krinke coconvened the interdisciplinary exhibition and symposium Mapping Spectral Traces VI, gathering an international network of artists, designers, and academics who ‘map’ the unseen and unacknowledged difficult pasts that continue to structure present-day social relations.  2


Adjunct Assistant Professor Brad Agee directs our undergraduate program. In collaboration with staff and faculty in the School of Architecture, he helped to develop our first study abroad program in Istanbul, Turkey. Professor David Pitt, working with a transdisciplinary Geodesign team, is developing the first-ever Geodesign lab in the College. It also will act as a mobile unit where researchers and community members can co-create and test development scenarios with stakeholders throughout the state. Professor John Koepke and Senior Research Fellow Chris Carlson’s Laurentian Vision Project works in collaboration with mining companies, government agencies, and community members on a long-term project in the Mesabi Iron Range that promotes sustainable mining and the reshaping of mining sites into productive future landscapes. Associate Professor Laura Musacchio is part of an interdisciplinary team, funded in part by NASA, examining the relationships between city form and major weather events tied to global climate change. Assistant Professor Matthew Tucker joined the faculty this past year after nearly 20 years of practice, most recently at Hargreaves Associates. Tucker, along with a team of students and Adjunct Faculty Craig Wilson, won the 2013 ASLA-MN Award of Excellence for his Paradigm Change studio concerning the EPA Superfund site on the Duwamish River in Seattle. With a similar theme this fall semester, the studio site will focus on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. Senior Lecturer Vince deBritto leads our landscape architecture/architecture Duluth graduate studio and with his co-instructors has expanded that studio to include a funded seminar. Vince also co-leads our Cities on Water program in the Netherlands with Adjunct Assistant Professor Cynthia Lapp. Professor-in-Practice Joe Favour leads our RAs-in-Practice Program and is part of a team of faculty redesigning our technology course sequence. Adjunct Assistant Professor Pat Nunnally will be moving to the Institute for Advanced Studies to expand the University of Minnesota’s River Life Program, which he co-founded. River Life coordinates ‘river science to planning, public art to urban

Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

NEWS design, educational programming to community development.’ In 2011-12, Adjunct Faculty members Nikki Schlepp and Egle Vanagaite redesigned our representation courses to better reflect the state of the art in practice - combining hand drawing with computer rendering tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Google Sketchup. Our outstanding administrative team includes Amanda Smoot, whose responsibilities include budgeting and HR appointments, and Sara Grothe, whose responsibilities include student and curriculum support. The team now includes Adrienne Doyle, who works part time at our front desk and provides web and graphic design support. In Spring 2012 the Council on Educators in Landscape Architecture Accreditation Team gave us an outstanding review, complimenting the capacity of our faculty and students to tackle

pressing contemporary issues through creative and scholarly work. We took this as an opportunity to begin a new visioning process for the department. In Fall 2012 we began work on a strategic plan and in January 2013 we began re-imagining our MLA degree program. Finally, we would like to sincerely thank the dozens of local practitioners who have brought their experience and insights into our classrooms in the last year and who have supported our students as mentors, event hosts, and donors.

Professor Miller recently received a Bush Foundation Fellowship and the University of Minnesota Award for Outstanding Community Engagement for her ongoing work in North Minneapolis on environmental design and equity.

ASLA Fellow Recipient

Representing the Minnesota Chapter - 2012 The designation of Fellow (FASLA) is conferred on individuals in recognition of exceptional accomplishments over a sustained period of time. Individuals considered for this distinction must be a current ASLA Full Member or International Member in good standing, have achieved at least ten continuous years of full membership at the time of nomination, have demonstrated exceptional contributions over an extended period of time, have made a significant positive impact on the public and the profession and have received recognition for those contributions from multiple sources. ASLA-MN would like to formally recognize the ASLA College of Fellows newest member representing Minnesota - Don Ganje, FASLA. For nearly 40 years, Don Ganje has dedicated his time and talents to beautifying the public space of Minnesota’s capital city. He was honored for his esteemed career when he joined the Council of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects at the 2012 Annual Meeting & Expo, September 28 - October 1 in Phoenix, Arizona.

The evolution of Don’s interest in outdoor design grew from his studies in landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota. He began the first two years of his career as a landscape architect in the local office of a large Chicago based planning and engineering firm. An opportunity to develop a recently approved master plan for St. Paul’s Phalen Park led Don to take a temporary position in the design and construction division of the St. Paul Parks Department. Don’s temporary position evolved into a 38 year career with St. Paul and the privilege of being directly responsible for the design and development of a significant portion of the city’s 4,600 acre park system. He has won dozens of awards for his ground breaking and sustainability focused creations for the city, such as the ASLA Centennial Medallion in 1999 for his work on Como and Mears parks, and the 2008 Award of Design Excellence from the Minnesota Parks and Recreation Association for the Bruce Vento Regional Trail. On behalf of the ASLA-MN membership, congratulations Don.

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


Merriam Station Community Garden Putting training into practice By Jeff Zeitler, ASLA

image credit: Flickr

I’m driving with my kids, ages 4 and 6, on a cloudy but mild day in spring to the community garden in our neighborhood. We get out of the car and run up a hill to the top, where wildflowers have grown unnoticed for years. We are in the middle of the city, but my daughter gathers bouquets. My son helps for a while, then climbs through a hole in the fence and over the stumps of some rotting trees. There are old beer bottles half covered in dirt, an old mattress and odd bits of half-rotten lumber here and there, but they are the exception rather than the rule. I play with my kids for a while, then I wander down to my garden plot to pull some weeds without worrying too much - about what they might get up to. Other gardeners keep one eye on the kids and let me know if one of them gets too close to the train tracks...



My kids, who once refused to come to the community garden site with me, now jump at the chance to go to the “flower hill.” It took a lot of work, but with most of the trash removed and the site regularly maintained, the kids sense that they are in a safe place, where that hadn’t been the case before. The 68 gardeners who have plots at the garden treat the place as their own and keep an eye out for things that seem to be out of place. It wasn’t always like this. I’ve been involved for more than two years in a project to start and run a community garden in my neighborhood. It has been more than a little work, and has had more than its share of obstacles to overcome, but has also been a wonderfully fulfilling task, and has made me proud to be a landscape architect in a way that paid projects never have. I initially had become involved with a different, wellestablished community garden that was two blocks from my house and offered a patch of soil with full sun. I’ve been raising organic fruits and veggies for my family’s consumption for many years, and I wanted to be able to grow tomatoes and eggplants and all the other sun-lovers that didn’t thrive in my small and shady St. Paul backyard.

Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

LAND USE What I found there was the sun and good soil I was looking for. My tomatoes and peppers thrived in the heat. But what I also found was a tight-knit neighborhood group that grilled lamb and veggie kabobs together on work days and who shared gardening tips and stories. I learned a bunch of new things from older, more experienced gardeners - one who was 99 years old - and picked up new tomato varieties from some freebies another gardener had left on the common picnic table. There were a lot of things about gardening in a community garden that were much more fun than just gardening alone. I had been gardening there for only two seasons when I first heard the rumor that bridge construction was going to close the garden for a season, or possibly two. Seeing that I was going to lose my garden space, and that 35 others were going to as well, I decided that I’d try to create another community garden in my neighborhood before the current one was closed down. I began working through my local St. Paul district council to find land and organize a group of interested potential gardeners. I thought, “How hard can starting a community garden be, really?” If I had known how much time and effort would be required, and what sorts of issues would arise during that time, I may not have bothered to start. St. Paul and Minneapolis have councils for all of their neighborhoods, and Union Park, my district council, had agreed to be the non-profit agent that would be the lessor of the space. That way I didn’t have to create a new legal entity or do any of the other work of incorporating an organization. What I did have to do was find someone who would be willing to let us use their land for free, and who would be willing to let a group of strangers grow plants on that land. And we had to be sure that the land available was actually suitable for a community garden. This is where being a landscape architect made a difference. If there is anything that we have been well taught how to do, it’s evaluating parcels of land and determining how best to utilize them. After parsing maps and driving and walking the neighborhood, there were four parcels that stood out from the rest: an underutilized school yard, a fenced storage yard next to a busy street,

an underutilized corner of a large public park, and a piece of neglected land between I-94 and a set of railroad tracks. A few other interested individuals and I walked each of the sites. We checked the soil, noting the slope of the land, access to water and the location of large trees. We saved walking the neglected land near the freeway for last, thinking that it may not even be worth looking at. All of the first three sites had legal or logistical problems. The school was considering making each gardener submit to a criminal background check - since gardeners might interact with school kids. Using the park property was going to eliminate use of a busy wintertime sledding hill, if the parks department would even let us use it at all. The fenced yard near the busy street was a laydown yard for the Central Corridor light rail project - so it wouldn’t be available for years, and wasn’t a very attractive space besides. So we went to see the neglected parcel near the freeway. Driving up, it wasn’t much to look at. Dominated by a large billboard, it was a dumping ground for moldy mattresses and torn couches. The only building visible from the site had most of its windows broken, and the nearby bridge was covered with graffiti. But, walking the site on a clear September evening, we were struck by the rolling terrain of the site, by the unexpected stillness of a place so close to two busy travel corridors and by the big oak trees we had never noticed when driving by. I dug up a few scoops of soil and was surprised by how dark and soft it appeared to be. The site sloped gently to the south, and had two fire hydrants - a potential source of water on site. This was a place that just might work for a garden. And nobody else seemed interested in using it, at least not for any legal activities. Thus, the work of developing the site started. By this time, there were eight to 10 people regularly attending meetings and hoping to have space at the garden when it became a reality. The space that we were considering had a bus turnaround right in the center, and there was no chance of removing it, so we began planning the garden with the turnaround as a focal point of the design. There were 500 square feet of plantable space at the center of the turnaround, >> Summer 2013 | Issue #17


so we decided to place the sign there and surround it with perennials and annuals while the rest of the garden was dedicated to edibles. The turnaround also became the center of the design, as all plots had a boundary that was determined by an arc with its center point in the middle of the turnaround. All the plots would appear to radiate out from it, with the north/south boundaries parallel to the road on the south side of the garden and the railroad tracks to the north. The final plan looked great on paper, but nobody was sure if gardeners would take to it. As it turned out, gardeners seemed to love the layout, even though it was harder to determine where the plot boundaries were than if they had been simply laid out in a grid pattern. Design did matter, as it turned out. Gardeners wanted an attractive place to garden, not just a functional place to raise their tomatoes and kale. Steve Mitrione, ASLA, also the initiator of a community garden in St. Paul, would agree. He began work on Green Spirit garden in 2000, and it has evolved into a funky green oasis in Hamline-Midway with honeybees on site and a sculptured arch welcoming guests to the space. According to Mitrione, “Landscape architects understand how design and programming interact. Landscape architects can also bring concepts such as placemaking to the creation of community gardens so they become more than just a place to grow food. This makes them more useful to the community and hence more likely to be sustained, nurtured and protected by the communities that they serve.” Mitrione’s garden has become a social center for not only the gardeners who pay a yearly fee for a plot, but also for neighbors who make detours through the garden on their walks to stop by and take a look around. In the spring of 2012, Merriam Station Community Garden also seemed to be headed in that direction. However, there was one more wrinkle to the plot. The city of St. Paul had been our contact throughout the process of getting access to the land and developing the garden design. We had assumed that they were the owners of the land in question, or at least the only ones with an interest in it. They seemed to think so as well. Once we filed a dig request to begin turning soil on the site, we quickly found out whom the real owner was. The site had formerly been the site of several residential homes and a passenger rail station before construction of the nearby freeway. But in the 1960s, the structures, along with many other homes and businesses, were removed to build Interstate 94. The land remained in the 6


hands of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, though it had been maintained by the city. Ownership of the parcel was not often discussed, as few people had reason to notice it or care whom it belonged to. The group working on developing the garden received a terse letter from the department informing us that (the department) “will no longer be issue (sic) permits for community gardens.” This included not only our site, but potentially tens of thousands of acres of land owned by this department throughout the state. We had to fight back. This is the department that is, notably, the largest employer of landscape architects in the state of Minnesota. But the edict that we received clearly came from the lawyers, ostensibly afraid of some sort of liability, rather than anyone concerned with design. A look at the potential garden site would show that just about any use for the parcel would be an improvement over what it had fallen into. Garbage dumping was common throughout the site, with some areas piled with what looked like multiple years of trash. Graffiti covered most vertical surfaces and evidence of illegal drug use was easy to find. If there was a compelling reason to keep community gardeners out of the site, it was hard to see. So we did what any good citizens would do - we wrote letters to our city council members, state legislators, the governor, and anyone else we thought would listen and might have some influence over the property owners. A friend of mine also contacted a columnist at the Star Tribune who took an interest in our plight and made some calls to the department with the intention of writing a column about it. That was enough to scare some change into the powers that were, and we received permission to begin gardening soon after. That began a transformation of the site that is continuing to this day. The site now is home to 68 garden plots, feeding 68 gardeners and their families. As a group we donated an estimated 50 pounds of vegetables and fruit to a food shelf just across the freeway last year and will likely donate much more this year. We’ve also chosen to close the loop by composting some of the food shelf’s unclaimed or past-shelf-life vegetables and fruits in our compost bins. We’ve taken what was a liability to the community and turned it into an asset. The addition of 68 individuals, >>

Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life



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families and groups of friends who care about the space has added eyes to the street that have greatly reduced the amount of trash dumping. Anecdotally, there seems to be less graffiti nearby now than there was previously, and the building with the broken windows has been rehabbed and is now occupied - though that can’t be entirely attributed to the creation of the garden. These are public health benefits that are difficult to quantify. It’s clear that there has been an improvement to the neighborhood and to the sense of community. It’s clear that some families are now going to have better access to healthy food than they had before, and any gardener who takes part in a monthly work weekend to fulfill his or her required two work hours per month usually gets a thorough full-body workout in the process. It’s a win-win all around. Overall, the experience of building a community garden and managing it through its first years has been wonderful. It has been a chance to use skills acquired in school and in practice for something bigger and more satisfying than the parking lots and streetscape plantings that seem to make up the bulk of what comes across my desk.

The concept for Merriam Station Community Garden hatched in 2011 and today provides urban garden plots for 68 families. image credits: Jeff Zeitler



In paid practice, even those projects that involve more design or a higher-profile site typically aren’t touched by the landscape architect after construction documents are done. I might have a chance to do a walk-through near the end, or a site visit on my own after construction is finished, but rarely ever have a chance to use the space, much less manage the way it is used by others for years afterward. I’d encourage my fellow landscape architects to get involved with a community garden in their neighborhood if there is one, and to think about starting one if there isn’t. It’s not a small job, but it is a good one. Community gardens can use the skills that we as a profession have, and we can learn a lot from our neighbors and friends in the process. It’s a way to build resilience into our neighborhoods and build social capital into our lives. And on the best of days it’s a heck of a lot of fun. • Jeff Zeitler, ASLA is a licensed landscape architect and gardener coordinator for Merriam Station Community Garden. He has lived in St. Paul for 10 years, is married and has two children. He blogs about life, design and gardening at

Jeff on location at the community garden with his children.

Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life


Surviving in the Urban Environment By Thomas Badon, ASLA

For all the benefits of city living, the side effects are too often overlooked. For many reasons, some communities have neglected to maintain their greatest assets, their trees and parks. Perhaps the greatest contributing factor is the psychological environment we are living in. Recently, in an online survey of more than 2,000 adults conducted by Harris Interactive for the American Psychological Association, those surveyed overwhelming agreed that we are living in stressful times. Among other survey findings, 35 percent of Americans say their stress levels have increased in the past year. Sixty-nine percent of people who already were experiencing high stress say their stress increased further in the past year, compared with 13 percent of those who report low stress. The top stressors include money (69 percent), work (65 percent) and the economy (61 percent). If humans are stressed, consider our landscapes. With occupancy rates down, tax revenue being diverted, and new construction slowed, investments into urban landscapes have decreased significantly over the past five years. Budget re-allocations have reduced ongoing maintenance, virtually eliminated preventative maintenance, and have forced specifications to lower quantities of necessities such as soil amendments. Further, design materials have reverted away from impervious surfaces to more cost sensitive materials such as concrete and asphalt. However, perhaps the most unintended consequence is the lack of proper maintenance. Trees and human health It is hard to argue the correlation humans have to their environment. As an example, we can cite the research and studies of Roger Ulrich published in Science Magazine in 1984. He studied patients recovering from gall bladder surgery in a suburban Philadelphia hospital. Ulrich

observed that patients recovered faster and took fewer pain medications if they had a view of a tree versus those who had a view of a brick wall. Continuing studies in human behavior, in 1997 R.W. Miller published his findings that employees who could look out their office windows and see trees and nature were happier at work. Although these study results and observations alone should be enough to justify designing and maintaining a healthy, mature, and sustainable landscape, the ever changing environment and human nature play their part, too. Consider, for example, the invasive pests introduced by human activity that have created havoc throughout the United States. Although the U.S. has experienced widespread devastation to our urban and natural forests since the 1940s with chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease, history continues to repeat itself with the emerald ash borer (EAB). Having not learned our lessons, the ash tree-planting craze started in the 1970s and early ‘80s as a hardy alternative to the American elm (Ulmus americana). With little regard for species diversity, approximately one out of every five urban trees in the Midwest is an ash tree (Fraxinus sp.), primarily of the Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) variety. In 2002, EAB was discovered in Michigan and has since spread to 19 states and two Canadian provinces. Benefits of trees There have been several studies and much research conducted to help quantify the benefits of trees and landscapes in the urban environment. Perhaps the most user-friendly tool available is the tree benefits calculator, which can be accessed at calculator. It is important to note however, that although this may consider storm water retention, energy costs, and environmental and air qualities, this calculator does not factor in any emotional attachment, privacy value. >>

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


Unfortunately, it also does not factor in the politics of working with neighbors, communities, or public perception.

can collect and hold dust particles and prevent their disbursement through the atmosphere.

Of the many benefits provided by plant materials, perhaps the least obvious is the fact that trees can literally soak up storm water and the potential pollutants that it can contain. Consider the oils, salts, and other debris that simply run off of impervious surfaces such as roads and structures into our streams, wetlands, and watersheds. Not only is drinking water affected, especially in places where water is drawn from aquifers, but ultimately the entire aquatic ecosystem will be impacted. Trees not only prevent erosion by holding soils and diverting water flow, but their root systems and leaves absorb and hold water (including pollutants) reducing the environmental impact on the ecosystem.

Perhaps the newest of the tree benefits, or at least the most publicized benefit, is carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration is simply the capturing and storing of CO2 which can be emitted by anything from the cars we drive, the airplanes we fly in, and the energy plants we need to power just about everything else. In efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and reduce humans’ impact on climate change, the concept and trend towards carbon neutrality is now a worldwide effort with Australia leading the way by endorsing carbon neutral certification. At the end of the day, there are really two simple paths to carbon neutrality. Either you reduce carbon emissions into the environment, or capture the carbon you do emit. Simply planting a tree or maintaining a healthy mature tree can reduce carbon footprints or at least offset some carbon usage.

As if energy efficiencies and storm water runoff weren’t reason enough to plant and maintain trees, consider all of the research and monitoring of air pollutants and ozone quality. According to the studies at The Center for Urban Forest Research, air pollution is a serious health threat that causes asthma, coughing, headaches, respiratory and heart disease, and cancer. More than 150 million people live in areas where ozone levels violate federal air quality standards with more than 100 million people impacted when dust and other particulate levels are considered “unhealthy.” Biologically, trees absorb air pollutants and release oxygen through photosynthesis acting as giant air filters. To help clean the air, vegetation

Where do we go from here? Although I hesitate to compare humans to trees and landscapes too much, there are many undeniable similarities. One comparison is that as human beings grow, our contribution to society and our ability to give back to society and the environment increases. Furthermore, as humans become stressed, our immune systems begin to lose effectiveness and our bodies begin to break down. Much like us, stress affects trees growing in urban environments where conditions are not necessarily

This mural highlights just a small sample of the difficulties trees endure when they are planted in the urban environment. Below ground, building foundations, streets, driveways, and other obstacles limit the expansion of tree roots and significantly reduce the amount of water and minerals available to the tree. Above ground, trees are often in conflict with infrastructure such as buildings, signage, streetlights, and powerlines.



Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

Fortunately, with proper species selection, growing conditions, and maintenance a tree can still thrive in the urban environment and aid in not only pollution control, carbon sequestration, but contribute to the general happiness of the surrounding community. Perhaps the biggest contribution we can make to the longevity of our landscapes is to properly install and establish our urban forests from the beginning. By properly installing the plant material, choosing the proper soils, and providing adequate light and space to grow, we can greatly reduce the shock a plant goes through from being transplanted from a natural, undistributed forest to canyons of concrete and glass. Additionally, urban tree stress can be avoided on established trees with proper water management, pruning, and the addition of mulch and nutrient-rich soil amendments around the base. For example, research has shown replacing turf under trees with a few inches of organic mulch significantly improves tree roots by increasing soil aeration and nutrient availability. If one could begin to recreate the natural environment and forest floor where the tree spent millions of years adapting, the far better chance it has to thrive.

conducive to proper tree growth. Urban tree stress can be diagnosed by a number of different symptoms brought on by countless causal factors. It is certainly not a coincidence that urban trees typically live significantly shorter lives than trees growing in their natural settings. Trees, like all living things, have adapted themselves over millions of years to thrive in their native conditions. And again like humans, every tree species is different and requires a specific soil, specific nutrients, moisture, temperature range, appropriate sunlight, and associate organisms (ecosystem) to reach its full genetic potential. It goes without saying that when a tree is taken from its natural environment that is relatively unchanged by human activity and planted in a downtown sidewalk, something has to give. This environmental change places a tremendous amount of stress on the tree and typically, it will not be able to thrive, let alone survive.

Perhaps Henry David Thoreau said it best in his writings in The Atlantic when he said, “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least - and it is commonly more than that - sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” We see endless examples such as Central Park, Lincoln Park, and Golden Gate Park where, if Henry David Thoreau were alive today, he could have escaped for a few minutes on a lunch break to regain his sanity. Protecting those precious urban environments may be the key not only to our sanity, but to our livelihood as well. • Thomas Badon, ASLA, is a commercial consulting arborist. He earned his master’s in business administration degree from the Keller Graduate School of Management, and a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from Ball State University.

Summer 2013 | Issue #17



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When the Healthful Choice Becomes the Easy Choice Designing to influence behavior change through motivation and access

by Nissa Tupper The issue of healthy cities is important for landscape architects because it is rooted in behavior patterns, and how community environments shape them. Behavior patterns are rooted in an individual’s intention. In general, the stronger the intention to choose a behavior, the more likely the individual will follow through. Behavior is rooted in intention, and it is further shaped by the collective environment in which an individual is immersed on a daily basis. How do our environments shape our decision to choose a side of French fries or an apple; how do our environments help or hinder our choice to take a walk or sit idle? Research has found that 40 percent of our nation’s deaths are caused by behavior patterns that could be modified by preventative interventions particularly our behavior patterns related to nutrition and physical activity. ASLA-MN just concluded its 2013 Healthy by Design educational session that highlighted many aspects where health and landscape architecture intersect. A recent posting of ASLA’s THE DIRT shared Dr. Green Jackson’s point of view that “Communities have to be redesigned to make us all healthier - young or old.” By creating behavior change opportunities through environmental influence, we can design so that the healthy choice becomes the easy choice, especially as it relates to food and physical activity. Simple, right? Incorporate edibles into the landscape, install more bike lanes, advocate for more park spaces. While these interventions all hold value, it is only when they are considered in the context of a larger system that we can really start to influence behavior change - and make sustainable changes in health.

Serving Minnesota zip codes 565 & 567

800.726.4064 • 701.237.6181

Targeting Motivation and Access First, this means connecting to an issue, like childhood obesity or heart disease, and building the case through translational research. Methods of reducing chronic disease are being examined across professions and information sources. When this information is compiled and evaluated, it is clear that a sustainable >> Summer 2013 | Issue #17


approach to making healthful choices the easy choices does not involve a singular solution. It is not about targeting one site or one population, but rather about incorporating a multidimensional system of health influencers. Research has shown that to effectively address public health in a long-term and sustainable way, the approach must include social/cultural, behavioral, physical, economic, and political changes. This concept manifests into two key principles: motivation and access. Motivation may deal with the question of why people choose to eat or move as they do. The answer lies in our collective social system and our individual preferences and attitudes that link together to inform our motivations about healthful choices. While motivation deals with the why of decision making, access deals with the how and the availability of choice. The opportunities and resources afforded to people by physical, economic, and political systems inform access to healthful choices. By working collaboratively to define and assemble the adjacencies of why and how, landscape architects can help inform how this research hits the ground. Assembling the Adjacencies Second, this involves developing a system that targets motivation and access related to healthy choices, and then testing and implementing site-specific scenarios that work within the system. Using my Master of Landscape Architecture thesis project as an example, a specific system and site scenarios within the context of the Phillips neighborhood was explored.

Located just south of downtown Minneapolis, Phillips is rich in diversity - including the people who call it their home, and the mix of institutions that invest there. The project builds on bringing community assets and opportunities together to create a system that helps infuse healthful choices into the daily patterns of living. To help infuse healthful nutrition and physical activity choices into daily patterns of living, fun and safe streetscape interventions link together new food opportunities. The opportunities range from feeding the system with Living Lots, to growing the community’s livelihood opportunities with Greenway Gardens, to providing a feast of healthful food options through Community Corners, to seeding cultural change through Community Tables. In the Phillips community, this is organized on residential streets that encourage healthful behavior, and these streets are re-imagined as routes (community boulevards) that are infused with impromptu, safe opportunities for fun. These new community boulevards are lined with apple trees, identified by painted pathways and intersections, and linked by pedestrian-oriented connector streets. From there, each community boulevard is further defined by context to incorporate relevant physical activity opportunities - from hopscotch to a linear skate park. A system of streets as a conduit of behavior change is the focus, versus individual spaces or fitness centers, because sustainable behavior change happens when activity is integrated into daily patterns of living. This encourages

image credits: Nissa Tupper



Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

physical activity as something that becomes second nature, like skipping on the way to the store, and not a separate, isolated activity like going to the gym. As an example of how motivation and access influencers can be assembled together to create more opportunities for behavior change, a collection of sites centered around the Waite House was explored. The Waite House has an opportunity to build on its existing healthful food programming, which includes a culinary training program, community kitchen, pilot wellness program, and food shelf, by utilizing a collection of undeveloped, adjacent lots to create an urban demonstration garden. The urban demonstration garden becomes a community testing ground for urban agricultural techniques. Nutritional behavior change opportunities are supported on multiple levels by creating individual educational opportunities, fresh food market capacity, and social celebration space. Community-Based Design How this system comes to fruition is just as important as the system itself. Research demonstrates that when people have a strong sense of community, they are more likely to respond positively and contribute. Bringing the research and site-design to life through a participatory process that empowers the community to inform their own future is imperative.

has become a local leader for its listening process. The proposed community-based design model defines a framework for designers, community members, and institutions to come together over participatory activities to build empathy and understanding, and to experimentally engage in creating variations of the community’s healthy future. Changing Environments to Change Behaviors It is clear that to change behaviors related to health in a sustainable fashion, the environments that shape behaviors must be changed. By considering the interplay between social, individual, physical, economic, and political environments, we can design to positively influence motivation and access. •

Nissa Tupper is a Minneapolisbased designer. While studying for her master’s of landscape architecture degree, she developed a special interest in the intersection between design and public health. She combines this interest with her professional background in communications to question, explore, and inspire new opportunities for design and public health to align.

This project model builds on Randolph Hester’s 12-Step participatory design process, and is infused with ideas from HOPE Community, a Phillips-based nonprofit that Summer 2013 | Issue #17


Embracing the Mighty Mississippi

Harriet Island as seen from downtown St. Paul image credit: Don Varney, ASLA

Rivers are the lifeblood of many cities, including Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Research supports a strong correlation between human health and the environment; however, the challenge lies in fortifying and sustaining the long-term wellbeing of our communities through the achievement of psychological and social connections to the natural world. Through the design of memorable spaces where an understanding of our place in the environment takes seed, a sense of connection and stewardship fortifies a connection that is sustainable through generations. In the Twin Cities, an appreciation of the link that we have to the Mississippi River is central to our connection to the environment. The Mississippi River has served as the life-sustaining force of the Twin Cities region throughout human history. Yet the relationship between people and the physical landscape has run the spectrum from spiritual connection and recognized interdependence to the capitalization on the resources for short term economic gain and disregard for the long-term environmental, economic and social effects. Today our lives remotely resemble those of people first living along the banks of the river, when people lived on and with the land, influenced each day by the natural systems surrounding them. Both Minneapolis and Saint Paul were positioned to capitalize on the rich natural resources afforded by the region. As people departed from a nomadic way of life to establish the first settlements, the relationship between people and the river was still palpable as they used the river for fishing and transport and the caves for protection and storage. But the industrialization of the Twin Cities took hold and with that came a big shift in the relationship to the river. More concentrated settlements replaced life on the farm; families in rural communities were lured to move to the cities with the promise of economic gain and freedom from reliance on nature’s sometimes unfriendly 16


Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life


By Ellen Stewart, ASLA

patterns. Density provided the labor for mass production and drove the economy of the cities - creating systems that depended heavily on natural resources for raw materials, energy and transportation, and representing a big departure from the connection that people previously had to the land. Technological advances have been axial to both the economy and shape of our cities, and have directed the processes of our daily lives. However many of the same shortcuts that have provided conveniences for our daily lives have incrementally driven a physical and psychological wedge between our environment and us. We have almost achieved a Jetson-like world where we are able to quickly and easily move from one place to another conveniently with our attached garages, parking ramps and skyways, not to mention the human conveyor belts, escalators and elevators all delivering us more quickly to our destinations. We are seeing that timesaving conveniences have had unintended negative consequences, decreasing the quality of our lives and, in many cases, making us less productive. Significant dollars are being dedicated to research and development of medications and treatment of diseases that in no small part are linked to the way that we live our daily lives in our efficiently designed world. Beyond the quantifiable issue of the cost to our health, the lack of multidimensional experiences that help to connect us to our surroundings in a complete manner is depriving us of a richness in our lives which is something that is

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. - John Muir

not quantifiable. Fortunately, through design we can address these issues with long-term solutions by providing experiences for visceral connections to the environment that have wider appeal and broader effects. The parks systems of both Minneapolis and Saint Paul recognize their role in community health and the importance of connecting people to the natural environment. Both cities recently adopted long-term plans for their riverfronts that aim to facilitate increased access to parks along what is the most important natural amenity in each city, the Mississippi River. With connected systems of trails and paths, day-lighted streams and both new and enhanced parks that provide sensitive access and activity to the river, Minneapolis and Saint Paul aim to catalyze an understanding of our cities focused on our relationship to the Mississippi River. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board was established in 1883, during the beginning of the city’s industrial boom, to provide places and recreation opportunities for all people to gather, celebrate, contemplate and engage in activities that promote healthy, well-being, community and the environment. Interestingly, that was the same year that the Stone Arch Bridge was built by James J. Hill connecting rail across the Mississippi River at the Saint Anthony Falls, the only natural major falls in the Upper Mississippi River. Since 1994, when the Stone Arch Bridge was rehabilitated for pedestrian and bicycle use, it has served as both a great landmark and recreational connection that >> Summer 2013 | Issue #17


affords incredible views of the Minneapolis riverfront including the falls, downtown and the former mills that were instrumental in establishing the city. And this transition from spiritual to industrial to recreational appointment of the river and the land adjacent is not unique to the Minneapolis riverfront. Saint Paul shares Minneapolis’s industrial roots. Considered the center of the universe by the Mdewakanton Dakota, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers contributed to the eventual settlement and growth of a city defined by its industry. Due to the surrounding geography, Saint Paul grew from a key trading post to a significant crossroads for transport of people and goods across the country, while drawing more immigrants to the area. The increase in population ultimately led the capital city’s Commissioner of Health to dedicate a Harriet Island Regional Park for the good of the health of the public. The park was initially very popular, but industrial pollution from the Mississippi River forced the bathhouse to close in 1919. Harriet Island was resurrected in the late 1990s, signifying a change in Saint Paul’s consideration of the Mississippi River. The city recognized that Saint Paul’s roots were tied to the Mississippi and there was value to embracing the relationship that the city has with the river. Minneapolis’s RiverFirst Vision was borne of an international design competition developed by a creative partnership including Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, Walker Art Center and the University of Minnesota College of Design. The competition requested proposals for plans to re-envision 5.5 miles of the upper Mississippi River. The winning team, led by Tom Leader Studio, engaged the community through dozens of public meetings in 2011 to develop a 20-year plan that provides an urban design strategy focusing on placing the “Mississippi River to the forefront of regional city building.” The team of landscape architects,


RiverFirst Vision Guiding Principles

• Mill Ruins Park, Minneapolis, MN image credit: Ellen Stewart, ASLA



Go with the Flow reflects the dynamic characteristic of the river itself and becomes a model for other systems such as public access, mobility, and energy infrastructure. Design with Topography identifies that geographic diversity begins not only with the site’s highest point Fairview Park, but also includes the depth of the river and all points in between. Both/And addresses the unlikely juxtaposition of the Mississippi River to its immediate surroundings, in particular the North Side industrial district that has suffered through neglect and a weak economy. Park Plus reflects the contemporary role that cities must play to address reducing energy consumption through environmental stewardship, minimizing maintenance costs, and providing places that support health and safety.

Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

ecologists, structural engineers, planners, architects and construction management professionals identified opportunities for new parks and trails along Minneapolis’s formerly industrial riverfront, with functions beyond recreation - including providing economic development opportunities and improving water quality. In April 2013, Saint Paul adopted the Great River Passage Master Plan, which establishes a 30 to 50-year vision to integrate 17 miles of the Mississippi River and existing parks into the fabric of the city. The plan’s guiding principles, More Natural, More Urban and More Connected, provide the framework for future decisions related to park improvements, land use, and the design of new development through the river corridor. The development of the Great River Passage Master Plan was overseen by the Department of Parks and Recreation and included representatives of the Mayor’s office, the Department of Public Works and the Department of Planning and Economic Development. The consultant team led by Wenk and Associates from Denver, Colorado, included experts in environmental and ecological engineering, transportation planning, architecture and urban design and sustainability strategies, economic and management strategies, marketing strategies and branding, way finding and identity, cultural and historic interpretation, and public art. The plan will infuse future development in Saint Paul with a citywide goal to connect back to the river - providing an identity that resonates with the reason for the birth of the city in the first place. Now the challenge for our cities will be in using the plans in a way that catalyzes a change in the way we view our environment. Beyond connecting people physically to the river, we will need to design places that resonate deeply with people so that they care about where they live and understand the value of the environment socially and psychologically. •

St. Paul

Great River Passage Guiding Principles

More Natural | Healthy natural systems including diverse and thriving native plant and animal communities and clean air and water, are critical to the long-term livability and economic vitality of Saint Paul and the region.

More Urban | Long-term stewardship and preservation of natural areas is possible only if the city maintains a healthy economy and continues to be a desirable place to live, work and visit. Saint Paul and the river are and always will be inextricably linked.

More Connected | Long-term implementation of the master plan and greater recreational use of the river corridor will only be possible if the river is linked strongly to the city. New patterns of development along the river are opportunities for the city to strengthen existing connections and explore new ways of connecting neighborhoods to the river.

Barge at City House, St. Paul, MN image credit: Don Varney, ASLA

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


Bikeways through the ‘Burbs Three Rivers Park District and the development of a regional trail system in suburban Hennepin County

image credit: Three Rivers Park District

By Bill Walker and Ann Rexine, ASLA Most Minnesotans are familiar with the recent national bicycle recognition given to the Twin Cities. While much attention has been paid to the urban areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, some notable strides in bicycle trail planning have been made in suburban areas. For more than 30 years, Three Rivers Park District, a suburban Hennepin County regional park and recreation implementing agency, has been planning, constructing and maintaining a regional trail system. While the suburbs were designed with the car in mind, Three Rivers Park District has tasked itself with retrofitting the auto-centric land use patterns to create a recreational bicycle infrastructure that aims to foster a safe and enjoyable environment for all types of trail users. Three Rivers Park District’s regional trail system has grown to attract 2.8 million annual bicycle visits to more than 120 miles – creating an alternative transportation mode for trail users to access the Three Rivers system of parks.

But it all had to start somewhere…. How it All Began; The Bicycle’s Rise and Fall Between 1890 and 1900, a veritable bicycle craze swept the nation. Almost overnight the bicycle was transformed from a novel plaything into a viable alternative form of transportation. In Minnesota, the fledgling Minneapolis Park System developed some of the first purposebuilt bicycle trails in the metropolitan area to meet growing public demand. A trail circling Lake Harriet was constructed in 1896; the following year it was extended along the Minnehaha Creek Parkway. As more and more Minnesotans caught cycling fever, public demand for better roads skyrocketed, and cycling maps were created to guide riders along the best routes. By the turn of the 20th century, more than 10 million Americans owned a bicycle. 20


The cycling craze, however, was short-lived. The development of the electric streetcar and other mass transit improvements provided a regular and reliable means of cross-town transportation that diminished the appeal of the bicycle. However, it was the dawn of the automobile age that put a final end to the cycling craze. With Ford’s Model “T” within reach of the masses, there was now a more comfortable conveyance to provide Sunday outings – and it wasn’t dependent on human power. With the rise of the automobile, the bicycle was generally relegated to the status of a child’s plaything. With a few exceptions, the bicycle remained in the background of American life for a half century, as the automobile was the undisputed king of the road.

Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life


Redefining an Alternative Mode Despite cycling’s previous popularity at the turn of the 20th century, almost none of the infrastructure developed at that time remained by the 1970s. In Minneapolis, the bike trails constructed along Lake Harriet and Minnehaha Creek had been turned into bridle paths by the late nineteen-teens. In addition, the post-war suburban boom did not design communities with cycling in mind, making on-street cycling impractical if not treacherous. In the suburbs, the car was dominant, and a new era of planning and development would need to be ushered in to accommodate the newfound interest in cycling. As the regional park agency serving suburban Hennepin County – where the population had been booming since the end of World War II – the Hennepin County Park Reserve District (now Three Rivers Park District) took an early interest in accommodating the public’s growing demand for safe cycling trails. In 1972, a concept plan for a county-wide trail system was created, which examined the opportunities and challenges of developing a comprehensive system of trails that would meet recreational demands while connecting the agency’s varied parklands. Innovative for its time, this plan took a multi-use approach to recreational trail planning. As proposed, the trail system would serve hikers and bikers during the summer months, and snowmobilers and cross-country skiers during the winter – two recreational activities that were also coming of age in the early 1970s. Later that same year, a campaign was launched to begin conversations with the municipalities affected by the regional trail concept plan in an attempt to sell stakeholders on the idea. Preliminary conversations met with cautious approval, providing the

political will necessary to move forward. In 1975, the Minnesota Legislature approved a statute expanding the mission of the Park District to include the development of regional trails, giving the agency the legal authority to pursue actual development. After 10 years of land acquisitions and continued planning, the first segment of the regional trail system finally opened to the public in 1982, linking Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park on the Mississippi River with Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove, Champlin and Dayton. That same year, nearly 80,000 visitors biked the 9.6-mile corridor, and a new type of park user was born. Additional segments of what became known as the North Hennepin Regional Trail continued to be developed throughout the 1980s, but the task of cobbling together contiguous trail segments proved more difficult than initially anticipated. Developing a clear right-of-way was especially difficult in the first-ring suburbs, where dense development patterns left little land available for a trail corridor. The continuous 40-mile loop trail as envisioned in the 1972 concept plan would not be realized until 1999, when the North Hennepin Regional Trail (later renamed the Medicine Lake and Rush Creek Regional Trails) was substantially completed. Riding the Rails Due to the inherent difficulties of assembling clear rightof-way through previously developed areas, Park District planners quickly began focusing on existing easements in their efforts to identify potential trail corridors. >>

image credit: Three Rivers Park District

However, by the 1970s, a series of events would converge to restore the bicycle to a hint of its former glory. The environmental movement that began in the 1960s was coming of age in the 1970s with the passage and amendment of several key federal laws that brought increased attention to the impact that individuals could have on the environment. At the same time, the United States suffered through two major energy crises in 1973 and 1979 that caused many to question for the first time the automobile’s supremacy as the keystone of American transportation. These factors, along with greater interest in personal fitness that also emerged in the 1970s, realigned the stars, ushering in a new golden age for the bicycle.

Park District landscape architects review regional trail plans in 1976.

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


While initial proposals suggesting trail alignments within utility corridors met with opposition, other avenues provided greater prospects for success. By the 1970s - about the same time that cycling was making its comeback - rail transportation across the United States was near the end of a long period of steady decline brought on by the development of the Interstate Highway System. As the few surviving freight lines consolidated to remain solvent, thousands of rail miles were abandoned across the country, and Hennepin County was no exception. With Minneapolis’ former prominence as the flour milling capital of the world, rail lines had been built in all directions across Hennepin County during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like the spokes of a wheel converging at the hub, these lines pointed to St. Anthony Falls, connecting the Mill City with the wheat fields of Minnesota, the Dakotas and points west. As these right-of-ways were abandoned, the vacant corridors quickly presented opportunities for development. In 1980, the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) was established with a mission to acquire these abandoned railroad corridors in order to preserve them for future use in the development of a suburban mass-transit system. However, the acquisition of these corridors was based on a long-term vision. There was little funding or political will to support immediate

development of a suburban light-rail system in 1980. To utilize the properties in the short-term, HCRRA entered into agreements with other regional agencies like the Park District to develop the abandoned rail corridors for recreational use. The properties were perfectly suited for cycling. Railroad engineers preferred straight paths at steady grades that were generally separated from other forms of traffic – a design garnering equal approval from recreational cyclists. The first of these rails-to-trails initiatives developed by the Park District followed the old lines of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad in southwestern Hennepin County. Borne from the vacant railroad alignment, both the Minnesota River Bluffs and Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trails opened in the fall of 1994 – just two years after the development agreement with HCRRA was signed. In their first year of operation, roughly 80,000 visitors biked the trails. The overwhelming success of these trails helped spur development of other rails-to-trails initiatives. Throughout the late 1990s, several additional connections were completed, eventually linking the suburban Hennepin County trail system with the popular Minneapolis Midtown Greenway and Kenilworth Regional Trails in 2001. The HCRRA took advantage of another opportunity to secure a vacant rail line in the early 2000s when it purchased a former rail line running from Wayzata to St. Bonifacius. In June of 2009, the Dakota Rail Regional Trail - which follows a spur line of the Great Northern Railway along Lake Minnetonka’s scenic north shore - was completed. An estimated 350,000 visitors made use of that trail following its opening.

North Hennepin Regional Trail users in the early 1980s, prior to residential development.

image credit: Three Rivers Park District



Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

Recreational use of these trail corridors has proved so popular that initial plans to eliminate the trails once mass-transit projects received funding have been altered. Current plans for the Southwest Light Rail Transit initiative are working towards maintenance of a multi-use recreation trail in a parallel alignment.

cannot accommodate the Park District’s regional trail design standard of a 10-foot, off-street, bituminous trail with an additional two- to three-foot clear zone.

Where feasible, the firsttier regional trail corridors seek to capitalize on planned transportation improvements. Three Rivers Park District has coordinated with the Minnesota Department of Threading the Needle; First-Tier Transportation (MnDOT), Hennepin Suburb Trail Planning County Transportation Department, After cutting its teeth with regional watershed organizations and local trails in the second and thirdmunicipalities on numerous road ring Hennepin County suburbs, reconstruction projects that include Three Rivers Park District turned accommodations for identified its attention to the 10 first-tier regional trail corridors. As an suburbs that border Minneapolis. example, a major connection Six new regional trail corridors for bicycle and pedestrian were identified in 2000, based traffic across Highway 100 in on recreation and transportation Brooklyn Center is currently under goals that are intended to fill construction as part of the Bass gaps in the regional park and Lake Road/57th Avenue North bridge redecking project. MnDOT trail system for underserved firstinvited regional trail partners to tier suburbs. The planning process participate in a collaborative cost acknowledged that obtaining Today, more than 2.8 million annual bicycle users visit share agreement to expand the large tracts of land suitable for 120 miles of Three Rivers Park District regional trails. original bridge redeck plans to regional parks was unfeasible image credits: Three Rivers Park District include accommodations for the due to the fully developed nature Twin Lakes Regional Trail, a 4.5-mile urban trail that of the first-tier communities. Rather, linking residents via regional trails to existing regional park amenities became travels from Robbinsdale through Brooklyn Center to North Mississippi Regional Park. the priority. As mentioned earlier, the postwar, auto-centric suburban boom created an urban fabric not conducive to the bicyclist and pedestrian. Many first-tier residential areas are isolated from employment, retail and recreation sites and new multi-use regional trails are intended to provide safe, convenient trail networks that support alternative transportation mobility and connect with existing and planned recreational and transit facilities. Thirteen years later, Three Rivers Park District is implementing several of these first-tier trail corridors originally identified in the 2000 plan. More than $13 million in federal and state grant funding has been secured specifically to construct regional trails in the firsttier communities of Crystal, New Hope, Edina, Brooklyn Center, Robbinsdale and Richfield through the year 2016. Three Rivers Park District is working towards creative design solutions for urban right-of-way constraints that

Planning for the Future With continued additions to the regional trail network, annual ridership also continues to increase. Over the past 30 years, bicycle user numbers have increased 35 fold to more than 2.8 million in 2011. While much has been accomplished since opening day of the first Three Rivers Park District regional trail in 1982, there is more work to be done. There are still areas in suburban Hennepin County that are underserved. In fact, more than 70 miles of additional regional trails are planned to further connect suburban Hennepin County with regional trail planning efforts in adjacent counties. By reflecting on the past, planners can ensure an alternative recreation and transportation network continues to be integrated into both developing and fully developed communities so that people can safely access destinations without having to travel by car. •

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


Growing Space for Health

in Almere, Netherlands

By Solange Guillaume MRVD’s vision of Almere Floriade 2022, a series of botanical buildings featuring different climates and plant types in each one.

The Netherlands are a place of invention and reinvention, replete with cities and ecologies that seemingly spring out of nowhere. Twenty-five percent of The Netherlands lie below NAP (Normaal Amsterdams Peil) which is the Dutch reference for mean sea level. This arable and livable land came into existence largely through poldering - a reclamation of land from the sea achieved by draining and dyking the land piece by piece. Through this centuries-old practice, The Netherlands has expanded its land mass to accommodate population growth and agriculture. This ability to create something seemingly from nothing is the essence of freedom in Dutch design - practically anything can be created from the land.. The Dutch have formed new ecological systems where previously nothing stood; agriculture is pulled out of the depths of the seabed. It is this freedom to create that, while arguably problematic, is what makes Almere, a municipality of the most recently formed Dutch polder, such a compelling place to study. Ultimately, Almere serves as a formative example for planning the health of a community from the ground up.



Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life


Teun Koolhaus led the design of Almere and by 1966, work was begun to drain water from the Ijsselmeer (an inland lake dyked from the sea) to create this new landscape. Seen as an extension of residency for inhabitants of Utrecht and Amsterdam, Almere grew to become the seventh most populous municipality in The Netherlands. Even from its inception, the health of citizens and a balance of organic and planned growth have driven Almere’s development. Formed in the model of Ebenezer Howard’s garden cities (a planning concept popular in the early 20th century) green landscape was integral to the foundation of city plans. In a presentation given by Almere’s City Alderman, Adri Duivesteijn, Almere was first laid out with green spaces: forests, lakes and parks and infrastructure before its first towns were formed (See Image 1). The green infrastructure encased a group of satellite cities together, with a focus on the ability to access green space for recreation, “elbow room,” and agriculture. It was this desire for more space and subsidized housing that drove inhabitants to this relatively isolated land. Senior Urban Planner in Almere, Ria van Dijk-Pieltjes, has seen the city go through many incarnations over the past 20 years. Previously, the housing market fostered development between 300 and 400 homes at a time. Now, development occurs at the nominal extremes: 3,000 units at a time or homes created in the single digits by individual homeowners. For the city to continue to thrive, development has shifted from the need for multiple city centers in the garden city framework to establishing a single city center and the continued integration of agriculture and green space into the city’s fabric. Much of this movement is led by the International New Town Institute, an organization dedicated to the study of rapidly expanding urban sites like Almere, where it is headquartered. In the recent developments for Almere, referred to as Almere 2.0, there is a continued focus on planning a Green City, one that is sustainable, resilient, and hopefully a place that draws residents as well as visitors.As scholars Christian Jantzen and Mikael Vetner observed in their article “Re-inventing Città Ideale” Almere is still lacking some of the main features that make it a destination, because it has “no major museums, higher education, cultural attractions, a professional sports team, etc.” To change this perception, Almere has broken from

Teun Koolhaus’ original garden city design by forming a city center called City Heart in order to establish a location that residents could identify with and give Almere a distinct identity. In doing so, it also provided residents with a new shopping center called the Citadel and a unique downtown that was designed by Teun Koolhaus’ cousin, Rem Koolhaus. Almere’s planners also continue to evolve and invent sustainable and healthy urban infrastructure in part because there is space available to try things out. In 2010, Almere built a 7,000 square meter solar collector field called Almere Sun Island (the size of 1.5 football fields) one of the largest solar collector fields in the world. The city now incorporates land art into its public spaces, such as Marinus Boezem’s Green Cathedral and Daniel Libeskind’s Garden of Love and Fire. For the citizens of Almere, an emphasis on green living is planned well into the next decade. Almere was chosen as the location for the Floriade 2022 horticultural expo, an international exhibition of flowers and gardening held yearly in The Netherlands. MVRVD, an architecture/ landscape architecture/urban design firm, will be building a permanent structure extending south of the city center into a lake that will exemplify the green emphasis of the city. In essence it will be a giant plant library constructed block by block that includes a university, offices, shops, and a hotel, housing vertical gardens typifying different plant species from a variety of climates — and this new development will generate its own food and water. Could this become the new urbanism model for expansion in Almere 10 years from now? Because this is The Netherlands, anything is possible. •

Solange Guillaume is a landscape architecture graduate student at the University of Minnesota. She is Co-Chair of Students for Design Activism and studied in The Netherlands through the College of Design.

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


2013 The Marsh, Minnetonka

Awards Celebration & Gala This year, the annual Awards Celebration and Gala was held at The Marsh, a wellness center in Minnetonka, on a cold and blustery day in early May. The Marsh’s comprehensive fitness and wellness mission dovetailed with the chapter’s Healthy by Design theme, providing a backdrop for both the Education Session and the Awards Celebration and Gala. Those that braved the snow were rewarded by an enjoyable evening hosted by ASLA-MN’s President, Bryan Carlson. ASLA-MN acknowledged outstanding projects that represent the talented work of local professionals and students. In addition to the design awards, the chapter also awarded awards of recognition to recognize outstanding regional professionals that contribute to the local profession. Congratulations to all the award winners - your talent is a true testament of your leadership in landscape architecture, your engagement in our communities and your commitment to our environment. The Executive Committee looks forward to another successful year for Minnesota’s creative landscape architecture community.

Bryan Carlson Chapter President and Host

Mary Carlson, Ellen Stewart, Matt Wilkens

Roger Clemence, Joni Giese

Bob Gunderson, Todd Wichman

Geoff Martin, Amy Bower, Adam Arvidson

Regina Flanagan, Meg Arnosti, Kathryn Ryan, Peter Beck



Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life


Service Awards H.W.S. Cleveland Award

Colleen O’Dell, Associate ASLA

Theodore Wirth Award for Excellence in Parks

Kent Worley, ASLA

Lob Pine Award

Richard Murphy, ASLA

Women in Landscape Architecture (WILA-MN) Student Leadership Award

Ally Czechowicz

Community Design Excellence

The Ackerberg Group, MoZaic Park, Minneapolis, MN

National Student Awards Honor Award

Han Zhang & Elizabeth Hixson

Merit Award

Matthew Traucht & Christine Dorius

Design Awards

Honor Award | Unbuilt Works

University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture, Studio 8201 Coen + Partners

Merit Award | General Design


Merit Award | General Design

HGA Architects and Engineers

Merit Award | General Design

Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc.

Merit Award | Residential Design

Coen + Partners

Honor Award | Analysis & Planning

MnDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Mississippi River Trail (MRT) Bikeway, MN Section Damon Farber Associates National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Northwestern Branch, Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS), Milwaukee, WI Damon Farber Associates Lifetime Fitness Landscape Design Guidelines

Award of Excellence | Unbuilt Works

Merit Award | Analysis & Planning

Merit Award | Communications

Everywhere Nowhere, Paradigm Change for the Lower Duwamish River, Seattle, WA Town Branch Commons, Lexington, KY Allianz Life USA Corporate Headquarters, Golden Valley, MN Virtua Voorhees Hospital, Voorhees, NJ River’s Edge Commons, Elk River, MN Smith Residence, Credit River, MN

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


Service Awards Horace William Shaler (H.W.S.) Cleveland Award Colleen O’Dell, Associate ASLA

The H.W.S. Cleveland Award is given annually to an individual trained in landscape architecture who is not yet licensed. Recipients have shown through their work and service to ASLA-MN that they have the potential to be a leader in the profession. Colleen O’Dell has served as the Public Relations Director for ASLA-MN over the past year and was vice president of the ASLA-MN student chapter in 2008-2009. Her willingness to step in to a vacant position mid-term and her work on the board since her appointment shows exemplary service to ASLA-MN and the profession and gives every indication that she will continue to be a leader in the profession. Prior to earning master’s degrees in both landscape architecture and urban planning, she worked for the National Park Service, City of St. Paul, and U.S. Peace Corps in Turkmenistan. She is currently working for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Theodore Wirth Award for Excellence in Parks Kent G. Worley, ASLA Emeritus

The Theodore Wirth Award for Excellence in Parks is presented to an individual, group, organization, business, governmental or non-governmental agency who has been influential in the planning, design, development, administration, maintenance or preservation of an historic site, landmark or cultural landscape in a park, park system or wildlife preserve. Kent Worley was instrumental in the planning, design, and development of Duluth, Minnesota’s Lake Place and Lake Walk which resolved I-35 route issues in a way that saved historic structures, revitalized Leif Erikson Park, provided recreational access to Lake Superior, created new parkland atop the interstate freeway, and inspired Duluth’s downtown and Canal Park revitalization. Kent’s efforts required visionary skill, leadership ability, persuasive expertise, patience, and design skills focused for over two decades to shape Duluth’s future.

Lob Pine Award

Richard Murphy Jr., ASLA Murphy Logistics

The Lob Pine Award is the highest honor given by ASLA-MN and has been awarded annually since 1989. Recipients have demonstrated exemplary leadership and mentorship for the landscape architecture community over an extended period of time. Richard Murphy’s passion for landscape architecture, his commitment to education and his service to the profession exemplifies how nontraditional paths can change our collective thinking and positively impact the world around us. His unique ability to influence his students and the business world about the importance of design thinking and stewardship of the environment has created an awareness of landscape architecture on a multitude of platforms. Richard is considered by many as the ultimate ambassador for the profession - leading by example and raising the bar of the profession because of it. 28


Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

Women in Landscape Architecture Student Leadership Award Ally Czechowicz

Women in Landscape Architecture (WILA) is intent on creating female voices and building women leaders in this profession, which like architecture and law, used to be dominated by men. WILA-MN is happy to present this year’s Student Leadership Award to Ally Czechowicz for her work on a start-up sustainable business called BlueFOOD/ Fish+GREENS. The business comes out of an interdisciplinary, human-centered design course in 2011 that required the team to create a concept, write a business plan and test that concept -- in India. The result is this aquaponics venture that is essentially an innovative farm start-up that will provide fresh food greens, tasty herbs and healthy protein to a St. Paul community year-round.

Community Design Excellence Award The Ackerberg Group MoZaic Art Park

The Community Design Excellence Award is given to an individual or group that has recognized the role urban design and environmental excellence play in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Minnesota’s towns and cities. The MoZaic Art Park is a privately owned and operated art plaza for public use as a part of the MoZaic development in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Ackerberg Group transformed an underutilized parking lot into an innovative project that enhanced the charm and rhythm of the existing buildings on the street and ‘filled in the donut’ with an active mix of uses that have energized that portion of Uptown. As a property owner within the Uptown area for decades, CEO Stuart Ackerberg believed strongly in the power of public space in fostering community, and envisioned the MoZaic plaza would be a critical contribution to the neighborhood by including a dynamic public space. Stuart’s long-standing love of art is central to the experience of the space, which includes many installations by local and national artists. Project Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota Additional Credits: David Motzenbecker (BKV Group) – Plaza/Landscape Design Ryan Construction – General Contractor Kim Cameron, Art Partners – Art Consulting Arteka – Landscaping Hicks Concrete – plaza paving, seat walls, crosswalk, engineered footings, plaza water feature trough GreenScreen – Greenwall Hennepin County – Bridge/Ramp RLK – Civil Engineer/Stormwater Kristin Cheronis – Art Conservator Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association Greenway Coalition Greco Development – Arnie Gregory City of Minneapolis – Mary Altman, Becca Farrar City of Minneapolis Council Member Meg Tuthill (Ward 10) Summer 2013 | Issue #17


National Student Awards Honor Award Han Zhang

Han Zhang is a passionate landscape designer with a strong focus in urban environment and water related social space. Her interests include urban design, brownfields, riverfronts, stormwater management and urban space transitions. Han takes full advantage of her strength in hand drawing and model making to explore the design process and her deep thought in landscapes. As an international student from China, she is inspired by both eastern and western culture, which cultivate her unique empathy and multicultural experience to build meaning into her landscape design. She also dedicates herself as a cultural translator to enhance collaborative efforts in the realm of international landscape architecture.

Merit Award

Christine Dorius Christine (Coal) Dorius is currently completing her Masters in Landscape Architecture and plans to pursue a profession in landscape design that integrates her interests of art and community. Coal’s intent has always been to be as creative and purposeful as possible. In her work during graduate school, she has explored the skewed distribution of equity within the composition of our communities and has used design to find opportunities either in policy or artistic place-making to help build an infrastructure for dignity and self worth.



Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

In an effort to reward students demonstrating outstanding academic achievement, each year ASLA invites accredited Universities to nominate a number of their graduating students for the ASLA National Honor and Merit Awards. The University of Minnesota faculty selects four nominees from a list of eligible candidates who have demonstrated the highest level of academic scholarship and have exhibited self-motivation, responsibility, and a willingness to work with others. The nominees present their academic work to a jury of professionals, who then vote to award up to two Honor and two Merit awards.

Honor Award

Elizabeth Hixson After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in History from Vassar College, Elizabeth Hixson worked at Sasaki Associates. In graduate school she has pursued research interests in mixing industrial and ecological history and reenvisioning urban public space. Part of this research is being applied to define the Next Generation of Parks through work for the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. Her capstone focuses on remediating and re-wilding the southeast Minneapolis rail yards as a provocative alternative future vision. She plans to pursue a career that uses history and scenario planning as a tool to build more resilient landscapes for the 21st century.

Merit Award Matthew Traucht Matthew Traucht came to Minneapolis via a long and circuitous route. Born and raised between row crops in northwestern Ohio, he found his way to New Mexico. There he studied anthropology with an emphasis on prehistoric landscape interactions. Matthew then worked as an archaeologist in Santa Fe, discovered permaculture, and bought an organic farm. Eventually he joined the Peace Corps and moved to West Africa where he implemented sustainable agricultural practices. These last three years in Minnesota have taught Matthew how to read and appreciate the vocabularies of designed spaces. He is currently an intern with MPRB researching the Grand Rounds for National Register nomination. His capstone is focused on the interpretation of prehistoric earthen architecture in Ohio. Summer 2013 | Issue #17


2013 Award of Excellence Everywhere Nowhere, Paradigm Change for the Lower Duwamish River University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture, Studio 8201

Project Location: Seattle, Washington Category: Unbuilt Works Studio Instructors: Matthew Tucker, ASLA, Assistant Professor; Craig Wilson, ASLA, Adjunct Assistant Professor Collaborating Faculty: John Koepke, ASLA, Professor; Michael Keenan, Associate ASLA, Adjunct Assistant Professor; Andrea Wedul, Adjunct Assistant Professor Additional Credits: Stefano Ascari, Kevin Belair, Elissa Brown, Ryan Coates, Stephanie Erwin, Solange Guillaume, Montana Harinsuit, Amber Hill, Stephen Himmerich, Erin Garnaas-Holmes, David Kerber, Matthew Kessler, David Kowen, Emily Osthus, Jeffrey Olson, Alex Pratt, Michael Richardson, Ryan Ruttger, Michael Schiebe This collaborative project explores a future model for landscape architectural practice. This model is in response to emerging issues of massive change in our rapidly changing, post-industrial world. These issues provided the socio-cultural context to speculate alternative futures for a complex EPA Superfund site located along seven miles of Duwamish River in the port of Seattle, Washington. Working with a local non-profit agency and operating through the lens of paradigm change and design advocacy, the project team generated innovative and speculative design proposals that contemplate ecological resiliency, sea level+climate change, urban agriculture, environmental justice, carbon sequestration, blue-green infrastructure, and superfund clean-up. Over the past 100 years, the lower Duwamish River Valley of Seattle, Washington has been dramatically altered. What was once home to Chief Seattle and the Duwamish Tribe has become one of the largest and most complex EPA Superfund sites in the United States. There will be over $2 billion dollars invested in environmental remediation, habitat restoration and bluegreen infrastructure in the Duwamish Valley over the next 20 years. However, no specific plan exists to contemplate the effect of these changes on either the residents or the future urban character of the lower Duwamish River. The design proposals focus on transformative planning and design strategies to retrofit the existing valley into a quality, healthy environment for dwelling, re-inhabitation, re-habitation and re-investment. The projects expand the role of landscape architecture to advance professional practice breadth and value. 32


Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


2013 Honor Award Town Branch Commons Coen + Partners

Project Location: Lexington, Kentucky Category: Unbuilt Works The Town Branch Commons design unifies a vision for Lexington, Kentucky that echoes the existing character by building upon the brilliant legacy that has defined this city and region. At a time when American cities must learn to reuse infrastructure, embrace population growth, and renew our natural systems, the landscape architect’s vision to strategically daylight the Town Branch Creek provides a 21st century catalyst for city-building in Lexington. The contiguous and complex mosaic of Town Branch Commons was driven by metrics associated with five design overlays: cultural networks, energy dynamics, mobility scales, natural systems, and livable networks.



Cultural Network: From new iconic bridges recalling the region’s wooden covered structures, to new landmarks within open spaces referencing Lexington’s equestrian heritage, each intervention is vital to place-making and social context.

Energy Dynamics: The landscape architect responded to the flows of energy that cross through the Town Branch Commons every day.

Mobility Scales: The design for Town Branch Commons addresses the necessity for automobile circulation through the city, but embeds a human-scale network of multi-modal transportation that allows people to leave their cars behind.

Livability Network: The landscape architect establishes a livable network through strategic, compact, mixed-use development throughout the Town Branch Commons.

Natural Systems: The vision offers a distinctive model for how new urban infrastructure can sustain, rather than weaken, the natural systems in which it sits.

Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


2013 Merit Award Allianz Life USA Corporate Headquarters oslund.and.assoc.

Project Location: Golden Valley, Minnesota Category: General Design

Upon acquiring a new consolidated 12-acre corporate campus in Golden Valley Minnesota, Allianz Life Insurance needed an impressive design that show-cased the campus and addressed site constraints. The design centers on an expansive outdoor courtyard with a diverse combination of gathering spaces that facilitate meetings and recreation among Allianz employees and their visitors in an atmosphere that invites casual mingling and inventiveness. The curvilinear geometry of the interior courtyard is inspired by the company tricycle races that use the figureeight circulation pattern.

The central public dining terrace is a relaxing environment with the ambient sound of flowing water and the backdrop of aspen trees. The dining terrace and gardens are visible from the offices and the cafeteria, establishing a strong connection between indoor and outdoor experiences. In addition to the main courtyard, smaller, more private peripheral garden conference rooms were situated throughout the site. Amusing landscape elements offer employees an opportunity to play. Elements include a golf putting green, shuffleboard, the sloping lawn for outdoor staged events, the fire-pit. Allianz Life USA Corporate HQ is truly a landscape designed for people.






Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life




Summer 2013 | Issue #17


2013 Merit Award Virtua Voorhees Hospital HGA Architects and Engineers

Project Location: Voorhees, New Jersey Category: General Design Owner: Virtua Health, NJ and Frauenshuh, MN Lead Landscape Architects: Emanouil Spassov, Gary Fishbeck Landscape Project Team: Theodore Lee, Trygve, Hansen, Zachary Bloch, Erica Christensen, Karl Krause Additional Credits: Design Architect - HGA Architects and Engineers Principal-in-charge - Kurt Spiering Architect Design Leader - Mark Debrauske, Jes Skaug, Frank Nemeth Project Manager - Scott Lindvall Project Architect - Mike Torine Interior Designer - Kelly Brainerd Structural Engineer - Chad O’Donnel Architectural Project Team - Tim Scanley, Jesse Robinson, Theresa Flewell, Gary Nyberg, Bryan Tanguay, Kevin Kerschbaum Civil Engineer - Dewberry-Goodkind, Parsippany, NJ Civil Project Team - Chris Cirrotti, Jamie Mandala Civil Engineer Consultant - HGA Architects and Engineers - Jim Husnik Mechanical Engineer - HGA Architects and Engineers Mechanical Project Team - Wayne Johnson, RD Ruffin Lighting Designer - HGA Architects and Engineers Lighting Project Team - Pat Hunt Electrical Engineer - HGA Architects and Engineers Electrical Project Team - Paul Gruettner, David Tomaz Interior Design - HGA Architects and Engineers Interiors Designer - Kelly Brainerd Signage Design - Ex;it, Environmental Graphics (Philadelphia, PA) General Contractor - Turner Construction (Philadelphia, PA) and Gilbane Construction Company (Providence, RI) Landscape Contractor - Bustleton Services, (Bensalem, PA), and Torsilieri, Inc. (Gladstone, NJ) Client Representative - Hammes Company (Franmingham, MA) - Michael A. Solak Photography - Halkin Photography LLC



Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

When Virtua Healthcare purchased 125 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the Pinelands National Reserve in New Jersey to construct a new hospital, they hired HGA to assist in siting of the building and basic programming needs, including exterior gardens and stormwater management. Recognizing this unique ecological context, the landscape architect created a comprehensive sustainable landscape plan that integrates the new hospital into its natural setting and transforms the site into an ecological preserve for pine barren plant communities. The landscape architect evaluated the site, inventoried existing plant communities and identified critical preservation areas to determine siting of the building and a planting palette. Landscape features include pine/ oak stands that serve as a buffer between the hospital

and surrounding residential community, vegetated roofs, constructed wetlands, and preserved groves linked to outdoor gathering spaces for employees, patients, and visitors. Between the site perimeter and the hospital, the landscape transitions from wilderness to formal gardens. These gardens are planted to create unique microecosystems that represent forest, meadow and wetland vegetation communities. The Virtua Voorhees Hospital represents the unique challenge of mitigating the effects of a large structure in a sensitive ecological environment. The landscape architect integrated programmatic requirements of the hospital with a thorough evaluation and restoration of the native landscape to create a landscape that honors the plant communities of the pine barrens and limits the impacts of development.

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


2013 Merit Award River’s Edge Commons

Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc. Project Location: Elk River, Minnesota Category: General Design Additional Credits: Engineer: John Anderson, BDM Consulting Engineers, PLC River’s Edge Commons is a small urban park located in the heart of Elk River, Minnesota’s historic downtown. The city recognized the need to strengthen the longterm viability of downtown by embracing the river and attracting residents to and enlivening Elk River’s historic downtown. The park is on the site of a former hardware store that burned in the 1950s - leaving the site as a gap in the historic storefronts of the downtown district for more than five decades. The design intent was to create a strong connection between downtown and the Mississippi River, create an event venue that would attract people to downtown to support local businesses, and respect downtown’s historic character. The design fits within the existing topography and integrates three primary public gathering spaces: a street level plaza with a popular in-grade fountain that is both a focal point and interactive play, a hillside performance venue, and a small pavilion. The design uses native materials, innovative stormwater techniques incorporating raingardens and low water consumption techniques for irrigation. History is celebrated through interpretation, preservation of a culturally significant wall mural, and respect for the architectural era of downtown. The overwhelming success of the summer concert series is a tribute to the high quality and context appropriate design of the venue. The addition of the park to the downtown has been described by local leaders as an important ongoing contributor to the viability of nearby downtown businesses, bringing over 20,000 people downtown in 2012. The project has sparked additional public investment in downtown.



Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


2013 Merit Award Smith Residence Coen + Partners

Project Location: Credit River, Minnesota Category: Residential Design Additional Credits: Contractor - Scott Frampton, Landscape Renovations Pool contractor - Lance Ness, Pisces Pools Located within the mixed prairie and agricultural landscape of southern Minnesota, the Smith Residence landscape design is a response to the client’s desire to accommodate both large social functions and small, family gatherings. A simple, flexible layout consists of gardens, expansive terraces, and a raised-edge swimming pool to counter the dramatic, curving facades of the home and pool house, grounding the architecture to the site. A bold rectangular plinth was conceived in response to the existing locations of the home and pool house, as well as to the topography of the site. Intensive hardscape and planting intervention were restricted to this area while the landscape beyond was restored to its native prairie origins with a carefully selected seed mix. The programmatic desires of the client were to create distinct connections across the site while protecting small areas of privacy and retreat. In response to these needs, the landscape architect designed a band of Whitespire Birch and Autumn Joy Sedum to form a dividing line between the entertainment terrace at the front entry of the home, and the recreational lawn. This plant pairing carries through the site.



An elevated pool and spa in the rear terrace is inspired by the Japanese soaking tub within the house’s master suite. The 12-inch raised edge of the pools adds an unexpected verticality to the main terrace that accentuates the strong horizontality of the site and landscape beyond. The overall planting design uses just a small selection of common landscape species combined into tight grids, patches and undulating carpets. Additionally, the seasonal changes in the plants along with a winter carpet of snow provide year-round interest. The majority of the property was seeded with a native prairie mix, which, once established, will not require regular maintenance or irrigation, and will provide a patch of important habitat for native species and migratory birds.

Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


2013 Honor Award Mississippi River Trail (MRT) Bikeway

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Bicycle and Pedestrian Section Project Location: Minnesota Category: Analysis & Planning Additional Credits: Planning Consultant - Stantec Workshops - Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota Marketing - Steve Markuson The Mississippi River Trail (MRT) is a bicycle route along the Mississippi River through ten states, from the headwaters at Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico. The MRT began as a community and economic development project for the lower Mississippi delta region. Work on Minnesota’s 800-mile MRT began in 2000 with identifying and mapping the route. Today the MRT is located on paved shoulders, low traffic roads, and scenic trails. It passes through nearly 162 cities/townships, twenty counties, and connects numerous parks and trails. To market and promote the MRT, seven communities were selected through a competitive process to receive technical assistance to become bicycle-friendly communities and market and promote bicycling. Efforts resulted in new bicycle education, regional bicycling guides, maps, events that incorporate the MRT. A collaborative framework with local road and trail authorities to manage route revisions, MRT signs, route maps, construction detours, and marketing into the future was also developed. Landscape architects have been intensively involved with the MRT at every stage, typically in leading roles both at MnDot and on the consultant team. Minnesota’s MRT is the “big idea” that continues to bring communities together in unconventional ways to promote bicycle transportation, recreation, tourism, and bicycle-friendly communities. In 2012, the MRT became Minnesota’s first legislatively authorized state bikeway and first designated United States Bicycle Route. The MRT has significantly moved Minnesota forward as a bicyclefriendly state and is a tremendous vehicle to tie economic value to environmental stewardship and an enhanced quality of life. 44


Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


2013 Merit Award National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Northwestern Branch, Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) Damon Farber Associates

Project Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Category: Analysis & Planning Additional Credits: Research, writing - Hess Roise Management, writing - Miller Dunwiddie Management - CBE The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers is a National Historic Landmark. The historic campus, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, comprises 170-acres of a beautiful, rolling mature landscape that displays the essence of the picturesque landscape. The campus originated during the American Civil War to care for injured soldiers. In 1930, the NHDVS organization was absorbed into the newly created Veterans Administration (VA). Many of the original campus buildings remain, and the campus continues to be used largely in the same way. In 2011, the site was designated as a National Historic Landmark (NHL), providing strong protection for the campus, and recognizing the landscape architecture as a significant component to the cultural resource.

Development within an NHL triggers review from local and national agencies including the National Park Service, The Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, The National Trust for Historic Places and local State Historic Preservation Office. A cultural resources team was retained to complete historic documentation for the campus. As part of the team, the landscape architects completed a level 1 Historic American Landscapes Study (HALS). To create the mapping and graphics, the landscape architects drew all linework and maps by referencing historic maps, photography, and artwork. The landscape architects developed a new approach for completion of a HALS document, and created a higher standard for this National Park Service documentation program. The landscape architects continue to remain involved with the review of the campus projects, and the HALS document has become a valuable and accessible tool for campus development.



Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


2013 Merit Award Lifetime Fitness Landscape Design Guidelines Damon Farber Associates

Project Location: Nationwide Category: Communications

Life Time Fitness is a growing, publicly traded, company headquartered in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Today they operate 105 fitness clubs across North America with ongoing growth potential. Trademarked as the “Healthy Way of Life Company,” Life Time strives to provide the best facilities for their members. Understanding the importance the landscape plays in first impressions and ongoing member experience, Life Time hired a team of landscape architects to develop the first edition LIFETIME Landscape Design Guidelines. The team devised narrative and graphics to illustrate areas of emphasis on a typical site. The prototypical site was sub-divided into eight “Site Planting Areas.”. This breakdown of the site afforded the team the opportunity to tailor guidelines for the respective areas. This was a key component that focused additional enhancement and budget in priority areas on the site.



As stewards of the environment, the team knew it was crucial to promote stormwater management opportunities in combination with the landscape. Chapter three was dedicated to stormwater management and the benefits of Low Impact Development (LID). LID techniques suitable for Life Time were identified. The guide promotes an overall reduction to turf areas, and steers consultants to newer turf mixes that require less irrigation, mowing, and chemical inputs. The last and perhaps most significant piece of the document is a customized plant vocabulary. Each plant was researched, documented, and presented for specific Site Planting Areas. The design guidelines are facilitating dialogue between consultants and Life Time Development Managers, enhancing landscape brand image, and benefiting the environment with sustainable initiatives.

Healthy by Design , Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life

Summer 2013 | Issue #17


PLACE Spotlight on Opus 40 Sculpture Park & Museum Saugerties, New York Opus 40 is a large environmental sculpture park created by sculptor and quarryman Harvey Fite (1903 -1976). It comprises a sprawling series of dry-stone ramps, pedestals and platforms covering 6.5 acres of a bluestone quarry. Fite purchased the disused quarry site in 1938, expecting to use it as a source of raw stone for his representational sculpture. Instead, inspired by a season of work restoring Mayan ruins in Honduras, he began creating sculptures for installation in the quarry space itself. Fite died in 1976, in the 37th year of his creation. He died working on it, in a fall - leaving it unfinished. Opus 40 is as complete as it ever would have been. It was the product of Fite’s ceaseless vision, and could only have been stopped by his death. - Jonathan Richards, stepson of Harvey Fite

Submittal and photographs taken August 2012 by Todd Rexine Want to highlight a landscape of significance from your adventures? Submit ideas to Ann Rexine, editor of _SCAPE at

Harvey Fite

image credit:

Navigating the swirling ramps and terraces of dry-stacked bluestone. Todd Rexine with son Asher



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For 90 years, B orger t Produc ts has offered designers, architec ts, engineers and developers multiple st yles, sizes, colors and finis hes of concrete pavers for a var iet y of appl ications. O ur paving stones are the ideal s ol uti on for vir tually any res idential, com m ercial, municipal or indus tr ial pavem ent application.

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Site furnishings that match your playground Create perfect harmony in your park with site furnishings collections that match your playground! Whether you’re incorporating a modern, traditional or nature-inspired playground design, three new site furnishings collections from Landscape Structures will help put the finishing touches on your play environment. Learn more at or call 888.438.6574.


Landscape Structures 1.888.438.6574


Contact your local playground consultant:

5607 Cedar Lake Road South ServingSt. allLouis Minnesota zipMN codes except 565 & 567 Park, 55416 877.550.7860 877.550.7860 • 763.550.7860 763.550.7860


Serving Minnesota zip codes 565 & 567

800.726.4064 • 701.237.6181

Head into Hedberg

Serving Minnesota zip codes 565 & 567

800.726.4064 • 701.237.6181

©2013 Landscape Structures Inc. Plymouth 763.512.2849 | Stillwater 651.748.3158 | Farmington 651.423.5048

Bachman’s Wholesale

Plymouth: 763.512.2849 Stillwater: 651.748.3158 Farmington: 651.423.5048

Gertens Wholesale

Quality plans always start with quality product.

651.463.3288 Farmington, MN

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Landscape Forms

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URbAN EDGE Eric Swanson MN, ND, SD, WI 800.430.6206 x1333 D E S I G N . C U LT U R E . C R A F T.

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Full Line of Architectural LED Offerings


MLAZGAR ASSOCIATES STERNBERG LIGHTING is a premier manufacturer of outdoor decorative lighting. Featuring high performance, controlled lighting products for any application. n LED: Check out our UNRIVALED™ LED system – the most efficient LED system in outdoor decorative lighting. Available in a variety of styles. Local installations include: St. Paul, St. Cloud, Osseo, LeCenter, Monticello, New Hope, and more. n Hundreds of products to choose from: Architectural and traditional luminaires, poles, bollards, custom installations, roadway & traffic signal structures, residential fixtures and site amenities. n Continuing education classes available: Classes range from “Architectural Lighting and Protection of the Dark Sky”, “LED’s for Decorative Lighting” to a “Basic Course of Outdoor Lighting” and much more. ASLA, AIA and NCQLP accredited. Call for program schedule. MLAZGAR ASSOCIATES is your representative for Sternberg Lighting products throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Western Wisconsin. Call either our Minnesota or North Dakota office for assistance with your decorative outdoor lighting needs. 7162 SHADY OAK ROAD EDEN PRAIRIE, MN 55344 P 952-943-8080 • F 952-943-8088

Founders Park, Rapid City SD

GRAND FORKS, ND OFFICE P / F 701-746-5407

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FMBF-324 Benches with optional intermediate armrests. (US Patents D523,263 S; D563,689 S; Canada

110954), Washington, DC.

We design, engineer and manufacture long-lasting, ergonomic and attractive site furnishings.

Claire McFarland | 1.800.368.2573 | Maryland, USA |

_SCAPE 2013 Summer  
_SCAPE 2013 Summer