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SCAPE land and design in the Upper Midwest



premier issue

A landscape architect and his family deeded 2800 acres to the public

Read his story The top 5 places to visit this year Does sustainability


affect the bottom line?

5 designers weigh in

on the state of landscape architecture

a publication of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

On the Cover:

The Thorson Prairie Project set aside 2800 acres of northwestern Minnesota prairie for public use. Read about it in topic:nature

SPRING 05 topics



image courtesy Tom Thorson and the Trust for Public Land

Wanted Land


Is there quantifiable economic benefit for considering sustainability up front? Sources say yes.

by Tom Thorson


Opening the Door

The paintings of Paul Damon reveal the Midwestern landscape.



The Responsible Professional

LARE, CLARB, AELSLAGID... What does it all mean? by Doris Priesendorf Sullivan, FASLA


American Society of Landscape Architects (MASLA).

The Forest for the Trees


Fellow’s Top 5


places to visit this year

from Barry Warner, FASLA

Gunflint Trail Harriet Island

In Other Words :Book The Dictionary of Today’s Landscape Designers :Newsletter The Hometown Advantage Bulletin :Website :Lecture Series SLUC

4 30


Five by Five

__SCAPE is FREE. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to


Valued Places

by Kevin Flynn


__SCAPE is published quarterly by the Minnesota Chapter of the

:business Making Green Pay

In northwestern Minnesota a family legacy becomes public trust.

by Frank Edgerton Martin

issue #1

5 designers weigh in on the state of landscape architecture today, and type subscribeSCAPE in the subject line. Send general MASLA inquiries to: MASLA International Market Square 275 Market Street, Suite 54

MASLA Executive Committee

Minneapolis, MN 55405 612-339-0797 FAX 612-338-7981

John D. Slack, president Thomas Whitlock, past president

Send general __SCAPE inquiries, le�ers to the editor,

Bruce Chamberlain, president-elect

and advertising requests to:

Sonia Walters, secretary

Adam Regn Arvidson

Renee McGarvey, treasurer

MASLA Director of Communications

Jim Hagstrom, trustee

300 First Avenue North, Suite 210

Travis Tegethoff, director of public relations

Minneapolis, MN 55401

Mike Jischke, director of programs


Richard Wiebe, director of academic affairs

Craig Nelson, co-director of awards and banquet Anne Okerman, co-director of awards and banquet Adam Regn Arvidson, director of communications issue #1


The Forest for the Trees


editor’s note

There is an old fable about a village full of blind people,

covered, flat and supporting nothing but corn, completely urban,

into which wanders an elephant. The Village Council

completely uninhabited, or simply devoid of solid land altogether.

duly dispatches a team of inventory specialists to

Dealing with such diversity requires equal diversity. And, if I may

discover exactly what is making all that racket. The three

be so bold, I might suggest that those who work with the land

member inventory team uses their hands to catalog the

(designers, developers, regulators, cra�speople, artists) are, in fact,

elephant and returns with a report to the Council. The

elephants, too.

Fellow’s Top 5 We asked Barry Warner, FASLA, what 5 places you should visit in the coming year. Here’s what he said (in no particular order, of course).

leathery skin able to occasionally li� itself into the air.

You will find, therefore, my esteemed elephants, that in this new

The second describes it as a very thin, very agile snake-

magazine, definitions are le� intentionally vague. Though this is

like being with a large tu� of hair at its head. The third

a publication of a certain professional organization, you will not

agrees it is in fact long and snake-like, but believes it to

find landscape architects appearing here with any degree of exclu-

be perfectly smooth, solid, and pointed at its head. This,

sivity – neither in subject ma�er nor authorship. This is similarly

of course, throws the Council into panic. It seems there

reflected in the name. WhatSCAPE? That’s for you to decide and

must be not one, but three different monsters wreaking


havoc in the village. Someone recently shared with me that the word “scape” is related The moral, of course, is that the three specialists have

to archaic words meaning “collection” or “cluster.” J.B. Jackson

merely described different portions of the elephant

wrote about this (and it seems only appropriate to invoke him at

without seeing the whole. The same hazard exists when

the inception of a new journal on design and land). Apparently, the

dealing with land. Here in the Upper Midwest, our terres-

word “landscape” used to connote an economic and social collec-

trial home might be variously described as rocky and pine

tion of lands, perhaps different in character but all contributing to the common whole. An elephant, again. So then, the purpose here, you could say, is to broaden the circle of land workers, by offering all of you something to think about, and, hopefully, discuss amongst and between yourselves. And see what happens… Back in the village, those inventory specialists, by pu�ing their heads together, might have been able to describe the entire elephant.


first specialist describes the monster as a thick tree with

Gunflint Trail

“Travel a transect through northwoods history and some of Minnesota’s finest scenic beauty on the way up to the Boundary Waters.”

Nicollet Mall “Take



“Take a moment on a breezy June day to lay back in the bluestem and envision Minnesota’s piece of the prairie.”


Minneapolis’ most vibrant street -- but take a step back in time to understand the story behind the serpentine alignment.

Halprin is credited

with the mall design, but Ted Aschman first sketched the alignment on a napkin at a meeting with the Dayton Brothers.”

Blue Mounds State Park A secluded North Shore beach

Thanks for reading,

Harriet Island

Adam Regn Arvidson

“Immerse yourself in MN’s most significant natural resource.”

ALD, Inc. Architectural Lighting Designs, Inc. 2920 Anthony Lane St. Anthony, MN 55418 Phone: 612-252-4100 Fax: 612-252-4141 E-mail –

Arteka is once again Arteka, locally owned and operated.

“Step down and touch the Mississippi River on an exciting urban waterfront.”

8810 13 Avenue East, Shakopee, Minnesota 55379 tel: 952.934.2000 �� fax: 952.934.2247 th

issue #1

Barry Warner, FASLA, AICP, leads the Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning Group at SRF Consulting Group, where he is a Senior Vice President. Barry has dedicated his career to planning and designing meaningful projects in urban environments. He was named a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1999 based upon service to the profession. He served two terms as Minnesota chapter president and two terms as trustee. He also co-chaired the national meetings in Portland (1998) and Salt Lake City (2004).




Valued Places

Harriet Island

In 2001, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape

were the first to use this place, for councils and sacred

of its 100th anniversary in 2000.

Architects published Valued Places: landscape architecture in

ceremonies. Later, the first explorers doubtlessly used

trian promenade and a naturalized river edge replace

Minnesota. This glove-box sized guidebook profiles 52 sites in the

the forested island to rest on their way up or down the

the former roadway; a Great Lawn sits in the center of

Land of Lakes, each of which has benefitted from design, care, or

great American river. The fur trade brought a permanent

the park where once there were parking lots; new docks

stewardship by landscape professionals. Here are a few samples...

outpost across the river, and as Saint Paul grew, the island

and ticket buildings welcome visitors and riverboats; and

was transformed.

a pedestrian gateway through the flood control levee

The Gunflint Trail

On a low island in the Mississippi River floodplain,

Rebirth of the Park

people have gathered for centuries. American Indians

Harriet Island was given a significant faceli� in honor Today, a wide pedes-

1800s by prospectors looking for gold and silver as well as loggers following tales of the huge white and red pines

Today, Harriet Island is no longer an island. The channel

covering the region. For many years, prospectors cut trails

between it and the mainland was filled in the 1950s for

The Gunflint Trail, a 63 mile paved road, winds up

through the bush to locations where they hoped to find

flood control purposes.

through the Sawtooth Mountains from Grand Marais,

their fortune. The Paulsen mine was the most notable of

continues. Excursion boats dock at its piers, houseboats

Minnesota on the north shore of Lake Superior to its end

these projects. Iron ore of a reasonable grade was found

spend summers in its harbor, concerts and events take

at Saganaga Lake. In the last hundred years, the Trail has

in the area near Round Lake. Fortunately, ore of a much

place in its pavilion, children spend a�ernoons in its play

changed from a Native American trail, used primarily

be�er grade was found in the Tower-Soudan area west of

area, and families stoll along its promenade. This recre-

when lake travel was impossible, to the modern road it

Ely, Minnesota, or there might have been a pit mine here

ational legacy dates from a younger Saint Paul, and from

is today. It was first upgraded to ox-cart status in the late


the generosity of its citizens.

The timber industry has been a large presence in the area

Park History

as well. Roads were the key to ge�ing the huge logs out of

The “island’s” use, however,

In 1900, Dr. Justus Ohage donated the island to the people

the bush and to Lake Superior where they were ra�ed to

of Saint Paul. Harriet Island, named for pioneer school

Duluth/Superior to be milled into the lumber to help build

teacher Harriet Bishop, initially included an outdoor

the burgeoning towns of the Upper Midwest. Logging still

gymnasium, a refreshment pavilion, a swimming beach,

goes on throughout the Superior National Forest with the

and Saint Paul’s first zoo. By 1915, 15,000 people came

exception of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Most of

to the beach each year. This began to wane, however,

the timber cut today is poplar used for paper production. Trail residents went to town only rarely in the winter months. The road was of corduroy construction with small logs laid across the road bed and covered with gravel. In summer it was a rough ride and o�en a muddy

provides connection to the surrounding neighborhoods.

one, too. As demand for wilderness recreation grew in

With the newly reconstructed Wabasha Street Bridge

the 1940s and 1950s, the Trail gradually grew too. The last Gunflint Trail is a well-maintained artery into the heart of

The border lakes from Saganaga to Gunflint, Rose, Mountain, and the Pigeon River were the primary route of the voyageurs for many years. Many of the campsites in the area have been used for generations and the portage trails were originally created by Native American travellers over the years. Today, the United States Forest Service maintains portages and campsites. by Judie Johnson, Gunflint Trail Association


SCAPE spring 05


canoe country.


providing easy pedestrian connection to downtown Saint

section was paved to Lake Saganaga in 1976 and today the

Paul, the park is once again heavily used by residents and workers from across the river. In keeping with the spirit of generosity that accompanied the park’s creation, the citizens and businesses of Saint as pollution of the river increased. The park remained

Paul donated heavily to the park’s rebirth. Bricks, artist-

underappreciated for decades, despite its proximity to

created stones and medallions, and commemorative

downtown, likely due to limited pedestrian connections

plaques line the promenade in their honor. Harriet Island

across the Mississippi River and, later, the flood control

is once again a gathering place on the Mississippi.


issue #1

by Adam Regn Arvidson


Ludvig’s son, Forrest, my father, told me that my grand-

topic: nature

father was proud of his neatly run operations. Sand and gravel taking was concentrated in specific areas of his property, areas screened by stands of existing trees so as not to be viewed by passing motorists. The farmland was located in areas accessible by the rural township roads. But, most remarkably, the meadowland was le� untouched

Ludvig A. Thorson, right, circa 1900, who immigrated from Norway as a child in the 1880s with his family, established a rural general store and gravel company in northwestern Minnesota.

but for harvesting of the meadowgrass -- valued hay that was shipped south by rail during the drought years of the 1930’s. The meadowland and its marshes, streams, and ponds, teemed with wildlife. It was abundant with wildflowers and flowing grasses. Grandfather Ludvig took great pride in driving my father, as a child, around

Wanted Land

the property, pointing out birds, deer, fox and other wildlife.

In northwestern Minnesota, a family legacy becomes public trust. by Tom Thorson


he land was located on the ridge. We called it the meadowland





grasses meadowgrass. Burnham Creek pond was referred to as the dam and

The Thorson Family, including brothers David and Tom, above right standing in front of their grandfather’s circa 1900 rural office building, worked to secure over 2800 acres for public use. The Thorson Prairie includes examples of dry prairie ridges and broad wet prairies and marshes, above left and center.

was our rural swimming hole. Long

Prairie conservation effort, becoming the largest project supported by the state Wildlife Corridors project.” TPL and its public partners had acquired the final parcel of my family’s property. Our meadowland was now

abandoned farmsteads were still named for their original

in the public domain and a valued piece of Minnesota’s

owners -- such as the Fontaine place. The old village site

0.5 percent remaining native tall grass prairie.

that my grandfather Ludvig Thorson tried to develop as


a thriving town was called Melvin, not its long forgo�en name of Holmes Station. The sand and gravel quarry was simply called the Melvin Pit, while the li�le lake viewed

randfather Ludvig was an ambitious man, a trait that his grandmother, who immigrated with the large Thorson family to Minnesota in the 1880’s,

from the second-story screened porch of my grandpar-

recognized in the young man. Perhaps Ludvig, most of all,

ents’ abandoned Melvin home was called the Melvin

could help establish the family in the new country. When

Slough. These were the place names and geographic refer-

he was twenty-one, Ludvig’s grandmother gave him five

ences of the rural community recognized by generations

hundred dollars to build and stock a general store in rural

of my family, and, in fact, most families in Onstad and

Polk County, Minnesota. This was a very generous sum

Kertsonville Townships.

of money in 1898, money that no doubt took my great-

My father, too, took great pride in the land which he (along with my two aunts) inherited. Forrest

great grandmother Thorson years to accumulate. It was with this five hundred dollars that Ludvig Thorson went

over half a century, stands decaying along Highway 102

on establish the general store in Melvin, Minnesota. As

in Polk County, Minnesota, its woodframed two- story

the local storekeeper and postmaster, young Ludvig

false-front proudly facing the bright prairie southern sun.

soon was able to start acquiring property along the ridge

It is surrounded by public land.

running north and south of the store and town site. In all, he acquired over 3000 acres. Although some of the land

A Trust for Public Land (TPL), press release on February

was farmed, much of it was too wet for crops. Some of it,

26, 2003, announced “the protection of 904 acres of tallgrass

however, contained valuable sand and gravel resources,

prairie and wetland in Polk County, Minnesota, to become

just what was needed for railroad track ballast and road

a new National Waterfowl Production Area. This past

construction in the developing rural community. With

year more than 2,800 acres of prairie, wetland and critical

that land, Ludvig started a sand and gravel company

wildlife habitat have been set aside as part of the Thorson

which he managed until his death in 1951.


SCAPE spring 05

managed the property in the same way my grandfather did, and, as COURTESY TOM THORSON AND TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND, ALL

Today, my grandfather’s 1898 general store, closed for

his father had done with him, entertained me and my brothers and The Thorson Prairie was secured by TPL and transferred to three separate entities, each with different management goals but each ensuring that the land remains in public trust. The colored parcels on the map, above, show the extent of the Thorson property purchased by TPL. The yellow parcels have been transferred to the Nature Conservancy, the orange to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the green to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

cousins with long drives through the property to observe the wildlife and wildflowers. “I don’t know who will ever want this”, my father told me many years ago, “but it sure is great for the wildlife.” It seemed true. How could this land ever be considered valuable given the magnificent farmland of the great Red River Valley stretching out to the west below our ridge?

issue #1


topic: nature


�er managing the family property for 50 years, my father died in 2001. Both my aunts had preceded him in death. The land now belonged

to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Ludvig Thorson -- all of them with established careers and no desire to manage the land in what was, for many of them, remote northwestern Minnesota. There were ten of us. Potentially ten different approaches. But we did quickly se�le on one initial desire for the family property. We felt the land should be kept intact and, if possible, managed for wildlife and public access -- not parceled off as farmland or for other uses. The Minnesota office of TPL was contacted by the family and discussions began between the non profit and the family. TPL also contacted and held discussions with interested “anchor” partners -- The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The deal was structured with the purchase of the land by TPL who, in turn, transferred 1080 acres to TNC for a seed bank for the nearby Glacial Ridge Prairie. At 23,000

Plants and Animals of the Thorson Prairie Plant Communities • dry prairie ridges • calcareous fens • riparian hillsides • broad wet prairies • shallow marshes virgin tallgrass prairie (the most-endangered natural • community in Minnesota) Rare Plants • sterile sedge (state threatened) • small white lady-slipper (a perennial orchid) • beak rush Nuttall’s ground rose. • Animals long-beaked marbled godwit (a shorebird that uses • this preserve as its summer breeding ground) • greater prairie chicken • white-tailed deer • moose.

acres, Glacial Ridge is the largest prairie/wetland restora-


he Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,

farmland will be restored to prairie.

by incorporating the land into their Chicog

boxelder trees are being removed. Seeds harvested from

Wildlife Management Area (WMA), is restoring

native prairie plants on the property will be used to

and managing the property to enhance its native prairie

restore prairie here and on the great Glacial Ridge Prairie

characteristics. Volunteer trees have been removed and

restoration project nearby.

old gravel extraction potholes filled. The northern half of li�le Lake Chicog (a.k.a. Melvin Slough), once within the

My father’s question “who will ever want this” has been

family property, is now a part of the WMA. The Chicog

answered. The meadowland is protected. A project brief

WMA is interconnected to adjacent WMAs and agency

by the Trust for Public Land declares that this “diverse

managed/protected areas via the TPL Thorson Prairie

mix of wetlands, native prairie and wooded open space...

This diverse mix of wetlands, native prairie and wooded open space... has become a rare oasis in a landscape surrounded by farmland. project. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is managing

has become a rare oasis in a landscape surrounded by

their property purchase as a new National Waterfowl

farmland.” Now the land, enjoyed for its natural beauty

Production Area. Burnham Creek, dammed for a pond

by my family and locals for over a century, is secure for

in the early 1900’s (my family’s old swimming hole), may

the future.

once again flow freely through the property, increasing the wetland below the ridge for waterfowl production. The Nature Conservancy is erasing traces of my parent’s old farm place at the northern end of the land. This

tion project in U.S. history. Another 850 acres was bought

Tom Thorson, ASLA, is an associate with SRF Consulting Group, Inc., a Minneapolis engineering, planning, and landscape architecture firm. A confirmed urbanist and landscape architect with 30 years experience in transportation and urban design, he nevertheless greatly values his rural roots, and the privilege of growing up with Minnesota’s great native prairie landscape.

passes through 6 states in at least as many climatic zones, so the prairie changes dramatically as the Passage travels south. What links these diverse regions is the historical legacy of colorful wildflowers and grasses that once covered more than one million square miles of North America.

by the MnDNR utilizing the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources’ Wildlife Corridors program. This land was brought into MnDNR’s existing Chicog Wildlife Management Area. The remaining 904 acres was acquired by USFWS as a Wildlife Protection Area. Funding for this was accomplished through the federal Duck Stamp program. This rather complex project was completed by the family, TPL and its “anchor” partners by the end of 2002. The Thorson Prairie project (as it came to be known) was listed first among nine TPL conservation achievements that year. The 2800 acres Ludvig Thorson purchased along ancient Glacial Lake Agassiz beach ridge on the eastern edge of the Red River Valley included high quality natural landscapes, such as Burnham Creek and pond, left and opposite. L.A. Thorson’s land has now been secured for public use by the Trust for Public Land and the Thorson family. Above, David Thorson discusses the property with TPL staff members.

Care to comment on this topic? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to


Shelterbelts of

SCAPE spring 05

The Prairie Passage The Thorson Prairie sits adjacent to the Prairie Passage Route, a Federal Highway Administration project designed to protect and plant native grasses along roadside rights-of-way, and to promote the awareness of prairie related natural and cultural resources. The Prairie Passage winds its way from the Canadian border in far northwestern Minnesota to Laredo, Texas, on the Rio Grande. On this nearly 2000 mile journey, the grassy route

issue #1

In Minnesota, the Prairie Passage is signed with the image of the prairie coneflower, a common tallgrass prairie plant. The route parallels the western border of the state before heading eastward at Luverne, following I-90 to Albert Lea, and leaving the state for Iowa. Some notable sites in Minnesota include Buffalo River State Park, the Headwaters of the Red River of the North, Upper Sioux Agency State Park, Pipestone National Monument, and Blue Mounds State Park. For more information, contact Minnesota’s Prairie Passage Coordinator at 651-284-3765, or Explore Minnesota Tourism at 651-296-5029.


topic: business

Is there quantifiable economic benefit to considering sustainability up front? Sources say yes. by Kevin Flynn

Reduced Capital Costs Reduced Operating Costs Reduced Liability Risk Health and Productivity Streamlined Approvals Valuation Premiums and Absorption Rates

Face it. It’s no fun being sued. It’s stressful, and costs you time and money. By taking a responsible a�itude toward the environment and occupants, green developments are sometimes able to reduce the risks of litigation, liability, and even such disasters as fires and floods. By designing healthy places to live, work, and visit, we greatly reduce the probability of “sick building

Well-executed green development projects perform

that it is difficult to make money if a project is going to

extremely well financially. In fact, even though it may

concern itself with environmental and social issues. Many

seem like a fringe movement in use by old hippies turned

of us fear that following a green agenda will delay project

developers (you know, the people who supported Dennis

schedules and raise costs. This perception is true. It is true

Kucinich in the last election), the financial motivators for

when we continue to design in the same way we always

green development are bringing a significant number of

have, placing environmental concerns at the bo�om of the

developers into the fold at an ever increasing pace. It is

list – as an add-on filter to design rather than an integral

possible—indeed it is the norm—to do well financially by

part of it. It is true when we continue to find ways of

doing the right thing environmentally.

saying “no” to ideas that would benefit our environment of finding ways to say “yes.” It is true when design is isolated and

You don’t have to hug trees, wear hemp clothing...

Perhaps it is not a surprise that if you spend less money on one thing you have more money to save or use elsewhere. Undertaking a development in an environ-

Costs of infrastructure, such as storm sewers, can be lowered by relying on the land’s natural features;

Mechanical systems can be downsized or even eliminated through smart energy design; and

Approvals can be expedited if opposition to a project is reduced. Faster approvals reduce carrying costs.

by-component basis rather than as an integrated, whole

Ethics magazine, reports in a recent article that “Social

Reducing infrastructure costs by consolidating the

systems approach to design.

and environmental responsibility goes hand-in- hand

development footprint, narrowing roadways, reducing

with superior financial performance.” She cites two

or eliminating pavement and storm sewer systems

recent meta-studies, which evaluated research by various

in favor of native swales and plantings can lead to

simply call for a return to fundamental ideas widely

theorists using various lenses; and studied different indus-

enormous reductions in infrastructure investment.

practiced up until fi�y or sixty years ago. They also ask

tries, different time periods, and different definitions of

The money saved can be invested in other areas of the

us to think about our buildings, our developments and

social responsibility. These studies prove a statistically

building or development. Reduced capital costs mean

our communities as interdependent systems that require

significant association between corporate social perfor-

that a project’s investors enjoy a higher rate of return on

holistic thinking and approaches to design.

mance and financial performance, for two reasons:

investment thanks to lower equity requirements.

“Ecosystems provide the natural functions upon which people and economies depend. Their carrying capacity must be considered, preserved, and restored.”

1) Corporate social responsibility is an indicator of good

2) Financially successful firms have more resources for

ou can do well financially by first doing well socially

and environmentally. You don’t have to hug trees, wear hemp clothing, love the spo�ed owl or the

do this. If your only motivation is to save and perhaps even make money, that’s good enough. Welcome to the choir.

Care to comment on this topic? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to


engages and retains quality employees, builds reputa-

social activities.

baby whale, take a vow of poverty, or recite a special creed to





Studies show that if a workplace is healthier and more comfortable, then so are the people that inhabit them. People tend to stay at their jobs longer, take fewer sick days, do be�er work, and be generally more productive. Studies done by the Rocky Mountain Institute cite gains of 6% to 16% a�ributed to energy efficient sustainable design. Since companies spend an average of 70 times as much money (per square foot per year) on employee salaries as they do on energy, an increase of just one percent in productivity can result in savings that exceed the company’s entire energy bill. That’s great for building and business owners, because those savings can go right into the bank to be used elsewhere. To a developer, these savings can mean higher lease rates and greater return on investment if the tenants understand the benefits.

management that is anticipatory, innovative, a�racts, tions, and enhances relations with bankers and investors.




a number of important ways:

Marjorie Kelly, a local economist and editor of Business

--report of former Minnesota Governor Arnie Carlson’s Roundtable on Sustainable Development


mentally responsible manner can reduce capital costs in

performed on a discipline-by-discipline or component-

Most of the ideas you will read here are not new. They

to human health, according to the U.S. Environmental

Sustainably designed projects can have far lower operating costs than conventional projects as a result of their greater emphasis on resource efficiency. Savings are usually easiest to quantify with energy, but can also be realized through reduced water demand, lower maintenance requirements, and a reduction in waste generation. For most businesses, savings in operating costs flow directly to the bo�om line, increasing net operating income. This in turn can lead to higher return on investment and building valuation. Operating savings that are

Gaining early respect and support from a community can greatly speed up approvals for a project. By incorporating green development strategies into the project and meeting directly with groups that might otherwise oppose a development, one can usually gain considerable support for the project -- avoiding months, if not years, of delays. Streamlining approvals and avoiding legal delays, in fact, is becoming one of the most important drivers for green development, and this saves money in the process by reducing carrying costs.

passed on to the tenant can result in favorable leasing arrangements and higher occupancy or absorption rates.


SCAPE spring 05

issue #1



(and our pocketbooks) instead


syndrome” - one of the top five environmental threats There is widespread perception in the design industry


Making Green Pay

• • • • • •


Economic benefits of green design:

Front Loaded Design

In many markets, buyers will pay substantial premiums

Marketing benefits of green design:

to be part of a development with identified green features. Developer Harold Kalke a�ributed the outstanding absorption rates of 2211 West Fourth in Vancouver,

• •

Product Differentiation Free Press

BC, in part to its green features. Prior to completion,

By conducting the fundamental planning work up-front with all players at the table, a whole-systems approach can be put to work for developers. In standard developments, resource efficiency and environmental impacts are considered as afterthoughts (if at all), despite the potential for substantial cost savings. It is cheaper to address these issues up front.

Developers often think front-loaded planning and design will cost more and delay project schedules. Greater up-front investments of time and money typically are required, but those costs are often recovered—with interest—by avoiding such downstream costs as expensive redesigns, drawn-out approvals, litigation, and stalled construction. As the saying goes: “If you can’t afford to do it right the first time, how can you afford to do it twice?”

For example, designing narrower streets might reduce

Failure to focus on end uses usually results in projects

stormwater run-off and enable simple infiltration swales

that don’t live up to their potential. Part of the problem is

and on-site detention basins to handle stormwater. As

that the various stakeholders in a project have differing,

a result, you get rid of your conventional storm sewer

sometimes conflicting, goals.

system, and put the savings into public parks, walkways,

his office space were leased, with contracts signed for

It’s good to be different (at least that’s what I told

85 percent of his residential space. Kalke’s 12.3 percent

myself all through High School). According to a 2002

return on investment was one-third-again higher than

survey for the Cahners Residential Group, 8 of 10 new

that of conventional retail/office projects in his market.

homebuyers interviewed said that new homes did not meet their expectations for environmental sustainability.

The Village Homes project in Davis, California, saved

96% said they would pay more for green features.

money and added amenities that have made the subdivision extremely popular since its construction in the late

So, there’s an unaddressed market segment out there

1970s. In fact, properties at Village Homes command a

which has money and is willing to spend it on green

substantially higher price -- $10-25 more per square foot


-- than those of surrounding subdivisions, and homes


100 percent of Kalke’s retail space and 85 percent of

sell faster when (and if) they come onto the market.

gardens, and other project amenities. The narrower streets also leave more room for trees, which keep ambient air tioning. You take advantage of passive heating, cooling,

The owner or operator wants to sell or lease the space right away;

and ventilation and down size your highly efficient HVAC system. Monthly energy bills plummet. Pedestrian

Investors want to get their money out of the project as soon as possible;

temperatures down and reduce the need for air condi-

paths and traffic-calming street designs help foster a

The designer may be focused on staffing the project or winning an award; and

The contractor may be most concerned with project schedules.

strong sense of community with low crime rates and In markets that can’t afford price premiums, green

A growing number of green developers have derived

developments may enjoy faster lease-ups or sales rates

enormous marketing benefits from their a�ention to

due to differentiation from the competition. Production

environmental and community issues.

home builder McStain Enterprises developed Greenlee Park, 170 units of affordable green homes in Lafaye�e,

Nearly every “green” project out there finds its way into



topic: business

higher property values. You install healthy, ecologically

To add to the difficulty, the various players in develop-

friendly, and easily maintained materials in the building

ment o�en speak different languages: developers speak

and people feel be�er about where they live.

dollars per square foot; investors, return on investment; electrical engineers, wa�s per square foot; construction

Soon, word gets around, others want to live there and begin

workers, sign-off; and so on. Focusing on sustainability and end-use helps to maintain a common perspective

Colorado. Ideas were tested and refined on a demon-

magazines, newspapers, and conference case studies

to pay a premium to do so. Having started to conserve land

stration home until the development team was able

free of charge. People are interested in this and want to

by minimizing streets and parking, you multiplied oppor-

and forges a common language in spite of these varied

to get the total cost for the green features (including

know how it can be achieved. Press helps get people in

tunities for social contact; beautified the neighborhood;


replacement of the furnace with a heat recovery

the door – so in many ways it makes more sense to spend

made it safer, healthier, and more affordable for everyone

system) down to 1.5 percent of a home’s total cost. The

money pushing sustainability rather than on four-color

;and you saved money. And now people want to pay

development was 75% pre-sold prior to the opening.

ads competing with everybody else in the marketplace.

you more. So you make money. Seems like a good thing. That is the key to whole systems thinking – it only works


as a system. Single strategies (or strategies as add-on

financially by first doing good socially. Effective whole-

features) don’t work. Period. Our solutions and projects

systems thinking is required to ensure that integrated

need to be integrated, interdisciplinary and holistic. If not,

solutions are found. By front-loading the planning and

they will fail.

design process, the benefits of whole-systems thinking can


be realized. Throughout this process, end-use/least-cost

Green developers have found over and over that the media likes what they are doing and will promote it. Positive press coverage is the best kind of promotion available. Why not let someone else pay your marketing costs?


kay, sign me up. Now what? The first thing to do is spend more time in design. I’m not talking about more time making cute computer renderings and

sketches – though I love those as much as the next fellow. Rather, we need to design more intelligently and more effectively – and think in terms of connections between all other disciplines. This becomes whole-systems thinking. Whole-systems thinking is a process through which the interconnections between systems are actively considered, and solutions are sought that address multiple problems at the same time. These are o�en referred to as “solution multipliers” -- single answers that solve a number of problems.

one of these things work alone to create successful real estate products. Instead, they are mutually reinforcing. A strong vision is a critical

foundation and the initial step. It is possible to do well

he mistakes are o�en made in the first week or two

considerations ensure that optimal, cost-effective solutions

of design – and sometimes even earlier than that.

are generated. And, finally, effective teamwork throughout

Up-front building and design costs represent only

the planning and design process draws the best from

a fraction of the building’s life-cycle costs. When just one

all players and helps get them invested in the outcome.

percent of a project’s up-front costs are spent, up to 70 percent of its life-cycle costs may already be commi�ed; when seven percent of project costs are spent, up to 85 percent of life-cycle costs have been commi�ed.”


spending an extra per cent or two on design that allows

Kevin Flynn, AIA, LEED AP, is the founding principal of EcoDEEP, an architecture, research, and planning firm with an acute focus on sustainable, high performance solutions. EcoDEEP’s work promises that good design and environmental be�erment are inherently interdependent and that all design must be simple, economically viable, and socially equitable.

you to save 30 or 50% of the ongoing operational costs is a pre�y good investment.


SCAPE spring 05

issue #1


topic: art

Night 2005 28 x 42 oil on canvas Perhaps his most narrative and mythic work, Night links the intimacy of a small cemetery with the sweep of a great river. Overlooked by an angel, the gravestones seem to pay silent testament to the great river beneath them.

slides of Scandinavian and American Impressionists,

typified by Harald Sohlberg (1869-1935). “These artists

especially the work of George Inness, to explain how

show a connection between the intimate and the infinite,”

landscape quality and order are not just “designed,” they

he says. “I used to say to students that you can do the same

can also be “discovered” by artists and others who take

thing with physical form in your landscape designs.”

the time to look. This is the organic basis of architecture and gardens, and there is much to learn from the history

“My work is becoming more suggestive rather than

of landscape art.

descriptive.” In Damon’s current show, the last nine years of his work will be shown, culminating in “Night,” the dream-like nocturnal view over a cemetery looking into

“My work is becoming more suggestive rather than descriptive.” In his dra�ing courses, where the focus was more on

the sweep of a river valley. The full moon casts a light

technique rather than design, Damon showed students

blue tint on the snow among the grave stones as the

works by such late 19th century painters as the California

river, in a darker grey blue, flows back into the horizon.

impressionist Edgar Payne, Thomas Eakins, and Thomas

Like the sublime Luminist and impressionist paintings

Cole to show the use of atmospheric perspective and the

Damon once used to demonstrate spatial connections for

depiction of three-dimensional space through comple-

students, there is a continuum in this very recent work

mentary visual cues for scale.

between the intimacy of the foreground gravesites and


the infinity of the horizon and the heavens beyond. More

�er teaching for eight years at the University,

than most of Damon’s oeuvre to date, “Night” borrows

Damon took on landscape painting full-time

both its title and compositional mood from the Swedish

in 1996. In his recent paintings from the last

painter Harold Sohlberg.

year -- now on display at a Minneapolis exhibit (see The Intersection of Landscape Architecture and Landscape Art) -Damon draws on the sublimity of Scandinavian painters The Creekbed 2005 22 x 34 oil on canvas This painting is a fusion of two creek beds, at Afton State Park in the verdant St. Croix Valley south of St. Paul and a drier bed in the North Dakota Badlands. “ I wanted to illustrate a water carved landscape, a seam in an otherwise flat plane. Damon used the October palette of the deciduous Afton landscape to express the universal landscape typology of the ravine.

Opening the Door

The paintings of Paul Damon reveal the Midwestern landscape. by Frank Edgerton Martin Paul Damon grew up in the small town of Beaver Dam,

beyond their contemporary suburbia. More than site

Wisconsin, studied biology at Northland College in

plans, sketches, or verbal arguments, it was paintings that

Ashland, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior’s South Shore and,

were really “worth a thousand words” in ge�ing through

eventually, enrolled in the graduate program in landscape

to students. “When I was pu�ing together a lecture,”

architecture at the University of Minnesota. He received

Damon recalls, “I felt that there were some things that

an MLA in 1993 with a historical study on the renowned

were best explained by paintings.” When you’re teaching

Prairie School Architect, Walter Burley Griffin. He did not

about landscape aesthetics “paintings encapsulate ideas

start painting landscapes until 1996.

about how physical form can be meaningful.”

Serving as a lecturer and studio and dra�ing teacher at

For example, he says, “with the Symbolists, such as

the University of Minnesota’s College of Architecture and

Edvard Munch and his contemporaries, there is a great

Landscape Architecture in the mid-1990s, Damon o�en

deal of emphasis on the horizon. Yet the viewer can’t just

found himself in the position of needing to explain site

walk into the painting because there is o�en a tree-filled

design strategies to students who had barely ever ventured

foreground.” For first and second year students, he showed


SCAPE spring 05

issue #1


topic: art

Completed a year earlier in 2004, “The Power Plant”

Care to comment on this topic? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to

captures the dynamic sweep of the Mississippi in Minneapolis as it rushes past University of Minnesota Steam Plant. The chimneys of the plant create a static imprint against the changing pinks and lavenders of the dawn sky. In the foreground, the river swirls with patches of ice and inky blue water.


Arrival of the Ferry 2005 22 x 32 oil on canvas Standing on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan, Damon waited for the Manitowoc – Ludington ferry. “I was very taken by the ferry and its dark smoke plume coming in from the distance and the brick storage sheds in the foreground.” The high vantage point is a Scandinavian compositional technique that, in Damon’s words, “makes it very difficult to walk into the painting.”

hile he was a student studying Walter Burley Griffin, Damon was




much of the printmaking and decorative arts of the Cra�sman movement. Yet, for this ecologically-trained designer, it was the paintings of that same era that revealed a new kind of language for talking about space, color, permanence and change. “It was like a magical door that opened up for me,” he says. George Inness, the Ashcan school, Martin Johnson Heade, and the Luminist School all expressed to Damon the American landscape

The Intersection of Landscape Architecture and Landscape Art Paul Damon’s work will join that by another artist with a background in landscape architecture in an exhibition entitled Reading the Landscape. According to Regina Flanaghan, a Saint Paul-based photographer and Damon’s co-exhibitor, the two artists appearing together serves to increase the dialog between art forms, techniques, and perspectives on the landscape. Flanaghan was initially selected to appear alone in the show, and to display her ongoing personal chronicle of the Helen Allison Savanna, a Nature Conservancy property on the Anoka Sandplain north of the Twin Cities. Her series, entitled Where We Find Ourselves, strives to see the landscape both aesthetically and ecologically. “To have an authentic relationship with the landscape,” she says, “I must know it on an ecological level.” But she tries to be honest to both perspectives, working to communicate ecological information in an evocative manner. Flanaghan’s works appear in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, Wisconsin, and the Minnesota Historical Society, among others. In order to, in Flanaghan’s words, “make the show more interesting,” she asked Damon to join her, because their similar backgrounds in landscape architecture and differing

in a way that no other medium could.

Reading the Landscape

Paul Damon


Regina Flanagan artistic styles might serve to engage the audience even more profoundly. The exhibition runs from Sunday, April 10, through Sunday, May 15 at the First Unitarian Society, 900 Mount Curve Boulevard, in Minneapolis. It will be open for viewing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday through Friday. A reception for the artists, free and open to the public, will be held on Friday, April 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. as part of the Minneapolis Gallery Crawl scheduled for that night. Call (651) 645-7709 for information.

“Trained in classical painting yet influenced by Impressionism from Europe, these American

The Power Plant 2004 24 x 36 oil on canvas In this painting of the East bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Damon Paul Damon was influenced by a 19th century painting by William Tryon of the New York Skyline at dawn as seen across the Hudson. He says of this earlier work, “the color in the water and in the sky was just fabulous. The sky was richRegina in pastel Flanagan and the water was deep and mysterious….”

painters had a foot in both worlds,” Damon argues. “Their work has technical precision and


yet merges into abstraction.” As his own work grows more suggestive, Damon is following a similar arc in painting ordinary midwestern industrial sites, fallow fields, and ravines. He is a firm believer in landscape typologies, in the idea that there are universal archetypes in the land such as valleys and groves that transcend climate, culture and ecosystems. As his work becomes




foundational sites are likely to reappear. He is The Thin Veil of Reality 2004 22 x 34 oil on canvas At William O’Brien State Park, Damon captures the effervescent spring light of this birch tree grove. His inspiration was the painting “Trout Pond” by George Inness, another intimate landscape suffused with the yellow and green mysteries of spring. “It always brings to mind for me a quote from Gaston Bachelard: ‘The forest is closed to vision but open to action….’”

Paul Damon is represented by The Vern Carver and Beard Art Gallery 800 LaSalle Avenue, Skyway Level, LaSalle Plaza Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402 Tel. (612) 339-3449


also likely to experiment more on objects such as groves of trees or buildings rather than the space around them. One hopes that he will return to teaching, perhaps to classes of visual arts and design students. If anything, Damon’s career continues to show how they are very much related. Frank Edgerton Martin is a Minnesota native who grew up near Minnehaha Creek. He holds an MS in Cultural Landscape Preservation and Landscape History from the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For several years, he worked with photographer Chris Faust to document suburban growth around the Midwest. He is employed at HAY DOBBS, a Minneapolis-Based architecture and planning firm, where he specializes in higher education and urban design. He is also serves as a contributing editor for Landscape Architecture Magazine.

SCAPE spring 05

issue #1


ELSGEO – engineering, land surveying, and geoscience.

topic: law


he process of licensure can be described in terms of “three E’s:” education, examination, and experi-

The Responsible Professional

these requirements to demonstrate minimum competency to practice landscape architecture in Minnesota. When an unlicensed individual either practices a protected profession or uses a protected title illegally, or when a licensed professional commits an infraction against the rules or statutes governing professional practice, the fourth “E” comes into play: Enforcement. The Minnesota Board has the power to levee civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation. From 2002 to 2004 the Board collected $47,000 on enforcement issues related to the six professions it regulates. The civil penalties collected by the Board go directly into the State’s General Fund. The Complaint Commi�ee (one of the standing Board commi�ees) typically meets monthly to review disciplinary ma�ers that arise. When an investigation shows The Board’s website (see Resources) offers information about all aspects of the Board and licensure. It contains a


roster of all professionals currently licensed by the state

icensure is about responsibility.

Becoming a

and a roster of Board members. It provides links to the

licensed landscape architect means taking respon-

laws and rules that govern design professionals. And it

sibility for one’s work as a professional. It also

contains information for applicants, an archive of the

means taking responsibility for the quality of the profes-

“The Communicator” (the Board’s occasional newsle�er),

sion and how it is practiced.

and links to related agencies including other state licen-

Licensure is controlled by states. Each state determines how landscape architecture licensure will be handled in its jurisdiction. The professional must be licensed according to the laws of every state in which she practices or uses a protected title. Currently, 38 states regulate both the use of the title and the practice of the profession. Though many federal agencies prefer that their landscape architects be licensed, licensure is not always required to provide service for federal agencies. Minnesota





Board commi�ees address specific licensure issues. Board officers comprise the Executive Commi�ee. The Credentialing Commi�ee reviews the education, experience, and examination credentials of applicants and the continuing education compliance of licensees. The Rules Commi�ee oversees existing and proposed changes to

practice” state: every one who a landscape architect must be licensed by the Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design (AELSLAGID), referred to more simply as the Board. The Board meets usually monthly. All meetings are open to the public.


that a violation of the law within the Board’s jurisdiction is likely to have occurred, the Complaint Commi�ee will make a recommendation to the Board. If the Board determines, based on that recommendation, that a violation has in fact occurred, it will issue an Order, which articulates

graduation from a landscape architecture curriculum of a university or college accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) is required for licensure in Minnesota.

Examination: the applicant for licensure must pass the LARE. Experience: completion of a minimum of three years of qualifying experience under the supervision of licensed landscape architects is required, if the applicant has graduated from a five-year baccalaureate curriculum in landscape architecture accredited by LAAB. Four years of qualifying experience is required if the applicant has graduated from an institution with a four-year LAAB-accredited baccalaureate curriculum in landscape architecture. NOTE: For professionals licensed in other jurisdictions and seeking registration in Minnesota, licensure may be granted through comity: See Resources for more information.

the facts, violation, and terms of the discipline imposed. Orders become public information and summaries of them appear in the Board’s newsle�er, “The Communicator.”

For an annual fee, a practitioner can elect to have CLARB maintain a Council Record of her registration documents

sure boards.

The professional must be licensed according to the laws of every state in which she practices or uses a protected title.

practices landscape architecture or refers to himself as


ence. The professional must fulfill all three of

LARE, CLARB, AELSLAGID... What Does It All Mean? by Doris Preisendorf Sullivan, FASLA

The Three E’s of Licensure

the statues and rules that govern the profession. The Complaint Commi�ee addresses the enforcement of licensure statutes and rules within the Board’s jurisdiction. Two commi�ees concentrate on issues specific to the professions regulated by the Board: ALACID – architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design; and

SCAPE spring 05


he Council of Landscape Architecture Registration

and employment history. CLARB has also developed the Center for Collaboration in Education and Design (C2Ed)

Boards (CLARB) is a collection of state licensure/

which offers continuing education opportunities for

registration boards in the U.S. and Canada. This


organization’s meetings provide a forum for the discus-

sion of board goals and licensure issues across the conti-

CLARB is responsible for over-seeing the development,


administration, and grading of the Landscape Architecture

education requirements vary from state to state. Some

Registration Examination (LARE). Information gathered

state licensure boards insist on pre-approving all CE

by CLARB in periodic task analyses of the profession is

activities. However, the Minnesota Board represents six

incorporated into the Landscape Architecture Body of

professions some of which are comprised of multiple

Knowledge (LABOK) study. The task analysis and the

disciplines. Therefore, the Minnesota Board has decided

LABOK study then become the basis for developing

to leave the choice of appropriate educational activities

LARE examination problems. The Minnesota Board, in

to the discretion of its licensees, relying on their profes-

addition, has turned over examination administration

sionalism to guide them in their choices.

nent. As a member board, Minnesota sends delegates to CLARB meetings.

esponsible professionals must stay abreast of changes in her/his profession. Most states, including Minnesota, now require ‘Continuing

Education’ (CE) for the renewal of licensure. Continuing

duties to CLARB.

issue #1


topic: law

Several types of activities qualify for CE credit in addition

Licensure Nationwide The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) actively advocates for licensure in all states. The “Government” tab on the ASLA website ( shows current licensure status for each state as well as a listing of state licensing boards and contact information. All states have title and practice laws, except the following: States with title law only, which means any person may perform landscape architecture services, but only licenced landscape architects may CALL themselves landscape architects: • Illinois • Maine • Massachusetts • Michigan • New Jersey Virginia • Washington • West Virginia • • Wisconsin States with no licensure requirements for landscape architects: • Colorado • New Hampshire Vermont • Resources •

The Board meeting schedule and other general info is posted on the Board’s website:

For complete explanations of requirements (the 3 E’s), including the definition of qualifying experience and exceptions to the LAAB-accredited education requirement, see: rules.html#1800.1500

For continuing education information, visit the Board website and click “Continuing Education.”

Further information about CLARB and the services it offers can be found at:


to formal classroom work. The AELSLAGID web site lists 10 types of programs and activities acceptable for CE credit, including such activities as study tours, publishing papers, or obtaining a patent. This site also offers a printable form (the Continuing Education Assessment Form), which can help determine which programs and activities will satisfy the requirements. During the periods of license renewal, some professionals are chosen randomly for review. The professional(s) on the Board representing the reviewee’s discipline reviews the selected files. The licensee may be required to submit documentation such as notes, handouts, and other materials saved from courses, or materials such as an outline prepared for a presentation made by the licensee. It is required, therefore, to save documentation in the

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in house ad

event that the practitioner is called upon to verify the relevance of CE credits claimed for registration renewal.


icensed professionals should understand that State Boards serve the people. The reason states regulate the design professions is to protect the public’s

health, safety, and welfare. To ensure such regulation can accomplish its goals, professionals should themselves protect the value of licensure by understanding and respecting the rules and statutes that govern their profes-

sion, by conscientiously choosing continuing education activities, and by helping to ensure that anyone practicing as a professional is licensed as a professional.

Doris Preisendorf Sullivan, FASLA, is a landscape architect for the St. Paul District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. She serves on the Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design and is Chair of the Board’s Complaint Commi�ee.

to advertise in

__SCAPE contact Adam Arvidson, editor at

MNLA’s landscape and irrigation professionals salute the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects! WE’RE PROUD TO WORK WITH YOU TO CREATE AND CARE FOR MINNESOTA’S OUTDOOR LIVING ENVIRONMENT. To learn more about the MNLA see our website at Dont miss the region’s largest event for green industry professionals.

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Maximize your earning and learning potential by taking part in the seminars and visiting the huge trade show. ALL THE DETAILS ARE AT

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 

  612-312-2126 ������������������������������������������������������������ ��������������������������������


Care to comment on this topic? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to

���������������������������� ���������������������������������������� for a calendar of events, chapter newsle�er, board members, award winning projects, membership information, and more, visit the official website:

SCAPE spring 05


issue #1

Manufacturer of

Premium Interlocking Concrete Paving Stones

21 320-363-4671• 800-622-4952 •



Marjorie PITZ




Five Designers, Five Questions

Twenty-Five Uncommon Answers

Those who shape the land come in a wide variety of types: different philosophies, different


different goals....



For this first quarterly

conversation, we picked just five -- hand selected to represent a general cross section.

photography by Kerri Jamison

They all got the same questions, and had about a month to mull them over. Here are their answers....

Kevin BIEHN 22

SCAPE spring 05

issue #1


What is a landscape architect?

A landscape architect solves outdoor

Landscape architects are potential

We are a profession -- so each of us

spatial problems as humankind

masters of time and earthly space.

should profess something.

struggles to live upon the earth.

They project the transformation of

What I used to think: A person that

Confusing and comprehensive by

designs space with plants and earth

definition, a landscape architect is a


complex problem solver, who works

land to continue and enhance life.

Most LA’s profess a belief in ecology.

What LA’s have told me: LA’s should

across many disciplines to improve

A landscape architect tries to create

In this process we compose spaces

I find ecological theory—at least

design everything.

the environment in which we live,

harmony between humans and the

by using live media and other

how it is typically expressed by

What I think: LA’s care about how the

work, and recreate. From residen-

rest of our world.

This requires

volatile substances in compositions


world is experienced, and consider

tial yard to office park to an entire

knowledge of natural systems, a

on an only slightly more stable

leading directly to regulation of



sense of responsibility towards our

medium (earth). More prosaically, a

human thought and creativity. I did

outside of a building. It becomes a

design pleasing landscapes, which

earth, and a sense of humor.

landscape architect is a professional

not become a landscape architect to

question of territory; each profes-

are beautiful and functional.

who helps clients understand, shape,

tell others what to do. I became a

sion endeavors to carve out more

and visualize change in the land, and

landscape architect to give people


who represents that change in forms

the liberty to express their creativity,

professions. I personally believe that

that lead to policy, construction, and

particularly their ability to fashion

design talent should not be limited,

other actions. What distinguishes

their own environment.

and that serious professionals should











a landscape architect from other

continue their education to develop

designers is the breadth, and whole-

technical expertise in design areas

ness of vision -- and the capacity to

which interest them.

get that vision implemented.

Why does everyone think landscape architects just plant shrubs in summer and plow snow in winter?

Landscape architects have failed to

Partly it’s our recent history in

Hopefully not everyone thinks this

The word “landscape” is too closely

If our families don’t really under-

create a legal niche for providing

Minnesota that some of us did do

way. In fact, I think this impression

associated with landscaping. The

stand what it is we do, it is no wonder



those things. And maybe still do.

is diminishing as more is wri�en

word “architect” becomes a quali-

that the public assumes landscape

doctors, and engineers have done

Partly it is also that we have not

about landscape architects and their

fier. I have recently heard that

architects are governed by the sharp-

a great job of promoting their own

publicized our best work. And we

contributions in the popular press.

someone was the “architect” of a

ness of a colored pencil or a lawn

cause by making it illegal for non-

receive li�le credit from the rest of

In Minnesota, we are fortunate to

financial plan. Thomas Jefferson was

mower blade. Our title (two words

professionals to practice. The public

the press for our collaborative work.

have several local and national corre-

the “architect” of our constitution.

which are associated with separate

accepts the idea that professional

(Did anyone notice that all of the

spondents to leading magazines

training is necessary to protect public

AIA Honor Award winning teams

and journals that are constantly

Architecture is an old profession,

us out in a hole of confusion. If we

safety and health. The profession of

this year included LAs?)

presenting the work of landscape

which used to encompass all aspects

expect our family, colleagues, and

architects as contributing signifi-

of building. Our culture has not

the public to understand the value


landscape architecture has failed to

related professions) certainly starts

dominate in the landscape arenas

Related to all of this is the ‘landscape

cantly to the health and welfare of

been taught to distinguish between

of the profession’s contributions, we

that relate to public health, safety,

architecture is not rocket science’

our communities with designs that


need to communicate the WHY in

and welfare.

syndrome, i.e., the general public’s

express the pure joy of being alive.

addition to the WHAT we do. That

sense (and sometimes, our own)

being said, my mother still wonders

that landscape design is something

how I stay busy during the winter.

everyone can do. We need to project the values of professional projects again and again.


SCAPE spring 05

issue #1


What do landscape architects need to learn?

To listen to the earth. To add soul to

Virtually everything that relates

How to use a pencil would be nice.

Each profession needs to learn to

Progress and innovation can only

every project.

to earth and its inhabitants. This

Too much is done on a computer.


happen when we challenge ourselves

simple fact makes landscape archi-

Computers are a tool. We need to

utilizing their talents to create a team

tecture a really hard discipline to

understand be�er when it is appro-

which can create a be�er project than

teach and learn, and a tough profes-

priate to use a 2B or 3H pencil or

any one of them can conceive of on

sion to master.

AutoCAD. One tool does not fit all.

their own. I have worked under




and our clients.

the leadership of landscape archiAlso we should learn to be bilingual

tects, and I have managed leading

in a world that demands evangelism

landscape architects. Leadership is

and technical competence. We need

determined by contract and respect.

to be able to excite audiences while delivering products that actually work.

What is your favorite plant? Why?

Bur oak. They are gnarly, offer a

Probably the hackberries in my

I really like Cyanobacteria because

I like the live oaks in California.

I am engrossed with the unique sense

huge sheltering canopy, and sustain


they have such potential.

Magnolias in bloom blow my mind.

of enclosure and habitat provided

squirrels—the comedians of nature.

neotropicals from Latin America

If you climb an avocado tree, the

by the native forest understory.

come to feed themselves on their

limbs are springy, as though they

This group contains a multitude of

way north every spring. They are not

will break off, but they appear thick,

distinctive species, but my favorite

only singularly beautiful to watch in

like an oak. Strawberries make

within this category is the American

their bright yellow quickness, but

edible ground cover, and nothing

hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana). My

they remind me of our connection

smells like a gardenia. Irises filter

a�achment to this particular plant

the rest of the hemisphere. This is,

and clean water. Bamboo can make

stems from a childhood fondness of

literally, flyover land, but it has a

flooring that is harder than maple,

the plant’s distinguished “muscle-

really important airport with global

and it re-grows because it is a grass.

wood” character.


Even pond scum…what a brilliant

impressed with this under-utilized

color of green!

species’ remarkable ability to thrive




Today, I am

in more hostile environments. Why pick?


SCAPE spring 05

issue #1


In what ways should landscape architects change?

We should unite against rapacious

No more cheap decoration. Read

Margaret Mead once said that one

Landscape architects need to educate

I am overjoyed with the current

development, and work towards

more. Pay a�ention to the changes

of the ways to acquire wisdom

their allied professions what they




that are going on in politics, in the

was to have a religious conversion

care about, what their education



biosphere, on the land. Make your

and then to get over it. I became a

covers, and how they can help in the


work as valuable as it can be, and

landscape architect because I was

solution of a design problem. Even

design (take your pick).

charge appropriately. Some of us

deeply concerned about ecological

the College of Architecture and

however, concerned with the liberal

have transcended décor to become

degradation. But I got over it. Now,



use of such a�achments to projects,

brilliant artists. Some have become

I design roads for a living.

doesn’t tell the architecture students

which are none of the above or a

important figures in applied ecolog-

what landscape architecture is. At

watered-down version of the theme.

ical science and engineering. Some

the University of Wisconsin School

We are doing a disservice to the



of Architecture and Urban Planning,

profession and se�ing the field back

for sustainability, history, beauty,

the urban planners studied the

by a�aching these labels to projects

hydrology, and memory; and many

sculpting of urban space, which

which are not achieving the titled

have built and published in a whole

seems to me to overlap with the


range of venues. So now, conver-

CALA definition of landscape archi-

gence has to occur in these enlarged

tecture. The world needs to know

practices such that we pay closer

what you do.










“ecological” I am,

a�ention to the sustainability of the fundamental media of change.

Care to add to the conversation? Maybe you have different answers? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to

A�er graduating from the University of Minnesota, Marjorie worked for the City of Saint Paul, directing a research/design project on Defensible Space at a public housing project—her home for two years. In 1981 Marjorie le� Saint Paul to teach graphics and design for the landscape architecture program at her alma mater, and accompanied students to China for their spring trip. Marjorie became partners with Roger Martin in 1983, as Principal in the firm Martin & Pitz Associates, Inc. Their practice deals primarily with public gathering spaces. Favorite projects include Lower Phalen Creek Community Vision, Children’s Memorial at Resurrection Cemetery, Minnetonka Community Center, Upper Iowa University, and the Sensory Garden and the Shade Tree Exhibits at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Marjorie’s foray into the art world yielded two projects last year: Tree Man!—a willow tree house at the Arboretum; and Merwyn—a concrete fantasy creature emerging out of the Seward neighborhood. Look for The Ravenous Bird this year at the Arboretum, and Turning Leaf at the Minneapolis North Regional Library.


Lance Neckar is Associate Dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA) at the University of Minnesota and a Center for Transportation Studies Faculty Scholar. He is a registered landscape architect engaged in private practice in the firm of Landscape Research. His applied research projects include a major study of green infrastructure for the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources, and the 2003 urban design and environment section of the Transportation and Regional Growth Study of the Twin Cities (sponsored by the University’s Center for Transportation Studies and the Metropolitan Council). Lance is also author or co-author of several books and articles including an introductory essay (with Professor Daniel Nadenicek) to the re-publication of Landscape Architecture As Applied to the Wants of the West by H. W. S. Cleveland, and the forthcoming essay, ‘Berlin: Topology of Contemplation’ in Contemporary Contemplative Landscapes, edited by Professor Rebecca Krinke.

SCAPE spring 05

Craig Churchward, ASLA, is Director of Context Sensitive Solutions and Transportation Enhancements at HNTB Minneapolis. He has been practicing landscape architecture since 1979 when he received his BLA from the University of Minnesota. Everyone else in his studio received their degrees in 1978. Craig is the man behind the shovel in the full-scale diorama of LA students that greet visitors to the new CALA building. He taught Design Studio and Theory for nineteen years as a University of Minnesota adjunct faculty member. He’s currently teaching 1200 civil engineers in Michigan (forty at a time) how to design roads without screwing up communities or the environment.

issue #1

Janis LaDouceur is an owner of Barbour/Ladouceur Design Group, which has been designing public projects for 12 years. She wanted her life’s work to have meaning. She wanted to make the world a be�er place. She needed to create, and she picked Architecture as her art. Janis’ philosophy: As people are born, live their lives and die, it is their stories that carry on. Each person is a culmination of the joy, struggle, sacrifice, and honor of all the people who have lived before. Lives can be traced by the homes people live in and the monuments people build. Janis wants to tell these stories, to design tomorrow’s archeology. Janis is proud of her work on the Richard I. Bong WWII Heritage Center, Poplar, WI; the North West Company Fur Post Interpretive Center, Pine City, MN; the Science House and Big Back Yard at the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN; and light rail transit stations at Franklin Avenue and the Government Center. Of her unbuilt works, she is proud of Ba�le Point Historic Site - Ojibwe Heritage Center, Leech Lake, MN; “Ghost Dance” Dakota Heritage Center, Badlands, SD; the Edna G. Tugboat Museum, Two Harbors, MN; and “The Nicollet,” a fi�y story mixed-use tower on Nicollet Mall.

Kevin Biehn has more than seven years of experience in environmental consulting. His work to protect water quality, promote flora and fauna biodiversity, and advance low-impact development is his passion. This experience includes work with numerous public agencies and private clients throughout the Upper Midwest. Kevin’s notable current projects include the Rice Creek Meander Restoration (restoration of over 1-mile of this formerly ditched creek in Shoreview, MN); the Li�le Falls Business Park (a 40 acre “lowimpact” business park in Li�le Falls, MN, which maintains predevelopment hydrology); and the Hennepin Paper Company Park (the preservation of an historic mill and remediation and restoration of contaminated site in Li�le Falls, MN). Kevin is ge�ing married in August of 2005. He is also working on house-breaking and training a 10-week old Wirehaird Pointing Griffon puppy named Pippa. He recently completed a month long fellowship with the Kinship Conservation Institute in Bozeman, MT; and helped organize the Ducks, Wetlands, and Clean Water Rally at the Minnesota State Capital Mall on April 2nd (




Dictionary, however, focuses on the work of artists,

The Hometown Advantage Bulletin

merely landscape architects as we might define them. The

by Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA

design philosophies of these individuals, though, actually reinforce the cross-professional shared connection to the

headlines include “Wal-Mart Money Trumps Land Use


Items of interest in the broader printSCAPE... BOOK

Dictionary of Today’s Landscape Designers

by Pierluigi Nicolin and Francesco Rapishti

Milano, Italy: Skira Editore (, 2003; 347 pages, $29.95 U.S. distributor: Rizzoli by Random House review by John D. Slack, ASLA Vito Acconci, Yves Brunier, Charles Correa...: Names of prominent designers that have had a significant effect on landscape architecture -- a profession that has been described as a balance between architecture, gardener,

If you’ve ever thought no one else out there knows what

Process in Bennington, Vermont,” “Philadelphia Weighs

you’re going through. That no one else knows the diffi-

Predatory Superstore Law,” “Madison Limits Footprint of

I found myself unable to put this book down once I

cult road you’ve trudged. That no one else has fought as

Big Box Stores,” and “Keeping Louisville Weird.”

recognized the connection to the land that all design

hard as you to keep big box retail out of your city, you’re

professionals share.

The imagery of the representative

in luck. You’re not alone. “We wanted to share what was

The most notable aspect of “The Bulletin” is the access

projects is spectacular, and (if you are like me) you will

going on around the country,” says Stacy Mitchell of the

it gives to highly-detailed studies of the impacts of chain

spend twice as much time “reading” the design as you

Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), “we wanted to

retail on communities. This information gives factual

do reading about each professional. Some of the design

see some cross-fertilization of ideas.” Mitchell is a senior

back-up to all you crusaders out there looking to keep (fill

professionals that I most enjoyed studying were Tadao

researcher with ILSR, and she edits “The Hometown

in the blank) out of your hometowns. It’s nice to know

Ando, Adriaan Geuze and Richard Long -- just to name

Advantage Bulletin,” a monthly newsle�er that puts news

you’re not alone, isn’t it?

a few. I find myself referring to this guide book almost

from the anti-corporate retail front at your fingertips.

weekly, not necessarily to look at a specific designer or

To subscribe to “The Hometown Advantage Bulletin,”

project, but more as an inspirational tool to help influence

ILSR is a 30 year old national nonprofit organization

send a blank e-mail to home_town_advantage-subscribe@

my design decisions.

working to advance, in Mitchell’s words, “sustainable Or visit ILSR’s website at

community-centered models of economic development.”

– you guessed it –

Motoko Ishii, Regina Poly, Peter Latz...: Names of promi-

Translation: reining in corporate retail (I won’t mention

nent designers we should all get to know.

any names – you know who they are). “The Bulletin” is one of ILSR’s many activities, which focus on research and

Dictionary of Today’s Landscape Designers

and artist.

education. It started gracing inboxes monthly in late 2000,

identifies and explores the

as a series of headlines, synopses, and links. You can click

careers of more than 80

on the link to visit the full article, which will doubtlessly

design professionals who

be packed with the most pertinent information available.

are inherently linked (to

“I have a pre�y high bar,” admits Mitchell, because there

use an applicable pun) by

is so much happening – lots of successes, lots of failures,

nature, to the profession of landscape architecture.

lots of news, and lots of studies. Mitchell culls the herd to

Once you are able to get

her readers. She gets her material from news sources,

around 8 stories each month, in order to not overwhelm from readers, and from ILSR’s own research, and she

past Nicolin and Rapishti’s

does all the writing herself, in a factual (even if expectedly

complex prefaces on the notions


tilted) style.


sites, history of design on

“The Bulletin” focuses in on a few key areas of information,

the land, and the inherent

and tries to give some samples of each area in each issue.

relationships between all

Readers will see stories about communities that have

design professionals, you

implemented (or are implementing) new laws or policies,

will be treated to a very stimulating guide book. It is arranged alphabetically by designer, which lends a simple, clean layout to the book, further reinforced by the striking imagery within. As you peruse the book, it becomes an emotional journey. Names and project imagery that are familiar immediately jump off of the page and instill a sense of connection with these esteemed designers, through the shared understanding of the cra� and methodology of landscape architecture.


John Slack is a registered landscape architect with DSU, Inc. He has over 10 years of experience working with urban redevelopment, streetscapes, public open space design, and site planning. He currently serves as president of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

independent business alliances and their educational efforts, anti-trust news, new research on the economic benefit of small businesses versus big boxes, and (occasionally) international correspondence. The articles pull no punches, and don’t hesitate to call the alleged offenders by name. The bold text is obviously constructed to draw in the sympathetic reader. In the April issue, for instance,

SCAPE spring 05


well wri�en and visually

Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA, is Director of Communications for the Minnesota Chapter of Landscape Architects. He is editor of MASLA’s publications _SCAPE and InCommon. He is a landscape architect at DSU, Inc., in Minneapolis and writes regularly for Landscape Architecture Magazine


In Other Words


photographers, architects, and other land-shapers -- not

issue #1

This irrigation plan isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on if the products I specify don’t measure up. Install confidence. Not frustration. Install Rain Bird.



In Other Words

Care to alert us to a book, newsletter, website, magazine, or lecture series you find interesting? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to


whips Started in the late 1970s by members of the Bloomington law firm Larkin Hoffman, the earliest SLUC programs were intended to bring a balanced view to the world of land use discussions, which were seen as biased against

by Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA

developers and business interests.

As the programs

took shape and membership grew, the organization soon

Here’s a question for you. What do these things have in common: Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti, writer

The best thing Land+Living is for (besides, of course, happy

Andrew Blum’s take on the “lifestyle center,” happiness

hour name dropping) is inspiration. Each profile on the

levels in British architects (very low, incidentally), “Big

main site is accompanied by pictures, a brief description,

Head Coasters” (don’t even ask…), the National Landscape

and links to related articles and designers’ websites (all in

Architecture Month green bracelet, and a Michael Van

separate windows, of course, so you don’t actually have

Valkenburgh / Mel Bochner garden at Carnegie Mellon

to leave the comfortable confines of Land+Living). The

University? Give up? These are a sampling of items

unusual, wild, weird, and (a�er all) worthwhile is right at

appearing currently on the front page of

your fingertips. Ahh… the power of the internet. The site changes o�en, so check back. But don’t worry. There’s

Founded by architectural and landscape designer James

an archive of old profiles, in case you happened to miss

Lippinco� and computer programmer Anthony Barba�o

Kohler’s sleek tankless toilet or the totally surreal website

(both Los Angeles based), (they say

link for Philippe Starck’s new Puma shoes.

Land+Living, but don’t type the ‘+’ into your browser) is an internet clearing house for the generally noteworthy in design. And in the pale green net-world of Land+Living,

Good design affects the quality of life both through function and aesthetic pleasure.

assumed its primary mission as more educational than special interest, meeting a pent-up demand for information and discussion on a wide range of related topics. An independent board of directors was established and the seeds were planted for what was to become an excellent professional education on issues affecting land use and development in the Twin Cities.

“In other organizations the planners meet with other planners, lawyers with other lawyers, architects with architects...” Membership is open to anyone interested in the core themes of land use, development, and design, and SLUC a�racts others around the edges as well – academics,

the parameters of design are very broad.

financiers, politicians, etc. The programs are held monthly

In addition

over lunch a Twin Cities hotel. More information about

scrolling through the ever changing cornucopia of diversity on the main page, you can also refine your perusal by clicking on one of the categories on the right-hand side. Here, you can dive deeper into, say, appliances (where you can read about retro refrigerators or an innovative hexagonal-tile cooking surface), budget (from paper flatware to a lamp made from your own photo slides), events (where an exhibition on contemporary Greek hotels meets Pasadena modernism), and even pets (“bark deco” speaks for itself). The landscape section, incidentally, is particularly interesting right now. So what is the common link in all this? Per the website, Land+Living is “dedicated to modern lifestyle and design.” Lippinco� and Barba�o believe (again per the site) that “the connection people have with the environment in which they live, both indoors and out, is of utmost importance, and that good design affects the quality of life both through function and aesthetic pleasure.” To that end, Land+Living is, essentially, bringing you a wide range of topics for discussion. And discuss them you can

SLUC, becoming a member, the schedule of luncheon


programs, and registering for individual programs can be

SLUC Luncheons

found online at

by Phil Carlson, AICP

At a recent luncheon gathering of the Sensible Land Use Coalition (SLUC), I scanned the hotel ballroom, knowing it would soon fill to capacity with 200 or more people – among them housing developers, bankers, civil engineers, architects, landscape architects, university faculty, industrial park managers, land use a�orneys, planners in growing suburbs, planners in aging suburbs, planners at the Metropolitan Council, and planning consultants like myself. The emcee stepped to the podium to introduce the day’s topic: a discussion of national builders in the region’s home building market. This would be a typical SLUC session – presenting issues, facts, and people I would not otherwise have known about, and allowing me to rub shoulders with a broad range of folks in planning, design, and development.

Recent SLUC programs have looked at innovative designs for stormwater, how to finance affordable housing, the Metropolitan Council’s regional blueprint, the legalities of land use regulations, traffic calming, and a tour of the new

(or at least in print?)

LRT line. Because the programs draw from a cross section of professions involved in these activities (and o�en bring in national experts) SLUC members find value month a�er month. As one city planner once told me, “In other organizations the planners meet with other planners, lawyers with other lawyers, architects with architects, and builders with builders – but this is the one place where they all get together to compare notes.” Phil Carlson, AICP, is a Senior Planner with the Minneapolis consulting firm Dahlgren, Shardlow, and Uban, Inc.; a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Architecture; and a former board member of the Sensible Land Use Coalition


is looking for writers Have a story idea? Read a good book lately? Know of a good website? Have a favorite magazine? Send your article ideas to Adam Regn Arvidson

– also on the website. Click on the heading of any of the profiles, and you will be able to read what others think, and add your own two cents to the global exchange.



SCAPE spring 05

issue #1 612-312-2126


a publication of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

_SCAPE 2005 Spring  
_SCAPE 2005 Spring