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SCAPE land and design in the Upper Midwest



The AWARDS ISSUE The best in Minnesota landscape architecture 2007 PLUS: LEED and Landscape Architecture The State of Conservation in Minnesota Specimen Imagery

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

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On the Cover:

Each year, MASLA gives awards for the best works of landscape architecture by Minnesota designers. This year, sixteen projects were honored in four categories. The

Swenson Science Center at the University of MinnesotaDuluth, by oslund.and.assoc. received this year’s top award: the Award of Excellence.

Every winner is here in __SCAPE, beginning on page 32

image courtesy oslund.and.assoc.


issue #7



MASLA’s Annual Design Awards Recognizing excellence in landscape architecture






Savanna Portraits

The State of Conservation

The photography of Regina M. Flanagan

How budget shortfalls are threatening our natural resorces -and what is being done.

whips The Forest for the Trees


Valued Places North Shore Drive Mears Park


In Other Words by Linda Lucchesi Cody



LEED and Landscape Architecture A primer on the national rating system and its outdoor implications


:business Work Study

What the landscape architecture program at the U of Minnesota is doing right (or wrong).



:Magazine Minnesota Conservation Volunteer


by Zachary Q. Zorgensen by Adam Regn Arvidson

__SCAPE is published twice each year by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (MASLA). __SCAPE is FREE (in limited quantity). To subscribe, go to and click on _SCAPE. Then, type your information into the subscription box. Send general MASLA inquiries, including sponsorships to: MASLA International Market Square 275 Market Street, Suite 54 Minneapolis, MN 55405 612-339-0797 FAX 612-338-7981 Send general __SCAPE inquiries, letters to the editor, and article queries to: Adam Regn Arvidson, editor 4348 Nokomis Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-968-9298 issue #7

MASLA Executive Committee Ellen Stewart, president

Bruce Chamberlain, past president Joni Giese, president-elect Karyn Luger, secretary

Jean Garbarini, treasurer Jim Hagstrom, trustee

Matthew Rentsch, director of public relations Kate Lamers, director of programs

Chad Buran, director of academic affairs

Bruce Lemke, co-director of awards and banquet

Stephanie Grotta, co-director of awards and banquet Chris Ochs, director of communications


The Forest for the Trees editor’s note

Based on the relative success of our printed issue produced

Here’s what to expect: Here, in the Awards Issue, you will

found a way to print all the time. Hopefully this produces

from the magazine (The 4 Topics, Valued Places, In Other

last fall for the ASLA National Convention, we have small rejoicing on your part: no more downloading and

printing, no more squinting at the computer screen. And it will still be free. (Now, the rejoicing begins, I bet...).

Yes, _SCAPE is evolving, as are all of MASLA’s publica-

still get the same great content you have become used to Words), accompanied by 32 pages of award winning projects -- in full color. Later, in the Directory Issue, you’ll have new content, accompanied by a full membership directory and firm listing (yes, again in color).

tions. The InCommon newsletter, as you may already

How is this possible? By publishing twice a year, elimi-

of links to You will still be able to count on

digital printing technology, MASLA is able (with, of

have noticed, is now being delivered as a brief e-mail full that publication for all the goings on in the Minnesota landscape architectural world.

The big news, however, is that the Awards and

Membership Directory is no more. Since we are printing

_SCAPE, we decided to go all out for the award winners and our members. That’s why this issue is titled the “Awards Issue.” In September, we will produce _SCAPE’s “Directory Issue.”

nating the Directory, and using a new high resolution course, generous help from its sponsors, who are thanked -- in full color -- in these pages) to print and distribute 2 yearly issues of an even larger helping of _SCAPE.

I certainly hope you will enjoy this new incarnation. Your comments, as always, are more than welcome. Read on!

Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA

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Valued Places In 2001, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects published Valued Places: landscape architecture in Minnesota. This glove-box sized guidebook profiles 52 sites in the Land of Lakes, each of which has benefitted from design, care, or stewardship by landscape professionals. Here are a few samples...

North Shore Drive

The late 1800s saw a rise in commercial fishing along the

Lake Superior is the Midwest’s inland sea, and its north

and Little Marais. Many north shore towns still have fish

shore is a dramatic landscape valued for its scenic beauty and rich multi-cultural history. Memorialized by poets ranging from Bob Dylan to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,

the shore is today stitched together by North Shore Drive, (also known as Highway 61), which extends from Duluth to the Canadian border.

north shore, and the founding of such towns as Grand smokehouses that evoke the region’s fishing heritage.

Documenting this history, the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum in Tofte is well worth a visit.

Timbering moved into the region between 1890 and 1910, and millions of board feet of red and white pine were cut

from the hills along the north shore. Temporary railroads transported the logs to the lakeshore, where

they were shipped to sawmills in Duluth and Minneapolis.

In 1910, the iconic Split Rock Lighthouse and the shore’s streams

and massive cliffs began to attract tourists. With the completion of North Shore Drive in 1924, tourism became an even greater part of life on the north shore.


numerous family-owned resorts designed



Lundie, merit exploration.


by Frank Edgerton Martin

The first Europeans, French explorers and fur traders, reached the north shore in the early 17th century. By 1780

the region became an important gateway to the interior

of “New France” for exploration, trade, and commerce.

Each summer, Grand Portage hosted a fur trappers’ “Rendezvous,” where voyageurs and traders from the outlying trading posts met their counterparts from Quebec

to exchange furs and goods. Today, Grand Portage is a national monument with numerous visitor exhibits.

By the shore of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, At the doorway of his wigwam, In the pleasant Summer morning, Hiawatha stood and waited. All the air was full of freshness, All the earth was bright and joyous...

A master plan for the Gitchi Gami Trail, on Minnesota’s north shore, just A W A R D WINNER won a MASLA honor award. Learn about it (and other award winners) beginning on page 32.

-- From “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow SCAPE spring 07


and the remarkable Lutsen Lodge,

Mears Park


Mears Park occupies a two-acre block at the heart of

Lowertown, Saint Paul’s turn-of-the-century warehouse district. One of the city’s oldest parks -- its plot was

donated to the city in 1849 -- it originally featured spacious lawns and stately elms flanking diagonal walks

leading to a central fountain. Mears Park served as the hub of Lowertown’s thriving commercial and residential

neighborhood until well into the 1980s, when it began to deteriorate.


The designers of the present day park (Don Ganje, ASLA,

with Saint Paul Parks and artist Brad Goldberg) returned the park’s circulation to its historical precedent of walks

along one side. The walkway is the demarcation line

At the same time, they lowered the southeast corner,

side, a low limestone seating wall provides visitors with

converging on a central gathering space, or “civic arena.”

which had been raised in an ill-fated 1974 restoration attempt that merely cut off views. Encouraging barrierfree movement, this revision also links the park back to

its historical design. Responding to the different noise levels within the park, the team designated one side as

“formal” (classically defined an open to urban sounds)

and the other “informal” (a space of natural beauty). A

prime perches for people watching. A curving garden

walk planted with thousands of red tulips and perennials and punctuated by teak benches further distinguishes this area. In the civic arena where the formal and informal meet, red sandstone forms a continuous circular seating wall 135 feet in diameter.

water feature unites the formal, informal, and civic arenas,

The stream, with rapids and pools created by its gradual


spire birches, wildflowers, and ornamental grasses. it is

while alluding to Lowertown’s past as a center of river ADAM REGN ARVIDSON, BOTH

between the formal and informal areas; on its informal


The “new” park, completed in 1993, includes (on the

formal side) a grid of 59 summit ash trees and a diagonal brick-paved walkway with green metal benches arranged

issue #7

10-foot drop in elevation, is flanked by Japanese whiteanimated by a computer-controlled pump located in an

underground mechanical room at the end of the stream. A pavilion used for lunch-hour concerts echoes the facades of surrounding buildings and recalls the metal shed roofs of 19th century train stations.


Also in Conservation Finance is an online conservation course, a Conservation Handbook, and an online

In Other Words

Conservation Almanac. The latter is a summary of the

status of land conservation for federal and state lands in thirteen western states. Learn about the Conservation

Campaign (, an affiliate of TPL that helps mobilize public support for ballot measures.

Items of interest in the broader printSCAPE...

If this gets too detailed, you can always click on “Success


Story,” a small green square on most pages. Visit a city

Trust for Public Land

park in Indianapolis, IN, or P.S. 38 Elementary School in New York City. These are quick links to the more in depth

Case Studies section.

review by Linda Lucchesi Cody You’ve heard of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), right? They are perhaps best known as a partner in the effort

to set aside parcels of land as open space. They’ve been doing that for years, fairly quietly and pretty much below

the designer’s radar. But did you know that TPL has a website that might actually be a good resource for land

planners, park planners, and landscape architects? It’s a site dedicated to the topic of land conservation at its many

scales and is backed by some serious research. Want to know about initiatives on the federal level? It’s here. Want to know about a specific project on the Mississippi

Minnesota is well represented on the site. Aside from the

many conservation ballot measures and projects (such as sensitive lands in the North Woods, the Mississippi River

corridor, and community gardens in Minneapolis), TPL has also partnered with other nonprofits and city agencies to raise awareness about threats to parks and natural areas

in the Twin Cities Region through the Embrace Open Space Program (

If you

live in this region their E-Newsletter may be of interest. (Read more about Embrace Open Space and the state of conservation in Minnesota in topic:nature.)

River in Minnesota? It’s here.

Want to know more about the big picture?

Though at times a bit convoluted in navigation and

Watch” for the latest news on conservation legislation.

certainly not a designer’s dream graphically, the site is packed with good info. Let’s take a brief tour.


Programs (in the main left hand menu) offers “Washington They also have a newsletter that will keep you posted on the latest.

On the left hand side of the homepage (under the big green

Now let’s head back to Conservation Services and click

Initiatives, Conservation Services, and Conservation

ments seeking new strategies for preserving parks and

“donate now” button) you’ll see titles like Conservation

Research. This menu will (thankfully) stay with you as you browse -- important because you might suddently find yourself in a new topic.

Click on Conservation Services, then Conservation Finance.

The best thing here is LandVote.

This is a

database of tables and graphs detailing conservation

ballot measures by state, finance mechanism, and jurisdiction. The database will also allow you to customize

on Conservation Vision. This section is for local governopen space. You can read a short description and listing

of related links; or by clicking on ‘more’ unleash a trove of information, some downloadable and all potentially

useful. The site offers PDF files of work in North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Washington; as well as the documents “Preview of New Economic Research on Regional Land

Conservation” and “Creating an Action Plan for Parks and Land Conservation.”

queries and research requests. LandVote will let you see

Getting the picture? The resources here are seemingly

over $200 million). LandVote Mapping is a GIS system

the layers deeper into the heart of TPL but don’t worry

ballot measures by state, region, year, and amount (those that helps the user to see the location of these ballot measures.

endless. You just need a little persistence. Keep following

about getting lost. The left hand menu lets you always find a way home!

SCAPE spring 07



Minnesota Conservation Volunteer

mental threats. You can read a first-person essay about

turkey hunting. The “Young Naturalist” section (for kids of whatever age) is about bird song: how they do it and what they are saying. There is a photo essay on early

review by Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA

spring river kayaking.

It seems so perfectly Minnesotan, this little bimonthly

Conservation Volunteer’s core mission is to educate. It is

glove box or purse. It is unassuming, with simple covers

with that agency’s policies. Consistency with the state’s

magazine. It is easily small enough to be tucked into a usually depicting animals. Even the name, “Conservation Volunteer,” makes reference to the chip-in-and-help spirit

of upper Midwesterners. According to editor Kathleen Weflen, “Many readers refer to it as their Minnesota Geographic.”

The magazine has been around

since 1940, when its overseer, the



of Natural Resources (DNR), was called the Department of



thousand people got the first issue.

Today, due to two

administrative policy changes

over the past two decades, Conservation



entirely funded by, well, volun-

teers, as in reader donations.

Though the magazine is free, an annual donation drive keeps the content coming.

That unique funding situation has not hampered circulation. According to Weflen, there are Minnesota Conservation Volunteer / Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

the trout streams of the Driftless Area and their environ-

currently 145,000 subscribers, and the DNR sends a copy to

every school and library in the

a production of the DNR and, as such, must stay in line mission, however, says Weflen, “is kind of a complicated issue because not everyone in the DNR is always of the

same opinion [on a particular issue].” To stay balanced, Weflen and her staff check with experts to make sure the

entire story is there; and, she explains, since different internal



disagree on the relative importance of different aspects of a story, she pushes writers to tackle all sides.

“Balance is

the goal,” she stresses, “but

accuracy is also the goal: find

the facts, show the facts, but we also need to interpret the facts. It can be a challenge.” Asked






design read


Weflen returns to her educational mission.

“I imagine

a landscape architect has to

know about the land,” she says. “Our objective here is to tell you about the place where you live: about all the

communities that inhabit a

place, the plant communities, the bedrock, the soil -- all of

state. “It has a very healthy pass-along rate,” she adds,

that is part of our magazine. I have been editing this

around 500,000. Additionally, about 83% of readers say

I didn’t know. I definitely think a designer could [use

meaning that readership (based on surveys) is actually up they go cover to cover, unusual for a magazine.

What makes it so popular? The content is quite varied and speaks in an unpretentious but quietly passionate

tone that resonates with its Midwestern audience. There

are articles for just about every kind of land-lover. In the March/April issue, on shelves now, you can learn about issue #7

magazine for 18 years and I am always amazed by what Conservation Volunteer] to learn more about the place

that they’re working in.” Well said. And it’s an easy read that won’t take up too much space in your ice shanty, tackle box, or Prismacolor drawer. To become a subscriber, go to

topic: art

Wet Meadow and Prairie Swale Common Wool Grass, Scirpus cyperinus, is not a true grass but a densely-tufted sedge. Up to 6.5 feet in height, it is found in the savanna’s sedge meadow and prairie swale. This plant is useful for wetland- and lake-edge restorations.

Savanna Portraits In photographing a Twin Cities area natural landscape, artist and writer Regina M. Flanagan finds just as much interest in the individual plants.

SCAPE spring 07

Photographer Regina M. Flanagan has spent more than 15 years exploring and creating images of the Helen Allison Savanna. She captures both the broad landscape, as in “Long Meadow, Approaching Storm” (August 2004), below, and the intricacy of individual plants, opposite and following pages.


Flanagan writes:

ow well do we know the landscape around us? While walking in the woods, if we concentrate,

we can feel a letting go of ourselves into our

surroundings, beyond the boundaries of the self. Because

experiencing nature connects us with the best in ourselves and to the universe broader than the self, I believe we have an ethical obligation to become acquainted with nature on

an ecological level, and on its own terms. But it seems we often want (or need) nature to remain mysterious.

more than 240 species of plants, forbs, and grasses; and

in 1960 he successfully convinced TNC to acquire the

property. It was subsequently named in honor of botanist Helen Lowry Allison. In 1962, the first prescribed burn

on any TNC tract nationwide was conducted at the savanna. In 1991, Barbara Delaney, one of the co-authors

of Minnesota’s St. Croix River Valley and Anoka Sandplain: A Guide to Native Habitats, updated the plant list. She introduced me to the savanna during a field trip coordinated by TNC that year.

Revealing both the ecological and the aesthetic qualities

I can walk the eighty-acre savanna from one end to the

Allison Savanna. The savanna is my Central Park – I

every square foot of a landscape of this scale. My images

of a place motivates my long-term chronicle of the Helen

learn as much by studying nature’s design of this gently rolling landscape and its native plants (albeit mediated by human intervention and care) as by experiencing the

famous New York City greensward. The pictures register

my observations and introduce the savanna to viewers by using beauty to evoke empathy and understanding.

The Helen Allison Savanna is owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and administered by the Minnesota

Department of Natural Resources as a Scientific and Natural Area. It is located at the junction of Anoka

other in around twenty minutes. It is possible to know

range from close-ups of individual plants to panoramic

diptychs showing habitats and landforms. I often photograph one tree or view in different seasons and weather,

and over many years, so comparisons can be made.

Particular trees have become friends; I look forward to seeing them when I visit. I have photographed this place for more than fifteen years, and as I have explored this

landscape, I have found that over time my perceptions and

understanding begin to parallel the cumulative history of the place, and we grow and evolve together.

Highway 26 and County Road 15. Dr. J. Roger Bray discov-

These plant portraits, photographed on site, were made

had seen of a bur oak savanna, on sandy soils, containing

na’s plant communities, and these specimens represent

ered the tract in 1959, promoting it as the best example he

the original prairie understory. He documented the tract’s issue #7

during several months in 2000. I was studying the savanthe site’s diversity.

topic: art

Prairie and Oak Savanna Rough Blazing Star, Liatris aspera, the only liatris native to the site, is 1-3 feet tall with a spikelike cluster of purple flowers beloved by butterflies. It is a highlight during August and September.

Savanna Plants and Plant Communities In his 1960 assessment of the Helen Allison Savanna, Dr. J. Roger Bray of the Cedar Creek Natural History Area found four major vegetation communities. • a dry to mesic tall-grass prairie with scattered Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), Northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis) and Northern red oak (Quercus borealis) • several patches of sand blowouts and dunes • numerous low, marshy swales with rich species variety • sedge meadows with some cattail.


SCAPE spring 07

Prairie and Oak Savanna Sweet Everlasting, Gnaphalium obtusifolium, is a 1-2 foot tall annual with fragrant foliage. Woodland Native American tribes burned the leaves to make a sweet-scented smoke to revive people from fainting spells and to dispel ghosts that cause bad dreams.

Dr. Bray also found the savanna particularly valuable because of the type of research that could be conducted on it regarding maintenance by fire. In 1962, the savanna was the site of the first prescribed burn ever conducted by The Nature Conservancy. Burning has controlled tree invasion and today the rolling landscape has an open, park-like ground plane with scattered trees. Annual hand-pulling of old field invasives like mullein, sweet clover and sandburs has ensured the survival of valuable native plants. issue #7


topic: art

Prairie and Oak Savanna Grasses including Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium (shown here), along with Big Bluestem, Andropogon gerardii, Triple-Awn Grass, Aristida tuberculosa, Hairy Gramma, Bouteloua hirsuta, Prairie June Grass, Koeleria macrantha, Indian Grass, Sorghastrum nutans, and 16 species of Sedge, Carex spp., comprise the savanna’s open ground plane.

Working Process and Equipment Flanagan says that making landscape photographs requires patience and a meditative frame of mind. “I use two types of cameras,” she explains, “slow and slower.” She prefers cameras that are non-digital and entirely manual, which require the use of a hand-held light meter. She does use a digital camera, however, for making photographic “sketches,” but never finished works. The “slow” camera is a medium-format Hasselblad 500C with a Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens. It uses 120mm roll film and produces negatives that are 6 cm x 6 cm. The “slower” camera is a 1940s era Graflex Crown Graphic Field Camera fitted with


a contemporary Nikkor-W 135mm f5.6 lens. This large format camera produces 4” x 5” negatives. Flanagan develops the black and white film herself and has the color film processed by a service bureau. She does all her own printing, either in her own color darkroom or in a rented black and white darkroom. “It’s inconceivable,” she says, “for me to turn my work over to a stranger to interpret.” The finished prints are typically 15” x 15” or 15” x 19”. SCAPE spring 07

Dune Blowout Coast Joint Weed, Polygonella articulata, is a coastal disjunct of the family including smartweeds and knotweeds that has made its way to the dune blowouts. The plant’s attractive form disguises its invasive character.

Resources Additional photography may be viewed online at Plants including those of the Helen Allison Savanna may be referenced on the Cedar Creek Natural History Area web site at

issue #7

Editor’s Note: Regina M. Flanagan is a frequent contributor to _SCAPE Magazine. She has previously authored articles on the public art program of the Hiawatha Light Rail line, wastewater treatment sculptor Viet Ngo, and, most recently, the art that inspires landscape architects (Fall, 2006). Though she writes regularly about others’ artistic endeavors, she is an artist in her own right. We thought we’d give you a taste of the work behind a common name in these pages.


topic: nature

The State of Conservation Minnesota is viewed (and views itself) as being quite conservation-minded. Is this still true? by Linda Lucchesi Cody

The trouble with land is that they’re not making any more of it. - Will Rogers In Native American tradition, land was held collectively.

has made the conservation of its natural areas a priority.

(suggesting private ownership), rather the users belonged

on natural resources: rapid population growth, changes

This did not mean that the land belonged to the users to the land. For later Americans (and their primarily

European forbears) this has not always been an easy concept. Still, efforts to conserve land for the public good

Today, however, Minnesota faces unprecedented pressure in corporate land management, and a decrease in funding for land protection.

have a long history in the United States. Land west of the

Minnesota is the fastest growing state in the Midwest,

domain� as the country was settled. Ironically, even as

period (1970-2000). Current projections add another 1.2

the young American government was displacing indigenous peoples, it was reserving large tracts of land for the enjoyment (in common) of all Americans.

In 2008, Minnesota will celebrate the 150 anniversary th

of its statehood.


Throughout this history, Minnesota

having added more than 1 million people in a 30 year million people to the state by 2030. More than one million

acres of natural areas and farmland are expected to disappear during this boom. And in the face of this population increase is a significant decrease in dedicated funds for conservation. A decline in available federal dollars has shifted the burden of funding land conservation efforts

US Census Bureau

first thirteen colonies was originally considered “public

SCAPE spring 07

to the state. At the same time, state funding

for conservation and environment is steadily decreasing. A 2005 analysis by the Minnesota League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) found that direct appropriations from

the state’s general fund for the primary conser-

vation agencies (in actual dollars) dropped from $228 million in 2001 to $123 million in 2007. This now represents only 1.1% of the state

general fund. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts an analysis of natural resources spending and surveys state government finances.

Its data

suggests that Minnesota’s ranking among states

for natural resources funding is slipping, down

from 10th in 1999 to 17th in 2003 (the last year for which data are available). In 2001, total conservation expenditures in the state (which include

appropriations, fees, federal funding, and funds from other sources) for the primary conservation agencies (the

Department of Natural Resources, the Pollution Control Agency, the Board of Soil and Water Resources, and the

Department of Agriculture) was $547.8 million. In 2007, total expenditures will be $540.4 million. Total spending on conservation then, in inflation adjusted dollars, is

US Census Bureau, TOP; Minnesota League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, BOTTOM

down 15% in just seven years.


Minnesota’s ranking in natural resource funding has slipped from 10th in 1999 to 17th in 2003. Total spending on conservation is down 15% in just seven years.

t is our natural wealth that is at stake,” says John

Other states, like Colorado (Great Outdoors Program) and

for Conservation (CFC).

large amounts of land through conservation programs.

Curry, Director of the Minnesota Campaign By natural wealth,

he means natural areas and farmland that contribute to

Wisconsin (Stewardship Program) have been protecting

the public health, support the economic engine, sustain

Does Minnesota need to catch up? When the citizens have

February, 2006, CFC released Minnesota Calling, a compel-

passage rate for local conservation ballot measures since

property values, and attract workers to the region. In ling argument for addressing these critical pressures and a call to action for the citizens of Minnesota. The report

notes that Minnesota has slipped to 37 in terms of the th

percentage of the state budget allocated to state parks.

been asked the response has been “yes.” The statewide 1988 is 81% (27 total ballot measures / 22 approved). This

success rate is higher than the national average of 74%, and has raised $111 million for land and water conser-

vation. But the state is still lacking a strategic plan and

Minnesota has slipped to 37th in terms of state budget percentage allocated to state parks. issue #7

dedicated funding for conservation measures.


topic: nature

Several statewide planning and analysis initiatives are

Case Study: Washington County, MN

Minnesota. The organization has asked each of 14 delin-

Washington County presents an interesting example of how one community built a successful conservation financing campaign. While Dakota County successfully passed a bond to support open space in 2003, Washington County waited until this past November, when voters approved, with 61% approval, a $20 million bond measure to improve water quality, protect drinking water, to protect land along water bodies, and to preserve wetlands and woodlands. According to Jane Harper, Planner for Washington County, the significance of this referendum is that it establishes long-term, dedicated funding for land conservation. This will cost the average homeowner in Washington county approximately $26/year. But the result in land conservation and its effect on the natural resources of the county will be lasting. How did Washington County turn things around? They built a strong conservation campaign, with technical assistance from the Trust for Public Land, leading up to the November election. TPL’s Conservation Finance program helps local communities design and enact public funding measures. Their strategy for a successful campaign includes performing public opinion polls, getting the word out through a series of targeted messages to educate voters, designing the ballot measure itself, creating a strong communications campaign, identifying potential donors, and enlisting the skills of local leadership. Working with TPL staffers, a carefully crafted campaign blueprint was formed and tested. A model now exists for other communities. County staff caution that getting the bond measure passed was just the beginning. Communities must have in place the local capacity to provide leadership, staffing, and organization to direct the use of a $20 million bond. Requests for proposals, expected to come out in May, will allow landowners or their agents to protect land mainly through conservation easements.

Case Study: Plymouth, MN After raising $2.23 million in 1995 to acquire parkland and build trails, voters overwhelmingly approved $9 million last Fall to create community playfields, parks, and the Northwest Greenway (a wide conservation corridor incorporating preserved areas and recreation amenities) that will serve the new residents the city expects through 2030. The Comprehensive Plan that the city is currently updating calls for one park within 6 blocks of every residence, one city park in each of the four districts, and ten sports fields complexes throughout Plymouth. A carefully designed Greenways plan provided the city with a strong tool to educate voters and enlist public support.


underway. The CFC is developing a 50-year Vision for

eated regions to study their particular needs and issues while developing 50-year goals for their region. This group is comprised of three committees, made up of key

stakeholders from throughout Minnesota’s conservation community. Represented are citizens, the watershed districts, and non-profit environmental organizations, as well as the University of Minnesota and state and regional agencies.

Working meetings of CFC committees are

planned for March and April with the goal of presenting a unified vision for the state by April. Citizen input is welcome through their website (see Resources).

The statewide passage rate for local conservation ballot measures since 1988 is 81%, compared to the national average of 74%. While the non-profit CFC is working toward a strategic

plan, the Conservation Legacy Council, appointed by Governor Pawlenty in November, 2006, and consisting of

11 citizens and 4 state legislators, is working at the broader

state-wide level to take a fresh look at the way Minnesota’s approach to conservation is funded, governed, and delivered. The Council recognizes that funding for conservation has been inadequate and unstable. Chaired by Mike

Kilgore of the University of Minnesota, the Council has an extraordinary opportunity to combine their skills with those of many state agencies to consider what is best for

Minnesota and for its conservation policy. A report is expected in May.

The legislature and the Governor approved funding during the 2006 legislative session for the Legislative-

Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) to initiate the preparation of a statewide conservation and preservation plan. CR Planning and Bonestroo’s natural

resources group have been hired and are being led by the

University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment.

State agencies and the CFC are working cooperatively with this group. The team has begun work on a plan

that will identify, analyze, and prioritize (based on sound science) current and emerging conservation issues, as well as provide strategies to address them. A draft document is to be prepared by June, 2007, with a final plan in place by June, 2008.

SCAPE spring 07


n the funding front, current state bills HF 293

response to requests for help. Collectively, they provide a

passed as submitted) would appropriate the

One such collaborative, housed within the Minnesota

(which has passed the House) and SF 450 (if

total amount of lottery funds available (estimated at approximately $23.4 million/year) to conservation efforts, rather than the current $19 million/year. The CFC is also

developing a funding initiative that has been gaining

momentum. This proposal includes issuance of conser-

vation bonds, the creation of a conservation authority,

and creation of a 1/4 cent sales tax which, it is predicted, would raise $187 million by 2009.

A possible state program to match local funding would provide between $200 and $290 million of conservation funding per year for 25 years. A new 1/4 cent sales tax would raise $187 million for conservation by 2009.

wealth of experience to communities throughout the state. Chapter of the Trust for Public Land, is Embrace Open Space (EOS).

EOS includes fifteen different organiza-

tions all working toward the same fundamental purpose: to provide data and communications tools to support

decisions that result in increased land conservation in the Twin Cities region. In January, 2007, EOS sponsored a

policy and funding workshop. Summarizing the many conservation projects that saw success in the November, 2006, election, as well as ongoing efforts to achieve stable

funding for natural resource protection, the workshop provided examples at state, regional, and local levels.

And, of course, there is money from the local

ballot measures. Unlike other states Minnesota

does not yet have a specific program committed to matching local funding for land protection. But

looking to 2008 voters may be asked to consider a statewide ballot measure to increase and dedicate funds for water quality, wildlife, parks, and natural area protection. That funding stream

would provide stable and significant support of

between $200 and $290 million per year for 25 years. The prediction of growth and the reality of decreased funding certainly do not present a new challenge for either

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Strategic Conservation Agenda

Minnesota or the nation. Judging by recent ballot measure

approvals, Minnesotans are among those who have come to a new understanding of what it will take from every

citizen to direct future growth and simultaneously protect the resources that enrich the quality of life in the state.

Increasingly, communities who want to preserve and

protect open space are working locally to write legislation, propose referendums, and look for private donors who will support these conservation efforts.

They are not alone. Many public and private organizations

who work to preserve open space have formed collabora-

tions to provide a variety of resources and a coordinated issue #7

Key 2006 Conservation Ballot Measures In 2006 Minnesota citizens in several counties demonstrated strong support for conservation by passing ballot referendums that will dedicate funds for conservation. • In June, voters in Tofte, Cook County, raised $160,000 to acquire park land with a 77% approval rate. • Andover, Anoka County, passed a $2 million bond for water, wildlife, and natural habitat areas. This was a critical measure for this fast-growing community, which currently has 40% of its land area in unprotected open space. • Washington County passed a $20 million bond to protect water quality, wetlands, woodlands, lakes, rivers, and streams with a 61% approval. • Plymouth, Hennepin County, passed a $9 million bond to acquire land for open space, greenways, parks, and recreation with a 64% approval.


topic: nature







could step out in front of the nation to set a vision and create

precedents that could become national

models of conservation. Statewide buy-in and funding, however, are crucial to the success of this effort. Will the legislature appropriate more dedicated funding for conservation?

Will state agencies put

teeth to current recommendations?


the planning efforts spearheaded by LCCMR, CFC, and

the Conservation Legacy Council be implemented or will they sit on a shelf? Will local communities be supported in their conservation-mindedness through matching money from the state?

The concept of “public good,” at least at a local level, is

seeing a rebirth. Though the struggle between that and

private property rights will always exist, we are now considering anew the concept of “limits to growth.” It may then follow that our attitudes about land use and

land ownership will slowly change. Perhaps the circle is

closing. Perhaps we will begin to think of the land not as belonging to us, but that we belong to the land.

Resources The Minnesota League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is at The U.S. Census Bureau’s information by state can be found at The Trust for Public Land, including the Embrace Open Space Initiative, is at (see also whips:in other words) The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is at

Linda Lucchesi Cody is a marine biologist and educator who has turned her interests to landscape architecture. She particularly enjoys researching landscape history and exploring the evolution of vernacular and cultural landscapes. When not writing about landscape preservation and conservation issues, she enjoys writing poetry and nonfiction essay.

The LCCMR (Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources) is at More information on the Conservation Legacy Council is at august/PROD007764.html

Key Conservation Bills currently before the state legislature: descriptions from the Legislature’s website

HF 293/SF 450 Environment and natural resources funding provided, Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources meeting requirements modified, and money appropriated. (This bill has passed the House and is now before the Senate). HF 1449/SF 1379 Natural resources and clean water purposes dedicated funding provided, sales tax increased, funds and council established, bonds issued, and constitutional amendment proposed.


HF 2285 Natural resource and cultural heritage dedicated funding provided through increased sales tax revenue, funds established, Natural Heritage Enhancement Council created, and constitutional amendment proposed. SF 6 Constitutional amendment for sales tax dedication to natural and cultural resources purposes; arts, humanities, museum and public broadcasting, heritage enhancement, parks and trails and clean water funds and heritage enhancement council. SCAPE spring 07

Minnesota Department of Administration

The Campaign for Conservation is at



issue #7





topic: law


LEED and

Landscape Architecture The current national standard for sustainable design and construction is expanding rapidly. Are landscape architects being left behind? by Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA ®


is all the rage. Since its roll-out in 2000 it has

landscape architect with LHB, Inc., in Minneapolis, “then

on their sustainability. A product of the non profit U.S.

works at a multi-disciplinary firm, alongside architects,

become the recognized gold standard for rating buildings ®

Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED , or Leadership

in Energy and Environmental Design, sets parameters and gives credits for sustainable building practices ranging

from water consumption to pollution control to controllable lighting. It is a major movement: at latest count ®

there are 781 LEED rated projects and more than 35,500

accredited professionals worldwide, and organizations as

wide ranging as Bank of America and the United States ®

Air Force have committed to LEED practices for new construction.

green building


Overwhelmingly, LEED is the realm of the architect and ®

developer. LEED focuses on buildings, and places a lot

of emphasis on the resource-consumptive systems that

power them. So what about the other design professions,

namely landscape architects, who often work with architects and who pride themselves on being leaders in the

sustainability movement? “If I’m actually going to claim I’m sustainable,” says Cassie Neu, a LEED




I should be up to date on the most current model.” Neu ®

and that fact has influenced her perception of LEED . “Architects think they’re the first ones to discuss the

issues of global warming and sustainability,” she says.

“They have to [discuss those issues] because they have an immediate effect [on resources]. But I felt I wanted to ®

be part of that discussion.” As far as LEED goes, she has ®

little company. She is one of only three LEED accredited

landscape designers in Minnesota. Three. Compared to about 250 architects.


ut let’s back up for a moment. How exactly does ®



Here are some basics.



cardinal rule number one: see that “registered

trademark” symbol after LEED


every time it appears

in this article? That is the inherent power of the system. ®

No project or professional can claim LEED unless the

USGBC, who owns the trademark, says they can, just like ®

no one can hang out a shingle and serve up a Big Mac or ®

a Slurpee . And the way the USGBC gives permission is

SCAPE spring 07

LEED® for New Construction: Version 2.2 Available Credits The credits to which landscape architects could make a significant contribution are highlighted in dark green. Sustainable Sites Credits (SS)

Materials and Resources Credits (MR)

Prereq Construction Activity Pollution Prevention SS1 Site Selection SS2 Development Density and Community Connectivity SS3 Brownfield Redevelopment SS4.1 Alternative Transportation: Public Transit Access SS4.2 Alternative Transportation: Bike Storage and Changing Rooms SS4.3 Alternative Transportation: Low Emitting and Fuel Efficient Vehicles SS4.4 Alternative Transportation: Parking Capacity SS5.1 Site Development: Protect or Restore Habitat SS5.2 Site Development: Maximize Open Space SS6.1 Stormwater Design: Quantity Control SS6.2: Stormwater Design: Quality Control SS7.1 Heat Island Effect: Non-roof SS7.2: Heat Island Effect: Roof SS8 Light Pollution Reduction

Prereq MR1.1 MR1.2 MR1.3 MR2.1 MR2.2 MR3.1 MR3.2 MR4.1 MR4.2 MR5.1 MR5.2 MR6 MR7

Indoor Environmental Quality Credits (EQ) Prereq Prereq EQ1 EQ2 EQ3.1 EQ3.2 EQ4.1 EQ4.2 EQ4.3 EQ4.4 EQ5 EQ6.1 EQ6.2 EQ7.1 EQ7.2 EQ8.1 EQ8.2

Water Efficiency Credits (WE) WE1.1 WE1.2 WE2 WE3.1 WE 3.2

Water Efficient Landscaping: 50% Reduction Water Efficient Landscaping: No Potable Water Innovative Wastewater Technologies Water Use Reduction: 20% Water Use Reduction: 30%

Energy and Atmosphere Credits (EA) Prereq Prereq Prereq EA1 EA2 EA3 EA4 EA5 EA6

Storage and Collection of Recyclables Building Re-Use: Maintain 75% Walls/Floor/Roof Building Re-Use: Maintain 100% Walls/Floor/Roof Building Re-Use: Maintain 50% Interior Non-Struct. Construction Waste Management: Divert 50% Construction Waste Management: Divert 75% Materials Re-Use: 5% Materials Re-Use: 10% Recycled Content: 10% Recycled Content: 20% Regional Materials: 10% Regional Materials: 20% Rapidly Renewable Materials Certified Wood

Fundamental Energy Systems Commissioning Minimum Energy Performance Fundamental Refrigerant Management Optimize Energy Performance On-Site Renewable Energy Enhanced Commissioning Enhanced Refrigerant Management Measurement and Verification Green Power

Minimum IAQ Performance Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring Increased Ventilation Construction IAQ Management: During Construction Construction IAQ Management: Before Occupancy Low-Emitting Materials: Adhesives and Sealants Low-Emitting Materials: Paints and Coatings Low-Emitting Materials: Carpet Systems Low-Emitting Materials: Composites and Agrifibers Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control Controllability of Systems: Lighting Controllability of Systems: Thermal Comfort Thermal Comfort: Design Thermal Comfort: Verification Daylight and Views: Daylight 75% of spaces Daylight and Views: Views for 90% of spaces

Innovation and Design Process Credits (ID) ID1 ID2

Innovation in Design LEED® Accredited Professional

to operate a certification process, which the organization

for a series of “credits” in six categories (see sidebar for a

(more on that later). By holding, essentially, franchisees,

line, an actually quite handy project management process

manages, periodically updates, and charges money for ®

to a strict set of standards, the hope is that LEED can be trusted as an honest measure of sustainability. ®

LEED cardinal rule number two: projects are certified, professionals are accredited. The USGBC doles out the ®

LEED name in two ways. Most recognizeably, it certi®

fies projects, that is, it stamps them with its LEED seal of approval, at which time they can advertise that fact, ®

as in cardinal rule number one. To become LEED certi-

fied (at one of 4 levels: basic certification, Silver, Gold, or Platinum), a building owner or consultant must fill out a worksheet, also providing supporting information that proves they have done what is required. Points are given issue #7

listing of all the credits). All of this can be managed on that allows different consultants to work on certain credits and upload their back-up information. The owner pays a

fee when starting the process and another to secure final certification. The fees pay for the USGBC to review the materials (no site visits with LEED


certification) and

to basically continue to exist. Some say the fees are too

steep, running quickly to the thousands of dollars, and

several recent Twin Cities metro area projects have opted ®

to follow the LEED process but forgo actual certification,

spending the money instead on aspects of the building and site. In fact “Could-Be LEED” is rapidly becoming a common phrase.


tecture impacts other systems, namely water use, heating

topic: law

and cooling, stormwater management, and transportation: ®

The USGBC has different certification systems for ®

different types of projects. Currently, it offers LEED for New Construction (by far the most popular), for Existing

Buildings, for Commercial Interiors, and for Core and Shell. Currently under development are more specific new construction methods for schools, health care facili®

ties, and campuses, as well as LEED for Neighborhood Development and for Homes (both perhaps of particular interest to landscape architects).

all of which are potential LEED credit items. But to pass

the test, knowledge of other building systems is crucial. In a random selection of multiple choice questions, a test

taker will just as likely be asked about stormwater and bicycle parking as about indoor air quality and heating/ ventilation energy modeling. Hartberg feels anyone can pass, with study. “Even the architects,” he says, “are

learning new systems they’re not intimately familiar with.”

LEED Cardinal Rule #1: USGBC owns the trademark.

That’s how they regulate sustainability

LEED Cardinal Rule #2: buildings are certified, professionals are accredited LEED Cardinal Rile #3: it’s for people, not for buildings ®

Professionals (architects, landscape architects, developers,

Theoretically, the LEED

by taking a multiple choice test available through the

around a table together and game-plans what credits


interior designers, etc.) can become LEED


USGBC. Upon passage, the organization allows them to ®


put “LEED AP” (LEED accredited professional) after

their name. That tagline serves as proof that the professional knows the system for getting a building certified

and, by extension, understands green design principles.

Anyone can sit for the test: there are no professional tenure or specialty requirements. The test currently costs $250

for USGBC members (an annual sliding scale fee paid

by firms or organizations, not individuals). The USGBC periodically updates the system, and the most recent, unveiled in January, is Version 2.2. Passing the test makes

a professional accredited for any previous or subsequent rating system or version. ®

Finally, LEED cardinal rule number 3: it is ultimately for

people, not for buildings. “It is all about comfort and user experience in and around the building,” says Benjamin ®

Hartberg, LEED

AP landscape designer with Damon

Farber Associates. He goes on to state that the interior

and exterior are inherently linked, thereby, one would suppose, creating an essential role for the landscape architect.


feel that landscape architecture has a profound impact on the rating system itself,” continues Hartberg. He became accredited because he

wanted to speak intelligently about how landscape archi-


certification process sets up a

collaborative design environment where everyone sits to pursue. In so doing, the theory goes, the building in question becomes more sustainable from the input of a

wide variety of professionals, and from the understanding that many decisions affect other decisions.


describes a recent project where the team was going to

incorporate a series of photovoltaic “trees” to help provide

power for the building (and get a credit point or two). Initial parking lot landscaping concepts planted the site

heavily with shade trees to reduce the heat island effect (another point). Unfortunately, the real trees were likely to eventually shade the photovoltaic ones, so the parking lot was reconfigured so it could be shaded with smaller,

ornamental trees; and berms planted with prairie grasses were created to screen the lot. Now the project can get its

points for the photovoltaics, reduction in heat island, and

landscape water reduction, while still providing what is ®

likely to be an interesting design. LEED advocates argue

that those compromises (ultimately leading to greater

sustainability and better overall design) would not have happened in a typical building-first, landscape-later design process.


Heidi Bringman, ASLA, is a LEED AP with LHB Inc., in Duluth. She worked on the Whole Foods Co-op in ®

Duluth, one of only four LEED

Certified buildings in

Minnesota listed on the USGBC website. (NOTE: there could be others, but the USGBC only lists projects whose

SCAPE spring 07

owners have consented to be listed. Bringman’s firm was

LEED® Case Study 1: Whole Foods Co-op

currently listed on the site.) She worked with the firm’s

Location: Duluth, MN Architect / Landscape Architect: LHB, Inc., Duluth, MN Square Footage: 18,600 building, 15,800 site Estimated Project Cost: $1.9 million Description: Essentially an adaptive reuse project, the co-op gained the bulk of its LEED® points for reuse of building and materials, and its urban location. The landscape designer, Heidi Bringman, assisted with site selection and siting of alternative transportation parking (bicycles and carpools), both key LEED® considerations.

involved in another certified project in Duluth that is not architects on site selection and some subsequent tricky

access issues associated with the urban brownfield site (see sidebar). She describes a fascinating climate within her office, where she has become a go-to person for all

things sustainable. “My colleagues assume I know every-

thing about sustainability,” she admits, “which is not the case.” She often has to do additional research, which she enjoys, but the end result is more information on how to

make a project sustainable – information perhaps no one ®

would have asked for without a LEED AP at the next

desk. It could be said the mere fact of her accreditation is


pushing sustainability in a large multi-disciplinary firm. And much of that respect comes from her understanding (as Hartberg stressed) of other systems.

“I know more

than just site-related things,” says Bringman. know what different materials mean

“I also

[to certification] or what an electrical or


mechanical engineer has to be aware of.”



EED is not perfect. But sustainability is such a complex and opinion-laden word, how could

any sustainability program be perfect? The cost is raised as a primary downfall. It costs $450 for USGBC members to register their project, that is, begin the certification process and get access to the

website for project management. For actual certification,

Bicycle, vanpool, carpool, and compact car parking were located near the front entrance, securing LEED credits

the scale slides a bit, starting at $1,750 for buildings under 50,000 square feet up to a maximum of $17,500 for those over 500,000 square feet. Considering the millions spent on a typical project, the cost seems reasonable. For instance,

at green infill condo development E2 Homes (see sidebar page 26), the total fees will break down to $550 per unit.

As of last December, the USGBC is refunding all certification fees for projects that achieve the highest (Platinum)

rating. The big money, however, is in the additional consulting fees associated with compiling, keeping track of, and submitting project documentation, as well as the prerequisite building systems comissioning. ®

LEED has been criticized for being purely a marketing

The re-use of an existing site necessitated careful service access design. Though at times more difficult to work with, the existing urban site lent a large number of LEED credits

tool, for the developers, their buildings, and the architects who design them. Well, if developers are using LEED


sustainability as a desirable aspect of a building. LEED


LHB, Inc., ALL

as a marketing tool, it means the public has embraced prevents greenwash – keeps developers from selling false

sustainability. The USGBC’s entire point is to create a issue #7


firms, however, in browsing LEED

topic: law


certified projects

on line, designers are not listed, seemingly a marketing ®

New LEED® Credits recommended by a LEED® AP landscape architect Cassie Neu, ASLA, of LHB Minneapolis suggests several new credits that might better integrate building and site, as well as recognize holistic site design. Creative Solutions & Ecological Interpretive Design: This credit would honor design intent as a full expression of sustainable design taken as a whole. Many “sustainable” projects are a collection of pieces (a rain garden here, permeable paving there, etc.) but they don’t tell a story about the total design. A project based on great design that interprets the land and tells its story, while at the same time being sustainable should be rewarded for that. Long-term Maintenance-Free Solutions: This credit would find value in effective solutions that last. Credits are currently given for 50% recylable material and for local materials but there is no examination of what these products actually are. Sometimes these two credits are at odds, and sometimes neither solution helps with design longevity. For example, should recycled glass from California be worth more than a hearty bark mulch from a local farm? The bark mulch might increase the longevity of the vegetation while supporting the local economy. Master Planning / Siting: Site selection is already included in the point system, but this credit would go beyond that. It could emphasize sound development planning as well as placement of buildings on the land. This could be difficult to gauge, but very important. Site-adapted vegetation: This credit would reward landscape plans that not only reduce water need, but restore native plants and systems. Such vegetation might also contribute to the permanence and maintenance-free character of the design.

drawback for all the LEED AP’s out there.

“I wasn’t a believer at the beginning,” says LHB Minneapolis’ Cassie Neu, “but we had a group discus®

sion [in the office] and decided that if LEED is broken, we should become accredited by the rules they have and then try to change them.” What would she change? Some points seem at war with each other. Credits are

given for water reduction, i.e. lack of an irrigation system. Establishing a quality plant layer, however, has immense benefits for the long-term quality of the site (cooling,

habitat, eventual water reduction, open space), and sometimes requires irrigation to get started. Neu says sometimes these conflicts cause the overall intent to be

missed. She suggests the long-term view is lacking, and more points should be given for total environments that

can be tested over time (see a list of Neu’s recommended additional credits in the sidebar).

“That,” she says,

“would require more landscape architects to be involved in the establishment of the actual points.” In order for ®

that to happen, since new versions of LEED are vetted by USGBC members, more landscape architects need to sign up – and that’s not happening in droves.


ill Bleckwenn is a landscape architect with

Pioneer Engineering. He recently attended the ®

LEED 101 Workshop, essentially an introduction

to the process. “I want to be familiar with the guiding principles,” he says, “and how to provide that type of

design. I am also encountering this thinking in some

city ordinances, such as density bonuses for employing ®

LEED principles.” (That was in Afton, in their cluster development ordinance, which has since been rescinded.) ®

He may wait to take the test, though, until LEED for Neighborhood Developments (LEED-ND) is up and ®

running. This new LEED

offering would certifiy not

just individual buildings, but entire developments. According to the USGBC website, it will “integrate the

principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design.”

climate where being green is a badge of honor. The more

LEED-ND is being developed jointly by the USGBC,

will seek it, and the better that is for the environment.

Resources Defense Council. A pilot process exists, and

or is overwhelmingly skewed toward energy systems

Linkage,” “Neighborhood Pattern and Design,” “Green

projects that are more sustainable than they would have

programs, “Innovation and Design Process” (see sidebar


stylish LEED is, the more developers and organizations ®

the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural

Even if LEED leaves some things out of its assessment

gives credits in the categories of “Smart Location and

(common complaints), it rewards (perhaps even inspires)

Construction and Technology,” and, as with other LEED

been. And, isn’t energy consumption one of the primary

for a complete listing of proposed credits).


problems with buildings? Unfortunately for the design


SCAPE spring 07

LEED® for Neighborhood Development: pilot project credits This is a listing of the proposed credit items for the forthcoming LEED-ND. Though the titles give some sense of what will be required for certification of a neighborhood, more information is available on the USGBC website. Go to www.usgbc. org and click “LEED Rating Systems,” then “Neighborhood Development.” Smart Location and Linkage (SLL) Prereq Prereq Prereq Prereq Prereq Prereq SLL1 SLL2 SLL3 SLL4 SLL5 SLL6 SLL7 SLL8 SLL9 SLL10 SLL11

Smart Locationn Proximity to Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Imperiled Species and Ecological Communities Wetland and Water Body Conservation Agricultural Land Conservation Floodplain Avoidance Brownfields Redevelopment High Priority Brownfields Redevelopment Preferred Locations Reduced Automobile Dependence Bicycle Network Housing and Jobs Proximity School Proximity Steep Slope Protection Site Design for Habitat / Wetland Conservation Restoration of Habitat / Wetlands Conservation Management of Habitat / Wetlands

Walkable Streets Street Network Transit Facilities Transportation Demand Management Access to Surrounding Vicinity Access to Public Spaces Access to Active Spaces Universal Accessibility Community Outreach and Involvement Local Food Production

Green Construction and Technology (GCT) Prereq GCT1 GCT2 GCT3 GCT4 GCT5 GCT6 GCT7 GCT8 GCT9 GCT10 GCT11 GCT12 GCT13 GCT14 GCT15 GCT16 GCT17 GCT18 GCT19 GCT20

Neighborhood Pattern and Design (NPD) Prereq Prereq NPD1 NPD2 NPD3 NPD4 NPD5 NPD6


Open Community Compact Development Compact development Diversity of Uses Diversity of Housing Types Affordable Rental Housing Affordable For-Sale Housing Reduced Parking Footprint

Construction Activity Pollution Prevention Certified Green Buildings Energy Efficiency in Buildings Reduced Water Use Building Reuse and Adaptive Reuse Reuse of Historic Buildings Minimize Site Disturbance through Site Design Minimize Site Disturbance during Construction Contaminant Reduction in Brownfields Remediation Stormwater Management Heat Island Reduction Solar Orientation On-Site Energy Generation On-Site Renewable Energy Sources District Heating and Cooling Infrastructure Energy Efficiency Wastewater Management Recycled Content in Infrastructure Construction Waste Management Comprehensive Waste Management Light Pollution Reduction

Innovation and Design Process (ID)



Innovation and Exemplary Performance


LEED Accredited Professional


Unfortunately for Bleckwenn, at the LEED 101 Workshop

a general commitment to sustainability in design. Though

separate testing for LEED-ND (which would likely have

much as landscape architects might like, it has become

it was stated that the USGBC does not intend to offer been easier for landscape architects to pass). This program

is, however, a full step into the realm of landscape architecture (one might wonder why the American Society of Landscape Architects is not involved). Taking the LEED


test now will make a designer accredited even for LEEDND when it comes on line. In addition, owners can now

participate in the pilot system, potentially setting their ®

developments up as some of the first LEED


neighborhoods in the world. An expression of interest form is available on the USGBC website (see resources).


here are we now? Landscape architects are ®


LEED may not currently directly address site matters as

the national standard, and it is in place now. A similar

program called the Sustainable Sites Initiative (spearheaded by the American Society of Landscape Architects

and the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center) is currently in development and would focus on more bread-andbutter landscape architecture projects.


the current schedule puts availability of certification

and accreditation out in 2012. There are some industry and regional standards, such as Minnesota’s Sustainable Building Guidelines (B3) rating system, but none is as ®

comprehensive as LEED .


“Honestly,” says LHB Minneapolis’ Cassie Neu, “I felt as a

ment with building and development projects, and despite

sustainability, and actually be able to educate people on

poorly represented among the LEED

ranks, despite their long-standing involve-

issue #7

landscape architect that I should be leading the charge for


topic: law

global climate change. All these architects are going out

there saying they’re green, when it’s the landscape archi®

tects who should be inherently green. LEED started with

LEED® Case Study 2: E2 Homes Location: Minneapolis, MN Developer: The Urban Project Architect / Landscape Architect: LHB, Inc., Minneapolis, MN Square Footage: 10,600 Notable Feature: if certified, will be the first LEED® residential project in the state Description: This 4-unit condominium project will be built on a tight site in south Minneapolis, within 1/4 mile of two bus lines. The site was a contaminated brownfield which will be remediated through the development process. Site-related LEED® credits are also being pursued for parking reduction (1 car per unit), decreased impervious surface, stormwater rate and quality control (rain gardens figure prominently in the design), and local materials (50% of the landscaping is native non-turf).

the mechanical systems and building shells because that’s what is emitting the carbon. But we need to step back

and think about how we’re developing in the first place, how we’re sprawling in the first place.” And that, she says, is a landscape architect’s role. But unless landscape

architects can talk about heating, solar, electrical, controllability, wastewater, and all the other building-related ®

things LEED

requires an accredited professional to

know, they miss out on the big picture. “If we’re not the

ones saying we should have human systems integrated with natural systems,” she continues, “then we’re leaving this to architects and engineers who have less background and passion for those underlying philosophies.” ®


for Neighborhood Development should be big:

certification, for sustainability, of entire developments. ®

If landscape architects don’t start putting the LEED AP after their names, green-minded developers may just look elsewhere.

Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA, is a landscape architect and freelance writer. He is founder of Treeline, a design / writing consultancy based in Minneapolis, and editor of _SCAPE Magazine. He began the LEED accreditation process in order to write this article, but has not yet taken the test.

Resources The USGBC’s website is Navigating the site is fairly easy. Go to the main page, then: -- to learn how to become LEED® AP, click “LEED AP” in the top menu bar -- to certify your project, click “LEED” in the top menu, then “Register your project” on the left. -- to get a list of accredited professionals, click “LEED” in the top menu, then “LEED AP Directory” on the left. -- to see a list of certified projects, click “LEED” in the top menu, then “LEED Project Lists” on the left.

® -- to learn about LEED for Neighborhood Development (and get your project considered for the pilot program), click “LEED” in the top menu, then “LEED Rating Systems” on the left,


SCAPE spring 07

LHB, Inc.

then “Neighborhood Development.”

A treasure trove of landscape supplies and design inspiration.


Supplying materials for: Retaining walls Driveways


Patios Ponds & Waterfalls Stop in and see our vast inventory of natural stone from Minnesota and around the world!

a new web resource Articles on sustainability and design SM TextCharette: a writing-for hire service SM WordForum: presentation seminars for designers The Treeline Locator

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d.indd 1


3/31/2006 10:26:36 AM

The difference is In our design

issue #7


topic: business

Work / Study The landscape architecture program at the University of Minnesota has seen its share of changes over 40 years. Is it turning out the professionals that firms want? by Zachary Q. Jorgensen


hen the landscape architecture program at

status renewed two additional times (2001 and 2006).

classes in 1967 there were two professors

board, and, according to the department, the program is

the University of Minnesota held its first

and five students. Meeting as a part of the Department of Architecture, the five year program quickly earned

accreditation for its Bachelor of Landscape Architecture

degree. Today the program offers a three year first professional Masters of Landscape Architecture. It includes

twenty-seven full and adjunct professors teaching an average of seventy-five MLA students.

In the forty years since the first classes met, the Department of Landscape Architecture has undergone many changes to meet the needs of the profession. But just how well are

today’s students being prepared to enter the field? Are

they getting the training that firms are looking for in a graduate or are there aspects of the program that could be strengthened?

The program as it exists today emerged in 1992 when the Department of Landscape Architecture offered its first

classes in the Masters of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program. The department’s focus is to prepare students

to be critical thinkers and multifunctional designers. The program was first accredited in 1996 and has had that


Each review generated high marks from the accreditation

ranked among the top seven in the nation. This has led to an increase in the number of students and applicants.

The mission of the newly formed College of Design is to be an international and national leader in multidisciplinary research, creative production, teaching, and public engagement in a wide variety of design related fields. One of the more recent changes is the merging of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

with the Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel to form The College of Design (CDES). The mission of

this new college is to be, according to its own website, “an international and national leader in multidisciplinary research, creative production, teaching, and public

SCAPE spring 07

engagement in a wide variety of design related fields.”

Involvement by area landscape architects is strong in

interdisciplinary work and provide a more stimulating

Koepke, “where [the school] intersects with the profes-

“The College of Design is a great opportunity to do more multi- and interdisciplinary environment,” says John

Koepke, associate professor and head of the Landscape Architecture Department. Though CDES is still emerging

as a college, Damon Farber, recent College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture board member and periodic

instructor at the University, believes that, “this interdisciplinary approach will allow for greater discovery.”

Within the Department of Landscape Architecture the

main focus is on developing the design sophistication of the students. Says Koepke, “We are trying to train people to be critical thinkers, to ask good

questions, and have the skills to answer those questions.” The idea is to allow the

students to address the issues they will face in a holistic, multifunctional way.

the program. “There are a number of places,” points out

sion.” Mentoring programs, capstone advisory boards, studio critiques, career fairs, and alumni functions are a

few of the ways that professionals are getting involved

and sharing their insights and experience with the MLA students.


hile the focus of the program is on creating practicing landscape architects that have strong critical thinking skills, many feel that

the MLA program needs to develop a stronger technical

curriculum. Koepke agrees that the university might not

“While the University has a stronger design program than other schools, it may not be as well-balanced technically as North Dakota State or Iowa State.”

Damon Farber, also head of his epony-

mous landscape architecture firm in Minneapolis, appre-

be the strongest technically but he feels that students are

the most important thing that a student can learn.

develop on the job.

ciates this focus on critical thinking and believes that it is

given exposure to these skills, which they can then further

One approach that the department uses to accomplish this

“While the University has a stronger design program than

art and ecology.

ture firm Sanders Wacker Bergly in Saint Paul, “it may

is to structure the curriculum around the combination of Understanding the connection that

human culture has with natural systems and how that can guide the design process is an important aspect of the

program and one that provides the basis for the develop-

other schools,” says Larry Wacker, of landscape architecnot be as well-balanced technically as schools like North Dakota State or Iowa State.” He emphasizes the need

for good grading and storm water management skills, as

“This mix of knowledge (professors) and experience (practitioners) is a lot healthier than all one or all the other.”

well as a basic understanding of design details

such as irrigation, lighting, retaining walls, and

underground drainage. Knowing how various materials can be applied to the design solution is also important. “With a small firm like ours,” he says, “you need people who can jump in on all

ment of sustainable, creative, and multifunctional design

aspects of a project.”

are professors with diverse backgrounds in practice and

This includes an understanding of the computer programs

professionals that serve as adjuncts to the department.

as Auto CAD, Photoshop, and Sketch Up. Chad Buran,


Leading the students through this process

research in landscape architecture as well as practicing

“This mix of knowledge and experience is a lot healthier than all one or all the other” says Anna Claussen, a third year student in the MLA program and current student

representative to the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (MASLA). “The profes-

sors are there for the students… and there is so much you can learn from them.” But she also appreciates the professionals’ involvement because they are able to bring a lot of life experience to the classroom. issue #7

commonly used by landscape architecture firms such landscape designer with Saint Paul-based Bonestroo and Director of Academic Affairs for MASLA, stresses that it is important to get a basic understanding of these programs and their limitations. “The main thing is to become fast and accurate,” he says, “and then the firms will fine tune

those skills to their specific needs.” Students have seen this need for stronger computer knowledge, and classes in CAD and Sketch Up have recently been added to the

curriculum, taught by landscape architecture practitioners who regularly use those programs.


with students from other countries and other disciplines

topic: business


helpful in learning cooperation skills and how to work

through barriers. For her it has been one of her biggest verall, recent graduates and current students

have felt well prepared to get jobs within the field. One of the more appreciated aspects of

the program is the openness that exists in the curriculum. Tony Chevalier, a 2006 graduate now with the Wayzata

challenges so far, but she feels it will help her be better prepared for the real world. Chad Buran also went to

Europe and said the experience broadened his horizons. He considers the trip a valuable experience that sets the Minnesota MLA program apart.

office of the international landscape architecture firm Hart

Like other professionals, recent graduates like Chevalier

him to follow his interests and kept it open to the students

emphasis placed on the technical aspects of the profession.

Howerton, found it helpful that the university allowed

and Buran expressed that they would like to see more

“The more you can know about your allied professions the better.” to specialize. He found this especially beneficial in a field

that is so broad. He was also encouraged to think outside of the field. He stresses, “The more you can know about your allied professions the better.”

While the program provides the students different

options for studio classes and electives, there are some limits placed on the openness of the program, according

to department head Koepke. This is due to the professional nature of the degree and the guidelines that must be met as part of the accreditation process.


this, the “Design Principles of the Urban Landscape”

and “Planned Development” classes, which were previously required, have recently been turned into electives, allowing students more flexibility within the program.

They also said that more involvement with professionals through internships, office

visits, and in the classroom would help students know what to expect and more easily transition into the field.


s the landscape architecture program continues

to move forward as part of the College of

Design, there are likely to be many new initia-

tives. According to Koepke several new offerings are in the works, including a certificate in restoration, continued

refinements to the curriculum with expanded options for electives and studios, increased interdisciplinary opportunities, and the chance to participate in the collegiate PhD program. Next year the department will be

launching its Climate Change Initiative which will allow landscape architects to begin thinking about how they can

be involved with future environmental decisions. As he

points out, “The time to start planning for thirty years out is now.”

Another positive aspect of the University’s program,

Over the past forty years the Department of Landscape

the school. Minnesota, uniquely, is at the merger of three

into a large and diverse professional program. Though

according to 3rd year student Claussen, was the location of distinct biomes and has a large urban area. This combination is a real asset to the study of landscape architecture

because not only does it provide access to all of the urban

and edge atmospheres, but it also allows for study of the natural conditions that are prevalent over large areas of

the country (see “Regional Differences,” _SCAPE, Fall 06). The exposure to these major biomes, all located in

close proximity, is very important at a school that strives to integrate ecology with art.

The opportunity to study in Europe during the second

year is also often cited as an important part of the MLA

Architecture at the University of Minnesota has grown

it is important to continue to augment the technical

instruction the students receive, the new interdisciplinary

approach of the College of Design will likely further solidify the MLA program’s national standing.


combining the long-standing focus on art and ecology

with this new multi-faceted approach, the school will continue to prepare students to be critical thinkers and leaders in the profession.

Zachary Q. Jorgensen is a graduate student in the Landscape Architecture program at the University of Minnesota and student member of MASLA.

program. Claussen, who studied abroad, found working


SCAPE spring 07

issue #7


_SCAPE 2007 Spring  
_SCAPE 2007 Spring