Page 1

Healthy, Active Living



in this issue + Planning and Designing Healthy Lifespan Communities (PAGE 1) + Urban Agriculture: A Means or an End? (PAGE 5) + Urban Greening Symposium Strikes a Chord (PAGE 7) + Designing Outdoor Kitchens to Be Enjoyed All Year Long in Illinois (PAGE 9) + Healthy Streams, Healthy Communities (PAGE 12)

elevation A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE ILLINOIS CHAPTER American Society of Landscape Architects

Planning and Designing Healthy Lifespan Communities By Brad Winick // AICP, LEED AP

Background & Context


ommunities and neighborhoods evolve and age over time, as do the residents who call them home. Healthy and active living – the theme of this issue – should be a priority throughout the lifespan of both residents and their communities. As communities continue to evolve, it is becoming increasingly critical to focus on planning, designing and maintaining communities that reflect a commitment to ongoing healthy living and aging.

Landscape architects and other members of the design profession have long been incorporating disciplines such as ecology, hydrology, and resource management

into their practices. This interdisciplinary sensibility is part of what gives the design profession a unique perspective and a sense of urgency—both of which are invaluable in the current climate, characterized by budget scrutiny and a focus on sustainable practices as well as financial payback. Adding public health to the interdisciplinary mix, and increasing the role that it plays in physical planning and design decisions could prove both timely and expedient. By now, many planners and designers reading this article have become aware of the aging of the American population. Currently, about one in eight Americans is above 65 years old – by 2050 the Census Bureau projects that this figure will likely be one in five. Within the next twenty years, Americans over 65 will outnumber those below 15 years old. Life expectancies that were approximately 68 years in 1950 are projected to reach the mid-80s by 2050. Despite the alarming growth in Alzheimers and other cognitive diseases, more older Americans will be living healthier as they live longer.

This lovely and contemplative healing garden at Swedish Covenant Hospital was designed by Maria Smithburg and built under the auspices of the Donna LaPietra and Bill Kurtis Healing Garden Society.

Shifts in the health care paradigm, including but not limited to provisions of the Affordable Care Act, are increasingly placing health care service provision into home and community-based settings, rather than only institutional ones. The land use and transportation impacts of this substantial paradigm shift will require communities, and the design profession, to be nimble in modifying their environments moving forward. While landscape architects and designers have developed many successful healing gardens and other health-promoting spaces, our vision for creating healthy spaces must grow larger to embrace community and urban design.

Age-Friendliness & Aging-in-Community Cities, towns, and villages throughout the world are paying increased attention to what is often referred to as their “age-friendliness”. Most of these communities utilize some version of the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendliness protocol, which identifies [continued on page 4]

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Co n t a c t u s t o l e a r n m o r e a n d a r r a n ge a “ L u n ch & L e a r n ”. Ca l l 1 - 8 0 0 - U N I L O C K ( 8 6 4 - 5 6 2 5 )


U N I L O C K .C O M


Chapter Events + Highlights

WE’VE GONE DIGITAL! This issue, as well as previous issues of Elevation and Folio, are available for download at the

Upcoming ASLA 2013 Annual Meeting & Expo The premier event for landscape architecture professionals and students. More than 6,000 landscape architecture professionals and students from across the U.S. and around the world will gather in Boston, November 15-18, to earn up to 21 professional development hours, enjoy the fellowship of our profession, and reconnect with the fundamental elements of design.

ILASLA Chapter Election Welcome ILASLA 2014 elected Executive Committee! Positions will shift after the National ASLA Conference in November.

Chris Lannert, The Lannert Group - President

Christopher Gent, Chris Gent Landscape Studio – Past President

Brad McCauley, Site Design Group - President-Elect

Alan Watkins, Clarence Davids & Company - Secretary

Steven Halberg , Planning Resources, Inc. - Treasurer

Keven Graham, Planning Resources, Inc. - Trustee

Illinois Fee Change for Associate Members Beginning October 1, 2013, the Illinois Chapter Membership Fee for Associate Members has been reduced from $100 to $75 per year. The National Associate Membership graduated dues structure remains the same: National dues start at $168 for the first year followed by a graduated dues structure through the third year of membership; automatically upgraded to full membership after third year. The Illinois Chapter Membership Fee for Full and Affiliate Member remains at $100 per year. 

Winter Spritzer The annual Winter Spritzer will be held early December. Date and venue to be announced. Keep your eyes open for an official invite in the near future!

Letter from the Editor


s landscape architects, we have a unique ability to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities we live in through thoughtful design. Though our impact on public health is not a new thing, it is certainly becoming a more prominent aspect of the work we do. From working with local groups to build community gardens, and designing public spaces that encourage use by visitors of all ages and abilities, to creating healthy ecosystems for both people and wildlife, and constructing spaces that encourage outdoor activity all year round, landscape architects are helping to encourage healthy and active lifestyles everywhere we work.

The articles in this issue feature great examples of how landscape architects can promote healthy and active lifestyles in


many ways. In addition to what we have put together for this issue, there have been many recent publications and stories throughout our region that make this a timely topic. Among other developments, ASLA has released an online guide to the Health Benefits of Nature, Chicago continues to work on its Green Healthy Neighborhoods initiative, and Growing Home, a social enterprise focusing on innovative job training and community development through urban agriculture, won the 2013 Community Strategy of the Year Award at the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards earlier this year. It is my hope that after reading this issue, and learning about all the great developments in our region, we’ll all be a little more empowered to make an impact on health and wellbeing through each and every one of our projects.




Planning and Designing Healthy Lifespan Communities [continued from page 1] eight physical and social-environmental domains that are assessed to gauge their existing agefriendliness. Of the three physical environment domains within the WHO protocol, “Outdoor Spaces and Buildings” is the most relevant to many landscape architects, urban designers, and planners. Fortunately, many of the types of public realm, urban design interventions that support the ability of older citizens to successfully engage with and traverse their environments and communities also support the abilities of its younger members. As one (often-repeated) planners’ expression goes: if you design and build communities that work for its youngest and oldest members, they will most likely work for those community members in between. It is this explicitly lifespan-oriented approach to community planning and design, at both broad and granular levels, that distinguishes the great places to which our profession aspires. These great places also factor in the types of supportive services and amenities that are particularly conducive to community members’ successfully and healthily aging-in-community. To be precise here, what I refer to as successful aging-in-community is not the same as what is generally referred to in the media as “aging-in-place,” which focuses on keeping older community members in their existing homes regardless of whether or not those homes meet their residents’ current needs

and abilities. While certain recent surveys quote very high percentages of older residents preferring to remain in their current homes, it is very likely that these surveys are illustrating a larger desire for residents to remain in a community that is familiar to them—one which allows them to draw upon the personal relationships, stores, restaurants, services, and open spaces that they are comfortable with. Ask yourself: if most older community residents you know had viable options to live in quality, needs-appropriate and affordable dwellings, with adequate transportation and service options, within their current and beloved communities, would they still insist on staying in their current dwellings?

Broadening the Conversation Does it really matter whether smart, well planned, designed, constructed and maintained open spaces, parks, streetscapes, plazas, trails and playgrounds were specifically intended for one population cohort or another, or designed to further a livability initiative, a sustainability plan, a place-making effort, or to promote public health and fight obesity? Taking a lifespan approach will be most successful if the community conversation does not only include the usual players. Capital infrastructure planning investment decisions should also reflect attention to considerations of their impacts on healthy living throughout the lifespan of a com-

This 2012 IL-ASLA award-winning project by Site Design Group includes landscape elements that encourage the passive and active involvement of residents of the CHA’s Judge Fisher Apartments.


munity. The current record in most communities on this score is mixed. As described in Janet Attarian’s cover article in Elevation’s Winter 2012 issue, Chicago’s Department of Transportation is now approaching its sustainable transportation infrastructure in a highly collaborative manner, and working with diverse city departments and agencies—from Public Health to Water Management—to work in an integrated fashion. On the other hand, recent public transit decisions have included closure (since rescinded in the face of high profile political pressure) of the 111th Street bus route that used to stop at the doorstep to West Pullman’s newest shopping center, and a portion of the Lincoln Avenue bus route that served as the spine connecting many North Center and Lincoln Square services. Much work remains to be done in terms of taking a lifespan approach to promoting healthy and active living in our communities, and the design and planning community’s voices are important ones in this important ongoing conversation.

Brad Winick, AICP, LEED AP, is a graduate urban planner and architect, a seasoned planning consultant, having managed downtown, community, neighborhood, waterfront and open space planning projects for a rangeof public and private sector clients for 20+ years, an Adjunct Professor at UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, where he developed and teaches a graduate Urban Planning and Public Health course on planning healthy communities for an aging population, and a Board Director of AgeOptions (The Area Agency on Aging of Suburban Cook County). Increasingly focused on issues at the intersection of planning and aging, he recently established Planning/Aging, a niche consultancy dedicated to helping communities plan for their aging populations. Brad is available for teaching, speaking, writing and consulting engagements, and can be reached at .


Urban Agriculture: A Means or an End? By Cynthia Anderson // ASLA


t’s trendy right now, urban agriculture is. It has been touted as the answer to everything from obesity to climate change to global and local inequality. But are we expecting too much from this movement towards growing foods locally and using resources that are often lying idle or the volunteer efforts of local residents? I don’t think we are expecting too much, but perhaps too many things, from urban agriculture. As landscape architects we can help shape the conversation around how urban agriculture is viewed and practiced, whether we see urban agriculture as a means or an end. I would argue that the purpose of urban agriculture is not merely to ensure a healthy food supply, or address food deserts in low income areas, or limit the carbon miles of our food and thus climate change, but it is a way to change how people view food and their environment. It becomes a gateway to engaging with the environment differently, of seeing and valuing natural systems at work in the urban environment. From this different relationship with the environment the rest (eventually) falls into place.

A different means of engaging with natural systems: that’s the big overarching idea, which is all well and good. The practical among us – and I would figure that includes all landscape architects – are concerned with how to make this happen on the ground. First, we need to be clear about what we mean by “urban agriculture”. Many of us use the term urban agriculture to denote anything from backyard garden to community gardens to farms producing food or other cash, but not edible, crops. Urban agriculture can encompass all those forms, as well as the cultivation of crops such as lumber, the cash crop one corporation proposes to grow on vacant lands in

Detroit. Understanding the scale and scope of the discussion are important; be aware of where the urban agriculture emphasizes a strong connection between people and land versus where urban agriculture refers to land as an input for production with less power to create the person-food-environment relationship. Second, what is driving the discussion of urban agriculture in a place? Is it envisioned as a temporary land use, a way to hold land in a more aesthetically appealing form than a vacant lot and potentially support increasing land values? Is it to provide local, healthy food? Is it a place for community connection between individuals


[continued on page 6]


Views: Urban Agriculture: A Means or an End? [continued from page 5] – are urban agricultural uses permitted? Do cities refer to urban agriculture or urban gardens? There may be different philosophies about economic versus environmental considerations at work. Where in the city, at what scale, to what degree is food production allowed? Are the regulations specific about foods, livestock including bees, composting and sale of goods on a residential, commercial or industrial site? Is this part of a larger plan that balances the So, now to consider the practical aspects of how, economic development desires of a city with as a profession, we support urban agriculture. If the need for connection to food and environwe keep our focus on urban agriculture not as an ment? Each of these facets enables or limits end in and of itself, but as a means for changing an essential component that contributes to a how people view food and their environment, durable functioning site for urban agriculture we shape the discussion and the appearance and community engagement. If the overarchof urban agriculture. In and through practice, ing objective is changing how people view food landscape architects are or have access to and and their environment, provisions must also be influence on the people who define urban plans made for community to gather on the site and - economic development departments, zoning be drawn to the site. This addresses the “will departments, planning and appearance comthey come?” element. Unfortunately, it is also missions and boards. Perhaps more importantly the place where we are least likely to have an we work with clients who control and fund the influence. Landscape architects are infrequentprojects that have land perform certain functions, ly called in to develop and execute designs for usually economic, sometimes aesthetic. We community gardens or urban farms, since the know how the system works; with knowing how considerations are usually more about producthe system works comes the power to shape its tion than people-environment connection. outcomes. When you are in a position to recast discussion about incorporating urban agriculture While landscape architects may not have our in plans or regulations, do focus using urban primary influence on the design of a specific site agriculture as a means to better connect food, of urban agriculture, we still have the opportupeople and environment, rather than specific nity to define how a municipality or community examples of urban agriculture as the ends. thinks about the potential and purpose of urban agriculture. It starts by each of us considering The idea “if you build it, they will come” works the larger implications of urban agriculture on in Kevin Costner movies but not so well for making the connection between people and the urban agricultural sites. A fundamental quesenvironment visible and valued. tion is “can you build it?” Look at the zoning and between people and their environment? Is it perceived as primarily a source of production of an economic good? Each of these objectives translates to a different form in the city and reflects different sets of priorities and values. Land security is an important aspect of the community gardening model of urban agriculture which merits books, articles and theses on its own.

Cynthia Anderson has an MLA from Ohio State and is currently a PhD student wrestling, sometimes successfully, with the larger implications of alternative food systems and their influence on urban cultural landscapes. Prior to studying landscape architecture, she received her MBA from Dartmouth College and a BS in Engineering from Cornell University. Cindy has more than twenty years of experience in marketing, management and business strategy development.  She currently serves as the Chairperson for the Public Awareness Committee for the ILASLA.

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Urban Greening Symposium Strikes a Chord

Transition. It was a theme that wove through much of the recent Bartlett Seminars symposium, Sustainable Urban Greening – Macro to Micro at the Chicago Botanic Garden.


he event began with a tour of Spider Island, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Laura Solano, a principal at the firm, co-led the tour and explained that its naturalistic planting contrasts with more formal gardens, making the island seem a bit mysterious. A long narrow bridge makes the transition from land, over water, and to the island where a curving path slowly reveals the landscape and borrowed views, eventually ending at a small seating area with a framed vista of the pond.

A Landscape Approach to Development Solano’s later talk examined four case studies, including the 308-acre Lower Don Lands, an industrial port at the mouth of the Don River in downtown Toronto. Channelization of the river was causing extreme flooding where it flowed into

Lake Ontario, making development of this prime waterfront land impossible. The solution lay in the landscape. By redirecting the river through the port lands, the team’s plan mitigates flooding and creates new parkland along the lengthened and sinuous riverbank, increasing the amount of higher valued riverfront property. With the increase in open space, the team recommended building energy-efficient towers, to extend Toronto’s existing highrise residential coast. The scheme shows that innovative ecological approaches to tough development problems can also make good economic sense, deliver an enriched living experience, and contribute to the city’s sustainability agenda.

Northerly Island Framework Plan Another waterfront project, the Northerly Island Framework Plan, was the topic of a

presentation by Deb Mitchell, of SmithGroupJJR, and Claire Cahan, of Studio Gang Architects. The project, awarded to SmithGroupJJR in 2007, has since undergone a variety of changing conditions. Among the more notable changes was Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics, which would have required extensive active recreation on the island. But a Chicago Olympics is not to be. The design team held a charrette that resulted in four alternative schemes for the island. Public meetings showed a strong preference for the one that created a series of reefs out into Lake Michigan – “a grand gesture of breaking the outer edge of the island was important for creating habitat that was rare along the Chicago lakefront,” Claire explained. The broad-scale composition of the preferred scheme involves two key transitions:

Lower Don Lands Master Plan © Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

[continued on page 8 ]


Urban Greening Symposium Strikes a Chord [continued from page 7]

Northerly Island Framework Plan - Macro Shaping © SmithGroupJJR

from active recreation on the north end of the island to passive recreation on the south end, and from woodland on the west side of the island to water on the east side. On the north end, a concert and entertainment venue. At the south end, wildlife habitat and destination for both migratory birds and birders. A great lawn between the two would facilitate the transition. Work has begun on the concert venue and the southernmost 40 acres, with both scheduled to open next year.

Moving Below Ground Moving from the large scale to the microscopic, Connor Shaw, of Possibility Place Nursery, gave a tour of “roots, roots and more roots.” “What’s happening underground is extensive, the most critical activities that have to happen for a

tree, shrub or vine to survive,” he said. That includes the extent of the root zone, which he said reaches three to five times the height of the tree. That is, unless the tree has circling roots. Showing examples of containerized and B&B trees and shrubs with circling roots, he pointed out that those roots would continue to circle after planting – impacting long-term health. He encouraged attendees to inspect the root ball when selecting plants and avoid those with circling roots. “The best trees have the best roots,” he said. “A fibrous root system will have the best performance.” Shaw uses various methods, from root bags to air pruning, to encourage trees to produce dense side roots versus tap roots. The resulting root system maximizes growth in the tree’s critical first year in the landscape.

Northerly Island Framework Plan © Studio Gang Architects


When it comes time for planting, he stressed the importance of not adding compost to the soil. Otherwise, he said, the roots won’t seek to grow out into the surrounding soil. Instead, place compost on top of the soil, covered by a couple inches of mulch.

Quality Speakers – Happy Audience When it came time for the reception, attendees were already satiated – with new ideas. “High quality speakers lead to a happy audience,” mused one attendee.

With appliances, like cooktops, multi-fuel grills, outdoor-specific dishwashers and food-safe refrigeration, outdoor kitchens now rival the functionality of indoor kitchens. © Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

Designing Outdoor Kitchens to Be Enjoyed All Year Long in Illinois By Chris Mordi // Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet


other Nature fights dirty. She’s not afraid to break the rules, throwing a rabbit punch of heavy snow in the winter, followed by a one-two-combo of a big thaw then a hard freeze. In Illinois, her reputation has the ability to make a landscape architect’s knees buckle, especially when it comes to designing outdoor kitchens that have to withstand her blows all year long.

According to a 2011 survey of consumers by the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA), 62 percent of respondents said they grill outdoors all year long. With this in mind, I asked four local landscape architects to weigh in on what it takes to create an outdoor kitchen that can go toe-to-toe with Mother Nature throughout the year, while fitting comfortably into their client’s lifestyle. “Forget it. We’re done,” says Adam Miller, RLA, of Chicago Roof Deck & Garden in Chicago, IL. “I think there is a lot of this ingrained in Chicagoans -- that Labor

Day is the end of the summer. No more watermelon, no more hot dogs. Put on the crock pot, we’re gonna make chili. So we’re constantly fighting that battle.”


Getting Started “Weathermen scare the crap out of Chicagoans,” says Miller. “Everybody kind of gets themselves worked up and concerned, and I say, ‘remember two years ago when it was 75 degrees in March and everyone lost their minds?’ We try to hold onto those dates when it’s nice. We tell stories about clients who have super bowl parties on their roof deck. We really have to kind

of remind people that there’s nice days in March and there’s really nice days in November.” That’s Miller’s first step in designing an outdoor kitchen: the weather reality check. “People complain there’s two good months out of the year in Chicago to be outside. I think there’s nine. It’s a matter of what you’ve done to kind of prep yourself for those three or four kind of wishy-washy months,” he said. “Really you’re talking about December, January and February that you’re kind of SOL. March is a huge wild card.” Marco Romani, RLA, of Romani Architecture in Glencoe, IL starts with technology. He likes to begin with his client looking through the outdoor kitchen images on, a website devoted to home remodeling and design. “It’s an ‘a-ha’ thing for most clients,” he says. “It’s a way for them to convey exactly what they are looking for when words or concepts [continued on page 10]


Views: Urban Agriculture: A Means or an End? [continued from page 9] are failing them. I just tell them, ‘make a little idea book for me, email it to me. Show me what you think your kitchen should look like.’ And they do it.” has more than 629,000 outdoor kitchen photos. Carrie Woeleben-Meade, design director for Mariani Landscape in Lake Bluff, IL, has a different starting point. “We try to widen the definition of what an outdoor kitchen is,” she says. “Usually we start the conversation by letting people know the outdoor kitchen is really just like your indoor kitchen -- where it’s kind of the hub of your outdoor space where everyone is going to gather.”

Making the outdoor kitchen work A lot of people start thinking about outdoor kitchens and they start thinking about grills. They really start limiting what an outdoor kitchen is. Really, just like your indoor kitchen it can be the centerpiece of your space, said Woeleben-Meade.

© Chicago RoofDeck & Garden


Don Sivesind, vice president of sales for Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, takes things a bit further. “Expectations are changing as fast as lifestyles,” he says. “People want their outdoor kitchens to do more, and they want to do less to take care of them.”


long. Some manufacturers will recommend storing appliances indoors for the winter. It’s hard to remove the pieces for the winter and dreadful to replace in the spring.” Because homeowners’ lives are so harried, they don’t want to lug things in and out of the house for a barbecue party. They want all of their things in one easy-access location. It means their outdoor kitchen cabinetry can’t just be a box in which things are stored. They have to work. Sivesind says people want to keep their pots and pans outdoors, as well as linens and silverware. That means landscape architects need to look for cabinetry that has features to keep out water, whether it is melting snow or rain.

“Buy the best grill the budget can afford,” he says. Landscape architects need to keep a couple of “When choosing the grill you have to determine points in mind when specifying appliances, acwhat kind of cook they are now, and what they cording to Sivesind. “Look for refrigeration that is rated as food safe. If it’s not designated as such, aspire to be. You have to ask the aspiration question because once you build a grill into masonry, homeowners can’t keep their grilling groceries it’s a lot of work to find another grill that fits the outdoors because the refrigeration can’t maintain ‘hole’ when the homeowner’s grill can’t keep up a temperature that keeps food fresh. And make with their new cooking skills.” sure that refrigeration can stay outdoors all year

infrared heater and stand over the grill and not freeze your you know what off, that’s huge.” “Lighting is very important, especially here (in Illinois) as it can get dark around 5 p.m. as we get to late fall,” says Woeleben-Meade. “People use their grill even though it’s snowy. They use outdoor kitchens year round, so we want to make sure they can get out there while it’s dark and use it.”

One of the most important considerations in designing outdoor kitchens is plenty of room for landing areas. Generally, grills should have 24 inches of open space to one side and 12 inches to the other. This space makes it easier and more efficient to prep, cook and serve food. © Mariani Landscape

Romani thinks about high heels and bare feet when considering flooring for outdoor kitchens. “Some people are picky about walking on something really rough like flagstone. They have guests over, they’re in heels, a really rough textured flagstone is not that comfortable to walk on, so that might work well around the fire pit, but it doesn’t really work in an outdoor kitchen,” he says.

CLIENTS WANT TO BE ABLE TO PUNCH BACK WHEN MOTHER NATURE PUTS UP HER FISTS. WITH THE RIGHT KIND OF PLANNING AND KNOWLEDGE, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS CAN GIVE HOMEOWNERS OUTDOOR KITCHENS THAT CAN BE USED COMFORTABLY ALL YEAR LONG. “There are other homeowners who don’t like to walk on a hot surface, because a lot of people like to be outside barefoot,” says Romani. “So if you’re outside barefoot, you’re not going to want to use bluestone or a dark stone like slate. You want to use something light colored like limestone pavers.” He mentions the prevalence of heaving in the winter in Chicago, which has the potential to move dry-set flooring materials. “Let’s say one

[stone] moves a half an inch and heaves up and you’re walking out there and you have heels or you’re barefoot and you trip into the little edges of that stone. It kind of gets a little uncomfortable. If budget allows, it’s always nice to have a smooth surface, a mortared floor that doesn’t have edges that protrude whenever there’s a little bit of movement in the winter.”

“One thing I have learned is that there is a difference between task lighting and mood lighting. Sometimes the task lighting at the grill when you’re working needs to be much brighter than what you would want in your dining area or the rest of your outdoor spaces,” she says. “When you’re outside you want it to be more like mood lighting. Working in the kitchen, you do need some brighter light. That’s a different kind of fixture and a different kind of placement. So you just have to think about how much light you’re going to need for the task at hand.” Clients want to be able to punch back when Mother Nature puts up her fists. With the right kind of planning and knowledge, landscape architects can give homeowners outdoor kitchens that can be used comfortably all year long.

Chuck Hyams, senior landscape architect and project manager at Scott Byron and Company in Lake Bluff, IL, believes shelter is one of the most important considerations in outdoor kitchen design because it protects the homeowner from the elements. It’s a philosophy Woeleben-Meade builds into designs. “We like to incorporate some kind of shade structure either over the outdoor kitchen, or as part of the outdoor kitchen because no one wants to grill out there and bake in the summer sun,” she says. “So, especially if you’re going to incorporate some kind of bar seating or something like that, shade is important.” Miller never misses an opportunity to put light and heat in a shelter structure. “That’s the seasonality of Chicago. Every outdoor space in Chicago has to have light and heat. If they are using the space at night, even in the summer when some evenings can be cool, you’re going to want some sort of heating element,” he says. “Whether it is a pergola, or fully enclosed underneath a veranda, to be able to go out and kick on an electric or gas

Chris Mordi is the vice president of communications for Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. He works with the landscape architect profession to help its practitioners learn about the business potential that outdoor kitchens represent. Mordi has written on the subject of outdoor kitchens for several publications, including Casual Living, Landscape Architect & Specifier News, and Professional Builder.


Wingra Creek, Madison, WI Š CardnoJFNew

Healthy Streams, Healthy Communities: Integrating Stream Restoration Into Planning and Design to Support Healthy Communities By Matthew A. Kwiatkowski // LEED AP BD & C, Cardno JFNew and Ryan Templeton // RLA, Cardno JFNew


or centuries, waterways were viewed as waste disposal avenues; to be streamlined, straightened, piped, and removed from sight. As we push into the 21st Century, both the quality and quantity of water are under greater scrutiny. Recently, developers, land planners and regulators have begun to see the value in natural systems. Former waterway practices have negatively impacted water quality, created flood management issues, led to degraded ecosystems, limited wildlife passage, and have had both direct and indirect impacts on human wellbeing. Today, designers and landscape architects employ site elements on multiple levels, leveraging design amenities to enhance the social, ecological, and economic condition of not only the specific site, but the greater surroundings. The practice of stream restoration near communities is not only about


improving water quality and riparian ecosystems, but also about improving human health through increased access to natural spaces. Natural stream systems enhance our quality of life by providing recreational opportunities, habitat for wildlife enthusiasts, and the opportunity to appreciate water in a natural landscape setting. The economic benefits of waterfront development are undeniable. A study conducted by Friends of the Chicago River stated that the proposed Chicago River Corridor Development could lead to 846 permanent jobs, while private development could produce an additional 50,000 construction jobs. No one doubts that development along a river or a stream brings economic value for both the public and private sector. Why are these projects desirable and successful components of economic revitalization?

There is a strong drive in human nature for people to gravitate to water and to interact with nature, especially waterfronts, streams or other water resources. When resources are improved within urban environments where open space is limited, people gain access the associated green spaces and the new resources they provide. The benefits of a restored stream or lake to the community and the people who live or visit are abundant. Many urban areas have focused revitalization efforts on neglected streams and riverfront areas through aggressive planning efforts. This being said, people vary in their level of interest in interaction with water. Blueways Programs, local watershed organizations, and economic redevelopment efforts continue to work to reconnect and promote our local waterways as a beneficial community resource. If the waterway has been

impacted by past neglect, changing possible negative public perceptions about the cleanliness of the waterway will contribute to the project’s success. Public perception is critical when it comes to waterfront and waterway usage, with the interest depending on people’s intended interaction with the resource. It is beneficial to include a public relations component to restoration projects, to encourage awareness and understanding of the extent of the restoration work. The linear nature of streams and waterways provides ideal routes for greenways and shorelines, which are an important part of stream restoration. Greenways provide opportunity to create access to waterway recreational activities. Ecologically focused restoration of streams and lakes improves the aquatic habitat and reduces streambank erosion, which leads to improved water quality and all of its benefits. It has been shown that more people are drawn to areas with a high quality habitat. For example, participation in kayaking has grown more than three fold in the last ten years according to The National Sporting Goods Association. This user group typically kayak or canoe on waters that they believe to be clean. This also is true of anglers. Both perception and reality are very important for fishing, especially when people eat the fish they catch. Expenditures on fishing in Illinois totaled $973 million in 2011 according to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As designers, it is our responsibility to facilitate and enhance the quality of stream and river habitat through not only visual enhancement, but science-based restoration, which provides sustainable benefits to the environment and the people who live there.

Kent Creek, Rockford, IL © CardnoJFNew

Often, during conceptual design and design development, we are taught to avoid impacts to the streams on-site and leave them in their current state – hidden behind barriers of invasive honeysuckle or sectioned off with buildings oriented so that the streams are in the back, left unseen. We should look at these streams as opportunities for ecologically sensitive restoration and integrate them into the design. Where possible in the design process, we should strive to take a watershed approach to ensure that our designs support sustainable ecological practices that can reduce storm water quantity, address sediment and nutrient issues, help flood attenuation, create contiguous riparian systems for wildlife and fish passage, and engage the public in a positive, aesthetically pleasing manner. Fluvial geomorphology and macroinvertebrates should become part of our regular vocabulary. By identifying restoration opportunities and engaging with allied ecological restoration disciplines, we can enhance the quality of the systems within our watershed and make a significant contribution to creating an improved and sustainable system. Many urban and suburban watersheds have watershed management plans in place, which highlight issues within the watershed including physical, biological and chemical parameters. Designers should review local watershed plans, working with local agencies and organizations to understand some of the overall water quality and restoration goals. By identifying these goals, we can improve both water quality and place-based site aesthetics within the watershed, providing amenities for recreation, and benefitting human health by connecting the community to the streams with a focus on restoration, not just creation.

Matt and Ryan are landscape architects for Cardno JFNew, an ecological consulting company with offices located in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. Both Matt and Ryan share the passion for designing natural systems to improve water quality through utilizing natural processes. Their work encompasses all phases of project development from planning through design development and construction implementation.

Matthew Kwiatkowski is a project landscape architect for Cardno JFNew with responsibilities that include landscape design, urban design, sustainable design, LID/decentralized stormwater management design, third-party technical review, permitting, construction administration and management, and the preparation of technical plans. Matt’s work experience encompasses all phases of project development from conceptual design through construction documentation and administration.

Ryan Templeton is a landscape architect for Cardno JFNew who works with design teams to develop responsive and efficient development plants for Cardno JFNew’s clients. He serves as a project manager for various restoration and mitigation projects. He also oversees native seed and plants according to plan specifications, invasive species identification and control, and installation of erosion control applications for ecological restoration projects.


Elegant water features Natural Sanctuaries

OLITHAS Jennifer Woods Illinois 800.430.6206 x1336 269.337.1386 fax Designed by Efraín E. Vélez

D E S I G N . C U LT U R E . C R A F T.

Quality, Style, Function...DuMor


• Ponds • Streams • Waterfalls • Rainwater Harvesting • Natural Swimming Pools






P.O. Box 4566, Oak Brook, IL 60522

What do you get out of joining Illinois ASLA? By becoming a member of ASLA, you’ll join over 18,000 other landscape architecture professionals - throughout all 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and 68 countries around the world! As a member of the Illinois Chapter, you’ll receive our monthly email newsletter, Dispatch, our quarterly journal, Elevation, and our annual awards book, folio, and be invited to numerous professional events throughout the state all year ‘round.

Elevation, Fall 2013  
Elevation, Fall 2013