Landscape Architect & Specifier News

AUG 2013

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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commentary George Schmok Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Stephen Kelly Editor Packin' in the People Welcome to LASN's Downtown issue. In this issue we celebrate several projects that bring communities together. Slower traffic, centralized amenities, the feeling of harmony and a sense of place, downtowns are an evolving phenomenon that are sometimes very cool, and more and more are being touted as the sustainable foundation for human growth and expansion. visitors from outside the area as it does from the surrounding apartments. Like I said . . . I get it: central amenities, centralized utilities; fun food and family all within walking distance. The allure is great and the community is vibrant. Sustainable, however, it is not. Oh, I'm sure that a great deal of the landscape is sustainable, in that it is xerophytic, low maintenance and capable In a recent editorial meeting for LASN's upcoming of filtering stormwater. However, there is not one 'Green' issue, we reviewed a planned mixed-use thing in that community that is not imported; that's community project near Tianjin, China. What the rub. caught my eye, and became the motivation for There is a great cry out there for environthis column, was the plan involved moving more than 50,000 people into a 1.042 square mile area, mentalism . . . Cut the sprawl. Centralize about half of which was a lake and wetlands. The community. Save and protect wilderness. On paper project was submitted specifically for the Green . . . Good. But good is relative as was pointed out issue, however, the elephant in the room was how in a news item that came in too late to make this a project packing 50,000 plus people into less than issue: "Concerns over Loss of Wetlands and Prairie," a half square mile (320 acres) section of the area which you can find at It could be sustainable? Certainly the project was discusses the impact on the environment from not self-sustainable, especially when it appeared expanding farmlands. In effect, as communities that the project was completely surrounded by centralize and densify, farmlands centralize and then similar developments. Over the past several years I expand into the surrounding lands and habitats. have written many times about the New Urbanism Cause and effect. Yin and yang. Building up does movement, where developments are being built in not reduce the need to carve out the wilderness. It which private property is measured by the amount just transfers the cause from sprawl to agriculture. of interior living space, and landscape is described Unfortunately, history shows us that when crop in terms of public property. Some of these project production becomes too centralized, it also become are actually pretty cool, and many are chock full susceptible to plight . . . of sustainable elements and recipients of enough Now, before I get all into doomsday scenarios LEED Gold, Silver and Platinum points to make one think they were paving the streets with the and lose the train of thought . . . This issue is about downtown development and the projects inside precious metals. are great examples of how downtowns can be that In southern California, not far from where I central point of community. But the great thing live, is a development called the Spectrum. This about a great downtown is having a great residential development, or more accurately, this community, area to retreat to at the end of the day. There is no is a couple of square miles in area and contains doubt that having a central area to gather resources numerous apartments, an industrial section and and come together for industry and entertainment is in the middle a great outdoor mall with retail, both desirable and efficient. My point is that, unlike entertainment and restaurants enough to serve the that commercial where the little girl is so sure that surrounding inhabitants. I get it. Much cleaner and "more, more, more" is always better, packing 50,000 way less dense than anything I have seen in NYC. people into a square mile is not an ideal downtown, It is really a nice area to visit and, I imagine, to and adding a little wetland to the project certainly live in. The tallest apartment is maybe five stories, does not make it sustainable . . . God Bless . . . with a few commercial buildings reaching up to a dozen stories or so with maybe 5,000 people living in the community. We often visit the mall for George Schmok, Publisher dinner, shopping and a movie. It draws as many John 8:45 … "But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me…" 12 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Michelle Medaris Education Kyle Cavaness Economic News Larry Shield Product Editor Amy Deane Editorial Administrative Assistant Associate Editors Ashley Calabria Associate Editor/Digital Information University of Georgia Buck Abbey, ASLA Associate Editor: Ordinances Green Laws Org. Russ Adsit, FASLA Associate Editor/Erosion Executive Director, IECA Janet Lennox Moyer, IALD Associate Editor/Lighting (In Memoriam) Don Roberts, FASLA Kay Tiller Frank Manwarren Lois E. Schmok David Brian Linstrum Art Director Nicole Miller Graphic Designer Matthew Medeiros Ad Coordinator Oliver Calonzo Circulation / Fulfillment Nathan Schmok Edward Cook Likkien Ralpho Ana Linares IT Department Web / Tech Manager Jerry Short Web / Tech Assistant Mayra Gutierrez Chief Operations Officer C.O.O. Mark O'Halloran Sales Administration Cynthia McCarthy Office Assistant Aaron Schmok Advertising/Marketing 714-979-LASN (5276) x113 • 714-979-3543 (Fax) Print Advertising Sales Vince Chavira Matt Henderson Kip Ongstad Online Advertising Vladimir Kostich

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