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Sabahan Augustine Wong, landscape architect based in North Carolina, US, with his wife Judith Marie Rohrs, a homemaker. Augustine Wong dons many hats as a professional landscape architect. He was recently appointed by the US Transportation Research Board in Washington DC to serve on the Landscape and Environmental Design Committee.

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Augustine Wong dons many hats as a professional landscape architect. He was recently appointed by the US Transportation Research Board in Washington DC to serve on the Landscape and Environmental Design Committee.

The Sino-Kadazan is president elect of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the first non-American to hold the position.

He also has his own consultancy that provides landscape architecture, urban design and civil engineering services. However, Wong has not forgotten his roots and wants to create an international committee of sustainability experts involving other Malaysian professionals to protect Malaysia's and the region's sensitive environment.

''The Landscape and Environmental Design (LED) Committee consists of 24 members from the US and several European countries. My goal is two-pronged - to do further research on the application of sustainable practices to the built environment and to create an international committee of sustainability experts comprising other Malaysian professionals,'' said Wong, 49, via email.

''I think it is important to realize that the local and global economy in the near future, if not now, will be very dependent on sustainable economic development through environmental stewardship and landscape urbanism.

''Climate change, reduction in carbon emission, urban development, natural resource management and preservation, green infrastructure, land use and transportation are some examples (of issues) that clearly need to be continually discussed.

''They should be tackled during the smart planning process in the district or regional level, and not just limited to the Western hemisphere. It affects all of us regardless of where we live,'' he stressed.

Wong obtained his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Minnesota in 1988. After graduating, he worked as a landscape architect with a transportation group in Minnesota. He then left the firm in 1994 to pursue a Master in Urban Planning (specialising in urban design) at the University of Washington.

Upon completion of the postgraduate degree in 1996, he worked for a number of consulting firms in Singapore and the US before setting up his own multi-disciplinary consulting firm in January this year in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he resides with his family. The firm focuses on sustainability and renewable energy projects.

This April, the father of four was appointed to serve for three years on the LED Committee.

''I feel honoured with my appointment and am glad to be part of a group of experts from other countries with similar passion, sensitivity and awareness of sustainable practices to the built environment,'' he said.
Undoubtedly, Wong derives great pleasure from his work.

''What drives me is my passion for environmental stewardship and landscape urbanism, and the opportunity to enhance a community's fluid economic development through sustainable practices,'' said the eighth child in a family of 15 siblings.

Wong's challenge includes getting clients (private and public) to think holistically and to realise that actions taken now will set the platform for future results, good or bad. ''I also need to constantly keep myself updated on new technologies and new trends in the market,'' he said.

Wong has two boys and two girls aged between four and 11, all home-schooled by his American wife, Judith.

He has a vegetable garden and does composting of fruit and vegetable scraps from his kitchen during his spare time. ''I also coach my kids' soccer team, though lately my work has taken priority, and I play soccer, tennis and basketball any chance I have with my kids.''

Source: The Star online


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November 20, 2019, 2:00 pm PDT

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