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Meet Peg Staeheli, FASLA

MIG, Seattle Office, previously with SvR, which joined MIG in Sept. 2015
Civil Engineering & Applied Ecology


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Peg Staeheli, FASLA


Over her career, Peg Staeheli, FASLA, has led a number of road, utility, pedestrian, site and community-based projects working with city, county, state and federal agencies. Peg has published articles on urban renewal, green infrastructure, and vibrant pedestrian focused streetscapes. Specific to green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) program development she has consulted in various parts of the country on practical approaches to develop GSI-related codes. Peg and her staff have put specific effort into interdepartmental GSI coordination and agreements. She has stressed the need to hold GSI maintenance to the same standard as conventional infrastructure.

Peg was previously with SvR Design Company in Seattle, founded in 1989. SvR joined Berkeley-based MIG in Sept. 2015. The SvR team became the MIG Seattle office. Peg and her colleagues have extended their GSI knowledge and lessons learned to others by leading over 150 GSI tours for government officials, public works staff, designers and engineers, international experts, students and community groups. Peg is committed to improving the built environment and bringing systems together to make a better place for the community and ecosystems.

The MIG office integrates the skills of landscape architects and civil engineers to analyze, plan and frame innovative and environmentally responsible solutions for public and private clients. The 34 professionals on staff include 12 licensed civil engineers, 7 licensed landscape architects and 2 planners. The staff specializes in feasibility studies, implementation phasing, private and public design and restoration projects.

Licensure:
RLA Washington State #456
LEED Accreditation

Education:
BS Landscape Architecture, Washington State University

Associations/Presentations:
Board of Directors, Landscape Architecture Foundation
Member, Seattle Urban Forestry Commission
Board Member, Urban Land Institute NW, 2010-2012
Advisory Board Member, WSU Center for Environmental Research, Education & Outreach
Technical Advisory Board Member, Kirkland Green Codes Project 2011
Lecturer, University of Washington, Pedestrian Travel & Urban Form, 2011
Member, Washington State Route 99 Tolling Advisory Committee Mayor's Institute on City Design, Fall 2011
Member, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals
Member, National Subcommittee on Sustainable Transportation, American Public Works Association
Affiliate Director, Seattle AIA, 2013-2014
Member, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board, 2003-2007


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Bell Street Park, Seattle
SvR led the urban design, landscape architecture and civil engineering of the innovative Bell Street Park in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood. This 4-block section is the first phase of a long-range plan for a park corridor stretching from South Lake Union to Elliott Bay. Bell Street Park is a hybrid, allowing automobile, bus, bicycle and emergency vehicle access. The roadway was raised to the sidewalk level to create a curbless and continuous surface. Street and park materials are woven into a wall-to-wall tapestry of shared space with meandering paving, planting and seating forming a unifying "circuitry" for the park.
Photo: Don Brubeck


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High Point HUD HOPE VI Redevelopment, Seattle, Wa.
Peg Staeheli, FASLA, was the planner and manager for over $100 million of infrastructure improvements including the first major public works installation of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in the country. Peg coordinated between city departments to integrate project goals and led the landscape analysis and design of the public street network featuring natural drainage systems that added public gathering areas for the 120-acre urban redevelopment. This work spanned over 10 years and demonstrated that green infrastructure stormwater treatment (vegetated grass-lined swales) could be economically applied on a large scale for while maintaining a pedestrian focused community. The project received the Urban Land Institute Global Award of Excellence. Peg worked with Seattle Public Utilities staff and the landscape maintenance industry to develop an early GSI right-of-way maintenance manual.


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King County CSO Barton Basin GSI Study and Design, Seattle, Wa.
SvR provided civil engineering, landscape architecture and planning and design services to control combined sewer overflows in Seattle's Barton Basin. The improvements are an alternative to conventional concrete storage tanks. Peg Staeheli, FASLA, was the principal landscape architect for the planning, analysis and final design using green stormwater infrastructure.


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Seattle DOT Trees and Sidewalks Operations Plan
With the assistance of a consultant team led by SvR Design Co., the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) developed an operations plan to guide its planning and operational practices around trees and sidewalks. The plan formalizes a toolkit of options to address conflicts between trees and sidewalks citywide, including solutions for use by SDOT staff, and potentially the broader public. The operations plan focuses on SDOT infrastructure, specifically sidewalks, but also considers conflicts between trees and other public infrastructure (e.g. overhead power lines for city lights, and underground water/sewer pipes).



Q & A

1. What was the pivotal or motivating factor(s) that made you choose a career in landscape architecture?
I loved urban photography and looked for a major that combined that interest and my interest in buildings and streets. I had never heard of the profession until I saw it listed in a catalog.

2. If you had not become a landscape architect, what profession might you have pursued?
Journalism.

3. What do you most enjoy about being a landscape architect?
It is fulfilling to watch your spaces become "owned" by the users. Seeing the projects mature into your vision is pretty exciting.

4. Do you think women landscape architects generally get the same respect as their male counterparts? Have you experienced any discrimination because of your gender within the profession or by clients?
Yes, practicing over 38 years I have experienced what most women in the business world experience. Even in the last few years some situations have been tough, whether that is gender or age. Luckily the good experiences far outweigh the negative.

5. When you first meet people not affiliated with the profession and explain that you are a landscape architect, how do you describe what you do?
Our profession has a broad reach - I describe myself as a landscape architect that specializes in infrastructure - pedestrian, bicycle, urban forestry, utilities and streets. That generally begins a discussion on urban spaces and often discussions on right of way use. My book club loves to give me a hard time about bikes taking road space.

6. What in particular do you attribute your success to?
My mom taught me to look at the world through empathetic eyes. This has given me the skills to see the vision and to work with teams in order to carry that vision out. We also apply rigor in our work. If a barrier goes up on an idea, we test ways to bring the barrier down or refresh our approach. It is all about caring for the people and being passionate about the place.

7. What is (are) the most important contribution(s) made by landscape architects in the field of design today?
Landscape architects have been at the forefront of the "complete streets" and safe walking environment movements. Our profession raised awareness of the environment in 1966 through the Landscape Architecture Foundation's 1966 Declaration of Concern. The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) recently convened over 700 landscape architects at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who shared a concern for the future. Inspired by LAF's 1966 Declaration of Concern, these established and emerging leaders discussed and crafted A New Landscape Declaration, a new vision for landscape architecture in the 21st century. (https://lafoundation.org/news-events/2016-summit/)

8. How has the landscape architecture profession changed since you first began working in the field?
The obvious example would be use of computers, but computers are just a tool. I feel the profession has strengthened its reach as landscape architects understand the effects of public realm on how people feel - whether it is a sidewalk, a path, a street, the exterior spaces of their housing, a park, a plaza beneath a building or how we handle utility infrastructure such as urban stormwater.

9. What career advice would you give to recently graduated landscape architectural students as they enter the profession?
The same advice one of my professors gave me: Observe the world in large scale and small scale; watch people; look at how things are built and how they fit. Above all, care about what you do and who you are designing for. It is not for you - landscape architecture is a profession that serves others.

As seen in LASN magazine, November 2016.








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