Landscape Associations . . . Addicted to Everything

The most recent issue of National Geographic magazine was titled “The Science of Addiction”. In the issue it talks about how the mind is flooded with dopamine at even the thought of certain drugs or activities. These chemical reactions makes the individual narrow their focus onto that one drug or activity, blotting out reason in the quest for more . . .
Almost every day I am seeing things out of landscape industry associations calling for more of this or that. Three recent items that come to mind were 1) we need to increase the H2B counts 2) we need to contact congress to add funding back into the EPA and 3) calls for more funding the Great Lakes conservation programs. Each item in itself seems to have merit. However . . . These are addictions that need to be overcome.
Do we really need more migrant workers, when 90+ million Americans are unemployed or out of the workforce? That’s ridiculous.  Do we need to spend more money saving spiders, mice and frogs when the country is $20 TRILLION in debt? Ludicrous.
Now is a time for the industry associations to be focusing on saving the American tax dollar, recruiting from within our citizenship and working on ways to expand our businesses without government intervention.
Today’s associations are too focused on lobbying, trying to get their piece of the tax dollar pie. Instead we need to see a shift to thinking about ways to use the means currently available, tapping into resources that we already have. Can’t we get donations from the Sierra Club or Go Fund Me to help keep the waters of the Great Lakes clean? Maybe a public awareness campaign funded by the ASLA? Can we get NALP to provide workforce training to inner city youths?
Currently too many associations are addicted to lobbying Congress for more, more more, when what they really need is to get into “spending” rehab and start programs with membership dues that tap into the resources at hand. The Landscape Industry is the original Green Industry. Maybe it can become the leader in showing the country how to do things outside the addiction of getting more, more, more from the deeply indebted American Taxpayer.

Streetscapes of the Future

Streetscapes of the Future

Welcome to the 2017 Streetscapes Issue. This annual issue has been a staple of LASN for many years, with all kinds of cool traffic flow, pedestrian-friendly, vendor-interactive designs coming across the boards.

We’ve seen many innovative elements like parklets, multifunctional streetlights, dark sky, bicycle security, traffic circles, signage, corner bumpouts, etc. But two things are coming down the pipe that will surely change the art of streetscape design and reshape the downtown experience. One is already making an impact and the other is just a few short years away.

Internet shopping is reducing the demand for onsite shopping across the nation, causing malls and downtowns to rethink the number and kinds of retailers they can support and how these outlets will interact with shoppers in the future.

The other is the driverless car, which most assuredly will be in full force within the next decade or so. Only time will tell the full impact this has, but several elements should be considered for any future downtown renovations. First on the list are parking and drop off zones. In the very near future you will call your car out of your garage, climb in and order it to take you downtown where it will drop you off in front of your destination, and then go find a place to park itself, waiting for your command to be picked up down the block and taken to the next destination. Cars won’t need space to open their doors when parking, as no one will be inside when the car is parked. Parking along the street might not even be necessary. Currently you look for the closest space to your destination, but in a few years, you’ll simply climb out of your vehicle and off it will go. In fact, you might even be able to send off your car to go and pick up a package at a retailer or pick up your groceries at the market while you stay at home or shop at different locations.

Elements that you are designing today to slow traffic, like circles and corner bump outs may also become unnecessary, as all traffic will be controlled in downtown zones. Traffic lanes can be much thinner as the human element is replaced with computerized precision. Drop off/pickup zones will be needed and valet parking will become a thing of the past . . . What, grandpa? You actually paid people to park your car?!?

So as you begin planning for a streetscape renovation or downtown revitalization that will occur a few years down the road (pun intended), consideration of future technology has never been so important to the success of that project. Who knows what new technology will shape our landscape, but these two elements will definitely have an impact in the not so distant future.

Landscape Architects Split 50/50 on Paris Climate Accord

Reader’s Opinions
 

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Photo: UNFCCC

 

On Thursday June 1, Trump officially announced the U.S. would pull out of the Paris Climate Accords. That same day, LASN magazine emailed a sampling of its readers for their opinions on the pull out, and asked them to state specific reasons for their positions. Trump stated it costs U.S. jobs and is an undue burden on American taxpayers.

The response was split almost exactly 50/50 for those in agreement and those opposed to the US pulling out of the agreement. About 80% of all respondents sited the need to protect the climate regardless of which side they took. Here is a compilation of the response from across the country. We have not identified the names of the senders, only their city and state, nor edited the comments, except for a couple uses of profanity.

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