Lessons from a Landscape Architect: De facto vs. De jur

TASA ID: 334

If you are driving down a steep hillside on a narrow serpentine road, to the intersection of the nearest major road, you are on the site of one of my most difficult analysis.  A freshwater reservoir had slowly evolved over a period of time into a semi-formal campsite with primitive and semi-developed camps, served by a road that was originally designed to accommodate service vehicles used to inspect and maintain pumps and valves at the hilltop reservoir.  With silent assent from government officials and without formal designation of land use changes, the intensity of use of the site slowly increased. A geometric analysis of the turning radii of this road, along with an inspection of pavement and widths, determined the designs speed of this road to be 15 miles per hour while speed limit signs posted indicated 35 miles per hour.

Lessons from a Landscape Architect: Design and Plan for People

TASA ID: 334

If you have ever driven out of a quiet residential neighborhood and found the five lanes of high-speed traffic sucking you into a vortex that will not let you go west, but instead, you are forced to go north, you may be a victim of large land mass zoning. Without regard to historical significance, indigenous architecture or landscape architecture, disregarding the normal behavioral patterns of human users’ government forces have created huge vast tracts of similar patterns. Despite current interest in new urbanism, mixed uses and pockets of parks and integrated mass transit for people moving, we are still creating mega blocks of solid homogeneity without significant integration of services and amenities.

Lessons from a Landscape Architect: Landscape Screening

TASA ID: 334

Most landscape designers have encountered municipal codes which require dense shrub and tree placement along the boundary lines of a commercial project.  Although this mandate is well-intended, as in reducing the negative visual impact of vast areas of asphalt parking lots and roads, it fails to recognize that highways and parking lots are not always incompatible land uses. 

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