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Creativity Took the Cake on 04.26.12

Once again, landscape architects, students, and assorted colleagues gathered in cities across the country to introduce the public to the landscape architecture profession…and had some fun along the way. The national celebration of Frederick Law Olmsted's birthday on April 26 was the latest public-awareness push coordinated across ASLA chapters.

Nevadans drew Complete Streets in chalk, which were featured on the news by the local CBS affiliate.


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Students at Cornell drew attention to landscape architecture with a forced-perspective guerrilla installation on their campus. An image of their work spread through social networks.

PR Campaign - Cornell

In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter spoke to a crowd about the profession in a downtown park.

Landscape architects rallied in front of the Capitol in Sacramento, California.

University of Arizona students invited the public for coffee and a cake modeled on New York City’s Central Park.

PR Campaign - Central Park Cake

And the locals in Rochester, New York, snacked on cupcakes made to look like the landscape architecture campaign logo.

PR Campaign - Cupcakes

“We had horrible weather in Rochester, but that didn’t keep the crowds away,” says organizer Sue Steel, ASLA. “Apparently people will do just about anything for free cupcakes.”

Volunteers handed out magazines from Burlington, Vermont, to Honolulu. Bike and walking tours sprang up in Miami, Seattle, and San Diego to take people on a ride through their environment as designed by landscape architects. In fact, San Diego’s walking tours received saturation news coverage. You’ll still find chalk scrolls in Rosie the Riveter Park in Richmond, California. Kentucky planted trees in honor of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday. And at the Philadelphia event, organizers constructed a contour model of the founder of American landscape architecture—as his birthday cake.

So far, 67 domestic events have been posted to the national map, but dozens of others remain to be reported, three in the nation’s capital alone. New Zealanders even joined in hosting a design competition in Auckland.

After the campaign’s launch on 08.17.11, the push for public awareness of landscape architecture incorporated themes of transportation, green infrastructure, and, most recently, public health with this mega-celebration of Olmsted’s birthday. This September, the campaign’s 48 chapter organizers will once again convene to make the next big push—historic preservation—by rededicating parks and public spaces across the country. This time, public officials will play a role, with members of Congress and even more mayors and political representatives taking part.

It’s always the right time to step out for public awareness. Make an event happen in your area. Download resources and keep abreast of the campaign at asla.org/campaign or on the Facebook page at facebook.com/theunderstory. And let us know what you are doing!



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