Award of Excellence
Manhattan, Kansas, United States
Chloe Gillespie, Student ASLA;
Stephanie Rolley, FASLA;
Kansas State University
This inventive project connected people with landscapes and landscape architects through social media and provided inspiration to many during the pandemic.
- 2022 Awards Jury
This project began as an opportunity to travel the country to learn more about the landscape architecture profession and became a journey of bringing awareness to the importance of landscape architecture. Through vertical short-form videos specifically curated for social media, Landscape Travels brings viewers along on my journey across the country, introducing them to 22 people engaged in the profession highlighting projects in ten different cities. As of May 27th, 2022, after four months of posting, @landscapetravels_22 has a following of 580 users, with a reach of over 120,000 through Instagram and TikTok.
@landscapetravels_22 continues to reach new people every day, through tri-weekly posts, highlighting unique aspects of landscape architecture. Each video is under 60 seconds giving viewers a quick glimpse into projects in cities they live in or visit. Every video highlights a different aspect of landscape architecture, while following a similar story pattern, broadening the public’s understanding of the breadth of landscape architecture.
Landscape Travels (@landscapetravels_22) demonstrates the power of social media in promoting the profession of landscape architecture, reaching over 120,000 users in a four-month period. The primary goal of Landscape Travels is opening people’s eyes to the importance of landscape architecture in hopes that more people will become stronger advocates for the profession and for the future of the planet. With the rise of short-form video becoming the way people consume content (Montenegro, 2021), and with projections for TikTok to reach 84.9 million users in 2022 (Statista, 2022), now is the time to use these tools to promote the importance of landscape architecture, the audience is there.
The results of landscape architecture impact us the minute we step out the door. To prove it, I connected viewers to landscape architecture projects across the country in the home communities of the designers. This strategy allowed me to visit and film the projects while also interviewing those responsible for their design and to target viewers in specific cities. To start, I mapped out a journey to visit landscape architects and designers in a range of firms. From single office firms to regional multidisciplinary offices to a national transportation planning firm, I looked for people who could bring landscape architecture alive for the general public. With the breadth of landscape architecture being so vast, I also looked for a variety of project types to showcase, from stormwater management projects to park designs to downtown districts to waterfront redevelopments.
Over a span of three months, I conducted twenty-two interviews with people passionate about landscape architecture: landscape architects, designers, planners, and the CEO of the ASLA, in ten cities across the United States. Each interviewee was asked the same series of questions regarding a project they have worked on in the local city. After the interview, if time allowed, we would visit the project site together to record the details mentioned during the interview. If time did not allow, I would visit the site solo. With the videos and interviews recorded, along with supplemental images provided by the interviewee and the firm website, I created 60 seconds or shorter videos highlighting each project. While the interviewees were asked the same questions, each provided a different perspective into their respective projects. Some interviewees chose to focus more on the history and development of the project, while others spoke to the impact the project has made on the community. Each interviewee provided valuable insight into the importance of landscape architecture, supporting the goal of Landscape Travels.
To demonstrate the wide breadth of landscape architecture, Landscape Travels focuses on highlighting various aspects of the design process in every video. Incorporating history into designs can be subtle – RDG History, or could be embraced and celebrated – Design Workshop AIDS Garden. The use of plants and materials drives design ideas and concepts through embracing the growth – CMG Living Landscapes, and minimizing material waste in installation – Fletcher Minimizing Waste. Innovative design solutions like the country’s first 100% wastewater recycling system – PLACE Meet NORM, or the nation’s largest sewer heat recovery system – MIG Sewer Heat Recovery, are changing the game of sustainable designs. Some topics enhance the existing environment, others, like removing a lane of car travel to make transit-only lanes – Kittelson Reassigning Travel Lanes, create new environments for the future. Through the variety of topics and insights, Landscape Travels is able to reach a diverse audience and reveal the importance landscape architecture brings to the world.
Landscape Travels’ main distribution is through TikTok and Instagram Reels. The same content is posted on both platforms, with the addition of graphic “New Chapter” posts on Instagram when moving to a new city. The 60 seconds or shorter videos match Instagram’s time limit restrictions. @landscapetravels_22 Instagram views averages between 1,000 and 3,000 per video with 20 to 40 likes. Views on TikTok averages 300 to 450 per video and 30 to 40 likes. A high point came when the AIDS Garden Chicago by Design Workshop video received over 99,000 views and 18,000 likes, in less than a month after being posted.
As the trend of short-form videos continues to increase, I will continue filming and posting to share the importance of landscape architecture on social media.
Omaha, Nebraska – RDG Planning and Design, Bruce Niedermyer, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP, Cary Thomsen, PLA, ASLA
Des Moines, Iowa – RDG Planning and Design, Mike Bell, PLA, ASLA; Confluence, Matt Carlile, PLA, LEED AP, ASLA
Chicago, Illinois – Design Workshop, Kuang Xin, PLA, LEED® AP ND, Brian Corrie, PLA; Site Design Group, Gretchen Gravenstein, PLA, ASLA, Rob Reuland, PLA, ASLA, Hana Ishikawa, AIA, ASLA Affiliate
San Francisco, California – Kittelson & Associates, Amy Lopez; CMG, Pamela Conrad, PLA, LEED AP, ASLA; Fletcher Studio, David Fletcher, ASLA, RLA & Lauren Ewald, ASLA, PLA
Portland, Oregon – PLACE, Tori Halligan, Dylan Morgan, Miguel Camacho-Serna; SERA Architects, Matt Piccone, Nick Lavelle
Seattle, Washington – GGN, David Nelson
Denver, Colorado – MIG Studio, Angie Hulsebus, PLA
Baton Rouge, Louisiana – LABash Conference
Boston, Massachusetts – Reed Hilderbrand, John Stuart Fishback, ASLA; Klopfer Martin Design Group, Mary Webb, ASLA, PLA
Washington D.C. – American Society of Landscape Architects, Torey Carter-Conneen, CAE
Montenegro, L. (2022, April 14). Council post: The rise of short-form video: TikTok is changing the game. Forbes. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2021/08/27/the-rise-of-short-form-video-tiktok-is-changing-the-game/?sh=1ac727765083
Statista. (2022, January 28). Number of U.S. tiktok users 2023. Statista. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1100836/number-of-us-tiktok-users/