Heat Mitigation, Urban Parks, Border Cities and Waterfronts among Urban Design Topics Explored at ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO in Phoenix



Heat Mitigation, Urban Parks, Border Cities and Waterfronts among Urban Design Topics Explored at ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO in Phoenix

The theme for the 2012 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO is Beyond Boundaries—Design, Leadership & Community. More than 5,000 landscape architecture professionals from across the country and around the world will gather in Phoenix, September 28 – October 1, to enjoy the fellowship of others from the profession and to reconnect with the fundamental elements of design. Key issues such as practice management, sustainability and stormwater management will be addressed by some of the country’s foremost experts in the field.

Each year, the ASLA Professional Awards program honors the best in landscape architecture from around the globe, while the Students Award program gives us a glimpse of the future of the profession. The ASLA Awards Ceremony will be at 12 p.m., October 1 in the Phoenix Convention Center. To learn more about the awards, click here.

Scroll down to see the collection of urban design programs, free to the press unless otherwise stated:

Friday, Sept. 28

“Mitigating Urban Heat Islands by Predicting Impacts of Urban Parks/Open Space” – Mitigating extreme heat is critical to the quality of life in cities vulnerable to the heat-island effect. This presentation is based on studies that have modeled vegetation-based urban design and applies this current urban climatology research to landscape architecture practice. 8:30 - 10 a.m.

“Successful Green Roof Design in Arid Regions” – Arid regions pose challenges for any open-space design, especially in an urban environment. Heat, shade and water are critical factors. Further, any over-structure installation poses potential long-term problems. This session will present successful landscape design solutions for green roofs in arid regions. 1:30 -3 p.m.

“(Re)Mediating Nature & Culture: The Post-Industrial Urban Park as Learning Lab” – Parklands as greenspace in the redevelopment of derelict industrial brownfield sites demand skilled and interdisciplinary collaboration. They present the rare opportunity to replant, recalibrate, reinvent and learn. Four panelists will discuss how remediation can reunite culture and nature in the urban context. 3:30 - 5 p.m.

“The Re/evolution of Public Space: Assessing ‘Urban Interventions’” – The public commons is under ever-greater pressure to serve multiple functions. This discussion will share key themes from the May 2012 Seattle Center/AIA Seattle competition to envision new modes of public space in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair. 3:30 - 5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 29

“In-between Spaces: Reclaiming Public Space in the Metropolis” – Dense urban communities seem to lack open space, even while alleys and medians sit idle. Urban designers can creatively incorporate these in-between spaces. This session will highlight ways to transform underused public spaces by layering innovative design with dynamic, social places for people. 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

“Retrofitting Villages, Towns and Cities for Greater Pedestrian and Bicyclist Mobility” – The last half century of development in most cities, towns and villages has not been kind to walkers and bicyclists. This session will introduce pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly retrofitting concepts for rural, suburban and urban applications to make bicycling and walking more enjoyable. 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

“Reusing Infrastructure: Mobility, Open Space and Development Opportunities” – Urban decision makers across the country have largely overlooked transportation infrastructure through underused industrial corridors. Yet forward-thinking cities are embracing these corridors as opportunities for transit, open space and economic revitalizations. Presenters will explain developments in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Los Angeles. 1:30 - 3 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 30

“Meeting the Northwest Livability Challenge” – As the population of the Northwest grows by millions over the next 25 to 30 years, the region will face enormous pressure on infrastructure, environment and natural resources. We must look now at interdisciplinary opportunities to accommodate this growth. 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 1

“A Return to the City: Urban Parks as Catalysts for Growth in Second-Tier Cities” – National decentralization has resulted in the identification of what has become known as “second-tier cities.” This session will explore the unique opportunities and constraints of new urban parks in three of these cities located in Oklahoma, Missouri and Alabama. 8 - 9:30 a.m.

“Renewable Energy in an Urban Landscape” – Landscape architects can be more involved with issues that incorporate renewable energy systems. Examples are food waste and solar and wind power. This panel will discuss opportunities for both large- and site-scale systems, trends, technology and financing opportunities. 8 - 9:30 a.m.

 “Cool Designs for Hot Cities: Site Strategies to Mitigate the Urban Heat Island” – Urban heat and poor air quality are already a major cause of asthma and mortality in dense urban areas. Neighborhoods with less vegetation suffer from higher nighttime temperatures as well. This session will introduce the latest research on how design can cool urban hot spots. 8 -9:30 a.m.

“Streets as Public Space: Street Modifications that Stimulate Social Gathering” Landscape architects can be more involved with issues that incorporate renewable energy systems. This panel will discuss opportunities for both large- and site-scale systems, trends, technology and financing opportunities. 1:30 - 3 p.m.

More great urban design programming on tap at the 2012 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO:

  • The Alienated Border Region City: Chihuahua Rethinks the USA and Mexico, Sept. 28, 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • The Past, Present, and Future of an Emerging Landmark: The Chicago Riverwalk, Sept. 28, 1:30 - 3 p.m.
  • Olympic Legacy: Case Studies and Trends of Parks Since 1996, Sept 28, 3:30 - 5 p.m.
  • Who is Driving the Design Agenda? A Case Study of Multibenefit Parks in California, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • Designing Complex Waterfronts: Issues and Strategies from Cairo, Seattle, and Taipei, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • Update: Redfields to Greenfields—Rebuilding Communities from Dead Malls and Insolvent Banks, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • Opportunities to Innovate: Collaborations in Public Art and Landscape Architecture, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • The Evolution of Green Infrastructure: NYC’s Green Infrastructure Plan and Program, Sept. 30, 1:30 - 3 p.m.
  • Legacy Cities and Innovative Landscapes, Sept. 30, 1:30 - 3 p.m.
  • Greenways: Economic Engine for the 21st Century Catalytic, Vibrant, and Viable, Oct. 1, 10 - 11:30 a.m.
  • Reconstructing the Arboreal Ark: Evolving Design Directions for Public Gardens, Oct. 1, 1:30 - 3 p.m.
  • Greening America’s Capitals: Landscape Architects Take Charge!Oct. 1, 3:30 - 5 p.m.
  • Merging Art and Landscape, Oct. 1, 3:30 - 5 p.m.
  • Urban and Sustainable Agriculture’s Role in Community Growth and Transformation, Oct. 1, 3:30 - 5 p.m.

Working journalists attending the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO for editorial coverage are eligible to receive complimentary media credentials. The media credentials provide access to the EXPO floor, general sessions, education sessions and the working press room with computers, internet access and refreshments.

Media interested in attending should contact Karen Trimbath at with their name, address, email, phone number, title and media organization. Due to limited space, journalists are strongly encouraged to register well in advance. All requests are approved upon a case-by-case basis, and ASLA may require additional documentation for credentials. For any questions, contact Karen Trimbath.

About ASLA

Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing nearly 16,000 members in 48 professional chapters and 76 student chapters. The Society's mission is to lead, to educate and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use their “ASLA” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at


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