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Member Profiles 2011: Sustainable Design and Development (Part 1)

This article is the 16th in a series profiling members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs), based on responses to the 2011 Annual PPN Survey. The PPN members who submitted profiles addressed sustainable practices and projects from all over the country and the world. Following are some details of their work.  

Jan Striefel, FASLA, is the founding principal of Landmark Design, Inc. in Salt Lake City. She finds that there is a much higher level of interest in urban agriculture, community gardens, and food sources on the local level. This is crucial to a sustainable lifestyle and sustainable communities. There is also a continued interest in water conservation, particularly in Utah, although there is much still to be done in some areas. She is very interested in water issues such as water law, water use, and conflicts between urban areas and agricultural areas.

Barrett L. Kays, FASLA, is the president of Landis, Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was involved in the design of the Sustainable Living Center at the Maharishi University in Fairfield, Iowa, the first carbon-neutral and off-the-grid university building and campus in the United States. The center has submitted for LEED Platinum designation and for International Living Building Awards. Kays was also involved in completing the design for the new Creative Arts Building at Haywood Community College in the North Carolina mountain region. He designed an advanced recirculating media filtration stormwater treatment system that occupies only 2 percent of the site and can treat up to a 100-year rainstorm event.

Kays has also provided consultation to North Carolina State University on a research program to develop technical methods and numeric standards to implement enhanced infiltration of stormwater into heavy clay soils. He is also working on a new LATIS (Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series) publication on soils and a new landscape soil specification system for landscape architects.

John Griffin, ASLA, is a principal at Griffin Landscape Architecture in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. While he is working to grow his business, the economy has required him to be flexible in how to look for work, complete work, and stay positive about the future. His clients’ demanding budgets have forced him to be creative in meeting their needs, and as a result, his designs are more sustainable. In consideration of available resources, he is now reusing materials in his projects. Sourcing products like stone and timbers that are otherwise thrown away or recycled is a great way to design landscapes more sustainably.

Kenneth Peregon, ASLA, is a principal and president at O'Boyle, Cowell, Blalock Associates, Inc. in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He continues to be involved in an effort to encourage a local grassroots ad hoc development group to incorporate sustainability in the planning process to redevelop Kalamazoo’s center city district. His firm incorporates low impact development (LID) design on every project, including green roofs, native landscapes, and natural systems for stormwater management.

Thomas M. Paine, ASLA, is a principal at AGER Group in Boston. Currently, he is writing a book on urban public open space design for the Chinese market that cites the good work of the Sustainable Sites Initiative in the sustainability discussion.

Tricia Martin, ASLA, is a principal at WE Design in Brooklyn, New York. A significant project for the firm is designing a green infrastructure solution that could be “rolled out” with the Brooklyn Greenway.

Jim Neri, ASLA, is a principal at NLA in San Diego. His design for Campus Pointe in San Diego earned a LEED Platinum designation in 2009. With several LEED projects under way, he remains optimistic that the economy and sustainable design will continue to grow together. Neri will be a field session leader, presenting “Habitat Like That: Landscape Architecture for the Zoo,” at the ASLA Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Keven Graham, ASLA, is the managing principal and director of planning with Planning Resources Inc. in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also the current cochair of the Sustainable Design and Development PPN. Recently, he has contacted his congressman and senator regarding green infrastructure and has showcased the work of landscape architects. The firm’s current projects include developing a green street solution for a local demonstration project, and developing and implementing a temporary streetscape/park on a closed street during a festival and gauging the reaction of the public.

Mark Byington, ASLA, is the director of the Carolinas Office of Innocenti & Webel in Landrum, South Carolina, and director of landscape sustainability and design for Pacolet Milliken Enterprises in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He recently completed a two-year sustainability study on grounds management for a major corporate headquarters. The Carolinas Office of Innocenti & Webel also was the landscape architect firm for three other projects that achieved LEED certification. Byington received a General Design Merit Award at the 2011 Tri-State (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina) ASLA meeting.

Oomer F. Syed, ASLA, is a senior landscape architect project manager at William H. Gordon Associates Inc. in Chantilly, Virginia. The firm is actively looking for different ways to manage and treat stormwater within the built environments. An internal team of planners, landscape architects, and engineers recently completed a study on potential streetscape stormwater planters with healthy soil volume requirements for typical urban trees in a mixed-use environment.

Mark O’Hara, ASLA, is a landscape architect and urban planner with Phronesis Design in Kansas City, Missouri. He recently worked on a Missouri overflow control and long-term control plan.

Dea (Dede) Brokesh, ASLA, is a landscape architect at LDB Landscape Architecture & Engineering in Manhattan, Kansas. She obtained a $583,507 ARRA/Kansas Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund award on behalf of Kansas State University to design and install innovative green infrastructure on campus. This project provides several examples of innovative stormwater management techniques that are unique to the region. The project includes a permeable paver parking lot, porous concrete sidewalk, bioretention cells, rain gardens, water harvesting and reuse for landscape irrigation and aquifer recharge, native planting, and woodland restoration.

Jennifer Montgomery, ASLA, is a landscape architect at Schmidt Design Group Inc. in San Diego. She has appreciated the opportunity to volunteer for the 2011 ASLA Annual Meeting and help organize a tour of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography's new LEED facility. The tour will include presentations on the area’s watershed pollution control program and low-impact design elements, as well as a kayak tour of the shoreline.

Kamran S. Azizi, International ASLA, is the head of the landscape department and senior landscape architect at TESSCO (Technical Engineering Scientific Studies Co.) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). He also is the resident engineer in beautification of public areas and around schools. He founded the Emirates Society of Landscape (ESLA), which deals with municipalities and international organizations in supporting and assisting landscape designers.

Azizi described the organization, Estidama (Arabic for “sustainability”), which was developed in Abu Dhabi, UAE, under the Urban Planning Council. Its purpose is to preserve and enrich Abu Dhabi's physical and cultural identity, while improving the quality of life for its residents, consistent with the environmental, economic, social, and cultural principles of sustainability. Estidama trains architects under a sustainable design rating system. All government projects must also have an engineer certified under Estidama’s program on the design and construction team. Azizi is certified under the program and has designed three city parks in Abu Dhabi consistent with the sustainable design standards for community, building, and landscape.

Hilary Noonan, Associate ASLA, is a landscape designer with Syntax Land Design LLC in Kansas City, Missouri. Last fall, she designed a stormwater management project for Kansas City as a formal garden. The head engineer at the City’s Water Services Department entered the project into the Solid Waste Management Master Plan and determined that it would reduce a 10-year storm to a one-year storm and a 100-year storm to a 10-year storm in terms of runoff. It was very gratifying to know that the garden could also function as a stormwater best management practice.

Kelsey Kanspedos, Student ASLA, is a student at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. Recently, she interned with JG Landscape Design in Pittsburgh. She completed her first design for a backyard and is looking forward to the final product.

Michael Light, Associate ASLA, works for Stantec Consulting in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. One of his favorite sustainability/sustainable activities] is becoming a gardener. First, he rented a community garden plot, then began growing herbs on his apartment balcony, and now is using a rain barrel to water his “crops.” He enjoys the low-tech aspects of his garden and the fresh produce that it provides.

Visit the Sustainable Design and Development PPN’s web page for more information about this group. To learn more about ASLA's other PPNs, go to the PPN home page or contact Rachel Shaw, ASLA's manager of Professional Practice, at

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