Updates from ASLA

ASLA 2021 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Ghost Wash. Paradise Valley, AZ. COLWELL SHELOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE >


Torey Carter-Conneen joins University of Colorado, Denver students.

It’s a new year and so we’re trying a new way to share with all of you what I learn as I travel across the country. I meet so many amazing people and see so many transformative projects that I am launching a travel blog because all of the work you do out in the field is too good to not to share. I may not blog about every single trip and sometimes I might combine my reflections from two different gatherings but I’m excited to get started and share this experiment with you.

My first trip for the year was out to Denver to join the Land 8x8 Lightning Talk. There was an amazing range of speakers that reflected the diversity of practice, projects and design thinking–very innovative. I was so inspired by Kathryn Finnigan’s presentation. Kathryn is a graduate student in the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado in Denver and the 2022 LAF National graduate Olmsted Scholar. In her 8 minute presentation, Neuro-Inclusive Spaces, Acoustically and Sensorially Supportive Landscapes, she explained the important design considerations for people who identify as neurodivergent. Her vision will transform spaces for so many throughout our society and it highlights, yet again, how landscape architects are uniquely qualified to solve many of our biggest social challenges.

When I travel I also like to visit college campuses and landscape architecture firms. Louise Bordelon, PhD, Assistant Professor & Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture, College of Architecture & Planning at the University of Colorado Denver gave me a tour of the studios and we discussed the elements of the CAP program. The semester was just getting started and I sat in on a graduate class. The students I met shared that they attended our most recent conference in San Francisco.
I also spent time with our friends at DIG Studio where Gretchen Wilson, Principle and Founder and ASLA Trustee highlighted a number of projects that are introducing climate positive design solutions. The project I found most captivating was the Carpio-Sanguinette Park Master Plan which benefits underserved neighborhoods through the metamorphosis of a former industrial site in North Denver. The park’s surrounding neighborhoods are ranked as some of the highest for inequity on the Denver Community Health Neighborhood Equity Index which reports lower education levels, higher poverty levels, little access to healthy foods or parks, higher childhood obesity, and lower life expectancy than other Denver neighborhoods. The new vision reunites disconnected parts of the neighborhood into one one eighty-acre regional park providing access to nature and all of the mental and physical health benefits we know flow from spending time in green spaces. The new plan also provides a regional stormwater quality management system and will increase biodiversity in the area with restoration of habitat along the South Platte River.
It’s an incredible transformation.

It’s wonderful to be in community with all of you–hope to see you on the road somewhere soon.


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