Urban interventions: Landscape architects take back the streets

At our upcoming VERGE conference, we’ll be talking a lot about cities as the laboratories of the future. You’ll hear how big data, smart grid technologies, connected vehicles, next-gen buildings and many more trends are shaping the urban environment.

But how these all come together depends upon who’s at the table. At the recent American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) conference in Phoenix, leading landscape architects got together to discuss their role in shaping this future.

As award-winning landscape architect Thomas Balsley observed, “We have to look at the design of cities more holistically. As more and more people move into cities, our quality of life will be defined by our public spaces.”

Proof of that migration comes in recent U.S. Census data, as many of the nation's largest cities recorded spikes in population growth last year as Americans flocked to urban centers. New York City added nearly 70,000 residents and by 2030 it will add the equivalent of the population of San Francisco. Strategies for transitioning to denser city cores that are livable, and maybe even enjoyable, was a major topic of discussion at the ASLA meeting.

Photo of city park provided by GeorgeM Photography via Shutterstock

Next page: Reclaiming in-between spaces