By DELLE WILLETT | Downtown News
From Nov. 15-18, more than 6500 attendees will take part in the American Society of Landscape Architects’ (ASLA) Conference on Landscape Architecture at the San Diego Convention Center. This is the largest gathering of landscape architects and allied professionals in the world.
The conference features over 300 speakers and experts, discussing a wide variety of subjects, including climate change and resilience, and the design of parks, streetscapes, and other public spaces.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to explore San Diego in 12 different field sessions, which include tours of Balboa Park, Torrey Pines State Park, the San Elijo Lagoon, UCSD, historic biotech campuses, outdoor learning labs, waterfront and urban parks, a major urban mixed-use development, and Tijuana.
The ASLA Expo will explore hundreds of new products, services, technology applications, and design solutions. With nearly 300 exhibitors, the expo is the largest trade show in the industry and the best-attended event of the conference.
The conference and sessions are open to the public; however, paid registration is required. You can register here: aslaconference.com
Keynote speakers for the conference include Gina McCarthy, former EPA administrator, director of the Center for Climate Health and the Global Environment, who will address the opening session. The closing session is open to the public at no charge but requires a separate registration. Speakers include: Kongian Yu, president and principal, Turenscape; Kotchakorn Voraakhom, CEO and founder Landprocess; and Hitesh Mehta, president, HM Design.
Co-chairs of this convention are San Diego landscape architects Vicki Estrada of Estrada Land Planning and Martin Flores of MSF-Landscape Architecture+Urban Design Associates.
Said Estrada, “Our profession is incredibly significant to our future quality of life. Mitigating for climate change, improving and protecting water and air quality, protecting open space, providing for recreation, improving public health, restoring damaged environments, honoring the past, designing for urban resiliency, and providing opportunities to interact with nature are all aspects of landscape architecture. This conference will provide an opportunity for landscape architects to learn from each other as to how we can continue to make our word all it should and can be.”
Landscape architects analyze, plan, design, manage, and nurture the built and natural environments, having a significant impact on communities and quality of life.
They design master-planned communities, parks, campuses, streetscapes, trails, plazas, hospital grounds, commercial sites, residential landscapes and other projects that help define a community.
Downtown San Diego has a plethora of spaces designed by landscape architects, some highly popular such as Waterfront Park at the County Administration building and Balboa Park. Others include the first phase of the Embarcadero on Harbor Drive at the foot of Broadway; Tweet Street Park on Cortez Hill; Embarcadero Marina Park North and South; Faultline Park; the rooftop deck of the Westgate Hotel; City College campus; the streetscape and rooftop deck of Block F in East Village and more.
In 2008 ASLA introduced the Legacy Project as a gift to the host city of the annual conference and expo. The host chapter teams up with the local ACE Mentor Program affiliate to design a project that will benefit the landscape and people of the host city for generations to come.
Expo exhibitors generously donate products and plants each year for the project, allowing ASLA to give back to the city that hosts the meeting.
As co-chair Flores explained, when the National ASLA Convention was slated to come to San Diego, one of the first tasks they researched was to find a Legacy partner and project that aligns with their local binational philosophy. They chose EarthLab, a 4-acre outdoor climate-action park that advances a new model of experiential environmental education for the youth of the Chollas Creek Watershed, and the larger San Diego community.
“We believe that our Legacy Project promotes EarthLab’s philosophy of linking technology and science (reason), ecology and conservation (empathy) and culture and arts (expression). The San Diego Legacy project will leave behind a student-inspired Landscape Architectural Legacy project that will be constructed from conception to completion by Landscape Architecture ACE mentors and students.”
— Delle Willett has been a marketing and public relations professional for over 30 years, with an emphasis on conservation of the environment. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.