ASLA 2012 – Several events related to health and well-being

Banner Good Samaritan Health Center. Photo by Brice Bradley

Banner Good Samaritan Health Center. Photo by Brice Bradley

Time flies, and it seems to fly even faster in the summer. Fall is just around the corner, and seems to be a big conference season, so stay tuned for more blog posts on events. Many thanks to Filiz Satir who has been helping with these events postings.

Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in the number of education sessions, tours, and even keynote speakers (e.g., Dick Jackson AND Esther Sternberg in 2010) at ASLA conferences (and Healthcare Design, and Environments for Aging, etc.). I think it’s an encouraging indication of the growing interest in landscapes for human health and well-being, and also a credit to leaders and members of ASLA’s Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network.

Below is a list of sessions that may be of interest. One note: I (and others) am frustrated that every year, at least one session with a similar topic is held at the same time as another. And this is the second year in a row that “field sessions” (tours) occur on the same day as the first day of education sessions, causing competition. Tours used to be the day before the official start of the meeting, and this is still how most conferences operate.  I contacted ASLA’s Ann Looper about this, and she sent me a very nice response, which – with her permission – I have quoted below; I definitely have a better understanding of why and how these conflicts happen. Please have a look.

ASLA 2012 Annual Meeting and Expo
8/28 – 10/1, 2012
Phoenix, AZ

Therapeutic Gardens For Healing and Respite
Fri, 9/28: 7:00 AM  – 4:00 PM
Field Session (tour)
Organized by Phoenix landscape architects with a special interest in outdoor healing environments, this tour focuses on five healing gardens, including designs by ASLA Award recipients Kris Floor, FASLA and Christy Ten Eyck, FASLA. Experience how these gardens enhance well-being, not only for healing patients, but also for their families and caregivers.
Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the positive impacts of gardens in healthcare settings.
  • Evaluate the physical, psychological, and social benefits of outdoor spaces.
  • Review the process of post-occupancy evaluation of various garden areas.

The photo above is of Banner Good Samaritan Health Center, one of the gardens on the tour. For a great guest blog post by Brice Bradley about several healing gardens in and near Phoenix, see “Therapy in the Desert.”

Education Sessions:

Bridging the Landscape Of Autism
Fri, 9/28: 8:30 AM  – 10:00 AM
Brian Johnson, Vincent Lattanzio, Julie Sando, and Tara Vincenta
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are increasingly present today, and this session will clarify the many related opportunities and obstacles this presents in place-making. It will suggest best-management practices to accommodate and integrate individual needs in private and public spaces during analysis and conceptual design.
Learning Objectives:

  • Create mutual and self respect for the entire community through education and accommodation.
  • Improve communication by connecting individuals with ASD to the rest of the community.
  • Provide sensory integration and reduce isolation in increments each child can control.

Have We Taken the “Play” Out of Playgrounds?
Sun, 9/30, 11:00 AM  – 12:30 PM
Walter Hood and Warren Byrd
Can we design safe playgrounds that promote adventure and imagination, or have we become overzealous with safety? Participants will explore case studies with landscape architects and clients that reflect the conflicts of design creativity, civic planning, community interaction, and protective parenting in a litigious world.
Learning Objectives:

  • Explore current trends and issues affecting playground design, including safety and accessibility.
  • Learn how designers can work with regulations without sacrificing the play in playgrounds.
  • Increase knowledge of how designers work with civic clients and communities for playgrounds.

Inside the LA Studio with Jinny Blom Landscape Design
(Jinny serves on the TLN Advisory Board and has a background in psychotherapy. She designed the Healing Garden with HRH Prince Charles of Wales for the Chelsea Garden Show in 2002.)
Sun, 9/30: 1:30 PM  – 3:00 PM
Jinny Blom’s involves meticulous attention to the structure of a garden or landscape so that the overlay expresses its true spontaneous nature. Designs express sound proportions, intelligent planting, and fine materials, from which comes the freedom to suit any and every circumstance.
Learning Objectives:

  • Develop the process of “breakdown and repair” at every level of coherent and intelligent thinking.
  • Value the true worth of all involved: people, place, materials, and all forms of life.
  • Consider matters beyond the span of our own lives.

Health By Design: Best Practices in Hospital and Senior Living Gardens
Mon, 10/1, 10:00 AM  – 11:30 AM
Teresia Hazen and Mark Epstein
(Teresia and Mark also serve on the TLN Advisory Board)
Many healthcare facilities are integrating previously under-appreciated outdoor environments into their wellness strategy, with these new natural settings labeled as healing or therapeutic gardens. This session examines the issues surrounding healthcare gardens and evaluates why some succeed while others may fail.
Learning Objectives:

  • Describe changes in medical models and how they affect healthcare design.
  • Learn the processes and constraints of designing in the healthcare field.
  • Evaluate gardens to identify areas for improvement and missed opportunities.

See you in Phoenix!

A note from Ann Looper at ASLA. Many thanks, Ann, for your explanation and background about the conference:

Hi Naomi,

Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts.  We are always looking for ways to improve our schedule and program and appreciate your taking the time to send us your suggestions.

I’m sorry that your program was scheduled at the same time as another program on a related topic last year.  Please be assured that our education program staff does the best they can to avoid topical conflicts during the same education period. However, schedule shifts are often required due to speaker scheduling conflicts. I’m not familiar with the details of this particular scheduling overlap, but with over 130 sessions and 300+ faculty presenting in only four days, you can imagine the difficulty in planning this presents.

We have offered education programs on the first day of the meeting for several years now, but, as you may know, our meeting used to be one day longer than the current schedule and field sessions were offered on both the first and the last days of the meeting.  When the recession began in 2008, we received an overwhelming demand from attendees to condense the meeting by a day to help reduce their hotel and expense costs. At the same time, attendees wanted to maintain the number of Professional Development Hours that could be earned.  The fact is that only 3 percent of our meeting attendees participate in field sessions or workshops, which require a separate ticket purchase, therefore we eliminated the second day of Field Sessions.  The education sessions that are on Friday are far more popular with attendees than the field sessions—and are included in the regular registration—so we do not view this as a direct conflict.  Ticket sales for the 2012 field sessions are stronger than in the previous few years, but even if all of the sessions sell out to capacity, less than 4 percent of our attendees will participate, while hundreds, if not thousands, more will participate in the education sessions that day.

I hope this provides some background for how our schedule has evolved.