ASLA Meeting & Expo! Good stuff this year, and in San Diego.

Photo by Henry Domke,

Photo by Henry Domke,

Annual ASLA Meeting & Expo, San Diego, CA, 10/30-11/2/2011

The annual ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Meeting & Expo is coming up fast, and I’m really looking forward to it. As with every year, several sessions focus or at least touch on restorative landscapes, and I’ll share those with you in this post. Lots of other good stuff, too – see the full program on the ASLA website. Advance deadline is 9/16, so hurry up and register.

The ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network will hold its annual meeting on Monday from 11:00-12:30. This is the best way to meet colleagues involved in this kind of work. In fact, the TLN was born from one of those meetings (see History on our website)!

In addition, our group MAY be having another meeting before the meeting, as we did last year in Washington, D.C. As a group, we walked around various sites on the Mall related to restorative landscapes. It was a great success, and though San Diego is far more spread out, we hope to visit a couple key sites the day before the meeting.

Here are some of the education sessions I’ll be attending. I have to attend the first one, on Sunday, 1:30-3:00 because I’m speaking at it, with my wonderful colleagues Jack Carman and Clare Cooper Marcus.

“Water in the Designed Landscape: Benefits, Precautions, and Recommendations”

We know water is an important landscape design element and that people are naturally drawn to it. But how does it affect us and why? Presenters will explore current research and the theoretical and practical implications for water features in the landscape, particularly to maximize benefits and minimize risk.

Learn about theories of why and how water‚ natural and designed‚ contributes to making spaces restorative. Evaluate a specific study on human reaction to the sound of water and its design implications. Explore safety concerns involving water features, especially in healthcare settings, and the latest design and maintenance findings.

Oh, and with that in mind, will you please take our water features survey? Findings will help with our presentation:

And this kills me. Every year, there’s at least one presentation that is exactly at the same time as another I really want to go to. I don’t at all fault ASLA, it’s a huge conference and they juggle it very well. Nevertheless, the one I won’t be going to this year, because I’m speaking at the same time, is

“Designing Community Recreation Spaces for Health and Well Being: Applying the Research Evidence”

When designing welcoming urban parks, schoolyards, trails, and greenways, landscape architects are leaders in enhancing community health. By applying the Sustainable Sites Initiative in evidence-based design, landscape architects reassert their value as preventive health facilitators. This session introduces participants to the current scientific evidence supporting healthy-lifestyle landscape design.

Featured Speakers: Robin Moore, Affil. ASLA, North Carolina State University; Jack Nasar, FAICP, The Ohio State University; Lois Brink, ASLA, University of Colorado; Philip Troped, Purdue University

Right after those two sessions, on Sunday from 3:30-5:00, Jack Carman is speaking again, this time with two other wonderful colleagues, Susan Erickson and Marguerite Koepke, on

Restorative Spaces/Healing Places: How to Make a Landscape a Healing Garden

The vital connection of people to nature extends to therapeutic garden design in all landscapes. The theory and value of therapeutic gardens include research- and evidence-based design principles, which this session illustrates with healing-property details on specific plants and materials, in keeping with the Sustainable Sites Initiative.

I’m also very excited to hear Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and the The Nature Principle, and founder of the Children & Nature Network speak on Tuesday, 1:30-3:00:

Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

With the advent of electronic and other artificial attachments, have children today lost their connection to nature? Noted author Richard Louv will present his findings on how being out-of-doors and engaged with our oft-forgotten flora and fauna is how humans are hard-wired to develop physically and cognitively.

Other Education Sessions that look interesting:

Sunday 8:30-10:00
“Developing Healthy Communities”

Sunday 10:30-12:00
Restoring the Human Dimension in Cities

I’m sure there are more that I’m missing…it’s a great lineup this year. Hope to see you there!