Landscape Architect Jerry Smith wears many distinctive and distinguished hats, one of which is working on the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES). He was recently asked to write an introduction to one of the Human Health and Well-being Credits of SITES and floated a draft by me, a non-SITESian, for comment. I, in turn, coerced Jerry, a non-Blogger, into posting the introduction on the TLN Blog. As Jerry says, “We both graciously submitted to peer pressure and long-winded threats.” The intersection of sustainability and landscapes for health is – strangely – not discussed all that much. Jerry is one of the few landscape architects I know who is solidly committed to both, and SITES is at the vanguard of blending these two important design considerations.
Health and Well-being and the Sustainable Sites Initiative
For those not familiar with SITES, it is a partnership made up of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the United States Botanic Garden and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of the University of Texas at Austin for the purpose of developing a sustainable design rating system for all landscapes, with and without buildings.
Divided into five areas of focus (Hydrology, Soils, Vegetation, Materials and Human Health and Well-being), SITES follows the USGBC LEED-based point system format awarding points or Credits to landscape design projects for achieving sustainable metrics and benchmarks. The Human Health and Well-being (HHWB) Credits distinguish SITES from other sustainable toolkits by acknowledging that people are a part of, not apart from, the environmental equation and has developed a section of design metrics that address the human health attributes of site design.(more…)