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Landscape Architects Release 200 Ways-Report for Architects, Planners to Eco Service

Landscape Architects Release 200 Ways-Report for Architects, Planners to Eco Service

Ecosystem-style landscaping and building design is given detailed examination in new report from American Society of Landscape Architects.

November 3, 2007 —

Landscapers, who literally design and dig with nature’s chlorophyll green every day, are placing stepping stones toward the greater architecture design community adopting eco-sustainability. On November 2, 2007, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) unveiled a report intended to instruct architects, designers and facility managers on specific ways (and thresholds) they can craft their buildings into natural ecological fits, sustainability, mitigating pollution and climate change effects.

The landscape architect’s report is part of the standards and guidelines reporting from the Sustainable Sites Initiative—representing a fairly powerful policy influence on architectural designers. The report is laden with specifics with over 200 methods for improving how buildings interact with surrounding ecology. The biology term the ASLA uses for this is: ecosystem services. Ecosystem services is defined as:

A way of describing the benefits of a naturally functioning ecosystem, such as the ways bees, birds or bats pollinate crops; wetlands provide flood protection; or how plants and soils filter water.

The ASLA is applying this understanding to urban, rural and commercial human habitats—in effect making the building as much a part of nature as possible.

The report mainly addresses landscape architects (but is also meant for planners, designers, managers), using a five-tiered structure of identifying necessary eco systems: soils, hydrology, vegetation, materials, human well-being. This is the first of three reports—the final one due out in May, 2009. LEED is planning on adopting the final guidelines.

The principles of the Sustainable Sites Initiative are:

  • Do No Harm
  • Precautionary Principle
  • Design with Nature and Culture
  • Use a Decision-Making Hierarchy of Preservation, Conservation, and Regeneration
  • Provide Regenerative Systems as Intergenerational Equity
  • Support a Living Process
  • Use a Systems Thinking Approach
  • Use a Collaborative and Ethical Approach
  • Maintain Integrity in Leadership and Research

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