ASLA State Advocacy Priorities for New York

Earlier this fall, ASLA issued the first-ever State Advocacy Priorities Survey to find out more about the issues that matter to landscape architects at the state and local level.  If you answered the survey, thank you!  If not, it is critical that you participate.  We need to hear from you to ensure that we fully understand the issues that matter most to our members.  Please fill out this short survey by December 6!



A|Ns first-ever Best Of Design Awards

The Architect’s Newspaper introduces its first annual Best Of Design Awards, a unique project-based awards program that showcases great buildings and building elements.

We are accepting submissions in six categories:

  • Facade
  • Fabrication Project
  • Student-initiated Built Work
  • Interiors
  • Landscape
  • Building of The Year

Winners will be published in our January print edition and online. The Best of Design Awards is sure to be one of our most anticipated issues of the year.

Registration deadline:
November 22, 2013

Submission deadline:
December 9, 2013

Publication and announcement of winners:
January 15, 2014


*A registration ID will be emailed to you after you register. Please check your spam box if it does not appear in your inbox.

Save the Date for the ASLA-NY Holiday Party

ASLA-NY will be celebrating the holidays, and a great year, on Friday, December 6th at Fraunces Tavern, 54 Pearl Street.

Costs and details to follow.

Rebuild by Design – Request for Comments


Rebuild by Design

10 teams of international design and resiliency experts released their ideas for ways to make the region more resilient to future storms and other climate eventsnow we need your feedback.

The Rebuild by Design Teams—selected from more than 140 applicants from around the world—have conducted extensive research and public outreach to develop their resiliency concepts. On Monday, they were unveiled at public events in New York and New Jersey.

Now, one idea from each Design Team will move forward in the next phase, where they will be further developed into formal designs and may be eligible for federal Sandy funding.

What do you think about the ideas?

Visit the Rebuild by Design website, where you will find images and descriptions of all 41 design opportunities proposed by the 10 Design Teams and leave your feedback. If you missed it, you can view each program here:

Morning Reception at New York University

Evening Reception at New Jersey Institute of Technology

Your views will be taken into consideration, and the final 10 ideas will be announced soon.


The Rebuild by Design Team



One of the goals of ASLA-NY is to raise the profile of landscape architects and get you at the table for the discussions going on in and around the city about issues important to or related to landscape architecture.  Our chapter actively seeks speaking opportunities for our members however we need more members to participate in these speaking engagements.  To that end, we are forming a “Speakers Bureau” and asking those of you out there who have something interesting to share, or who have expertise on a particular subject matter, to please JOIN US in sharing the accomplishments and opinions of landscape architects with not just each other, but the world.

Why should you join the ASLA-NY’s Speakers Bureau?

  • It is a great way to make new social and professional contacts.
  • It is not only a great way to further your own career but it helps further the landscape architecture profession as a whole.
  • Landscape Architects need to be involved in the public discourse on issues involving …
  • If you would like to change the world, you need to start somewhere and sharing your revolutionary ideas with others is a great place to begin

What subjects can you talk about?

  •  urban resiliency
  •  green infrastructure
  •  stormwater management
  •  climate change
  •  redesigning the waterfront
  • successful projects
  • projects that failed and what you learned
  • strategies or ideas that seem promising
  • and any of a number of other topics..

How do I join?

Send a brief blurb about you, your background and credentials, and topics on which you would be comfortable speaking to Kathy Shea at [email protected].

Please also note: If you are asked to speak directly by another organization, please share this information with us so that we may publicize your event to our membership and support your efforts (and possibly co-sponsor the event and/or provide CEU credits).

Letter from ASLA-NY President Laura Starr

To the American Society of Landscape Architects:

On November 1st I will be ending my tenure as the President of our New York Chapter and welcoming President-elect Nette Compton in succeeding me. It has been an honor and a challenge to serve in this position.

My goal as President was to rebuild our organizational infrastructure, recreate our image, and improve our relationships with sister design-related organizations, so as to enable the ASLA better to promote our profession and serve both its members and their clients. Toward this end, I took steps to address a number of challenges that had long plagued the New York chapter.

The chapter lacked the organizational infrastructure necessary to effect lasting change. With limited funds we could only hire our directors part-time. This meant that the President and volunteer board were faced with the lion’s share of responsibility, and had to expend time and effort at an unsustainable rate. Since the Presidency changes every year, our ability to undertake and follow through on long-term initiatives was impaired: with each new leader, however good, continuity and momentum was lost. Furthermore, without a full-time director, fundraising and public relations suffered. We had little money with which to do anything.

But there was a still more fundamental problem that we faced: landscape architecture simply wasn’t taken seriously enough by clients, potential sponsors, or the city–especially when compared to other design professions. However good our work was, it was largely ignored in press coverage, opening presentations and various print and online sources. The architects and engineers got the credit, by implication, for our work. This lack of attention and appreciation was ironic at a time when landscape architects were leading some of the most important projects in the city; Brooklyn Bridge Park, The High Line, and the ongoing upkeep and development of Central Park would not have been possible without us.

This problem in turn was due, in part, to the ASLA’s lack of a clear public image. It appeared to me that the first order of business was to revise our logo and website to project the crisp optimism and elegance shown by our profession and by our sister organizations, to attract the elite decision makers and funding sources and be properly recognized by the press.

Not only would creating a more vibrant identity for ourselves help raise our public profile, it might also help the organization’s view of itself. Additionally, we needed a fulltime Executive Director to offer the continuity and energy to help guide our volunteers and ease some of the impossible burdens on members who might otherwise be daunted by the prospect of getting more involved with the organization.

I was determined to address these problems by raising enough money to hire a full time director and revamp our image. The instrument chosen to raise money was our annual benefit gala, the ASLA Dinner. I personally called suppliers, contractors, engineers and architects I knew and got them to be sponsors and attend the dinner. I honored the Architect’s Newspaper for covering the leadership role landscape architects were playing in leading the game-changing projects in New York. And I honored Central Park Conservancy President, Doug Blonsky, who had been my colleague when I was Chief of Design of Central Park. His board and staff came in full force to support him, and very generously supported our event. The third honoree was the Commissioner with the most money at hand to hire landscape architects, DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland. In conjunction with honoring Commissioner Strickland, Nette Compton and I met with him and urged him to include landscape architects in green infrastructure projects; it worked, and we are continuing to push to have landscape architects be given a strong leadership role there. Finally, to make the event even more enticing, and to start the re-imaging process, I recruited Keith Helmetag of the world-class design firm C&G Partners to design the

The dinner succeeded in attracting the largest number of guests the ASLA had ever had, and in doubling our revenue. The large audience and the experience of being honored inspired The Architects’ Newspaper to establish an annual issue devoted to landscape architecture, with the ASLA sharing in the advertising revenue.

With our new funds, I sought to hire a full-time executive director who could bring continuity and, with professional administrative skills, ease the impossible burdens on our volunteers. Out of a wide array of talented applicants, we selected Kathy Shea, an attorney and administrator with a proven track record of transforming small nonprofit groups operating under the public radar into prominent enterprises accessible to city-wide audiences. Through her skills in executive strategy, public relations, marketing, and fundraising, she has already helped to do the same for us. We reestablished and renegotiated our relationship with AIA NY. We celebrated the holidays last year with the Van Alen Institute, and co-sponsored a Sandy-recovery speaker series with the Museum of the City of New York. We are continuing to expand our collaborations with other organizations, including the Municipal Art Society and The Cultural Landscape Foundation and will do even more going forward.

With Kathy here full-time, and the continued work of the programming committee under Nette’s direction, we have vastly expanded and improved our own programming. Better and larger events are attracting a larger number of sponsors, as well as talented collaborators in architecture, planning, and engineering. Our new funds also allowed us to create a new dynamic and communicative graphic identity that will aid us in all our efforts. Again, the design gurus at C&G Partners were an invaluable resource, dreaming up fresh, new logo and website designs. The new designs have already given our weekly newsletter, which Jennifer Nitzky has so thoughtfully and tirelessly assembled, a snappy look to match her great work. These visual elements make it palpable that landscape architects are green; we’re urban; we’re leaders and collaborators; and therefore we’re uniquely positioned to lead multidisciplinary teams–for example, those addressing pressing issues of climate change.

To foster the public’s deeper engagement with our work, we are also creating a new Open Spaces app that provides information on some of the city’s parks, plazas, and greenways from the designer’s point of view. More such services are in the works, so stay tuned.

I have tried to address the challenges facing the ASLA and our profession in a way that will create a basis for continued expansion and positive change. As my tenure comes to an end, I would like to express the hope that my efforts will help generate a lasting awareness of the benefit landscape architecture brings to our city, and that it will help give our profession momentum that will continue into the next mayoral administration and beyond.

Thank you all for entrusting me with these decisions. I would like to extend my gratitude to my predecessor, Denisha Williams, for her patience in helping me get up to speed, to our board members for their unending dedication, to President-elect Nette Compton for organizing all of our programs, to Jennifer Nitzky for tirelessly drafting our newsletter every week, to Marcha Johnson for her advocacy work, to Adrian Smith for his role in negotiating with the DOB, and to all who participated in the director selection and graphic design committees.

I will remain heavily involved in the ASLA-NY and wish it every success moving forward.

Laura Starr
Outgoing President of the ASLA-NY
Partner, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, PLLC




NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White today joined Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol and Council Member Stephen Levin to cut the ribbon on a brand new headquarters building with community space and an accessible green roof in Bushwick Inlet Park. The $31 million construction project, funded by Mayor Bloomberg, also includes a new playground, and the creation of public access to the waterfront at the water’s edge. The additions to Bushwick Inlet Park build on the 2005 Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning which creates a framework to provide continuous public access to the area’s shorefront.

“All over Brooklyn – from Shore Road Park in the south to Bushwick Inlet in the north -waterfront parks are attracting pedestrians, picnickers, and sports enthusiasts to spend time outdoors,” said Commissioner White. “The new waterfront Bushwick Inlet Park complements the existing soccer field by accommodating community art exhibitions, community meetings and public programming, a kitchen for catering public events, playground, public comfort stations and Parks district headquarters.”

The facility includes an accessible green roof, which connects the multipurpose field area with a hilltop recreational space and playground. It is designed to achieve high environmental performance standards with a highly efficient heating-cooling system that uses geothermal wells, heat pumps and radiant floors, a green roof with a shade structure composed of photovoltaic cells that will provide solar energy power to the building, and a rainwater collection system to provide irrigation water to the green roof. This project is on track to receive LEED Gold or higher certification for its innovative sustainable design. The building was designed by Kiss + Cathcart Architects with Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects.

Bushwick Inlet Park lies from North 9th Street to North 10th Street, between Kent Avenue and the East River. The site, a former rental car storage lot, is situated at the southern end of the planned park, and is adjacent to East River State Park. The first phase of Bushwick Inlet Park included the construction of a synthetic turf multipurpose field for soccer, football, lacrosse, field hockey, rugby, and ultimate frisbee. The soccer field opened in January 2010.

The Park received a 2008 Design Award from the Public Design Commission of the City of New York and the 2013 Honor Award from the NY Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

The 28-acre planned Bushwick Inlet Park is comprised of approximately 5.5 blocks along the bustling East River Waterfront. The first two sites that make up the park have already been acquired and the acquisition of a third parcel (Bayside Fuel) is underway and expected to be complete in 2015. With extensive community input and public review throughout the planning and development process, Bushwick Inlet Park is part of the City’s historic investment in the creation, improvement and expansion of parks in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, as a result of the 2005 rezoning.

high res photos