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Landscape and Inscape
Sunday, 30 May 2010

Think about this next time you are at a social dance, group meditation, religious service, class, party, or back at work!

What if 6 people show up?  If 60?

"Groups form to achieve a common goal – to affect change, to create something. It might be a car, it might be a report, it might simply be creating a good time. In order to create, people provide input. As input occurs, the members of the group build “social capital” – the currency of a social relationship.

Business is social at heart.  It therefore finds itself in a dizzying set of social economies, trading in different types of social capital, managing these economies. A successful business must develop an appreciation of what groups value, how to best facilitate value creation, and how to broadcast that value."


Posted by geoffreykatz at 3:06 AM PDT
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Heritage Rose Tennessee Valley Redux
Topic: Tennessee Valley Heritage Rose



At long last the heritage rose in Tennessee Valley has bloomed, has not been eaten by a deer, and I was there with a camera.  Here are pics.  Very powerful and lush fragrance.  Overall about 3cm / little over an inch. 


Posted by geoffreykatz at 4:35 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 9 March 2011 11:38 PM PST
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
More from class no3

As an alternative, the documents of LEED or another green building rating/standards system might be convenient.  Use one of the checklists in the discussion with the owner.  Be sure that everyone signs off on what was agreed.  Here is a look at this option http://www.njasla.org/sustainable.htm.

Maybe "environmentally responsible design" is not a service that your firm offers?  Should you include a note in your contract with your client, the architect, that reflects this?

NB, this isn’t a legal opinion, just a reflection of the discussion in class.

Posted by geoffreykatz at 1:12 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 April 2010 1:14 AM PDT
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Incorporating "green" landscape in design contracts
Topic: green landscape design

Last week the course I’m instructing at UC Berkeley Extension focused on the regulatory and legal framework for doing green building.  This is an important context when carrying out a project’s sustainable design / green building requirements.

Landscape architects often subcontract with an architect to provide design services to a project owner or proponent.  The 2007 AIA contract document between architect and owner (or project proponent) now contains wording that makes sustainable design / green building a contractual obligation.  http://www.aia.org/aiaucmp/groups/aia/documents/pdf/aias076840.pdf.  How does this contractual obligation between the architect and the architect’s client flow down to the subcontracting landscape architect?  Would the landscape architect need to provide these same services to the client?   

Article 3.2.3 of the contract document reads as follows:

§ 3.2.3 The Architect shall present its preliminary evaluation to the Owner and shall discuss with the Owner alternative approaches to design and construction of the Project, including the feasibility of incorporating environmentally responsible design approaches. The Architect shall reach an understanding with the Owner regarding the requirements of the Project.

Article of that document reads as follows:

§ – The Architect shall consider environmentally responsible design alternatives, such as material choices and building orientation, together with other considerations based upon program and aesthetics, in developing a design for the project that is consistent with the Owner’s program, schedule and budget for the Cost of the Work.  The Owner may obtain other environmentally responsible design services under Article 4.  

Note that this language is not referring to a published green building rating/standards system such as the USGBC’s LEED, nor does it necessarily refer to any environmental or building code regulation. 

Let’s say that these provisions do flow down to the landscape architect.  How to meet this obligation?

As a landscape architect you might be providing “green” services such as stormwater management using on-site infiltration, habitat conservation design, water efficient irrigation, and so on for the project; you might discuss various approaches and alternatives with the owner and reach agreement with the owner, under the general direction of the architect.  If you document this discussion and agreement, perhaps with a description of the options, notes about decisions taken, and an exchange of emails among you, owner, and architect, would you then be covering these requirements?


Posted by geoffreykatz at 10:23 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 9 March 2011 11:35 PM PST
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
LEED for Landscape Architects: Shaping a Sustainable Landscape

Teaching a course at the University of California, Berkeley Extension.  Here is the description. 

"The Leadership in Environment and Energy Design program (LEED) is one of the most widely recognized systems for gauging sustainable development. You examine the application and meaning of sustainable practices in landscape architecture in this course, with emphasis on this and other emerging systems. You learn to identify opportunities for sustainable landscape design and apply a range of design and construction practices within the context of the LEED system. You focus on LEED documentation in this course."


Posted by geoffreykatz at 9:13 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 11 April 2010 10:05 PM PDT
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Wolves and Dogs

Crawled the Mission District of San Francisco in the annual Litquake Litcrawl last night.  http://www.litquake.org/.  Heard words from five poets, three authors, and one singer-songwriter.  Remarkable that even the adlib commentary between spoken works from some of these people was like a literary composition.


One of the remarkable people I had the good fortune to meet this evening was Dorothy Hearst, author of Promise of the Wolves http://www.dorothyhearst.com/.  In a brief conversation we advanced the idea that dogs are the dogs that, historically anyway, we love to love, and that wolves are the dogs that we love to hate.  Later checking Wikipedia I discover that recent genetic research seems to indicate that dogs and wolves are in fact the same species, and archaeologists seem to believe that dogs that dogs diverged from wolves between 15,000 and 35,000 years ago. 


Dorothy is not of course the first author to throw herself to the wolves.  Farley Mowat http://bit.ly/2xvXee , the most-read author of my adolescent years (other than Gerald Durrell), gave us a romp through the intimate lives of tundra wolves in the Kivalliq area of Nunavut, Canada in Never Cry Wolf.  Mowat describes the sociability of wolves.  Interesting that the cultural matrix of the local Ihalmiut developed a model of wolf-caribou ecological interdependence.  As Mowat put it, quoting one of his hosts, “The wolves depend on the caribou, but the wolves keep the caribou populations healthy” – because the wolves consistently target the diseased and infirm (any healthy caribou could outrun a wolf).  Compare this to the European mythical structure in which the forest, the habitat of the woodland European wolf, was perceived to be dangerous and bewildering, and the wolf itself as a denizen of the forest feared and dangerous.  The word “forest” comes from the latin “foris” meaning “outside”. 

Perhaps more familiar to many readers are the works of Jack London whose mirror image books White Fang recounts the acculturation of a wolf by a San Franciscan and Call of the Wild recounts the feralization of a domestic dog.

Posted by geoffreykatz at 10:09 PM PDT
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Tennessee Valley
Topic: Tennessee Valley Heritage Rose

This is Tennessee Valley, Marin County, California.  Located north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area http://www.nps.gov/goga/index.htm.  So called after the name of a coastal steamship that ran aground and broke up on the beach in the mid-1800s.

Here is a wide-angle composite view looking from east on the left to west on the right.  Tennessee Beach is on the right.  This is a favorite walk for San Franciscans on a sunny weekend because the path has low elevation and the trailhead is easy to get to from the city. 

Location of the heritage rose is off to the left, near the bottom of the road (actually not visible in this view).

Posted by geoffreykatz at 3:55 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 9 March 2011 11:37 PM PST
Monday, 14 September 2009
Sustainable Design
Sustainable design isn't about cool green gadgets. It is about doing what we already know to do, and doing it well and with awareness.

Posted by geoffreykatz at 7:34 PM PDT
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Standard of care

"Green building" or "sustainable design" is now part of the standard of care that a landscape architect must deliver to the landscape architect's client.  One reason for this: "Green building"/"sustainable design" is now encoded in the AIA typical contract between architect and the architect's client.  This contract also typically governs most landscape architecture practiced in the USA because most landscape architectural design services are provided to the ultimate client via the architect - architects are usually the lead on projects.  

Actually the phrase used in the contract is "environmentally responsible design" and it is repeated twice, including "environmentally responsible design approaches", "environmentally responsible design alternatives", and emphasizing "material choices and building orientation". 

A landscape architect's aesthetic sensibility and approach is not something that the profession seeks to control.  However as a regulated profession landscape architects are responsible to ensure safety, security, and human welfare.  Lack of reasonable care (failure to perform) may result for example in personal injury or economic loss for which the non-performing landscape architect may be liable.  This is worded differently in different sources, but this is the general idea.


Posted by geoffreykatz at 1:30 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 August 2009 1:50 AM PDT
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Worth Thinking About

While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die. 

Leonardo da Vinci

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?

Vincent Van Gogh

Posted by geoffreykatz at 1:07 AM PDT

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