We celebrate World Landscape Architecture Month every April and this year thought we’d start right at the top by asking Jennifer Toole, ASLA, AICP, President of Toole Design, why it’s important to recognize the work of Landscape Architects in the field of transportation.
Landscape Architects are skilled at crafting the public realm – and when you consider that about 80% of public space is composed of streets, you begin to understand why it is so important to get Landscape Architects involved. I find that Landscape Architects are really good at seeing the value in public space as a place to BE – not just move through. They are taught to think about what is needed to make humans more comfortable, safe and happy, and they bring that perspective to each design challenge.
What part of your training as a landscape architect has proven most useful and relevant to you as a transportation professional?
I was really fortunately to graduate from a Landscape Architecture program that was housed within a College of Design (at North Carolina State University), so our training was deeply founded in the creative design process. We learned the art of brainstorming design solutions, and we learned to delve deeply into the “why” of each design. That foundation was essential later on when I found myself designing streets that needed to serve more than just people in cars – but also families out for a stroll, people using wheelchairs, people riding bikes, etc. It requires a lot of creativity to design a complete street.
What Toole Design project best exemplifies this year’s landscape architecture month theme of Growing Together, and why?
There are so many great projects – so this is a really tough question to answer. But one that is near and dear to my heart at the moment is our work redesigning Peachtree Street in Atlanta, GA. It’s a great example of how Landscape Architects, planners, and engineers can work together to completely re-envision a street as a destination.