Take Joy in Every Project

Shannon McKinnon HeadshotShanna McKinnon, AALA (Associate) is a Landscape Designer III working in Toole Design’s Edmonton, Alberta location. Shanna is excited to help build Toole Design’s landscape architecture practice to reflect the full breadth of the profession, even though we started with a question about what LA’s bring to the transportation field.

Why is the work of Landscape Architects important in the field of transportation?

The majority of urban public space is in the street network. Because of this, landscape architecture is a critical piece of creating comfortable streets for all users through elements such as contextual spatial allocation, plant material selection, and furnishing and paving materials.

What Toole Design project that you’ve worked on best exemplifies this year’s landscape architecture month theme of Growing Together, and why?

The Green Bay Shared Corridor Vision Plan was a document we created that provided tactical guidance for the City of Green Bay to implement shared outdoor spaces to help residents and visitors to gather safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The manual (see images below)  identified quick and easy opportunities within the existing street corridor to expand public space where people come together comfortably to support businesses and the community.


Which part of your training as a landscape architect has proven most useful and relevant to you in streetscape design, and is there anything you wish you’d been taught in school that you’ve since learned?

A streetscape design for the historic Kensington district in Calgary, Alberta

The deliberate allocation of space is important in landscape architecture, including in the design of streetscapes. Assessing the context of a street and the needs of all users, then allocating space for those users is a fascinating challenge to solve for each project. Streetscapes are also a unique mosaic of above and underground infrastructure that must be carefully woven together with the landscape to create a distinct blend of form, function, and aesthetic.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone considering a career in Landscape Architecture?

Landscape architecture is a profession that has the ability to impact people in profound and unexpected ways. Being a landscape architect means having the opportunity to design places for people to find peace and refuge, to spark wonder and imagination, and to invoke play and celebration. Take joy in every project, even the smallest, seemingly insignificant ones, knowing that it provides betterment to the world and to those who encounter it.



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