ASLA 2003 Annual Meeting & Expo
Last week, landscape architects, allied professionals and students gathered in New Orleans, Louisiana to participate in the 2003 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). The theme this year was Fusion of Culture and Place. The meeting featured keynote speakers with diverse backgrounds, education sessions, award ceremonies, and an exhibition of the latest in landscape architecture products and services.
For many, the Annual Meeting began with the Alumni Reunion on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 30th, 2003. The reunion provided a good opportunity to re-establish contacts with old friends and make new connections. Students, faculty, and alumni from universities across the nation packed a huge ballroom. Loud school cheers rang out and many lingered on after the event was officially over. ASLA's Land Online has more photos of the Alumni Reunion.
The first event scheduled for Friday morning was the Opening General Session. In his opening statement, ASLA President Paul Morris, FASLA, welcomed the conference attendees. A landscape architect and urban planner, Mr. Morris introduced the conference theme and the various topics that speakers and education sessions would cover during the conference: health, safety, and welfare. He also provided an update on ASLA's involvement with Smart Growth, Rail-to-Trails projects, and Green Roofs efforts.
Environmental health leader Dr. Richard Jackson from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention delivered the keynote address. Citing hard-hitting statistics and examples, Dr. Jackson spoke about the impact of community design on public health and urged landscape architects to design built environments that promote healthy lifestyles. Joel Kotkin, author of the best-seller "The New Geography: How the Digital Revolution is Reshaping the American Landscape" and other books gave the second keynote address.
Concurrent education sessions kept attendees busy for the rest of the morning on Friday and continued through Sunday. Education sessions were organized into eight categories. Categories included The Green Machine which addressed environment-friendly technology and trends, Getting There about transforming the transportation experience, and LandTech Going Digital which included technology demonstrations.
A video featuring award-winning projects kicked off the ASLA Professional Awards Presentation. 2003 ASLA Professional Awards were presented in Design, Analysis and Planning, Research, and Communications categories. A complete list of award-winning projects with photographs and descriptions are available online on the ASLA website. Later that day, at the Student General Session, the winners of the 2003 ASLA National Student Design Competition were honored.
At the Exhibitor Mini-shops, vendors demonstrated their products. JobLink offered job-seekers an opportunity to meet with potential employers.
On Friday evening, some conference attendees enjoyed the ASLA Gala "Mardi-Gra-LA." Others headed out to explore New Orleans' famed French Quarter. The sidewalks were teeming with pedestrians in outrageous Halloween costumes. Just off Jackson Square, the landmark Cafe du Monde at the French Market served cafe au lait and hot beignets -- square doughnuts buried under large quantities of powdered sugar -- just like it had been doing 24 hours a day, seven days a week since 1862. On the edge of the French Quarter, along the riverfront, the Mighty Mississippi flowed silently.
Saturday began with a keynote address by Steve Thomas, former host of the popular public television series This Old House. This was followed by the Grand Opening of the Expo. A jazz band entertained as attendees gathered for the opening ceremony. Attendeees then poured into the Expo featuring 400 vendors offering landscape architecture products and services.
Other events at the 2003 ASLA Annual Meeting included Professional Interest Group meetings and tours of New Orleans attractions.
The 2004 ASLA Annual Meeting will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from October 29 to November 2.
Abhijeet Chavan is the co-editor of PLANetizen.
"Attendance was very high for the ASLA Annual Meeting, with nealry 6,000 registrants and a sold-out Expo exhibit hall. Keynote speakers, Dr. Richard Jackson, Joel Kotkin, Steve Thomas, and James Carville addressed the key roles landscape architects are playing in designing healthy communities, security design, community livability, and environmental sustainability. Almost 50 continuing education sessions were offered on topics ranging from designing Green Roofs to skate parks."
Nancy C, Somerville