Hele On Kaka’ako: Cyclovia Hawaii


On Mother’s Day in May 2013, the neighborhood of Kaka‘ako in Honolulu had a “Hele On Kaka’ako” celebration and experienced Oahu’s second cyclovia, which closed many streets to motorized transportation. The success of the event came from the volunteers who dedicated time, energy, and hard work to create a complete street demonstration and opened up streets for play for the day and allowed people to experience a bike and pedestrian friendly street with outside spaces for people and businesses to use.


Cycle On Hawai‘i created the vision and support to implement the event. However, to make it happen, the event required an enormous amount of professional volunteer support. The National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program worked with Cycle On Hawai’i, the Hawaii Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and numerous organizations and volunteers to make the event possible.


Tireless landscape architects dedicated time, expertise, and contacts to turn a typical urban concrete street into a vibrant, bike and pedestrian friendly street. Collectively, these volunteers designed and installed parklettes, green infrastructure, mini traffic circles, and an urban food forest for the day. The event aimed to educate and inspire people to support healthy, sustainable community designs.

Mantua Greenway


The National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program is providing technical assistance to Philadelphia Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC, a national organization that supports neighborhood community development corporations) and the Mantua Beautification Committee to plan a community greenway in Mantua, a neighborhood in West Philadelphia.


The project is a collaborative effort engagingresidents and community stakeholders in the planning and renovation of the Mantua Avenue corridor, along the northern boundary of the neighborhood. The vision for the Mantua Greenway is to serve as a catalyst for economic development and act as the community’s “front yard,” welcoming residents and visitors with colorful native trees, public art displays, creative design features, and safe bike and pedestrian routes that illustrate Mantua’s ecology, culture, history, and creative capacity—while improving access to Philadelphia’s cultural and recreational opportunities.


During the fall of 2013, the National Park Service used their national partnership with the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) to connect with a Philadelphia University Landscape Architecture Studio to create several concept plans for the greenway. Throughout the fall, the Philadelphia University students worked closely with the Mantua Beautification Committee and NPS staff to research and analyze the physical corridor and the community’s vision for the Mantua Greenway. In November, the students presented their final master plans to Mantua residents. After seeing the seven different concept plans, the residents voted on their favorite elements in each plan. This spring, the partnership will continue as the students work together with local ASLA professionals to synthesize the designs and the community’s feedback and create one cohesive plan.

Photos, story via National Park Service

Virgil Parris Preserve – South Pond Access & Restoration


By 2008 the Western Foothills Land Trust had assembled 1,250 acres, including 49-acre South Pond, in Hebron and Buckfield, to create the Virgil Parris Preserve. The National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program was invited to assist in creating a management plan for the preserve.The most accessible and most visited area in the preserve is the east shore of South Pond.


The project partners felt that the area would benefit from site improvements and the NPS suggested working through the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) as part of the partnership between the National Park Service and ASLA to collaborate with a landscape architect. Barry Hosmer, a landscape architect with the Maine sub-chapter of the Boston Chapter of ASLA, volunteered to help.


After several site visits, a simple site plan emerged with an emphasis on restoring areas of erosion near the pond created by ad hoc motorized trails. In addition, the plan calls for a small parking area, an informational kiosk, a fire ring, and improvement of the hand-carry boat access.


Conversations have begun with local schools in hopes of involving students in the collection, propagation, and planting of native plants to restore the eroded areas. The land trust and the NPS are currently working on identifying grants to fund the project and will be meeting with neighbors and local users to explain the plans for improved access and restoration.

Photos, story via National Park Service.  

Cadillac-White Pine Trail Connector


The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail is Michigan’s longest rail-trail, stretching a distance of 92 miles on the former Grand Rapids and Indiana rail bed. The trail connects the city of Grand Rapids to the city of Cadillac and more than a dozen communities in between. It forms the spine of Michigan’s rail-trail network, which is the largest in the country.The rail-trail stopped short of downtown Cadillac. The National Park Service is working with the City of Cadillac, Michigan Chapter of ASLA, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Friends of the White Pine Trail, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Rotary Club, and others to extend the trail into the heart of the city as part of the city’s redevelopment.

The NPS is facilitating the planning process and ASLA member Craig Hondorp has developed alternative trail and trailhead concept plans based on the planning team’s vision, goals and objectives. A preferred concept plan will be selected through a series of stakeholder meetings and a public open house in spring 2014. The city, NPS, Michigan DNR, and ASLA will then further refine the concept plan to generate cost estimates so grant application can be written and submitted for 2015 engineering and construction funding.

Photo, story via National Park Service

A Vision for Eldon Community Trails

Eldon community leaders have a dream to turn the Rock Island Line rail corridor into a community walking and biking trail. In 2013, they joined forces with the National Park Service and the Prairie Gateway and St. Louis chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) to conduct a visioning session to facilitate a discussion of project goals, objectives, and ideas for the trail corridor and broader community trail connections.


The information gathered was used to develop a conceptual plan for the city including potential connections to community and regional resources, impacts on infrastructure, traffic, utilities and economic development which could be used leverage future project funding. Partnerships with the City of Eldon, the Eldon Chamber of Commerce, and the PAVE AmeriCorps program have led to improvements in conditions along the rail corridor. The eastern portion of the proposed trail was cleared last year by local volunteers and members of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps; a local contractor was hired to clear brush along the western part of the railroad right-of-way.


The trail corridor cuts right through Eldon’s central business district, providing opportunities for connecting to and enhancing the community’s social and economic life and for connecting to its history. For more information, see http://www.pgasla.org/ and http://www.stlouisasla.org/

Photos, Story via National Park Service

Johnson Park & Elkhorn River

In 2013, the City of Norfolk partnered with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program and the ASLA Great Plains Chapter to look at options to redevelop Johnson Park and improve connections to the North Fork of the Elkhorn River as it passes through the city of Norfolk, Nebraska.


The mission is “to create a recreational, residential, entertainment and retail/business corridor along the North Fork of the Elkhorn River to enhance the economic opportunities and the quality of life for the City of Norfolk and northeast Nebraska.” The vision includes integrated green space, trails, and connecting the downtown to historic Johnson Park and the riverfront.


A site visit in August 2013 provided an opportunity to explore the park and the riverfront, gather information about the historic Johnson Park and seek input from community leaders and residents. ASLA members donated their services to draft preliminary concepts that were presented and refined using feedback from community representatives. The city council has reached out to the public seeking comments on two proposed concepts for the revitalization of Johnson Park.

Photos, story via National Park Service.

Tularosa Creek Discovery Trail

The Mescalero Apache Tribe, located in southeast New Mexico, is working to address a variety of health issues including hypertension, diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity among the population. Securing a Community Transformation Grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the New Mexico Department of Health, the Mescalero community formed a Healthy Kids Healthy Mescalero coalition to develop a new greenway trail, improve other paths and sidewalks, and address healthy eating strategies.


The National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program worked with the coalition to capture their vision and ideas of what features the Discovery Trail should contain. A planning workshop would have been ideal to develop the trail concept, but logistics and travel distances prevented the team from using this technique. Instead, the ASLA New Mexico Chapter (ASLA) provided expertise in developing “montages” that reflected the ideas proposed by the Mescalero community.


The montages capture Discovery Trail elements that address physical, mental and social health. Play pockets are envisioned for climbing, swinging and balance. Other areas focus on gathering areas, traditional shade structures and a Mescalero War Chiefs memorial area help community members better connect with their proud culture. ASLA contributed over 60 hours of pro-bono time in developing the professional montages.


At a December 2013 Healthy Kids Healthy Mescalero coalition meeting, participants walked the trail alignment and envisioned the discovery areas based on the montage displays at various locations. Additional ideas and suggestions were offered to the project team to strengthen the play pockets and trail features. The project team has gained complete consensus from the Coalition for developing a three-quarter mile greenway connecting to six miles of improved walking routes that feature active discovery play areas and gathering places for physical, mental and social health.

Photos coming soon!

Sierra Vista Park

Sierra Vista Park is a 207-acre property located in northwest Reno, Nevada, and is a ghost of its previous life as an 18-hole public golf course (decommissioned in 2009 and acquired by the city in 2011).

The NPS is helping create a master plan to restore and redevelop the site consistent with open space and recreational uses as well as develop a plan to generate revenue from the site to support some of its operation and maintenance. As part of the conceptual planning process, the ASLA Nevada Chapter partnered with the NPS, the City of Reno, Washoe County and other stakeholders in a design workshop in late April 2014  to develop ideas to transform this golf course into a regional park and open space jewel.

Photos coming soon!

Howlett Hall Green Roof


The Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the US, is dedicated to advancing education, research, and innovation for energy and the environment, emphasizing how those needs can be met sustainably. Ohio State supports “campus as a test bed” activities, in which the university is a resource for testing and improving new industrial technologies; helping faculty teams to obtain research funding; improving campus operations; and engaging students in cutting-edge sustainability science.

A landmark example of how the university campus serves as a “living laboratory” is the Howlett Hall Green Roof, the first publicly accessible green roof on campus located within the College of Food Science and Technology, Agricultural Administration, and Horticultural and Crop Science. The green roof is part of the university’s Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens, a 60-acre public garden at OSU. The installation was completed in the summer of 2013, which represents the first retrofit green roof on campus serving as a demonstration project promoting the benefits to both students and the community.


The 12,000 square-foot green roof was installed in August and September on the back of Howlett Hall, over the building’s extended ground floor. Previously, the roof was accessible through a first-floor conference room, which had been built with a doorway to allow people to step out onto the roof. The roof had been meant to house a rooftop greenhouse since the building was dedicated in 1967 according to Mary Maloney, Director of Chadwick. The old roof was leaking, blighted, and in general disrepair requiring a full replacement. Ohio State provided a plan that was to place the green roof on top of the new roof as soon as it was installed. A goal of the Arboretum for many years, the roof was a tar and chip roof that was hot and unattractive, as well as an under-utilized space on the urban campus.


NBBJ’s landscape architects participated in an open design charrette that included a group of over twenty designers, horticulture advocates and academic representatives which spawned numerous design possibilities. NBBJ then volunteered to assist the Chadwick Arboretum maintaining the ideas and momentum generated in the charrette by establishing a process that led to evaluation of the various concepts and distillation of the ideas that transitioned to a graphic presentation used for fundraising purposes. Ultimately the arboretum went through an interview process that lead to NBBJ being hired to advance the design of the roof space and develop construction documents for its implementation. Working closely with the Chadwick Arboretum’s Steering Team and the University, NBBJ developed design options that looked at a long term build out of the roof along with strategies for phasing. Initial concepts explored how the space could create outdoor rooms which provided extensive and intensive roof garden prototypes along with structures for green walls of various types that could be analyzed and then experimented with over time. The roof design provides pathways, gathering areas and a series of planting beds that will also be utilized by the public when completed.


Once the new conventional roof was completed in August, work began on the green roof. First, the new roof’s membrane was covered with a heavy-duty protection fabric, with an aggregate drainage layer installed over top of that. Existing drains were replaced with new fittings, so any rainwater that the plants don’t use will be well drained. Then, about 4-6 inches of lightweight growing medium, engineered specifically for green roofs, was added and mounded in some areas to add interest to the rooftop landscape, along with circular walking paths. The plants were planted in September and include many drought-tolerant species such as: Blue Fescue, Geum Tangerine, Coreopsis, Achillea (Yarrow), Black-eyed Susan, Talinum calycinum, Prairie Dropseed, Lavender, Allium cernuum, Sempervivum Black (Hens & Chicks), Thyme (four varieties) and Sedum (18 varieties).


Chadwick Arboretum raised more than $400,000 for the green roof project through donations and grants, including one from the EPA. The green roof itself cost about $200,000, with an additional $50,000 for the new guardrail and another $100,000 in pre-construction design and engineering. With its completion in September, the roof has become a beautiful garden respite with several sustainable benefits, including:

  • Mitigation of 200,000 gallons of polluted stormwater from the Olentangy River each year
  • Reduction of heating and cooling costs for the food science pilot plant below the roof
  • Adding biological diversity in the urban environment from insects, birds and bees
  • Lengthening the lifespan of the new roof to 40-50 years by protecting it from the elements


An additional feature is that irrigation of the roof garden is supplemented by rain water collected into bladders from the adjacent greenhouse roofs. The green roof provides for an excellent opportunity to expand their present gardens and create a unique garden that can be used for education and research of green roof technologies by students and faculty at an attainable cost standpoint.

This realization of the Howlett Hall Green Roof reinforces the university’s values as a member of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and establishes a resource for green roof research that will have far reaching influence on renovation of existing campus facilities as well as new.

*Story via NBBJ. Photo credits: 1,3 – Sherrill Massey, 2 – Jodi Miller, 4-6 John Woods.

Southside Elementary School Butterfly and Bird Habitat


What began as an ASLA member presenting a unit on butterfly gardens to students at Southside Elementary School has become a much larger project. For the last four years, Michael Gilkey, Inc. has been integrally involved in establishing an edible garden, a bird and butterfly garden, and even leading kindergarten classes in the creation of their own shoebox butterfly gardens. For his last project, each child chose one verbena, one coral honeysuckle and one white guara, all generously donated by Mariposa Nursery. The children learned about the life cycle of the butterfly, Florida’s soils, the purpose of mulch, a bit of design, and plant care.


When approached by the Southside Elementary garden team about the dire need for a front school façade makeover, Gilkey volunteered his time and design to create a butterfly and bird habitat garden that would welcome students and parents into the historic building. The garden was planted in early 2013.


With the Southside Elementary butterfly and bird habitat garden ready to welcome winged visitors, it was time to designate the space a Certified Wildlife Habitat. The National Wildlife Federation recognizes spaces that provide food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young.


This newly hatched monarch butterfly was the first full time resident of the Southside Elementary butterfly and bird garden, a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat.


Michael A. Gilkey, Inc.’s continuing donation of time, design, materials and installation services for gardens and habitats has established the firm as Business Partners of Southside Elementary School for four consecutive years.

*Photos/story via Michael A. Gilkey, Inc., member submission from Sarasota, Florida.