Landscape architects embrace resilient design principles

Sources: American Society of Landscape Architects, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

ASLA’s new online guide [] explains how communities can better protect themselves from natural disasters through resilient landscape planning and design, including strategies to help control flooding through such green infrastructure as pervious or permeable pavements.

Resilient Design Guide examines extreme precipitation, landslides and other disruptive events like drought, extreme heat, and fire. It offers case studies and resources demonstrating multi-benefit systems plus small-scale solutions, and explains landscape architects’ role in the planning and design teams seeking to make communities more resilient. Resilient design involves working with instead of opposing nature, ASLA notes, and provides value through:

Risk reduction. As events become more frequent and intense, communities must adapt and redevelop to reduce potential risks and improve ecological and human health. Planning and permitting authorities need to stop the development of communities and infrastructure in high-risk places;

Scalability and diversity. Resilient landscape planning and design offers a multi-layered system of protection, with diverse, scalable elements, any one of which can fail safely in the event of a catastrophe;

Multiple co-benefits. Resilient landscape design solutions offer multiple benefits at once. Green infrastructure designed to manage extreme precipitation and routine stormwater volumes, for example, also provides community space and creates jobs; and,

Regeneration. Disruptive natural events—occurring more frequently worldwide than in the past—harm people and property; resilient design helps communities come back stronger. Long-term resilience is about continuously bouncing back and “regenerating.”

ASLA’s Resilient Design Guide has been developed with participation of Yale University School of Architecture and University of California, Berkeley faculty.