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With this year’s ASLA Annual Meeting behind us, we can now reflect on the 18 PPN meetings that took place November 16–18 in Boston. From presentations and discussions to guided tours of parks and plazas, attendees were enthusiastic and ready for anything, despite some wind and rain.

Over the course of the upcoming year, the PPNs’ chairs and officers will be taking the ideas presented during these meetings into account as they plan webinars, blog posts, and other activities.

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Below are a few of the highlights from this year’s PPN meetings in Boston:

Campus Planning and Design PPN
The Campus Planning and Design PPN, led by Chair Cathy Blake, ASLA, hosted their first PechaKucha, during which members presented 20 slides, with 20 seconds to discuss each slide. This was a great way to cover a wide range of projects and subjects in a short period of time, and allowed members to share their work with fellow attendees.

Design/Build PPN
PPN Chair Jay Gehler, ASLA, was impressed by the turnout and by the high level of participation at the Design/Build PPN meeting. Numerous ideas were proposed and discussed, including webinars on incorporating digital technology into the design/build process; how to promote sustainability in the design, execution, and management of landscapes; identifying advocacy issues related to design/build; and the need for educational resources on the practitioner’s role as client representative and project manager.

International Practice PPN
Three presentations were made during the International Practice PPN meeting: one by current Chair Fidenzio Salvatori, ASLA; another by incoming Chair Erik Mustonen, ASLA; and a third by Green Gu, International ASLA, a designer with extensive international experience. Green presented his company’s International Horticultural Competition and the design for the Floriade 2012 Expo in Holland. Erik’s presentation covered several recent projects, including a 210-acre Desert Park in Saudi Arabia, the multitiered ‘Sky’ Gardens and Podium for Telekom Headquarters in Malaysia, and the master planning for Malaysia’s new federal capital, Putrajaya. Fidenzio presented the recent work of his company, LAD Canada International, on China’s riverfronts, focusing on the issues related to the challenges of accommodating new demands for river-related recreation on the one hand and the environmental quest to protect and enhance the river’s ecology.

Parks and Recreation PPN
The Parks and Recreation PPN meeting on November 16 was led by the new Chair, Alison Jumper, ASLA. Alison stated her vision and goals for the next year: to enhance communications between members, focus on members’ areas of interest, and post relevant articles to share knowledge between members. Areas of interests outlined during the meeting included:

1. Consensus building, community outreach, and engagement
2. Recreation trends—the emergence of individual sports and how to incorporate them
3. Dog park rules and how to manage enforcement of the rules
4. Playground surfacing choices and challenges
5. Management of multiuse and nature trails and ATVs
6. Transitioning from traditional playgrounds to more creative play and risk management
7. Public education
8. Friends of Parks groups—how to create and effectively utilize
9. Construction documents for municipal projects
10. Health and parks—prescriptive recreation

Women in Landscape Architecture PPN
The Women in Landscape Architecture PPN meeting was preceded by a walking tour of parks in the South Boston waterfront area led by Vivien Li, Executive Director of the Boston Harbor Association. Sites visited during the Women in Landscape Architecture Walk included the South Boston Maritime Park—winner of an ASLA Professional Award in 2006—and Seaport Park, Q Park, Fan Pier Green, the Moakley Federal Courthouse, and Harbor Link Gardens. Almost all of these spaces incorporated works of art, such as Judy Kensley McKie’s Fish Bench and the Wind Traveler kinetic sculptures by Susumu Shingu in Eastport Park, and Wendy Ross’s 100-foot-long Leviathan, which undulates its way down an outdoor stairway.

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