Landscape Architecture allows people to express who they are.
In the realm of landscape architecture, one concept stands out as a fundamental goal: place making. Place making in landscape architecture extends beyond physical transformations; it has the power to shape cultural identity and foster a deep sense of belonging. By leveraging fundamental aspects of space making such as defining edges, establishing ground and vertical planes, landscape architects have the power to shape our surroundings, creating memorable places that inspire and enrich our lives.
The genesis of meaningful spaces that reflect and celebrate unique cultural fabric of a community then goes beyond design principles. When creating place, I begin with space; defining edges, the ground plane, sense of enclosure, and site programming, or what one does in space and how do the site design elements support that activity. Following defining space, we layer in culture, stories, and heritage, which reveals itself through stakeholder and community engagement. Culture isn’t something you can create on a whim; in communities it already exists and often exists on a sub-wavelength within communities that is waiting to be celebrated. Landscape architects are here to help expose those untold stories through the built environment.
It requires understanding and appreciation of diverse stories, traditions, and aspirations that shape a community’s identity. When designing communities, I often ask myself, how do we embody self-worth in the built environment?
“I believe that cities and the built environment are a reflection of who we are.”
In my work at McClure, I often interface with communities, developers, and officials. There are several reasons these individuals or groups chose to work with a landscape architect, five project examples include:
- Urban planning and design: Landscape Architects can assist in creating comprehensive master plans that integrate natural and built elements, ensuring a balanced and sustainable urban landscape. We consider factors such as land use, zoning, transportation, natural resources, and infrastructure when designing new growth.
Brady Commerce Master Plan Brady Commerce Park’s Master Plan included a 580-acre project site in collaboration with the Johnson County EDC to evaluate two development concepts. Following a market analysis, I was tasked with identifying what could be primarily industrial development. Through the discovery phase of the project, a significant environmental presence was apparent, where wetlands, floodplain, and stormwater needs were previously unconsidered. Sometimes the landscape tells its own cultural story, and it was quietly asking to be represented here. Our approach was to foster responsible development which harmoniously engaged the landscape by leveraging conservation and wetland banking, then connects people to those places with trails, while also providing economic growth and workforce housing, enriching the community.
- Parks and recreational areas: We design parks, public gardens, and recreational areas. We understand how to optimize space, create functional layouts, select appropriate vegetation, design pedestrian paths, incorporate amenities, and enhance the overall aesthetics of these spaces.
Blue Oak Nature Conservancy Blue Oak Nature Conservancy is a 24-acre project focused on sustainability and the preservation of open space. Located amongst single and multi-family neighborhoods, this project aims to connect people with nature by bridging a connection to Line Creek Trail and Robinhood Park, as well as providing educational opportunities to learn about Kansas City’s natural environment.
- Environmental sustainability: We help cities prioritize environmental sustainability in their development plans. We can propose strategies for reducing energy consumption, managing stormwater runoff, conserving natural resources, and promoting biodiversity. By integrating ecological principles into our design, we contribute to creating healthy and resilient cities.
Raymore Detention Basin McClure revitalized two detention basins, demonstrating green stormwater solutions for the community of Raymore, Missouri. This showcase project includes over 400 shrubs for year-round beauty, 1,200 grasses supporting water infiltration, and 1,600 perennials for a large range of pollinators. The project includes interpretive signs educating visitors about the important topic of native plants, stormwater treatment and pollinator species.
- Streetscape and urban beautification: A rewarding aspect of good place making is the creation of spaces that foster cultural expression. These spaces encourage the exchange of ideas, promote intercultural dialogue, and strengthen the bonds within the community. We can improve the streetscapes through thoughtful design of sidewalks, street furniture, lighting, signage, and green infrastructure elements. Our contributions can create vibrant and attractive urban environments that enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors.
Corridor Plaza McClure is engaged in the creation of a celebratory public streetscape in Fort Dodge, Iowa. A former mall site aims to redevelop into a public amenity; this project’s goal is to create a destination district enhanced with public artwork representative of the greater Iowa landscape, centrally anchored by a public plaza, activated by outdoor activities, eateries, leisurely respites, and shopping.
- Community engagement: We facilitate community engagement processes, gathering input from residents, business owners, and other stakeholders. We conduct public consultations, workshops, and visioning sessions, to ensure that the design and development plans align with the community’s aspirations and needs. This collaborative approach helps build consensus and fosters a sense of ownership among the residents.
Jerry Ivey Memorial Park landing page, used to share information with the public and guide residents to a preference survey used by the city.
Landscape Architecture makes lives better by creating places and spaces that cultures and people can thrive within. We take visions and make them reality.
Anthony Malone, PLA, ASLA
Anthony Malone, PLA, ASLA is a Landscape Architect at McClure. He has a demonstrated history of working in the design and planning industry. Anthony is skilled in 3D modeling, AutoCAD, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, SketchUp, and Adobe Creative Suite. You can contact Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org.