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AECOM landscape architects create meaningful legacies

AECOM landscape architects create meaningful legacies

 April 06, 2021

To mark World Landscape Architecture Month, AECOM has showcased some of its Landscape Architects advancing resiliency, building social equity and helping communities grow together. AECOM's Landscape Architects are tasked with designing resilient and equitable places around the globe. 

Let's hear from some of the talented women at AECOM on their perspectives on what it means to create meaningful, lasting legacies in their communities. 


Jessica Soleyn, Landscape Designer, U.S. East, AECOM

Landscape

How does Landscape Architecture play a critical role in shaping the world around us? 

Landscape architecture aims to provide design solutions that synthesize and organize the complex aspects of the built or natural environment. It helps balance aesthetics with functionality so that places are improved in such a way that they will be safe, usable, beautiful and sustainable.

What is your favorite place you’ve designed and how has it created a meaningful legacy in the community? 

I recently designed a pollinator garden for the Veterans Memorial Park. It was a small volunteer project that allowed me to use various native species that I don’t often use in projects and to play a hands-on role from start to finish when I got to help install the design with various community members and veterans.

How can you design places to be more resilient and equitable? 

I think it is important to ask more questions and utilize collaborative design methods in order to create places that are more resilient and equitable. We should not assume that we have all the solutions without first consulting the main users of a space, considering the history of a place and the future impacts of the proposed design changes.


Shannon Forry, PLA, SITES AP, LEED AP, Landscape Architect, U.S. West, AECOM

Landscape architect

How does Landscape Architecture play a critical role in shaping the world around us? 

Landscape Architects will always play a critical role in shaping our world by continuing to be innovative with climate resilience projects, shaping the urban environment, and providing spaces for public enjoyment and relaxation. As designers, place makers, and innovators, we will definitely be influential in the coming years as climate change and resource depletion start affecting our spaces and environment more.

What is your favorite place you’ve designed and how has it created a meaningful legacy in the community? 

Two of my favorite places that I have designed include the East Green Sweep at Ohio University and the HT Building Landscape at Lakeland Community College. These 2 projects drastically changed the campus environment for both colleges by establishing campus connections and new gathering spaces for students.

How can you design places to be more resilient and equitable? 

To build for resilience in projects, Landscape Architects will need to design with nature and not against it.


Vivien Chong, PLA, Associate Landscape Architect, U.S. East, AECOM

Vivien AECOM

How does Landscape Architecture play a critical role in shaping the world around us? How can you design places to be more resilient and equitable? 

As landscape architects, our ability to synthesize how the built environment, socio-cultural and ecological systems work together can help us to develop designs and policies that enhance our cities, communities, and regions. We should plan for places and systems that are adaptable and responsive to change and commit our skills to designing with vulnerable and underserved communities in mind. As part of the design process, we need to recognize that everyone experiences the same public space differently, and strive for early stakeholder and community engagement, to ensure that any public spaces we build are accessible, inclusive, safe and welcoming to all.

What is your favorite place you’ve designed and how has it created a meaningful legacy in the community? 

Crane Cove Park is a new waterfront park in San Francisco, located along a formerly inaccessible industrial shoreline. The park design celebrates its marine heritage and reflects the neighborhood, addresses sea level rise and ground contamination issues through the innovative re-use of materials and planting, and creates a long overdue public space with new public access and recreational opportunities in the Bay.


Katie Barsanti, Landscape Designer, U.S. East, AECOM

AECOM

How does Landscape Architecture play a critical role in shaping the world around us? 

Landscape architecture plays a role in shaping a majority of the spaces we interact with daily. It not only shapes the aesthetic, environmental, and social aspect of these spaces, but also helps create opportunities in how we interact within them.

What is your favorite place you’ve designed and how has it created a meaningful legacy in the community? 

My favorite project to be involved with was the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Project. It has since been divided into a series of projects that I have also been lucky enough to be a part of, but to be able to analyze, design for, and address such a pressing and important issue, at such a large scale, is incredibly rewarding. Because it is in an area of New York City that is home to the world’s leading financial center while also being an underserved neighborhood that heavily utilizes their public spaces, we designed to simultaneously protect Lower Manhattan from coastal flooding while enhancing public spaces for both the people that visit and the ones that reside there.

How can you design places to be more resilient and equitable? 

It is important to adopt a whole systems approach, where all systems at a neighborhood scale are considered together, in order to be resilient in numerous ways. An integral part of that approach is to gather input from the community these spaces sit within through a public, shared decision-making process as a means to co-create equitable spaces.


Manqing Tao, Senior Landscape Architect, U.S. East, AECOM

AECOM

How does Landscape Architecture play a critical role in shaping the world around us? 

The work of Landscape architects will continue to minimize the impacts of growing population through sustainable design to protect the fragile ecosystem by building resilient environments that mitigate and adapt to climate change.

What is your favorite place you’ve designed and how has it created a meaningful legacy in the community? 

As a team, we designed various phases of the Ningbo Hi-tech District Waterfront park which provides more than 90 acres of public open spaces along the river to the adjacent high-density communities that used to be “parkless” for over 10 years. With wetlands, rain gardens, and green swales, the park acts like a dynamic sponge to mitigate the long-standing flooding issue in Ningbo.

How can you design places to be more resilient and equitable? 

Design multi-functional outdoor places that bring environmental, social and economic benefits to all communities. Designing with nature will connect people with nature.


Patricia Fonseca, Principal, Landscape Architect, U.S. West, AECOM

AECOM women

How does Landscape Architecture play a critical role in shaping the world around us? 

In my view, landscape architecture is one of the unique and meaningful ways we can engage with our environment, whether it is natural or manmade. And we’re not only shaping the world around us, but it’s shaping us because we learn so much from nature.

What is your favorite place you’ve designed and how has it created a meaningful legacy in the community? 

We recently completed Crane Cove Park in San Francisco and I can witness firsthand how it’s changed the lives in the neighborhood’s communities. We created a space that provides a profound connection to the water and the city’s rich maritime history.

How can you design places to be more resilient and equitable? 

The first step is to listen. To truly listen to the community we’re designing for; and ideally, it’s a community we’re designing WITH.


Michelle Inouye, PLA, LEED AP, Associate Principal, AECOM

How does Landscape Architecture play a critical role in shaping the world around us? 

Landscape Architecture is the world around us once we step out the door. As designers, we consider all aspects of the built environment at small and large scales, and as a continuous context for culture, activity, representation and modification.

What is your favorite place you’ve designed and how has it created a meaningful legacy in the community? 

I recently worked on a project to create ten small scale “stormwater landscape” sites on vacant parcels in two Chicago neighborhoods. Active community engagement generated the programming for each site, which includes passive gardens, active recreation areas and public plazas that accept water from streets, alleys and adjacent properties. The project demonstrates the impact that smart, integrated implementation of green infrastructure can have on livability through open space amenities that expand community space, build ownership and reduce flooding.

How can you design places to be more resilient and equitable? 

Resilient and equitable projects require a participatory design process that engages a diverse range of local representation across all stages of development. A robust community engagement process can transform people (designers especially!) and spaces.


Create meaningful and lasting legacies via an AECOM career

AECOM employees are planners, designers, engineers, consultants and construction managers who partner with clients to solve some of the world’s most complex challenges. Drawing from diverse backgrounds, disciplines and perspectives, employees are passionate about delivering a better world.

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