(Photo above: Streetscape under construction | Photo Courtesy of Katrina Langenderfer Landscape Architecture)
As a Landscape Architect, I have had the pleasure of teaming with a wide range of design professionals, including many engineers. Multi-disciplinary design teams can provide comprehensive and thoughtful (creative) solutions for complex sites.
Landscape architects partner with engineers on wide range of both public and private projects. Project examples include streetscape and transportation corridor design, commercial site design, community development, park and recreational facility design and development, as well as environmental restoration efforts on rivers, streams and wetlands.
When you look at a streetscape in Central Oregon, it is hard to believe the project has most likely been designed by a dozen or more professionals of varying backgrounds. Envision a bright shiny new black asphalt street with concrete curb and gutter, bike lanes, sidewalks, welcome signage and a shady promenade of trees. While the finished project looks like one beautiful, cohesive amenity for the community, a multi-disciplinary design team has worked hard behind the scenes to make this streetscape successful.
A team for such projects usually consists of a wide range of professionals including land surveyors, planners, landscape architects as well as civil, structural, transportation and traffic engineers. Landscape architects and civil engineers typically work hand-in-hand to envision creative site designs. Partnerships range from site planning and site layout to working together to envision the most appropriate grading and drainage solutions given the site constraints. Civil Engineers work
on many elements below the ground as well, leading the design of utility infrastructure such as sewer and
Streetscape projects often include the design of artistic pieces, walls and large monumental signage. Landscape architects often design such elements and partner with structural engineers who ensure the design layout and materials are structurally appropriate. For example, art placed in roundabouts have engineered concrete footings below the ground. Though not visible, the structural footings are a very important piece of the design, as they will anchor the art piece in place, even during gale force winds.
Landscape architects also select the amenities that give the streetscape the final polished appearance. Amenities can include street lights, benches and trash receptacles. Amenities can define the identity of the project, offer safety and provide pedestrians places to congregate and relax.
And of course — let’s not forget the trees and plantings that bring a space to life. Landscape architects design planting and irrigation plans that create a sense of place and calm traffic. Think about that next time you drive, cycle or walk along a beautiful, tree-lined boulevard.
The success of a streetscape project is usually measured by its outward aesthetic appearance and functionality to the general public. Hiring licensed professionals to work in their area of expertise ensures the design also provides for the health, safety and welfare of the public users. From a professional’s perspective, this is the most important measure of success for any project.
So as you drive around Central Oregon this summer and experience traffic delays during the peak of our roadway construction season, be patient. I challenge you to take a deep breath and envision the future of the streetscape project and know that good things are soon to come.
Katrina Langenderfer, PLA, ASLA, principal landscape architect, Katrina Langenderfer Landscape Architecture; co-chair High Desert Section, Oregon Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects, Kat@KLLandArch.com
Katrina (Kat) Langenderfer has lived and worked in Central Oregon for over 13 years. When not designing parks and open spaces across the region, she finds adventure trail running in the High Cascades, mountain biking with her husband Steve and taking her dog Porter standup paddle boarding at Elk Lake.