ASLA/ACE Mentor Legacy Project

In 2008, ASLA introduced the Legacy Project as a gift to the host city of the annual meeting and EXPO. The host chapter teams up with the local affiliate of the ACE Mentor Program to design a project to be installed after the meeting. Many EXPO exhibitors donate products and plants each year for the project, allowing ASLA to give back to the city that hosts the meeting.

2018 ASLA/ACE Mentor Legacy Project
Spring Garden Parklet

In 2018, members of the host Pennsylvania/Delaware ASLA chapter and students from Thomas Jefferson University joined the local affiliate of the ACE Mentor Program. They selected a parklet as their project, as it offered a unique opportunity for Jefferson, the Arts and Crafts Holdings (a local community developer), and JKRP Architects (the host mentor) to collaborate, do research, and develop design solutions for underused streets in the Spring Garden section of Philadelphia.

Jefferson students and their younger ACE colleagues were teamed throughout the semester to explore landscape architecture in all its complexities, including community engagement, site analysis, concept development, public review, and installation. The teams also explored the economic, social, and ecological issues of the project areas with an additional goal of considering what makes a city great.

Philadelphia is currently embarking on a civic space renaissance (among other initiatives), whereby the street and sidewalk are to be reclaimed for pedestrians and bikers. As William Whyte stated more than 40 years ago: “The street is the river of life in a city, the place where people come together, and the pathway to the center.”

These are highly appropriate words of inspiration for the students, since the areas under consideration are largely dominated by automobiles and parking lots, with very little green space or outdoor seating. The teams focused on large asphalt parking areas and underused streets. Two groups designed parklets—whose low cost and temporary nature allowed each team to test spaces to determine where and how each space might be developed. The other groups looked at parking lot designs to reduce stormwater, mediate heat island effects, and to consider new program introductions such as outdoor concerts, art installations, and traffic calming.

In the end, these projects did more than provide economic, ecological, and social benefits for the target neighborhoods. They will also include an important research component. Through generous funding from Stantec, the ACE students will be trained as ambassadors and project researchers to carefully study and document how the space is used, how long people linger, if they sat down, and the like.

It is hoped that this legacy project will be a catalyst for larger, more permanent initiatives all over Philadelphia. In the meantime, the parklets will provide much needed green space for local citizens to enjoy and allow them to forge personal commitments to their own community’s future.

ASLA EXPO Exhibitors

This is an all-volunteer led project and, as in year’s past, support is needed from ASLA EXPO exhibitors.  Below are items needed for the project. Exhibitors can pledge donations either before or during the ASLA 2018 Annual Meeting and EXPO.

Materials needed specifically for the Legacy Project include planters, seating, hardscape materials, bike racks, and trellises. Unfortunately we cannot accept live plants at this time.

In advance of the meeting, please visit the sign up page, pledge your donation, and we will list your company on this site and in future program promotions!