New media requires respect like old media

I am finding it more interesting that design firms who wish to have articles published on my blog – World Landscape Architecture think because it is new media and it is digital blog that they can ask and sometimes demand a change to the post title or the way the images are laid out. Often, I think they forget that although this is new media that old media rules still apply. That is, the editor or blogger decides on what to publish with what title and how it is laid out and how they promote it on social media. Don’t get me wrong I like working with firms and have been publishing their work for the last 10 years, however, I think sometimes designers and their ego think that they can control the way it is published, although they wouldn’t have the gall to make the same demands of established print magazine 5 or 10 years ago.

My advice is to be respectful to bloggers and publishers. You can make requests but don’t get pushy and aggressive if you don’t like fact that they won’t change the title, feature image or layout.

WLA Awards are coming

In 2016 I started the WLA Awards to recognise landscape architects from around the world with a new Award series called the World Landscape Architecture Awards or WLA Awards.

For 2017, I have finalised the jurors two weeks ago and looking to announce the call for submissions and jurors in the coming week.

It is always fun and exciting to see the entries to the awards and the diversity of work that has occurred.

Look out for the WLA Awards announcement of

Designers with ego or empathy

Over the last few years I have met and spoken to many designers whether landscape architects, architect, industrial or graphic designers and usually people fall into two categories – designers with empathy or designers with ego.

Designers with ego when you discuss or refer to any design (that isn’t theirs) whether it be my own work or someone else’s they are critical or dismissive and start discussing their own work or refer to the object or idea and that circulates around beauty of design or their theory of design.

Designers with empathy in the same situation talk about the design seem eem excited by the design and offer insights and questions about the design. They are also more passionate about process of design, generating ideas, understanding program, how people relate to the space or object and will give you designs with similar ideas or narrative.

I speak to both and find their difference in approaches an interesting problem to deal with and have worked with both in my career. The designer with ego is challenging to work with and pushes the design in terms of its beauty. The designer with empathy is good to work and is more collaborative. Their design design is better as an idea and in its execution, although it may not be the most beautiful design, it will most likely function and be more relatable to the user than the design from those with an ego.

BOOK REVIEW | Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance: Angela Lee Duckworth

After hearing Angela on a TED talk podcast I was interested in reading her book – Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance: Angela Lee Duckworth. I found the first few chapters interesting but felt that after about 70-80 pages I had gotten the main points of the book. I perceived and read to the end, however I found the book had fallen into the same practice that many books in the business/self-help category. It was repeating the same points in two or three different ways, which can become frustrating and make the book seem to move slow and actually take longer to get to the points the author was trying to convey to the reader.

Overall, the book did provide some useful points about why people succeed at different stages of their and levels of their careers and that passion, perseverance, patience and grit get you through many stages of life and more successful in your careers. I would recommend that you watch Angela’s TED talk and read or listen to some her interviews and you will obtain the same amount of knowledge and insight as you would reading the book.

Angela Lee Duckworth – TED Talk

Angela Duckworth on Passion, Grit and Success

The Limits of “Grit” – New Yorker



Design regulations against terrorism – a catalyst for change

Over the last year there have been several terrorist incidents that have seen the loss of life in our cities and due to this acts we have seen governments have turned to security experts, police departments and intelligence experts to offer advice on how to make cities safer. This is a continuation of the ever increasing change in the way we live our lives over the last few decades as we have secured airports, train stations, bus stations, border crossings and tourist attractions.

Due to recent events the Australian government has sort advice from security experts and recently, the Prime Minister of Australia launched the Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism. A document which seeks to “…assist owners and operators to increase the safety, protection and resilience of crowded places across Australia.”. This strategy is similar to the Crowded Places Guidance recently published by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office(UK) and the FEMA – Site and Urban Design for Security.


Read the full post at World Landscape Architecture

Deep Learning is set to help herbariums identify more plant species

Herbariums around the world have large collections of sample sheets with dried plants pressed ready for  taxonomists to annotate, classify. This process often takes time and many herbariums don’t have the resources to catalogue the sample sheets, however researchers at Costa Rica Institute of Technology recently undertook a study using deep learning to analyze a big dataset with thousands of species from herbaria to see if they could setup a full autonomous to help identify the thousands of plants in collections around the world.

By using convolutional neural network(CNN) and various datasets from the iDigBio portal and other sources (Costa Rica & France) they trained the CNN to learn discriminant visual features of the plants from thousands of herbarium sample sheets. They found that they”….could potentially lead to the creation of a semi, or even fully, automatic system to help taxonomists and experts do their annotation, classification, and revision work at herbarium.”[1]. The researchers also found that the learning could be transferred between regions when they tested a dataset from Costa Rica against another dataset from France. Also that to improve the learning and classification it would be best to remove the handwritten tags, barcodes, logos and other markings on the sample sheets. During the research they also found that the learning does not transfer across to field images of trees, leaves, flowers, but it is best used for herbarium sample sheets.

Read the full article at WLA –

Solving the crowding and the associated impacts on National Parks

Over recent periods there has been an increase in visitor numbers to National Parks in several countries including China, USA(+7.7% 2016), Canada(+7% 2011-2016), South Africa (6%). Seeing people enjoy the natural beauty and conservation areas is encouraging when we often hear about the disconnection of people from nature. The downside is increased numbers is the impact on the nature and the associated problems of traffic jams, parking, pollution and more. Of course, there are many other issues that hamper conservation including poaching, unauthorised clearing, illegal uses, however this post was to provide solutions for crowding issues raised recently.

How can we all everyone to enjoy nature but minimise the impact?

Limiting Access
Limiting the impact on the parks through limiting access by ticket numbers is one method of reducing the impact. There are some parks that have a limit to the number of visitors per day to the whole or part of the park to minimise the impact.

Allow people to reserve a day they wish to visit or camp in the Park when used in conjunction with limiting access can encourage people to pre-book and

Read the full article at World Landscape Architecture

What are the stages of a Landscape Architecture project?

Landscape architecture design projects differ in scale and complexity, however they are separated into various stages to allow for ease of management. Due to the variation in project types the staging of landscape architecture projects requires a flexible approach to project management. The project stages often follow a similar pattern however, they may be shortened or not undertaken due to various factors including scale, complexity, client requirements, budget and so on.

I hope to assist those interested in landscape architecture by providing general information about the stages of design projects. The stage names and terminology may differ from country to country and region to region but there is a common process of managing a project through stages.

Before, the landscape architect gets to the exciting part of designing the project there are few stages that often occur prior to putting pen to paper. The client has contacted you and agree to provide a fee or proposal for landscape architecture services.

Read the more of my post at World Landscape Architecture