SWA at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture

This year’s ASLA Conference (formerly known as the ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO), being held November 15-18 in San Diego, California, will feature a robust presence from SWA’s leaders and designers. We are deeply engaged in shaping the design professions’ approaches to human, environmental, and urban challenges, and look forward to the opportunity to engage with our peers. Linked below are the presentations in which we’re participating: we hope to see you at one of them!


Friday, November 15 (3:30 – 5:00 P.M.)

Ying-yu Hung, FASLA will be participating in an Ideas Lab focused on “Four Unique Riverfront Visions for Reinventing the Nation’s Third Coast,” together with Hana Ishikawa of Site Design Group; Kate Tooke of Sasaki and Sarah Astheimer of James Corner Field Operations. The managing principal of SWA’s Los Angeles studio, Ying-yu will contribute her experience on the Chicago River Edge Ideas Lab exhibition, which explored innovative concepts for placemaking along the Chicago River. The panel will examine four unique visions to demonstrate how riverfronts can reclaim their use as recreational and natural resources, catalyze development, and become hubs of entertainment and civic life.


Saturday, November 16 (2:00 – 3:00 P.M.)

Tom Balsley, managing principal of SWA/Balsley in New York City, will be speaking on “The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces Forty Years Later,” revisiting some of the ideas of William H. Whyte and how their impacts have resonated in landscape architecture and urban design approaches since the publication of his influential 1980 work. (Please see Sunday’s activities, below, for more on Tom’s second presentation.)


Saturday, November 16 (3:30 – 4:45 P.M.)

Gerdo Aquino, FASLA will address “The Mysterious and Misunderstood Future of Urban Waterways,” together with Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer, City of Los Angeles, and Thomas Aujero Small, Council Member and Former Mayor of the City of Culver City. As SWA CEO, Gerdo’s work often engages underused or overlooked infrastructure corridors for their potential as urban green space. This panel will address ways in which urban waterways can become central spines of culture, nature, and social equity while remediating past interventions like channelization.


Sunday, November 17 (2:00 – 3:00 PM)

Michael Robinson, an SWA associate principal with our Houston studio, will join Meghen Quinn of Hargreaves Associates and Zachary Chrisco of Sasaki for “Landscapes in Flux: Design Research Lessons from Three Exemplary Waterfronts.” This talk will share research into landscape projects’ performance objectives in light of increasingly relevant climate-related challenges, through the lens of Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, and San Francisco’s Crissy Field.


Sunday, November 17 (3:30 – 4:45 PM)

New York-based SWA/Balsley managing principal Tom Balsley’s second ASLA Conference talk, “Two Parks/Two Boroughs/One River,” will address his work on the multiple-award-winning Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park in Long Island City and its similarities and differences to Domino Park in Williamsburg, which was designed by James Corner Field Operations.


Monday, November 18 (10:30 AM – 11:45 AM)

Daniel Affleck, an associate principal with SWA’s San Francisco studio, will contribute to the “Remember and Imagine: Embedding a Community’s Historic and Cultural Legacy through Design” learning session with Jen Ng of Sasaki and Haley Waterston of Plural. This session encourages attendees to think beyond typical historic and cultural interpretive signage as a design element that can reinforce community identity and placemaking.

As always, interaction with allied practitioners promises to expand our thinking and broaden our sense of what is possible in our profession. We look forward to connecting with our clients and peers to share insights and lessons learned at the conference!