Landscape Architecture Month:
Reflections From Within

In the face of this unprecedented novel coronavirus crisis, we all pause for personal reflection. As designers of the built environment, we are also considering the perplexing social distancing adaptations that require a rationing of physical space. We’re all being asked to analyze the potential consequences of our individual actions at a microscale. We’re also thinking at a macroscale of effects across the country and globe, which is difficult to fathom.

We witness many people turning to parks and open spaces for solace, mental health and nature, as well as exercise routines and recreation. Increasingly, we grasp the value of friendly, walkable neighborhoods and flexible open spaces—places where we can spend time outdoors with our kids, family members and neighbors (at an appropriate distance) during these times of crisis.

We crave optimism and are looking for ways to restore our bodies and souls. We recognize that our connection to nature, sunlight and fresh air is essential to our being. The appropriate levels of engagement and respectful use of outdoor spaces are key. And the need for increased resources deployed to the underserved parts of our community is further underscored—now more apparent than ever.

In walking to a number of neighborhood parks here in Portland throughout the last month, we see diverse people from all walks of life savoring the spring air: couples, elders, multi-generational families, parents with strollers, teens, tweens and solo dog walkers. We study how they consciously populate shared outdoor spaces and (for the most part) demonstrate concern for others. People who pass on walkways and in streets often acknowledge one another in ways we rarely see in urban environments. We nod to porch sitters. Our basic human desire to connect, even with strangers, seems as strong as ever before.

The need for collective awareness and respect for each other is heightened at this time. It’s an opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of our investment in our parks, access to nature and the public realm. As landscape architects, designers and planners, we must use this time to deepen our understanding of the intrinsic value of parks, walkable streets and public spaces where everyone can feel a sense of belonging. We must redouble our efforts to create spaces that promote the values of equity and inclusion throughout the region. Everyone deserves access to these shared assets that help to define a healed, healthy and re-connected community.

Posted April 21, 2020
Written by: Carol Mayer-Reed, FASLA
Categories: COMMUNITY  DIALOGUE 

Unprecedented Times, COVID-19

We remain committed to our clients and business continuity as we work remotely. We are focused on delivering services with the dependability and quality that you’ve come to expect from Mayer/Reed while we protect the health of our community.

Online Open House – SW Corridor Light Rail

We’ve reached a major milestone in the design of the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project with the release of the draft Conceptual Design Report, 14 months in the making. The proposed 11-mile extension of the MAX light rail system will connect Downtown Portland, Southwest Portland, Tigard and Tualatin.Leading the conceptual design, a joint venture between Mayer/Reed, ZGF and VIA Architecture prepared an overview of the corridor context and history and developed proposed urban design concepts including biking and walking improvements, stormwater strategies, station configurations, structures, streetscape and system elements summarized in the report. Special strategies such as tunnels, flyovers, elevators and even an inclined elevator  – a modern type of funicular – are proposed to respond to the more challenging site conditions along the route.Throughout the process we’ve enjoyed interacting with the communities along the line. A recent series of open houses shared the concepts and collected community input which the team will use to finalize the report in anticipation of a funding bond measure. There’s still time contribute your thoughts until March 27 through TriMet’s online open house.

Graphics credit: ZGF-VIA-Mayer/Reed Joint Venture

Another Brilliant Portland Winter Light Festival

For the 5th year in a row, dazzling, illuminated installations and performances delighted festival-goers during the Portland Winter Light Festival held February 6-8th.MayerReed_KineticDelighthand As darkness approached on opening night, a crew from Mayer/Reed walked from our downtown studio to partake in the festivities flanking the riverfront. Such amazing displays! Our first stop, of course, was the installation we designed – Kinetic DeLight. We had so much fun watching the night light up as people found their own, unique ways of interacting with the hundreds of human-powered LED skateboard wheels. Mayer/Reed is proud to have supported this community-building event since the beginning – as sponsors, designers and volunteers – and we look forward to next year’s bright ideas.