On April 10th I had the privilege to participate in a one-day symposium on Opportunities and Challenges in Artful Rainwater Design hosted by Penn State’s Landscape Architecture department. Experts from across the country who practice in this specialized area of design came together for eleven sequential “TED talk style” presentations. My presentation, “Rivers and Rain Gardens” discussed a chronology of our firm’s stormwater projects from early work in the mid-1980s with bioswales and detention ponds, to recently completed work at Bud Clark Commons and a terraced rain garden beneath the Darlene Hooley Pedestrian Bridge over I-5 in South Waterfront.
After seeing the presentations of others and conversing with my colleagues in a subsequent Professionals Round Table, I came away feeling appreciative that we who practice in the Northwest have been able to make significant contributions to the “state of the art” and science of green infrastructure. I also felt convinced that we, as landscape architects, need to strongly advocate for the design of stormwater systems as an integral part of our practices, no matter where the project is located or what discipline is leading the team. We are uniquely trained to consider all of the multiple benefits of green infrastructure, from its ecological functions, educational value, economics and aesthetics.