The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announced today that Landscapes of Place, LLC (Mequon, Wisconsin) has been recognized with a 2011 Honor Award in Analysis and Planning for the project “Making A Wild Place in Milwaukee’s Urban Menomonee Valley”.
The design envisions transformation of the final 25 acres of the City’s Menomonee Valley restoration into an urban landscape of wildness and delight, accessible by foot or bike. In developing these plans, Landscapes of Place used the standards prescribed by the Society for Ecological Restoration. Nancy Aten and her team have applied these standards to the unique challenges of the long-invisible, inaccessible, and degraded land located between the Menomonee River and the railroad tracks, between the stadium and the Domes.
“We clearly understand that this place needs to respond to both its urban and its ecological potential,” said Nancy Aten, ASLA and company principal. “This plan positively embraces both.”
The team’s plan addresses the practical challenges of bringing ‘new’ land into the public domain, of developing truly participatory restoration in conjunction with the Urban Ecology Center, and of restoring and managing the land over time with limited and unpredictable budgets. Natural history analysis of the river course, hydrologic conditions, and vegetation, combined with contemporary local reference sites, provided the link between historic natural conditions and current potential. Site analysis included the combination of sun patterns with topographic aspects, the Valley’s rainfall patterns, and methods to achieve un-compacted soil and microtopographic variability.
The landscape design developed by the firm details nine plant community types with 478 native species in a mosaic that includes prairie, oak savanna, forest, and wetland, with descriptions of landscape character and patterning. The plan offers stakeholders phased implementations over several years, providing practical trajectories for the long-term forest goals, and transforming in the meantime to a vibrant and healing wild landscape.
“We would like to embed a wild, healthy place along this still resilient river here in Milwaukee,” said Aten.
Collaborating with Landscapes of Place staff were Marc White, principal at White Ecological and ASLA Fellow Darrel Morrison. For more information, see www.asla.org/2011awards/ and www.asla.org/2011awards/436.html.
The Honor Award-winning plan is the culmination of the landscape design services provided by Landscapes of Place to the consortium of stakeholders.