May 24, 2018

A defining characteristic of our age is the sheer volume and diversity of freely available information. But without guidance this wealth of knowledge can be disorienting or, at its worst, trap people in echo-chambers of their own repeated opinions. How do we cut through the noise?

The problem, evident across a range of industries, has spawned a series of emergent solutions: newspapers have begun to market relevant daily news briefings for a fee and incisive meal planning services charge for pre-selected weekly recipes. These models provide high quality information in lieu of the dozens of free, low-quality, alternatives that clog the internet. There is clear value in trusted sources who do the hard work of filtering, researching, and curating in order to provide accessible and quality deliverables to the end-user.

We think there is a parallel track on the technical side of landscape architecture. Information on native species, ecological planting, and pollinator positive design has exploded in the last decade. But what is appropriate and applicable to our region? To the urban condition? How can these resources be organized and purposed in such a way that they coincide with and enhance core design principles? LAB enjoys digging deep to tackle this type of question in order to devise solutions that benefit all of our end users: the people for whom we work and the pollinators who make the flowering magic of landscapes possible in the first place.

Over the past five years, we have developed a series of native planting databases and are testing highly-curated and performance-driven plant groupings on projects such as the DHS Access Road at the St. Elizabeth’s Campus. We find that these resources provide a valuable base of relevant information that allows us to craft more evocative, elegant, and higher-performing places.