Transportation Landscape Architects – Research for Landscape and Environmental Design in the Public Realm

Illustrations © Author

Landscape Architects have long history in the United States of participating in the planning and design of public spaces. From New York’s Central Park to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C. the landscape architect’s perspective and sensibility has proven key to successful public space design. More recently, Landscape Architects are increasingly engaged in the planning and design of transportation systems, in particular streets, roads and highways, and have come to refer to themselves as a particular breed of practitioner…the Transportation Landscape Architect. Beginning with the creation of the Jamaica Parkway in Brooklyn, NY in 1870, by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux and continuing through the Bronx River Parkway (1923), Taconic River Parkway (1933), the Blue Ridge Parkway (1940) and the Arroyo Seco Parkway (1940-1953) in Pasadena California, public and private sector landscape architects and transportation professionals have collaborated to implement innovative transportation system designs. The Arroyo Seco parkway, mostly opened in 1940, is notable not only for being the first freeway, but for representing a transitional phase between early parkways and modern freeways.