A recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that “warming of our climate system will be unequivocal during the next century.” Changes will vary from region to region, but generally include changing precipitation patterns, more frequent heat waves, rising sea levels due to melting glaciers, loss of coastal areas, mass human, animal and plant migrations, as well as stressed water sources. These and other concerns have communities all over the world getting serious about global warming.

The main culprit – an increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. These gases are primarily emitted as a result of human behavior. Building construction and energy use account for more than 30% of worldwide emissions; while the transportation sector is responsible for another 30%. Experts acknowledge that we must continue to design buildings and address land planning with an understanding that by the end of this century, our global environment will be very different from the one we know today.

Adapting the built environment to mitigate climate change is eminently doable. Tactics that are part of today’s design palette include cooling-load-avoidance, natural ventilation, high-efficiency lighting, water reuse and model energy performance. These measures also reduce building operating costs and improve durability – benefiting building owners and safeguarding the future of our planet.

As stewards of the land, landscape architects have long incorporated climate enhancing methods into project development. Creating urban carbon sinks via the provision of green space, planting climatically appropriate vegetation, avoiding new development in natural drainage corridors, developing creative approaches to stormwater management and rainwater harvesting, as well as the use of solar and thermal energy, are being proactively incorporated with master planning and site design.

However, there are more complex challenges that require significant cultural and economic shifts. Alternate transportation systems, food systems, localized economies, and stronger community networks will make us more resilient to future changes and uncertainty. These demands require a thorough understanding of carefully renewed ecosystems and the interconnectivity of natural processes and human life. Effective adaptation to climate change can be facilitated by green infrastructure approaches that help to cool urban environments, improve air quality and ameliorate surface run-off. Green infrastructure also provides wildlife corridors for species migration as well as wider benefits for recreation, community development, biodiversity, food provision and place shaping.

Understanding climate change presents an opportunity for EDSA to help shape the quality of both natural and built environments for people, places, flora and fauna. Not only will climate change alter the landscape, but it will engender new opportunities for renewable energy solutions and redefine the value we place on the environment. For more information email us directly at communications@edsaplan.com.

meet the faces of edsa

ivan donoso
sara sullivan
marketing manager
sandra arguello

Ivan has always been passionate for the outdoors, agriculture and drawing, so it was only natural that he gravitated to landscape architecture.  As a young boy in Ecuador, Ivan spent his summers in the Amazon jungle where his aunt owned an eco-resort. This experience helped shape his artistic style and influenced his sustainable planning values – reflecting a blend of rustic design aesthetics and the incorporation of local materials, food and people. With a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University, Ivan joined the Larrea studio in 2007 and has played an integral role in the visioning and design development of numerous hospitality, community and mixed-use projects – strengthening the firm’s foothold and body of work in Latin America.

With a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona, Sara joined the Kissinger Studio in 2013.  New to the profession, she is excited to expand her role and design skills and remains inspired by the collaborative nature of EDSA designers.  She has a passion for bold design expression where culture, identity, function and space result unique concepts within the context of her work. Sara is a strong problem solver and is invigorated when master plans are transformed into real form.  She is adept at integrating hand graphics with digital mediums and is gaining a great deal of experience very quickly.  Sara is excited to work in different cultures and experience the flexibility in design between countries. 

Sandra contributes to the firm’s global expansion through the implementation of communication initiatives focused on attracting new business and rewarding client loyalty. Instrumental in connecting people, projects and services, Sandra enhances the EDSA brand through purposeful messaging that conveys the firm’s benefits to clients while internally instilling those values to 125 team members. With a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida International University, Sandra’s acumen for multi-tasking, tenacious work ethic and familiarity with EDSA’s project portfolio renders her an asset to the firm.  She joined EDSA in 2001, assisting and working closely with several of the firm’s leaders and studios and joined the Marketing team in 2012.  She was born in Colombia and is fluent in Spanish and English.

studio insight
brought to you by the
dugan studio – fort lauderdale

Gaining consensus from stakeholders when designing public spaces is critical to a project’s long-term success.

studio insight

The Dugan Studio, with extensive experience in the US, Latin America and the Caribbean, represents a balance of creative thinkers and implementers. With a talent for understanding and appreciating site dynamics, project scale and development types, this team of resourceful designers upholds a track record for getting complex projects built.

Constructability is a strong word in their repertoire. They know how to translate high concepts to hard details, pushing the team to use natural and man-made materials in creative ways to craft smarter, more attractive environments that help shape the quality of outdoor spaces.

"Our solutions-oriented approach not only drives the conceptual design of a space and interpretation of its physical expression, it also ensures the original design intent carries through to implementation." Bob Dugan, Principal.

Recovery in US markets, has afforded the Dugan Studio the opportunity to diversify its collection of work. A growing niche in the gaming/casino arena and development of pool and entertainment experiences has resulted in successful income generating, multi-functional spaces.

For more information on the Dugan Studio visit


Now available… The latest edition of Design Matters magazine features the history, passion and creativity of EDSA as well as best practices, industry advancements and interesting trends through a pictorial of projects, places and people. With innovation at its forefront, the 3rd printing highlights a collection of successful, cutting-edge projects, as well as subject matter expertise on luxury hospitality evolution, education campus expansions, newer, stronger modes of development in China, community connectivity through healthy living design, and performance metrics, as well as opinions and thoughts on other relevant topics. The publication not only contributes to the advancement of education within the industry, but offers the opportunity for developers, investors and individuals to witness successful sustainable practices that are influencing the way people live, work, learn and play around the globe.

To learn more, visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EDSAPlan

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