With a heightened awareness of the farm-to-fork movement, the desire to connect people with agriculture has never been more widespread. The inventive strategy for improving social, psychological, environmental, and physical well-being dates back to the 1890s - as a means to provide land and technical assistance to unemployed workers in large cities and to establish good working habits among youths.  Since then, communities have seen the proliferation of vacant-lot gardens, school gardens, entrepreneurial job-training gardens, horticultural therapy gardens, community gardens, agri-tourism offerings, and demonstration gardens. In each case, the benefits of these spaces have reached far beyond gardening of vegetables or flowers, to the beautification and creative re-use of communal public land.

With agriculture becoming an institution, landscape architects are increasingly being called upon to design aspects of these environments that impact all who live near or regularly interact with the space. Urban agriculture in particular has recently exploded with popularity, as more and more younger adults want to farm. Viewed as a new form of environmentalism, this trend is partly a result of a reliance on digital communications and people missing and craving a reconnection with nature.

People value the benefits associated with healthy, local food and are hungry for the experience of cultivating and harvesting. Urban community gardens for example are providing fresh produce, beautifying neighborhoods, and helping bring neighbors closer together. Additionally, they have proven to reduce neighborhood crime - particularly when vacant, blighted lots are targeted for garden development.  In residential offerings, gardens add to the recreational green space contributing greatly to environmental education where participants learn about sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, and improved waste management. Sharing of food from the garden, as well as favorite recipes, also contributes to relationship building which in turn leads to community cohesion. On the tourism front, agri-tourism can be viewed much like eco-tourism in that it is small-scale, low-impact, and, in most cases, education-focused, connecting people and cultures. In resort development, the emphasis is not only placed on passive outdoor activities for families, but on didactic opportunities to learn about the cultural heritage of a place and the importance of local agriculture and farming techniques.    

As the profession continues to evolve and engage in how to best apply design principles to this cause, it reaches beyond community gardens to respecting the arable soils we still have in our landscapes, finding opportunities for people to connect to food production, and supporting appropriate reasons to actively grow food for ourselves as well as a practical means of supplementing food supply.  Often prompted by a desire to grow traditional foods in culturally familiar and appropriate ways, such initiatives have resulted in enhanced social capital for the communities in which these gardens, farms and agriculture initiatives reside.

Food isn't going away, that's for certain. So, while the average consumer is becoming more conscious of the food system that delivers his or her food, it's certainly important for designers, planners and policy makers to be aware of it. By providing access to fresh organic produce, opportunities for physical activity, contact with nature, and neighborhood meeting places, gardens will continue to promote physical and mental health of our communities.

For more information contact us directly at info@edsaplan.com.

meet the faces of edsa

administrative assistant
qing zhang
emmanuel moran velez
gabriela patocchi

Prepared with a Bachelor in Architecture from Tsinghua University and a Master’s degree in the same field from the University of Illinois, Qing was thoroughly familiar with the industry when she joined EDSA in 2013. A classically trained designer, she is the conduit for open communication between clients and the design team - active in researching, refining, negotiating  and documenting project progress.  She thrives on organization, contributing to the successful implementation of planning and design assignments for her studio, particular those in Southeast Asia. A valued asset to the firm, her priority is maintaining a work life balance that poignantly includes family, hobbies and passions with intellectual stimulation, rest and recreation. As a member of the LaMont Studio, Qing works diligently in her administrative duties, as well as assisting with marketing and accounting efforts.

Raised in New York, Emmanuel grew up with a fond appreciation for the coveted resources that open and green spaces offer a city’s urban core.   As a child, he visited a green roof garden, a concept that was quite new at the time, but one that greatly influenced his desire to plan spaces of similar context and composition in his future. With an appetite for solving design challenges, he synthesizes conceptual ideas with practical solutions by enhancing existing site conditions through creative programming and natural systems integration. Emmanuel earned an Associate’s Degree in Landscape Development from SUNY Cobleskill and a Bachelors of Landscape Architecture from Cornell University. Since joining the Sutton Studio in 2013, his work encompasses a wide range of planning phases on a variety of international projects, showcasing his strong hand graphics skillset with digital design talents.

The Patocchi household was always filled with architectural books and artifacts serving as a foundation for knowledge, creative expression and education. Destined to become an architect, Gabi, for whom illustration came naturally, received her Bachelors in Architecture from the Universidad Católica de Cordoba in Argentina and then attended The Ohio State University where she worked as a teacher’s assistant while obtaining her Master’s degree. Through her passion for architecture, Gabi focuses on design and implementation with attention to detailing and materiality.  A true artistic mind, she creatively transmutes a sense of place in projects, allowing land forms, culture and buildings to educate the design. She excels at conceptual design and truly enjoys researching the history of a site. Gabi joined EDSA in 2005 and is a member of the Jaguan Studio.

brought to you by the
kissinger studio - fort lauderdale

Think big! Our profession allows us the opportunity to make an impact,
so don’t be afraid of doing just that.

kissinger studio insight

Designers of exterior spaces must constantly be creative and not just see things as they are, but rather envision what they could be. This comprehensive approach to the planning process places a big responsibility on landscape architects of what a space can look like and creates an immense opportunity to make significant positive transformations.

For the Kissinger Studio, there are projects in their portfolio where this is clearly evident. The Valletta Waterfront in Malta, the Owensboro Riverfront in Kentucky and the Pompano Beach Revitalization project in Florida are just a few examples of how quality of life can be elevated through the proper planning of environments. By energizing a space for the community to gather – introducing and enhancing pedestrian corridors, event lawns, attractive and functional seating, and even lighting; the results will draw visitors, increase tourism, create jobs, reduce crime and even help restore natural systems. Creating a more inviting environment sparks redevelopment in an area and boost aesthetic and financial values.

EDSA and the industry as a whole hold the power to be game changers, leading the charge and playing a big part in our planet’s economic, environmental and social sustainability.

For more information on the Kissinger Studio, visit: http://www.edsaplan.com/en/Team/Studios/Kissinger

indura beach
and golf resort

The Indura Beach and Golf Resort, which opened its doors earlier this year, is located along the Caribbean coast of Honduras, in Bahia de Tela, a site of immense natural beauty and rich cultural history. Planned with the utmost care to both guard and protect, it will absorb and articulate the heritage of the area while providing a catalyst for tourism growth for the whole country.

Architectural styles, structural footprints, and design processes were all undertaken in such a way to cause as little disturbance to the native landscape while also accurately reflecting the local fabric. The architecture for all of the structures remains true to the region’s history and has little impact on the site. The nearby Garifuna community of Miami Honduras is the only one that to this day is still completely built of thatched huts. Indura replicates this building style along with the addition of stilts to its buildings allowing for zero disturbance in natural animal migration patterns as well as assisting with irrigation, drainage and air flow. Elevated roads permit wildlife passage without danger from vehicular traffic. The resort will integrate a Gary Player golf course, residences, beach club and a 5-star boutique hotel. EDSA provided master planning and detail design services.

For more pictures on Indura Beach and Golf Resort, please visit our Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1rJfR03

tell us what you think!

Where do see growth happening in the industry over the next three to five years?

  • Hospitality
  • Residential
  • Healthcare
  • Urban
  • Entertainment
  • Education