Anna Cawrse, who led the Climate.Park.Change. tool, cites a specific example of Sasaki Strategies integrating with the practice’s other disciplines; a collaboration with Sasaki’s civil engineering and landscape team on dredging works to a six-lake landscape in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The lakes and parklands currently serve as an important recreational asset for the local community, some of whom voiced nervousness over the project’s redistribution of 600,000 cubic yards of soil for redistribution along the lake edge to create parklands and aid restoration. With some residents worried about the impact of the works on their views of the lake, Sasaki’s team developed a digital model of the landscape, including every single building surrounding the lake, to aid design development.
“Using the model, we can evaluate and communicate in detail the impact of the new soil on surrounding views,” says Cawrse. “Even though no work has been done to the site, the model is allowing us to communicate the challenges and ideas in a way that nobody thought we could do, as opposed to just offering the residents anecdotal assurances. With digital tools, we can definitively prove it, which has been a major benefit to both us, our client, and the residents.” Like Goulding and Hardy, Cawrse sees strength in the Sasaki Strategies team’s ability to reach across disciplines and scales. “In Baton Rouge, we worked with the team on this major engineering, environmental, and recreational project,” Cawrse says. “But we’ve also worked with them on a small quarter-acre plaza, looking at human comfort and the experience of viewing the plaza from various angles. This collaboration can go from ten linear miles of parklands to a quarter-acre site.”
Perhaps one of the most intriguing elements of Sasaki Strategies is the active involvement of people from architectural backgrounds, now engaged in developing digital tools. While the tactile, physical grounding of buildings appears divorced from the virtual world of coding, scripts, and data, the team observes inherent links between the two. “In some ways, it’s the same process,” says Goulding, who also comes from an architectural background. “You’re using empathy, an understanding of user experience, and an ability to understand schematics; steadily allowing the project to evolve in detail. Even concepts of modularity and scalability are directly linked to both realms.”
“An architectural education can be hugely helpful in a career for software and interactive tools,” Goulding adds. “I’ve seen many people in our team start in an architecture background, and successfully transition into understanding and working with software. Often, software has a reputation for being detail-orientated. When you come from a design background, it can instead be easier to think conceptually. But even if you do not fully understand the details, it’s often amazing what you are able to do.”
To explore more information about Climate.Park.Change., visit the following links:
National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA): New Toolkit to Asses Climate Threats and Park-Specific Strategies
Fast Company Magazine: This map shows the climate impacts on every county in the Western U.S.
World Landscape Architecture: A Comprehensive New Resource for Park and Recreation Agencies Fighting Climate Change
Next City: New Mapping Tool Helps Parks Plan for Climate Change