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Archives for July 8, 2013

Developers trying to revive suburban shopping centers

A library stocked with books and computers perches along 156th Avenue Southeast, near the place where the QFC used to be. Adjacent is an office building where any day now new businesses may find a home. Apartments and duplexes are planned over the coming years.

This is the former Lake Hills Shopping Center, a 60-year-old suburban Bellevue retail hub that declined over the years due to changes in shopping patterns and development rules.

Its rebirth as Lake Hills Village is an example of how communities and developers are trying to bring new life to aging shopping centers that dot many suburbs.

A few Eastside centers have been redeveloped, while others are waiting for a face-lift. What sets Lake Hills Village apart, officials say, is the plan to add housing to the mix.

Housing “is really a departure for a neighborhood shopping center because it’s so small and nestled right in a residential area,’’ said Dan Stroh, Bellevue planning director.

“There are a lot of larger sites elsewhere where that kind of model might be more common. Mixed retail and housing in the same development is common in downtown Bellevue, but in a little neighborhood center it’s much less common,’’ he said.

Lake Hills renewal

The 6.7-acre Lake Hills Shopping Center opened in 1958 at a time when the suburbs were taking off. Land was cheap, gasoline was inexpensive and disposable income was on the rise.

The center thrived for decades. But an agreement between the community, the city and the developer stymied expansion of the Lake Hills QFC — the original store of what grew into a grocery chain.

When the grocery store couldn’t compete with larger stores in the area, it closed in 2001. Other stores eventually left as well.

Today, nothing is left of the center as it was.

Liebchen Delicatessen, one of the last remaining tenants, moved out in January. It had been at the center 41 years but moved because an agreement with the existing center forbade them from cooking — necessary for the business to grow, said Siobhan Donohue, whose parents own the business.

Lake Hills’ developer Oscar Del Moro, vice president with Cosmos Development, believes a redevelopment can be successful if you “have a captive audience to live, work, shop and enjoy one area.”

The Lake Hills Branch of the King County Library System opened at the site last year, and underground parking is being built. The next few years will bring duplexes and apartments, a grocery and offices that could house anything from medical and dental offices to accountants, Del Moro said. He estimates the cost of the entire development at $80 million.

The “mixed use’’ concept of adding living, working and shopping space side-by-side has long been used in Europe and more recently in urban areas such as downtown Bellevue and Northgate.

The idea is to create neighborhoods with less reliance on cars and provide gathering places for people to linger, as they might have in a town square.

The center eventually will include an outdoor stage for performances, Del Moro said.

Cosmos worked for the past 10 years with the East Bellevue Community Council on the plan.

Steve Kasner, chairman of the community council, enthusiastically backs the project and would like to see other shopping centers in the area redeveloped as well.

At Newport Hills Shopping Center, not far away, a nail salon, dry cleaners and martial-arts studio cling to the edge of a vast parking lot, and there are shadows of the letters R-e-d A-p-p-l-e on the empty building where a grocery once was.

“This is what happens if nobody steps in to do something,’’ Kasner said. “A lot of people have approached us with ideas,’’ about redevelopment, he added. So far there are no plans.

Other redevelopments

At Bellevue’s Kelsey Creek Center, the city, developer and community joined forces in 2011 to revamp the shopping center, which

had slipped into decline once it lost its anchor, Kmart.

In that case, the big obstacle to redevelopment was a city requirement that any work include daylighting Kelsey Creek, which was running through a culvert.

But after years of negotiation, the city allowed developers to leave the creek covered, in exchange for other modifications to the site, Stroh said.

The center still has a large parking lot, but not quite in the acres-of-asphalt style as in the past, and now native landscaping is part of the design. Now anchored by a Walmart, the center is lively and well used.

So is Crossroads Bellevue to the north, where redevelopment 20 years ago included adding game tables and a floor chess board in the food court, a community meeting room, a performance stage and outdoor space for a farmers market, which draws 5,000 people a week.

“It connects us to the whole community,” said Susan Benton, Crossroads property manager.

Also on the Eastside, the city of Kenmore purchased the aging Kenmore Village center in 2005 and is in the process of finalizing sales of parcels to developers who plan to build 160 apartments, mixing them with offices and shops, said City Manager Rob Karlinsey.

Why aren’t more aging shopping plazas developed into mixed-use centers?

One reason, experts say, is the kind of legal quagmire that prevented expansion of the grocery at Lake Hills.

“The body of laws and codes developed over the last 50 years … really mitigate against good traditional urban design,’’ said James Howard Kunstler, an expert on urban design and author of “The Geography of Nowhere.” “And they are very difficult to overcome.’’

It took Cosmos 10 years working to clear a path for redevelopment of the Lake Hills Shopping Center. The company doesn’t have an exact date for completion of the project but hopes to start building housing units in the next two years.

“We’re in it for the long haul,’’ Del Moro said.

Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or nbartley@seattletimes.com

Article source: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021351192_mallxml.html?prmid=4939

Discovery Bay set to make a splash, open community pool

DISCOVERY BAY — This town’s recently acquired community center is officially in transition mode.

As the Discovery Bay Community Services District weighs its options for the hub’s recently closed main building, it plans to open the community swimming pool at the center to the public later this month.

“I know I’m excited about it,” board trustee Chris Steele said of the pool. “We’re looking forward to adding a feature that allows families to come out, socialize and cool off.”

Steele envisions hundreds using the pool on hot summer weekends and seniors holding water aerobic classes on weekday mornings.

Renovation over the past month on the 30-year-old pool has included replacing the filters, pumps and water heaters with commercial-grade material. It was drained, cleaned and filled with water over the past two weeks, General Manager Rick Howard said.

The pool was previously owned and operated by the private Discovery Bay Athletic Club but became district property when it purchased the 7.2-acre site in February.

Discovery Bay put $49,000 from Zone 8, a lighting and landscaping district, into the repairs in April.

Before getting the go-ahead to open, the fences around the 110,000-gallon pool have to be extended to 5 feet high, he said. That work is scheduled to start this week.

The district had hoped to open the pool by Memorial Day but ran into permitting issues with Contra Costa building officials, as the work was

considered a remodel, not routine maintenance.

The public will be charged $3 for daily use. Despite the July 1 closure to the main building, there will be access to its restrooms and showers.

The district spent $60,000 to keep the former athletic club building operational in its prior capacity until June 30 while evaluating its options.

The board decided to get out of the fitness arena, prompted by dwindling patrons and the opening of a private athletic club across the street.

“Things always seem to be changing. It’s been a moving target,” board Vice President Kevin Graves said.

Discovery Bay set aside $552,500 to renovate the well-worn building and reopen it next spring.

However, in recent weeks, discussions among district leaders and a community center committee have shifted toward considering whether to fix up the building or build a new one.

“We want to make sure we’re getting the best bang for our buck and have the best configuration to fulfill (the community’s) needs,” Graves said.

The committee will receive more detailed information on cost estimates, type of building materials and design ideas at its meetings in coming months.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.

Article source: http://www.contracostatimes.com/east-county-times/ci_23608223/discovery-bay-set-make-splash-open-community-pool

Developers trying to revive Eastside shopping centers

A library stocked with books and computers perches along 156th Avenue Southeast, near the place where the QFC used to be. Adjacent is an office building where any day now new businesses may find a home. Apartments and duplexes are planned over the coming years.

This is the former Lake Hills Shopping Center, a 60-year-old suburban Bellevue retail hub that declined over the years due to changes in shopping patterns and development rules.

Its rebirth as Lake Hills Village is an example of how communities and developers are trying to bring new life to aging shopping centers that dot many suburbs.

A few Eastside centers have been redeveloped, while others are waiting for a face-lift. What sets Lake Hills Village apart, officials say, is the plan to add housing to the mix.

Housing “is really a departure for a neighborhood shopping center because it’s so small and nestled right in a residential area,’’ said Dan Stroh, Bellevue planning director.

“There are a lot of larger sites elsewhere where that kind of model might be more common. Mixed retail and housing in the same development is common in downtown Bellevue, but in a little neighborhood center it’s much less common,’’ he said.

Lake Hills renewal

The 6.7-acre Lake Hills Shopping Center opened in 1958 at a time when the suburbs were taking off. Land was cheap, gasoline was inexpensive and disposable income was on the rise.

The center thrived for decades. But an agreement between the community, the city and the developer stymied expansion of the Lake Hills QFC — the original store of what grew into a grocery chain.

When the grocery store couldn’t compete with larger stores in the area, it closed in 2001. Other stores eventually left as well.

Today, nothing is left of the center as it was.

Liebchen Delicatessen, one of the last remaining tenants, moved out in January. It had been at the center 41 years but moved because an agreement with the existing center forbade them from cooking — necessary for the business to grow, said Siobhan Donohue, whose parents own the business.

Lake Hills’ developer Oscar Del Moro, vice president with Cosmos Development, believes a redevelopment can be successful if you “have a captive audience to live, work, shop and enjoy one area.”

The Lake Hills Branch of the King County Library System opened at the site last year, and underground parking is being built. The next few years will bring duplexes and apartments, a grocery and offices that could house anything from medical and dental offices to accountants, Del Moro said. He estimates the cost of the entire development at $80 million.

The “mixed use’’ concept of adding living, working and shopping space side-by-side has long been used in Europe and more recently in urban areas such as downtown Bellevue and Northgate.

The idea is to create neighborhoods with less reliance on cars and provide gathering places for people to linger, as they might have in a town square.

The center eventually will include an outdoor stage for performances, Del Moro said.

Cosmos worked for the past 10 years with the East Bellevue Community Council on the plan.

Steve Kasner, chairman of the community council, enthusiastically backs the project and would like to see other shopping centers in the area redeveloped as well.

At Newport Hills Shopping Center, not far away, a nail salon, dry cleaners and martial-arts studio cling to the edge of a vast parking lot, and there are shadows of the letters R-e-d A-p-p-l-e on the empty building where a grocery once was.

“This is what happens if nobody steps in to do something,’’ Kasner said. “A lot of people have approached us with ideas,’’ about redevelopment, he added. So far there are no plans.

Other redevelopments

At Bellevue’s Kelsey Creek Center, the city, developer and community joined forces in 2011 to revamp the shopping center, which

had slipped into decline once it lost its anchor, Kmart.

In that case, the big obstacle to redevelopment was a city requirement that any work include daylighting Kelsey Creek, which was running through a culvert.

But after years of negotiation, the city allowed developers to leave the creek covered, in exchange for other modifications to the site, Stroh said.

The center still has a large parking lot, but not quite in the acres-of-asphalt style as in the past, and now native landscaping is part of the design. Now anchored by a Walmart, the center is lively and well used.

So is Crossroads Bellevue to the north, where redevelopment 20 years ago included adding game tables and a floor chess board in the food court, a community meeting room, a performance stage and outdoor space for a farmers market, which draws 5,000 people a week.

“It connects us to the whole community,” said Susan Benton, Crossroads property manager.

Also on the Eastside, the city of Kenmore purchased the aging Kenmore Village center in 2005 and is in the process of finalizing sales of parcels to developers who plan to build 160 apartments, mixing them with offices and shops, said City Manager Rob Karlinsey.

Why aren’t more aging shopping plazas developed into mixed-use centers?

One reason, experts say, is the kind of legal quagmire that prevented expansion of the grocery at Lake Hills.

“The body of laws and codes developed over the last 50 years … really mitigate against good traditional urban design,’’ said James Howard Kunstler, an expert on urban design and author of “The Geography of Nowhere.” “And they are very difficult to overcome.’’

It took Cosmos 10 years working to clear a path for redevelopment of the Lake Hills Shopping Center. The company doesn’t have an exact date for completion of the project but hopes to start building housing units in the next two years.

“We’re in it for the long haul,’’ Del Moro said.

Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or nbartley@seattletimes.com

Article source: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021351192_mallxml.html

Waterloo Gardens closing Exton store

SAC

The Save Ardmore Coalition

SAC is a grassroots organization dedicated to the revitalization of Ardmore, Pennsylvania’s business district based on community input, consensus building, sound and comprehensive planning, and the preservation of our architectural heritage.

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Article source: http://mainlinemedianews.com/articles/2013/07/08/main_line_suburban_life/news/doc51dab53d222c6256479875.txt

July Gardening Tips

Sow seeds indoors now for late summer and fall transplants such as marigolds, zinnia, petunia, portulaca, and ageratum.

Tomato transplants can be planted now for fall gardens.  The best varieties to make it through the intense summer heat are Surefire, Celebrity, Heatwave, Merced, and cherry types.

Remove faded flowers from plants before they set seed in order to keep them growing and producing more flowers.  A light application of fertilizer every four to six weeks would also encourage growth.

Remove dead, diseased, and damaged branches from trees and shrubs. 

Apply a slow-release iron fertilizer to plants that are showing yellow leaves with green veins.  Be sure to keep iron off of sidewalks and any other areas that could be stained.

Check any new additions to your landscape to be sure that they are getting adequate water—newly transplanted plants require much more water than established ones.  Hold off on planting anything but bedding plants during the summer—fall will be a much easier time to establish new shrubs and trees.

Check for blackspot on roses and spray with a registered fungicide.

Check for evidence of spider mites, which are common in hot weather.  Look for tan speckles on lower leaves and/or spider webbing.  Plants may turn brown and crisp where severe infestations occur.  Hose plants down with a strong jet of water several days in a row to wash the mites off. 

Check for white grubs by digging into the soil of your lawn and flowerbeds.  These insect larvae appear about six weeks after the major June beetle flight has occurred.  If you find five to seven grubs within one square foot of soil, treat with Merit, or any other insecticide labeled for grub worms.  Follow label directions for application.

Water garden and lawn only as needed—not necessarily on all three of your designated watering days.  Give plants a thorough soaking rather than frequent, light sprinklings.  Be sure to avoid runoff of water into streets.

Article source: http://ktep.org/post/july-gardening-tips

Gardening experts offer summer tips

Larger view

After months of rain, many people in the Twin Cities are dealing with water-logged gardens. The storms that passed through last month, pulling down many trees along the way, might also have you considering what larger plants and trees to fill your yard with in the near future.

Gardening experts join The Daily Circuit to talk about the conditions facing area gardeners. They will also take listener questions.

If you’re having some problems with your garden or need some advice about starting a new garden, leave your questions in the comments section below.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SUMMER GARDENING:

9 Water-Conserving Tips for Summer Gardening

To keep your grass or your garden alive during the summer heat wave without driving your water bill to new heights, follow these tips. (Popular Mechanics)

July: the lazy days of summer

“The key to success for July is maintenance and good, effective watering. Your local garden centre can give you tips and advice on Summer tasks, but here are some ‘must do’ jobs for the garden this month.” (Bedfordshire News)

Master Gardener

“In 2011, University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners gave more than 130,000 hours to their communities–a public value worth more than $2.8 million.” (University of Minnesota)

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Article source: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/07/08/daily-circuit-gardening

Bienenstock Furniture Library Announces Pat Plaxico Gardens

Article Summary:
Named in honor of Pat Plaxico, landscaping is part of an ongoing community effort to revitalize downtown Highpoint. Library plans to add a scholarship for Landscape Architecture and Garden Design to complement the existing $10,000 design competition scholarships for Interior and Furniture Design.


Final plans are underway to break ground on Plaxico Gardens, named in honor of Pat Plaxico.

The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library announced that final plans are underway to break ground on Plaxico Gardens, named in honor of Pat Plaxico, a long-time Library board member who has a distinguished history of service to the furnishings community. Work will begin on the gardens this fall and be ready for dedication in the spring of 2014. Charles Sutton, President of the Library’s Board of Directors commented: “It is our way of saying thank you to Pat for her efforts and to celebrate her contributions in a way that is relevant and meaningful.”

Front view of the Library from Main Street, High Point, NC



Plaxico is a nationally recognized interior designer renowned for the reuse of historic buildings — adapting old structures for new purposes. Her portfolio includes Historic Market Square, the EJ Victor building, the Phillips Building (now High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau) and the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library. “I’ve been a member of the Furniture Library board for 38 years.

Working on the recent restoration and renovation of the library was a real treat. This gardens and grounds project will further enhance the property — and invoke the interests and passions of the Library’s founders. The main street location will be an oasis of beauty and respite, a gathering place, and a destination for learning in the uptown area of High Point” said Plaxico.

Greensboro-based landscape architect and garden designer, Sally Pagliai, created the design and has been retained to install the project. She has fashioned gardens throughout the United States and Italy, including many in North Carolina. When asked about her inspiration, she replied “Gardens are lasting monuments to the human spirit and are an integral part to the promise of a beautiful home. They are personal sanctuaries of calm in a stressful world.”

Philip Gibbs, Senior Art Director at Alderman Company worked with Plaxico and Pagliai to create renderings to help visualize what the gardens will look like at maturity. Russ Bienenstock, Vice President of the Board of Directors commented, “The Gardens will be a wonderful place for students, designers, and all visitors with an interest in design, can find inspiration. The landscaping plan will make the Library more visible from Main Street, which will increase traffic and usage of the library’s resources. The gardens, as is the Library, will be open to the public and will help to encourage research, collaboration and scholarship. They will also make the Library more versatile for events during and between furniture markets.”

Rear view of the Library.

The Library intends to add a scholarship for Landscape Architecture and Garden Design to complement the existing $10,000 design competition scholarships for Interior and Furniture Design. The library estimates that it will cost approximately $150,000 to design, construct and maintain the gardens and to fund scholarships over the next three years, and is seeking contributions to support this effort. For more information contact the Library. You can view a brochure on the Library’s website athttp://www.furniturelibrary.com/what-we-are-doing

About Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library:  The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library is a worldwide center for research, design and collaboration, which holds the world’s largest collection of rare and significant books on the history, and design of furniture. Founded in 1970 and endowed by the Bienenstock family, the Library is devoted the advancement of knowledge about design, furniture, interiors, architecture, textiles, finishes, and construction.

The rare book collection contains volumes published since 1640. With the exception of Yale, it is the only library in the United States that houses the original works of 18th century furniture masters Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite, as well as a complete set of Diderot’s Encyclopedia (26 volumes published in the 18th Century). Unlike Yale, the Bienenstock Furniture Library is open to the public. A special climate and humidity-controlled room houses these rare volumes. An appointment with the curator is required to examine these books, and you must wear white gloves, but they are available to the public. The library also contains rare drawings and furniture details. It is a treasure trove of inspiration for anyone interested in design.

The Library operates a specialty bookstore selling significant contemporary works, out-of- print, and hard-to-find volumes. Most Library services are free. The Bienenstock Furniture Library, located in High Point NC, is open to the public and welcomes professionals and scholars for research, collaboration, meetings, seminars, lectures, and events. Visit www.furniturelibrary.com. The easiest way to stay up to date on the developments of the library is to “like” its Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/BienenstockFurnitureLibrary.


Furniture World Magazine-Business solutions for furniture retailers

Article source: http://www.furninfo.com/Furniture%20Industry%20News/1943

Illness Gives Student ‘Whole New View’ on Garden Designs

Newswise — SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Landscape architects who want to design healing gardens to help people struggling with serious illness need to first understand more about the needs of the people who will use those spaces, according to a recent college graduate who did his independent research project last winter while undergoing treatment for leukemia.

Kevan Busa, who graduated from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Foresty (ESF) here with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture in May, based his study on his battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and the bone marrow transplant that kept him hospitalized for three months at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

“It was not the foreign culture I set out to study, but I got a whole new view on designing landscapes from living in a hospital,” he wrote.

Busa started on his unexpected journey in May 2012.

After four years as a member of the ESF Mighty Oaks soccer team, he was headed for a change in the fall of his fifth year. He was preparing to travel to Barcelona for his off-campus semester, the centerpiece of ESF’s landscape architecture program, when he sought treatment for a fever, dizziness and leg pain. He was quickly diagnosed with leukemia and he spent most of the summer hospitalized in Syracuse before he was transferred to Roswell for the transplant.

“I still wanted to graduate on time and do my off-campus project,” he said. “But when you’re spending two straight months in a hospital room, there really isn’t any other culture.”

Busa wasn’t the only person who wanted his education to stay on track. “We wanted him to graduate on time,” said Richard Hawks, who recently stepped down as chair of the ESF Department of Landscape Architecture. “So we decided to build on the experience he was having and not pretend it wasn’t happening. He did the research and wrote a paper. He did a very nice project.”

With guidance from Hawks and his advisor, Scott Shannon, who teaches in the LA department as well as serving as associate provost and dean of the graduate school, Busa plunged into online research, learning how healing spaces are designed and how they differ depending on their intended audience, be it the elderly, children or veterans. He learned that although existing research extolls the natural environment’s ability to speed the healing process, he wasn’t even allowed to have flowers in his hospital room because of his compromised immune system.

“How are these healing spaces going to help me if I can’t even have one teeny plant next to me?” he said. “Healing spaces are meant to help you but they’re not safe for someone who has had a bone marrow transplant.”

Busa said he was not allowed to visit Kaminski Park Gardens, an outdoor space designed for use by hospital patients, their family members and the staff. His magazine story details the problems: The chemotherapy and radiation had made him sensitive to sunlight and there was little shade in the park. The pollen, dirt and fungi that occur normally threatened his immune system. The use of mowers and leaf blowers stirred up particles that hampered his breathing. Sometimes there were crowds of people there, which he needed to avoid. Even a walk on bumpy pavement was difficult because of the IV pole that was by his side for two months.

In the hospital, Busa surveyed 90 people about healing gardens and found what they most enjoyed was the plantings and exposure to the sun, the very things he needed to avoid.

He wrote: “For many patients with compromised immune systems, the solution may be gardens that can be experienced from indoors, through glass. This idea may not sound terribly inviting, but it is a far preferable alternative to 100 days of brick walls.”

He wrote a first-person piece about his experience in the June 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, published by the American Society of Landscape Architecture.

Busa is working full time this summer as an intern with the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council, where he focuses on planning issues. He is interested in pursuing opportunities in the field of health care design. In the meantime, he has been invited to speak Sept. 26 at the American Institute of Architects state convention in Syracuse. He will give a 45-minute presentation to share his study. His presentation falls one day short of the one-year anniversary of his bone marrow transplant.

Hawks said Busa has already given professional landscape architects something to think about.

“People in the profession are now able to look at an area of practice that, fortunately, many people don’t get to see from Kevan’s perspective,” Hawks said.

He said it’s rare for a recent graduate to have a first-person piece published in the professional magazine. “I don’t recall it happening,” he said. “But from a human interest angle, it was a unique story and worth telling.”

Brad McKee, who has served as editor of the magazine for three years, said it’s unusual to feature the work of an undergraduate.

“They usually don’t get a lot of attention but that doesn’t mean they haven’t done much,” he said. “Kevan’s story was really interesting, it really struck a chord with me. He was there and he used his time wisely. He had a really unusual point of view. We don’t get a lot of stuff like that. All the pieces came together in a really profound and sobering way. Plus, given his situation, who’s not going to read it?”

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Article source: http://www.newswise.com/articles/illness-gives-student-whole-new-view-on-garden-designs

Illness Gives ESF Student ‘Whole New View’ on Garden Designs – SUNY

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Monday, July 08, 2013

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2013 graduate publishes reflection in Landscape Architecture Magazine
7/8/2013

Landscape architects who want to design healing gardens to help people struggling with serious illness need to first understand more about the needs of the people who will use those spaces, according to a recent ESF graduate who did his independent research project last winter while undergoing treatment for leukemia.

Kevan Busa, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture in May, wrote a first-person piece in the June 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine in which he described his battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and the bone marrow transplant that kept him hospitalized for three months at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

“It was not the foreign culture I set out to study, but I got a whole new view on designing landscapes from living in a hospital,” he wrote.

Busa started on his unexpected journey in May 2012.

After four years as a member of the Mighty Oaks soccer team, he was headed for a change in the fall of his fifth year. He was preparing to travel to Barcelona for his off-campus semester when he sought treatment for a fever, dizziness and leg pain. He was quickly diagnosed with leukemia and he spent most of the summer hospitalized in Syracuse before he was transferred to Roswell for the transplant.

“I still wanted to graduate on time and do my off-campus project,” he said. “But when you’re spending two straight months in a hospital room, there really isn’t any other culture.”

Busa wasn’t the only person who wanted his education to stay on track. “We wanted him to graduate on time,” said Richard Hawks, who recently stepped down as chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture. “So we decided to build on the experience he was having and not pretend it wasn’t happening. He did the research and wrote a paper. He did a very nice project.”

With guidance from Hawks and his advisor, Scott Shannon, who teaches in the LA department as well as associate provost and dean of the graduate school, Busa plunged into online research, learning how healing spaces are designed and how they differ depending on their intended audience, be it the elderly, children or veterans. He learned that although existing research extolls the natural environment’s ability to speed the healing process, he wasn’t even allowed to have flowers in his hospital room because of his compromised immune system.

“How are these healing spaces going to help me if I can’t even have one teeny plant next to me?” he said. “Healing spaces are meant to help you but they’re not safe for someone who has had a bone marrow transplant.”

Busa said he was not allowed to visit Kaminski Park Gardens, an outdoor space designed for use by hospital patients, their family members and the staff. His magazine story details the problems: The chemotherapy and radiation had made him sensitive to sunlight and there was little shade in the park. The pollen, dirt and fungi that occur normally threatened his immune system. The use of mowers and leaf blowers stirred up particles that hampered his breathing. Sometimes there were crowds of people there, which he needed to avoid. Even a walk on bumpy pavement was difficult because of the IV pole that was by his side for two months.

In the hospital, Busa surveyed 90 people about healing gardens and found what they most enjoyed was the plantings and exposure to the sun, the very things he needed to avoid.

He wrote: “For many patients with compromised immune systems, the solution may be gardens that can be experienced from indoors, through glass. This idea may not sound terribly inviting, but it is a far preferable alternative to 100 days of brick walls.”

His story ran in the magazine, published by the American Society of Landscape Architecture, about a month after his graduation.

Busa is working full time this summer as an intern with the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council, where he focuses on planning issues. He is interested in pursuing opportunities in the field of health care design. In the meantime, he has been invited to speak Sept. 26 at the American Institute of Architects state convention in Syracuse. He will give a 45-minute presentation to share his study. His presentation falls one day short of the one-year anniversary of his bone marrow transplant.

Hawks said Busa has already given professional landscape architects something to think about.

“People in the profession are now able to look at an area of practice that, fortunately, many people don’t get to see from Kevan’s perspective,” Hawks said.

He said it’s rare for a recent graduate to have a first-person piece published in the professional magazine. “I don’t recall it happening,” he said. “But from a human interest angle, it was a unique story and worth telling.”

Brad McKee, who has served as editor of the magazine for three years, said it’s unusual to feature the work of an undergraduate.

“They usually don’t get a lot of attention but that doesn’t mean they haven’t done much,” he said. “Kevan’s story was really interesting, it really struck a chord with me. He was there and he used his time wisely. He had a really unusual point of view. We don’t get a lot of stuff like that. All the pieces came together in a really profound and sobering way. Plus, given his situation, who’s not going to read it?”

Article source: http://www.esf.edu/communications/view.asp?newsID=2287