Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for January 15, 2016

Eye on Regulations in 2016

New small engine emissions regulations are in the early developmental stage. It’s happening in California (CARB)—and history suggests that whatever CARB comes up with will eventually be adopted by the EPA on a national level.

“The process of developing the new standards is just beginning,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “CARB starts talking with industry to discuss what it’s thinking about. CARB conducts surveys to collect data on power equipment usage. Industry will then examine that data. We might say the data doesn’t look right and ask for a new survey. CARB often tells industry to do another survey if it wants one. Regardless, CARB will eventually begin meeting formally with industry to chart where it wants to go with the regulations. The manufacturers must work closely with CARB because nobody wants to chase something that isn’t doable.”

Kiser adds that the initial research phase will likely take a few months to a few years. The actual regulatory implementation period will then take several more years. “Our people are already meeting on it. Our engine and fuels committee is taking the lead,” Kiser points out.

Also on the topic of engines, the EPA announced late last year that it would begin requiring a significant increase in the ethanol fuel supply this year. “What this announcement means is that the ethanol issue is just not going away,” Kiser says. OPEI is concerned about the proliferation of E15 (15% ethanol) in the marketplace because it can do great damage to small engines. OPEI continues to lead a public awareness campaign about the dangers of using E15 in small engine-powered equipment.

Fertilizer, pesticides and pollinators

Big news was made last fall in Maryland when Montgomery County passed a bill outlawing the use of pesticides on lawns. “We’re waiting to see if major cities (in Montgomery County) opt-in, and also if it spreads to neighboring counties,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). “Our people are talking to local officials in those areas to see if they are influenced at all by Montgomery County.”

The underlying issue in Montgomery County, Henriksen points out, is the fact that Maryland does not have pre-emption. In other words, a local entity (i.e. county) can act on its own because there is no statewide law to follow. So NALP is concerned about this type of thing happening elsewhere in the country—especially in states that do not have pre-emption.

“In Minnesota, House Bill 221 aims to reverse pre-emption and give rights back to local governments,” Henriksen says. “This type of thing can be difficult to deal with, but it’s a bit easier at the state level because you can mobilize people on a broader scale and also bring in a lobbyist. At a more local level, you tend to see this ‘well it’s not my county’ mentality so you don’t get the grassroots engagement you need. People need to understand that this type of action can spread quickly—so you have to be engaged.”

The clamor for open space is constant, but sometimes it’s the wrong way to go

Citizens frequently advocate creating open space — sometimes called green space — as the preferred land use when development or redevelopment of a familiar place or parcel is contemplated. Open space is often the default choice, presumed by many to be the always desirable, indisputably safe alternative to building.

Yet creating open space, a kind of one-size-fits-all idea, may be the wrong idea.

Open space is a simplistic, blanket term. It fails to describe and account for the full range of open space types, sizes, design qualities and functional attributes. Land open to the sky can be highly diverse not only in scale, form, purpose and relation to context, but also in who finances, owns, manages, programs and maintains such space.

Open spaces can be many things: intimate, passive greens or lushly planted gardens for visual delight and contemplation; simple lawns; extensive, multipurpose parks; playgrounds for children; fields for sports and recreation; and animated, programmable plazas. Open-space topography and vegetation can vary tremendously and encompass walls, terraces, benches, sculptures and water features.

Over time an existing open space — park, urban plaza, preserved landscape — may need rethinking. The surrounding environment may have evolved in ways that alter use and perceptions of the space, and not necessarily for the better. The original need and justification for the open space may have diminished. Vegetation and other physical components of the space may need restoration, replacement or elimination.

A monumental public open space — the Mall — was the centerpiece of the L’Enfant plan for the nation’s capital. The L’Enfant street-block grid pattern, traversed diagonally by avenues, also envisioned numerous circles and rectangular civic parks. But it was a framework plan that neither prescribed in detail nor predicted how the city’s public open spaces would develop.

Consequently, over time, the layout, planting, furnishing and function of the Mall and the District’s civic squares, circles and parks continually changed and will continue changing.

Franklin Square, bounded by 13th, 14th, I and K streets NW, is among the largest downtown parks. Large shade trees, lawns, walkways and benches make the park attractive. But for decades the space was an outdoor haven for the homeless and was deemed unsafe. Under stewardship of the National Park Service, this commodious, favorably located federal park was underutilized.

Franklin Square may have a new life soon, thanks to efforts underway to revitalize the five-acre park. The Park Service, in partnership with the city and the Downtown Business Improvement District, has generated a new vision for Franklin Square. Makeover proposals include a park information and management pavilion with cafe and restrooms; a children’s garden and tot lot; a redesigned interactive fountain; new historical interpretive elements; and landscaping and paving upgrades.

When open space is set aside or created, the amount of space can be excessive. This is especially unfortunate when open space is provided at the expense of other desirable uses.

The attractively landscaped federal park stretching for a quarter mile along Georgetown’s waterfront is a desirable amenity for both Georgetown and the city. But this long, linear park is more than large enough to have accommodated a pavilion or two along the river’s edge, giving visitors access to food, beverages and bathrooms.

Boston’s $14.6 billion “Big Dig” demolished the old, elevated Interstate 93 expressway, a looming visual barrier between downtown and the city’s waterfront area. Replacing it is a decked-over, below-grade highway. Atop the deck is the 1.5-mile long Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, a series of park spaces and cross streets intended to knit back together the previously divided downtown neighborhoods.

Yet this was a missed opportunity. The amount of park space is more than ample. The deck structure could have been engineered to enable air-rights development spaced appropriately at intervals along the deck, overlooking the landscaped parks. The development also would have helped finance the Big Dig.

All zoning ordinances have open-space requirements for buildings and lots. Minimal yard sizes and street setback dimensions, and maximum lot coverage percentages, are intended to foster health, safety and environmental sustainability. Open spaces around buildings ensure adequate daylight, air, natural ventilation and groundwater absorption, as well as emergency egress and emergency vehicle access.

But zoning regulations are mute about design or daily use of required open space. And they sometimes grant density and height bonuses if developers provide more than required amounts of open space, regardless of actual open-space needs.

For example, along mid-town Manhattan avenues, developers once were able to construct taller high-rise office buildings if buildings were set back from the avenue to create large, paved, unencumbered entry plazas.

But these barren plazas — heat sinks in summer, cold and wind-swept in winter — were used mostly for entering and exiting buildings. New York City ended up with an excess of density-bonus plazas deadening rather than animating avenue activity.

Regrettably, open space often ends up being merely residual space, purposeless areas left over after buildings, drives and parking have been sited on a tract of land.

Reflexively calling for generic open space as the default land use should be avoided. Instead open spaces should be thoughtfully and rationally conceived. And planning always should begin with basic questions about need, context, size and scale, function, landscape design, sustainability, finance, ownership and maintenance.

Roger K. Lewis is a practicing architect, a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland and a regular guest commentator on “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” on WAMU (88.5 FM).

Article source:

Asheville-area home & garden events, winter to spring – Asheville Citizen

Send calendar items to Bruce Steele at two weeks before the event. Or mail to Bruce Steele, Asheville Citizen-Times, P.O. Box 2090, Asheville, NC 28802. NOTE: This calendar will be on hiatus Dec. 20-Jan. 8.


SOUTHERN SPRING HOME GARDEN SHOW: Feb. 26-28 and March 4-6, Park Expo and Conference Center, Charlotte. Opens 10 a.m. daily. Closes 9 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. Info, presentations and vendors to plan gardens, home interiors, landscaping, building, remodeling and decorating and more. Admission $11; free for ages 14 and younger. Discounts for advance purchases, limited senior hours, etc. Preview Night Gala to benefit Catawba Lands Conservancy, 6-9 p.m. Feb. 18, $50. For details, visit

WNC HOME, GARDEN GREEN LIVING SHOW: March 18-20, U.S. Cellular, downtown Asheville. Featuring products and services for the home, garden and an eco-friendly lifestyle. Vendors include home builders, furnishings, eco-friendly transportation, lawn and garden equipment, landscaping, clean energy products, pools and spas, home financing, health wellness, educational institutions, appliances, home security and entertainment, decorating ideas, decks and patios, sporting goods, heating and cooling equipment, pet products, green businesses, home repair and renovation and more. Hours are 3-8 p.m. March 18, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. March 19 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. March 20. To learn more, visit


OPEN DAILY: Retail shops open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, Brevard Road at Interstate 40. Apples, citrus, nuts and more. In retail shops, look for jams, jellies, honey, crafts, Amish and peanut butter, local cheese and wine, homemade fudge and more.


EXTENSION OFFICE HAS MOVED: The Buncombe County Extension Office has moved to 49 Mount Carmel Road in Erwin Hills. The phone number remains the same, 828-255-5522. For help anytime, visit

LEICESTER GARDEN CLUB: Meets at 1 p.m. fourth Tuesday of the month at the Leicester Library. To learn more, contact Crystal Dover at 828-259-9649.

WEAVERVILLE GARDEN CLUB: Meets at 9:30 a.m. second Tuesday of every month September through June in the Community Room at the Weaverville Town Hall on Main Street. To learn more, call 828-658-1154.

From staff reports

Article source:

Gardening Tips: How will warm winter impact my plants?

Article source:

OKC Beautiful gardening tip: Repairing winter damage to your trees

With the two ice storms this winter, many landscapes are in the need of help! Tree damage is rampant throughout the city. But few people really know what to do. Here are some helpful tips from Loretta Aaron on how to repair damage to your trees.

Trees can be damaged during the winter months. If a tree is a rare species or has sentimental or historical significance, more consideration should be given to its repair.

When applying first-aid to a tree, remove only the branches in need of immediate repair. Removing too much wood at one time can create other problems, such as weak branching habits, that could further damage the tree.

Reshaping the bark wounds into a vertical elongated shape will result in faster healing. Use braces and guy wires to support split branches. Coat all wounds with a commercial wound dressing to prevent borer entry and cambium drying. Be sure all pruning cuts are made flush with a side branch to enhance the healing action.

If major repairs are necessary, it probably will be cheaper in the long run to hire a professional tree surgeon to do the work. If you do it yourself, be sure to follow all safety precautions relative to contacting power lines, ladders, and falling branches.

Be sure to remove all debris promptly to eliminate breeding areas for insects and diseases. When the tree has been repaired, your job is only half done. You must develop a good program of follow-up care for the injured tree. Thin out sucker growth regularly and reshape the tree gradually. Check the tree wound dressing regularly and repaint when necessary.

You should also feed the tree annually and continue a gradual reshaping program over a three- to five-year period. For good recovery, the plant should be protected from insects, disease, and drought. For more information, contact the Oklahoma State University Extension Center.

For 21 years, Loretta Aaron, an Oklahoma City gardening expert, was a beloved and well-known gardening columnist for The Oklahoman. Loretta died in 2009. With the permission of Loretta’s family, we reprint some of Loretta’s words of gardening wisdom.



Article source:

Tips save garden

LOCAL homeowners have been asked to ensure their gardens can survive the hot, dry conditions over the holidays to protect their investment.

With scorching temperatures already this summer, a strong likelihood of consecutive days above 38C degrees also means dry lightning storms.

Yates horticulturist Angie Thomas said for many gardeners taking precautionary measures to ensure their lawns, trees, flowers and shrubs were still thriving when they return from holidays was crucial.

“If you don’t have a neighbour who can tend to your garden while you’re away you should set up a watering system or soaker hose on a tap timer and mow the lawn before you leave.

“But not too low as longer grass dries out less and stays greener during summer,” she said.

“It’s important to protect trees and plants by spraying them with a protective polymer spray to reduce water loss from the leaves.”

Ms Thomas said a soil wetting agent around the root zone in garden beds would help get water where it was needed.

“To provide slow release nutrients and limit moisture loss you should spread organic plant food and a 5cm layer of organic mulch on garden beds and around trees,” Ms Thomas she said.

She recommended homeowners group potted plants so watering was easy for someone minding the garden, and move tender plants into a shaded spot where they would benefit from natural rainfall.

“Saucers should be placed under delicate potted plants, like hydrangeas, to catch excess water which they can draw on during hot days.,” she said.

“Ensure your indoor collection doesn’t wilt, by gathering them in a well-lit bath or the laundry sink, water them well and place a wet towel under the base of pots to maintain moisture.”

For more information visit,

You can also join the conversation via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @yatesgardening

Article source:

Making The High Line

The High Line, Manhattan’s elevated railway-turned-park, now attracts six million visitors a year. As it approaches its seventh year as one of the world’s most identifiable public spaces, it’s come a long way for a piece of infrastructure marked for demolition not long ago.

Designed by Diller Scofidio+Renfro and James Corner Field Operations, the High Line’s success has ushered in a new wave of park design that either reuse neglected trails and bridges or create new ones for the same effect. Around the world, at least 60 different projects that are either being planned, are under construction, or have been completed cite the High Line as an influence, according to the two firms.

Constructed in the 1930s to bring cargo to warehouses and factories by train, the line began a slide into irrelevance in the 1950s as trucking replaced freight rail. In 1960, the southernmost portion of the rail line was demolished. In 1980, what remained of it hosted one last train ride as the Meatpacking district below it transformed into a hotspot for nightlife and art galleries.

Map showing specialized markets on the West Side of Lower Manhattan served by the New York Central Railroad. City of New York Department of Docks and Ferries, May 7, 1912.

Tranquil and verdant in its abandonment, the High Line became a subject of fascination for the few who either knew how to get up there or could see it from their window. Joshua David and Robert Hammond, two nearby residents who wanted to see it transformed into a park, formed Friends of the High Line in 1999.

Rudy Giuliani signed an order for the High Line’s demolition in his final days as mayor in 2001. That order was successfully challenged by Friends of the High Line. After the economic feasibility of designs for the site were proven, Giuliani’s successor Michael Bloomberg officially embraced plans to turn the High Line into a park in 2002. CSX Transportation donated ownership of the High Line to the city in 2005, and a groundbreaking followed in 2006.

Today, it’s hard to imagine such a protracted struggle was necessary. A typical visit may even make you wish the High Line was still a secret. The 1.45-mile park’s constantly varying layout, intricate landscaping, and stellar views create one of the most stimulating public spaces on earth—best enjoyed when you’re not trying to pass other users on its narrowest stretches.

New crowds aren’t limited to the park. Real estate values have soared around the High Line since it first opened as a park in 2009. A neighborhood once full of blue-collar workers, artists, and low income residents is now losing its charm to aggressive development.

(Iwan Baan)

Resentment can be seen in occasional criticisms of the High Line: Phillip Lopate wrote for Places Journal in 2011 that the new park is yet further proof of how the city “is now consigned to cannibalizing its past and retrofitting it to function as an image, a consumable spectacle.” In an article for Vulture last month, Jerry Saltz wrote, “for me, the High Line is the harbinger of a bad pathogen now transforming public space into fussy, extra-busy, over-designed, high-maintenance mannered playgrounds, curated experiences, and crowd-pleasing spectacles.”

Developers may be as pleased with the High Line’s transformation as the average visitor, but an exceptionally popular park is hardly the root cause of gentrification in a city that struggles to protect its most vulnerable residents from it. The mass appeal of its design actually suggests there aren’t enough places like it.  

The two firms behind the High Line have teamed up for a look back at how the park came to be and how users respond to it in a new book, The High Line (Phaidon). Beautifully laid out, the new book uses architectural plans, photography, cultural ephemera, and interviews with the design team to explain the site’s transformation in 452 pages.

CityLab spoke with Lisa Switkin of James Corner Field Operations and Matthew Johnson of Diller Scofidio+Renfro about their own history with the High Line and how it has changed their work since.

What did you know about the High Line before working on the project?

(Courtesy of Kalmbach Publishing Company)

Lisa Switkin: I have a very long history with the High Line. When I was in school doing my masters in landscape architecture, it was one of my last bodies of work and I think at that point it was truly seen as a liability in New York. It was something that was dark and haunting, and you couldn’t actually get on top of it. So we’d try to find places to go to their rooftops and take a look at it, or meet people who had access to it some way or another.

Really, the perception I had of it was from below, not above. At the time, I was looking at it more as a sort of neighborhood connector, looking at the different neighborhoods that it passed through and its actual connection to some of the large public housing units around the area. People forget about those now because of all the luxury condos coming up, but you still have the Chelsea-Elliott houses and a significant amount of affordable housing in the neighborhood. I was looking at the Fulton Houses and the Chelsea-Elliott houses and the High Line and thinking about the larger potential for it to really connect. It was more in the urban design realm and thinking about it as an artery that way.

Even today, it crosses through three neighborhoods that are still quite distinct. There’s the historic Meatpacking District, which, when I was first looking at the High Line, wasn’t officially a historic district yet. Florent was there and a few other places, but now it’s much more established. There was an eclectic mix of fashion and transvestite-scene clubs and bars as well as meatpacking. The whole area felt very different. You could sort of see the start of things changing, you could tell it was in the early stages of transition, but it was still very much a transitional neighborhood [in 1999-2000].

In West Chelsea, there was some of the residential [housing] that’s east of 10th Avenue. There wasn’t a lot of it on 10th or to the west, but there were the galleries, The Kitchen, and the Dia Center. And Hudson Yards was really nothing. Now that’s becoming a new Midtown neighborhood, and it was pretty blown out. When you hit that part of the West Side it felt like there wasn’t much around.

Matthew Johnson: The neighborhood was a place I’d end up in mostly for galleries and nightlife, always ending up at Florent. When we were reflecting on this [project for the book], I started to think back about what I had read about the neighborhood, especially about the Meatpacking District and all the cultures in the neighborhood: The meatpackers, the artists, the fashionistas, the club culture, and the subcultures of the community. I knew that Lisa had the High Line as her thesis, and I was aware of it in an abstract sense—I had seen images and early studies by Steven Holl—but I didn’t know what it was. I did spend time in Chelsea, but the High Line had a stealthiness to it. Half the time, you’d only see it because you were underneath it, mostly because it was covered in billboards. You’d walk by it on the way to galleries. But I didn’t become that aware of it until we [DS+R] got involved in the [design] competitions.

How did people access the High Line back then?

MJ: It’s hard to say because the way I discovered you could get up there was [learning] that the High Line unexpectedly starts to grade at 34th street. There’s a parking area for trucks at Jarvis Center that didn’t have good security. When we were exploring there, we found spots along the way where people could access it. Someone even had a garden with a Christmas tree up there.

LS: It’s interesting. Talking to different people about the High Line and that time, some people were like, “I lived in that area and I had no idea it was even there.” I mean, it was meant to disappear and recede in the city, it wasn’t meant to show itself. And then there’s a few other people who are like, “that’s my favorite place in New York!” Most of them would trespass. Next to it, you would see these makeshift drawbridges or they just happened to have a building that overlooked it so they knew of it and saw the more opportunistic side of the High Line, the grasses and weeds taking over this piece of infrastructure. I went on the top of The Kitchen at one point to take photographs on their rooftop. They allowed me to go up. Other than that it was difficult to find access without actually trespassing.

The High Line, circa 2004. (Courtesy of Florent Morellet)

How did you approach the idea of creating something new but “authentic”?

LS: It was hard. Most of us fell in love with the sort of unofficial space of the High Line. It had a spirit and mystery to it. Even when we were allowed to be up there, there was still this sensibility of being in another world. That was magical. Part of it is just being lifted up from the street, an insulated feeling, and being able to see a part of the city that you don’t usually see in a close-up and personal context.

At the same time, we knew all of the regulations and all the other things that were going to have to go into making it “official.” I still think part of it is just the nature of the structure itself and how it weaves between mid-block and between buildings, so that mystery is still there. I think even when you’re up there today, there are lots of people and everything else, but you still get this authentic view or an inner view of New York that you don’t get from any other perspective. There’s this kind of mantra, a mission—and it helped us to practice restraint.

There were a lot of pressures, especially early on, that we needed to do a lot more in order to attract people to come up to the High Line. There were earlier proposals that were much more built up, bigger moves that were drawing more attention, attractions, and we kept being like, “look, it’s an attraction in and of itself being up there, getting this perspective and seeing the city and the mix and variety of the city itself is part of the attraction. It’s a dialogue with the city.” I do think that kind of helped us to hold back a bit and make sure we didn’t lose the essence of what it was, because we didn’t it to become just another public street.

We really wanted it to feel different, and the whole idea of the wildness and the slowness and these other things really helped us to go back to those ideas and make sure that we weren’t overdoing it. Because it would have been very easy to over-design the High Line and ruin that experience.

MJ: I think it was through a lot of restraint. Initially we were maybe looking at it through lens of designers where you feel like you need to make big moves to get the attention of jurors. We were proposing bigger moves like a beach and an outdoor movie grandstand which we ultimately decided could overwhelm the High Line. The beauty of it was that it had an amazing vantage point of city though a discarded piece of infrastructure that helped frame its context, and we didn’t want anything blocking it.

(Iwan Baan)

We wanted to keep the toughness of it in the way we detailed it, particularly the paving system, and capture the spirit of it. The paving system was our eureka moment early in the competition, something we kept going back to as we continued through design process. Every once in a awhile we’d deviate from it before coming back to it again.

Were you seeing that in other proposals from different firms?

LS: For the competition, there were four firms that competed, and we took a very clear stance that we were somewhere between total transformation and total preservation. We weren’t naive enough to say “just leave it as it is, and it will be fine” because we knew all the upgrades that would have to happen in order to make it a public space. But we also didn’t want to obliterate what was there. We were very much inspired by and respected the history of it as a working rail line and as an abandoned landscape.

In the four competition proposals, there was one by Zaha Hadid, which was a total transformation; there was one led by Michael van Valkenburgh’s office, which was leaning towards a more preservationist attitude; there was a Steven Holl one, which was also more of a total transformation; and then there was our proposal, which really tried to strike this balance. And that’s one of the reasons that we were selected, because it resonated with the jury that we both had a deep admiration for the place and the site, while at the same time seeing the potential to bring new life to it.

MJ: The unique thing for us is we wanted to have a consistent language throughout the park. Any deviation had to be natural to the context and respond to the urban fabric.

Similar projects have come up around the country since. Are you seeing projects that do that well or projects that miss the point?

MJ: To be honest, I haven’t researched them, but I know there are a lot out there. I do think that they’re based on need: There’s the Bloomingdale trail in Chicago. It’s a different kind of condition because it serves a more residential area. It’s a different scale and it accommodates bikes. Having that brings in whole new sets of opportunities.

LS: The ones that just try to copy and paste are the ones that are the least successful. Our whole strategy was to both leverage and amplify what was there. Even though it is something that can be emulated, it was so specific to its place and it was designed as a choreography with its place, with its city, with all these other things. It has its own constraints and issues, and it’s in the middle of New York City. It’s very different from these other projects that are in suburban areas or have a wildly different context. The ones that are inspired by just the idea of looking at underutilized infrastructure or looking at leftover spaces are the ones I feel very proud of, that it’s helped people to think about what assets they have and instead of just ripping it down, thinking about how they could reuse them or bring new life to them.

The ones that are more like, “I want a High Line because I want a High Line,” those are less appealing and usually less successful. Or ones that even want to build a whole new High Line without even preserving an existing structure.

The Belt Line, the Bloomingdale Trail, the Reading Viaduct, they’re all radically different contexts, and the best thing is to look at the uniqueness of whatever it is that you’re looking at and figure out a way to pull that out from the place.

Are there instances of clients asking for a replica of the High Line?

MJ: Yes. It happens more often than not. Even projects that have nothing to do with old buildings, they still want something like that. Sometimes it goes, “I want an elevated park structure” and sometimes it’s [asking for something that has] the spirit of it. With clients looking to adapt an existing piece of infrastructure, we tell them that the High Line is very unique and conceived of directly in relation to its context. It wasn’t something we imposed on it. Anything we do like that has to grow out of a new context.

LS: I think people come to us because of our experience on the High Line and their first impression is, “Yeah, we want one, too,” before we’ve talked them through their particular site constraints and everything else. Every once in a while it’s apparent that they literally want a replica and we tell them, “That’s not what we’re going to do.” But for the most part, they get it. It has turned into this [thing where] so many different projects, whether or not they even loosely relate to the High Line, are being called “a High Line.”

What about the High Line’s cultural relevance today surprises you?

LS: We knew and saw the potential of it, and we were excited by that. But I don’t think any of us expected it to be what it is today in terms of its impact. Especially how fast it has happened. I’ve been working on the project since 2004. That’s 11 years now, which seems like a long time to work on a project, but when you think of the transformation from a liability to an icon—11 years is nothing. Over 6 million people a year visit now, and when we started they were like “maybe 300,000.” We got questions like, “Who’s gonna go up there? No one’s gonna go up there!” Just that shift has been dramatic.

We work in the public realm, and with most of our projects you have to have a pretty wide imagination to think of how they can change. But I don’t think that we estimated the level of impact, success, or popularity that it would have.

MJ: We’re all sort of shocked. Naively, we were thinking of the park as something for the community, something specifically for the neighborhoods that it stitched together. When we were originally looking at plant species, we were also looking at people species. It was very different back then. It’s funny that the one species that we left off was tourists; we had no idea that it’d become that kind of place.

Anything you’d do differently?

LS: There isn’t anything I can put my finger on. A lot of people say, “There’s so many people now. Would you have designed it differently for larger crowds?” But the fact of the matter is that there’s a delicate balance of it being both a garden and an immersive landscape experience as well as a promenade with all these things. Yeah, you could pave it edge to edge, but it wouldn’t have any of the magic that it has now. In some ways I feel like if we would have known, we might have done things differently. But I don’t know that it would have had a better outcome.

Very early on, we talked about it much more as an atmosphere, an environment and a stage, all these different things, and I think that’s part of what’s appealing about it. I think if you tried too hard to accommodate visitation and programs and these other things that it actually would have become too scripted.

MJ: I don’t know that there’d be anything we’d do differently. We wanted the High Line to be independent from anything around it. The only time it engages with other development is when it contributes back to the High Line. There are no locations where there’s a direct connection from the buildings around it to the High Line. Even if something’s adjacent those residents still have to come out to street to take public access up there.

In general, there’s a sense that we’re done—but we’re still designing. We still have a new section of phase three that we’re working on, which extends east from the intersection of the second and third part of the High Line that goes over [10th] Avenue. And we’ll still come back and design for [West Side Railyard], which is being left in a raw state until development happens there.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Article source:

Spring comes early at the Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show, get two for one …

Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show

Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show

Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show

Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show

OKLAHOMA CITY-As Oklahomans stay bundled inside to escape the chill of winter, they can look forward to sunshine and springtime with inspiration from the 2016 Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show, January 15-17.

More than 500 vendors and experts in landscape, remodeling and design offer creative, contemporary ideas sure to motivate any lifestyle enthusiast.

Show highlights include:

– Matt Blashaw, host of “Vacation House for Free” and “Yard Crashers,” will share his experience and knowledge of construction and home improvement.

-Karen Rominger and Mina Starsiak, stars of HGTV’s “Two Chicks and a Hammer”– This mother-daughter team use their knowledge of real estate and renovation in their home remodeling business. They will offer useful tips on DIY design and home transformations.

-Matt Fox, host of PBS television series “Around the House with Matt and Shari”–Using tools and supplies from local home improvement stores, Matt Fox will demonstrate simple how-to’s for great weekend projects.

-Clutter Busters – Darlene Broderick will offer quick and easy tricks to organizing closets and storage spaces to bring simplicity and freshness to your home.

-Rebuilding Together OKC– The show has teamed up with Rebuilding Together OKC to highlight their efforts to help low-income homeowners in the Oklahoma City area stay safe, warm and dry.

-Hero Day – Active and retired military, police officers and firefighters will receive free admission on Sunday, January 17.

-Relaxation Station – Attendees will have a chance to rest from shopping and sample tasty food and beverages. Head Country Foods will provide samples of their favorite sauces and raffle a grill.

-Visitors can also enter to win a fully-catered Superbowl Party for family and friends.

-Newest Coolest Products–The latest in home automation and innovative décor solutions will be located in one convenient location. Get inspired to upgrade your home and your life.

-Made in Oklahoma– Local manufacturers, craftsmen, artists and businesses will present some of the great products and services found right here in Oklahoma.

-Expert Advice– Top professionals, including landscape designers, remodelers, and décor professionals, will offer expert advice on their areas of specialization. The Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show showcases new and innovative ideas, expert advice, products and services for home improvement and landscaping projects.

Want to win tickets! Here are two great opportunities.

You can comment on our Facebook Post about why you want to go to the show and be entered to win a random drawing for one of two family four-packs. See Rules 

You can also get two-for-one when purchasing tickets  using the promo code KFOR. Here’s a direct link

This three-day event held January 15-17 is a chance for Oklahomans to shop, explore, save and learn from the professionals on hundreds of products and services for redecorating, remodeling, landscaping and fine home living.

The show is open Friday 12 to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $12 at the door, or attendees can receive a $2 discount by purchasing tickets online at Children under 12 are free.

As part of Hero Day on Sunday, all active and retired military, police and firefighters receive free admission by presenting a valid service ID at the east entrance of the Cox Pavilion.

For more information about the event and tickets, visit the website or call 800-395-1350, extension 11.


Article source:

Today in Sacramento: Here’s what you need to know for Friday

50-and-older tech classes

Classes for the winter session of TechConnections, a technology literacy program designed for Sacramento residents 50 and older, is scheduled to begin Jan. 25. Registration for all offerings at the Hart Senior Center, 915 27th St., begins Friday. Prospective students can arrive at 12:30 p.m., and orientation begins at 1 p.m. Continuing registrations will be taken weekdays at the Hart Senior Center until all classes are filled. Registration for offerings at the South Natomas Community Center, 2921 Truxel Road, will take place during the community center’s regular business hours beginning Saturday. Go to for more information.

Home, garden show at Convention Center

The California State Home and Garden Show begins a three-day run Friday at the Sacramento Convention Center. The event features products, craftsmen, workshops, landscaping ideas and more. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Go to for more information.

Fundraiser for youth fitness

Winterfest, a fundraiser for youth fitness in the Sacramento area, features wine and beer tastings and bites from several area restaurants. The event is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Red Lion Woodlake Hotel and Conference Center, 500 Leisure Lane, Sacramento. The event, for those 21 and older, is sponsored by Runnin’ for Rhett, which has established its program in area schools to teach youths proper nutrition and train them to run their first 5K. Go to for more information.

Film noir at Crest Theatre

Sacramento’s Crest Theatre hosts a two-day Noir Nights Film Festival beginning Friday. Films scheduled Friday are Orson Welles’ “Touch of Evil” (7 p.m.) and “Mildred Pierce” (9:15 p.m.). The theater is at 1013 K St. Go to for more information.

Things to do

▪ Learn how to write your Japanese name at a Japanese Culture Lesson from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Franklin Community Library, 10055 Franklin High Road, Elk Grove. Sponsored by the Japanese National Honor Society, the event is a free program for teens and tweens.

Article source: