Wednesday, October 23, 2013

More from L+U

While i'm not actively updating the old L+U Blogspot page - i have migrated this over to a new URL that is being updated more regularly.


Jason King

Monday, July 2, 2012


How appropriate to finish on a post from Frederick Law Olmsted - a man who constantly re-invented himself while 'inventing' the profession of landscape architecture.  So in that spirit of re-invention - my time and focus has shifted to my growing business, my studies, and other pursuits both professional and personal.

Blogging has also changed - and the profession(s) have benefit from this for the most part... there's a whole new generation of folks out there talking, discussing, and elevating the profession of landscape architecture, the pursuit of vegitecture, and the quest for enlightened urbanism.  I hope to do the same still, but in a different format - so i figure it is time to hang up the blog - 835 posts and 4.5 years later - for good this time.  Consider it my Independence Day.  I'm going to keep it visible, but not update anymore - as there's some good reading in there.

I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as i have.  Keep in touch!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Birthday - Frederick Law Olmsted Sr.

In honor of Frederick Law Olmsted Sr's birthday today, April 26 (1822, so let's call it a round 190!), I would remind folks to go out and read more about the man in the great 2011 biography 'Genius of Place' by Justin Martin  (Da Capo Press, 2011). Genius of Place traces Olmsted from his beginnings in 1822 up until his death in 1903.  While most well known as the creator of Central Park and in some circles as the father of landscape architecture, it's telling that much of Olmsted's life was spent in pursuits aside from park-making and design - in areas of farming, public health, journalism and the literary arts.  Martin does a solid job of showing the quirks and uncommon path that Olmsted took through his varied life - captured in the subtitle "Abolitionist, Conservationist, and Designer of Central Park".

Also worthy of reading is the 2000 biography by Rybczynski  'A Clearing in the Distance' and Erik Larson's more fantastical page-turner on the 1893 Worlds Columbian Exposion in Chicago in 'The Devil in the White City'.  Olmsted, as the father of the profession is featured in any manner of great landscape history books (i read a good portion of the entire 7? Volume 'Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted' in college) - but for the less nerdy and bibliophilic there's plenty of summary material and locations to delve into.

While we often question is pastoral scenic aesthetic sensibilities (he was a man of his time), there is much to learn in his tireless work ethic, social sensibility, and focus on ecological as well as public health -- providing models for issues that we still grapple with today.  We should also emulate his shrewdness in navigating messy politics to further his agenda and get things done, which is something we could use a lot more of these days in our somewhat timid, politically safe professional bunkers.

Celebrate the man and the profession, first by spelling the name correctly, and justly honoring his contribution to our profession, our cities, and our imagination.