When someone says “landscape”, what memories or images does it evoke? I think of youthful days/daze under a canopy of oak trees winding through Porter Ranch chaparral, alongside more recent memories of all the roadtrips along the California coast.

Here’s a short think piece about what the word “landscape” means to a landscape architect who was shaped by more urban memories.


South Park Streetscape in Downtown Los AngelesInspiration Park in Los Angeles; AHBE Landscape Architects


The word is ubiquitous, yet has layers of meaning. Said out loud in isolation, landscape will trigger images of remembered places, moods, or emotions based on our own histories. My landscape memories are defined by an urban upbringing and a life spent within the urban core of major cities. The word does not conjure visions of agriculture fields, river deltas, or forests. I respond instead with everyday scenes of bustling sidewalks and “pocket” spaces tucked between high-rise buildings.

Plan view the SouthPark Streetscape in Downtown Los Angeles A plan view of the South Park Development and Streetscape in Downtown Los Angeles, showing the private spaces tucked between three condos; AHBE Landscape Architects

Our relationship with outdoor spaces, whether natural or designed, is based not on our past experiences alone but evolves over time with us. In the transformation of a site to “place,” we must start by listening to the…

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