Ann Looper Pryor knows everything worth seeing at this year’s ASLA Annual Meeting. She joined the American Society of Landscape Architects as the director of public relations and development in 2002 and is now the managing director of publishing and resource development. Ann oversees the ASLA’s professional and student awards and coordinates media efforts for those recipients. In 2011, she became an honorary member of the ASLA. Here, she talks to gb&d about the Annual Meeting and what she’s excited to see. (We suggest you take her advice.)
What’s most compelling about the meeting this year?
There will be 130 education sessions featuring more than 300 experts from across the US and abroad serving as faculty. Local landscape architects have organized 17 field sessions to see award-winning residential design, urban farming, horseback riding, professional sports-facility design, photography, biking, therapeutic gardens, and resorts. There will also be 450 exhibitors in the expo, the largest trade show for the profession, and about 100 of them are new this year.
Who are the speakers and presenters that you hope to hear?
I can’t wait to hear Sunday morning’s keynote panel of design critics discuss the changing role of landscape architects in design and popular culture: Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times; Chris Hume, Toronto Star; Steven Litt, Cleveland Plain Dealer; John King, San Francisco Chronicle; and Inga Saffron, Philadelphia Inquirer. Water is an overarching theme of the meeting, and education session topics range from rainwater harvesting to storm-water management, wetlands construction, and green infrastructure solutions for cities.
What kinds of presentations are happening today that wouldn’t have five years ago?
Landscape architects want to learn more about plants than ever before, and they are using them in ways that go far beyond beauty. Probably one of the newest topic areas is energy—to lower consumption, to increase renewable-energy production, and even to incorporate access to energy for electric cars in streetscapes and for phones and laptops in parks.
What new kinds of exhibits and exhibitors are at the expo that weren’t there five years ago?
The expo features more sustainable and natural products than ever before. Systems and plants for living walls are amazing. And there are more residential furniture exhibits every year.
The 2012 ASLA Annual Meeting is happening in Phoenix September 28 – October 1. More info can be found at asla.org.