Landscapes - Summer 2016 - (Page 74)

THE LAST WORd | LE MOT dE LA FIN For me, the perspective of those who will inherit the future is a "must have". GEORGE dARK TORONTO: EVERGREEN BRICKWORKS. PHOTO ALISSA NORTH WHY INTERNS MATTER >FR_ LP+ POURQUOI LES STAGIAIRES COMPTENT EN_ I MOvED FROM STRATFORD to Toronto to study Landscape Architectural Technology at Ryerson in the fall of 1973. It was a lot of fun but after all, it was the 1970s. By my second semester, I began to work for some of my professors who were just starting practices. There weren't many landscape architects in Toronto then. The professors at Ryerson were practitioners: Allan Ross, Don Ruggles, Al Regher, Emiel Van Der Muelen. At the university of Guelph, my professors included Cameron Mann, Rod Macdonald and Owen Scott. I have long realized how important it was to have access to these individuals at the beginning of both my career and their practices. ROLL FORWARD 42 YEARS In November of 2015, I organized a charrette at Toronto's Evergreen Brick Works to explore the potential for the Lower Don Valley to reclaim its role as a 450-acre (182 ha.) park in the city. Volunteer landscape architects and architects came from all over North America - 75 of them. So did 40-plus students from the Daniels Faculty at the university of Toronto and from Ryerson university's School of urban and Regional Planning. What emerged was an instant, 74 LANDSCAPES PAYSAGES impossibly high-powered, high profile pop-up practice. It took me back to those heady '70s to see the seasoned professionals with sleeves rolled up, sitting with the students - the old guard discovering how computers really work, and the students witnessing that magic that an experienced designer brings to idea formation and conceptualization. I stood beside a student who was engaged with her team leaders, Greg Smallenberg, Claude Cormier, Alissa North, John Hillier and Scott Torrance, as they considered what to do with Bayview Avenue and how to create a Snow Drop Park from a works yard. She had drawn a version of the park, and the group was probing the issues. How could they fit the park into the overall plan? Was it the right program? Maybe it should have a bridge over the river? This was not a critique, but a discussion between peers. The pros were bringing an instant library of precedents from careers-worth of experience to add to the discussion. A "MUST HAVE" Landscape Architecture is essentially the building of our future. For me, the perspective of those who will inherit the future is a "must have." What a way this was to inspire seasoned practitioners! And what a way to inspire a starting career (or maybe 40 of them)! In my practice, we have maintained a strong program of internships; our past interns must number in the hundreds. Some have gone on to be senior members of our practice; many check in with us regularly as family; more than a few are now clients of the firm. Our in-house learning program - we call it urban Strategies Academy - is totally fuelled by what our interns bring to the table, which ranges from crazy abilities with computer technology and social media, to an understanding of driverless cars and the realities of the next economy. And they come to our firm with the energy only youth brings. I often recall the words I found on the Disney Website: As a Creative/Design Intern, participants have the chance to participate in seeing an artistic idea come to life and be a part of the building process. You will discover an environment where your creativity and efforts can help push artistic and technical boundaries. Amen. From a business standpoint, interns are certainly a solid economic investment - no question - but investing in the young is also a solid investment in the design culture of Canada. Industry and academia, working together, will build the future. georgedark@urbanstrategies.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Landscapes - Summer 2016

To Begin With
Our Writers
Spotlight on Schools
2020 Vision: 3 University Landscapes
Active Praxis, Hybrid Practice
Entangled With the Real World: Experiential Learning
Essay
Round Table
Les Jardins De M├ęTis: A New Landscape Lab Emerges
Opinion
Vivarium: A Sky Condo
Getting Digitally Dirty: Improvisational Bricolage in the FABlab
Designing Play
A Smile on the Lips
How to Present a Successful Webinar
Books
The Last Word

Landscapes - Summer 2016

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