Landscape Architecture Trends for 2019

As central North Carolina continues to experience rapid growth, our communities must manage the pressure on our infrastructure that development brings. During a recent Raleigh Chamber of Commerce event, a Wells Fargo Securities Economics Group noted that North Carolina was the 10th fastest growing state in 2018, as population grew 1.1 percent in 12 months, and the Raleigh and Durham metropolitan areas experienced 35 percent population growth for North Carolina in 2017 alone. 

 

The public improvements required to match the population growth will continue to be an issue that local municipalities grapple with.

The public improvements required to match the population growth will continue to be an issue that local municipalities grapple with. As a result, our landscape architects are anticipating four trends to emerge during 2019 in the public services market with an emphasis on resilience and design.

In the winter of 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation started the 100 Resilient Cities initiative to bring resilience to the forefront of discussion in the design community. Our team expects this discussion to continue to broaden into 2019, as municipalities are looking for ways to adapt to the pressures presented by population growth and the increased frequency of heavy storm events, among other challenges. Two major trends we see for resilience in 2019 include increasing biodiversity, and ecological restoration and stormwater management. 

According to a 2015 Journal of Environmental Quality by Bryant Scharenbroch, Justin Morgenroth, and Brian Maule, “Trees in bioswales reduce runoff and discharge and return stored water to the atmosphere.”

According to a 2015 Journal of Environmental Quality by Bryant Scharenbroch, Justin Morgenroth, and Brian Maule, “Trees in bioswales reduce runoff and discharge and return stored water to the atmosphere.” Moving into 2019, we anticipate municipalities will seek to realize similar benefits. 

Increasing Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration

As the general public becomes more aware of ecological issues, we expect to see a higher emphasis placed on ecological restoration and increasing biodiversity, including sensitivity to native planting stems, to land management. Reducing the reliance on artificial water sources and the impact of managed landscapes on the land will continue to be a trend, as municipalities look to conserve natural and financial resources. By creating landscapes that are responsive to the environment, our team expects the interest in native flora to continue to increase.  
 

Stormwater Management

We anticipate continued investment in stormwater infrastructure, which is a driver in response to the pressures of private development and population growth. As development becomes denser, the remaining spaces will have to perform multiple functions, resulting in a need for the strategic use of plant material and engineered soils for stormwater management. Even something as simple as incorporating trees into a design can provide these measurable improvements.

In 2019, we foresee a higher emphasis on green infrastructure and biomimicry.

In 2019, we foresee a higher emphasis on green infrastructure and biomimicry.

As communities grow, municipalities are faced with the added challenge of finding ways to present growth information to their constituents. We foresee that virtual reality and data will become prevalent in these presentations. 
 

Virtual Reality in Design

Recent studies of the effects of virtual reality (VR) are demonstrating strong statistics in relation to consumer engagement and emotional attachment. According to a study conducted by YuMe and Nielsen, content on VR produced the highest emotional engagement: it elicited 27 percent higher emotional engagement than in a 2D environment and 17 percent higher emotional engagement than a 360-degree video on a flat screen. Our team sees this translating to the design community as we begin to create immersive experiences to assist our clients in telling the story for the project. Creating these experiences will help the general public visualize the impact of these projects and create excitement for what's to come. 
 

Data in Design

According to a 2005 Journal of Forestry article by Greg McPherson, James Simpson, Paula Peper, Scott Maco, and Qingfu Xiao, “The monetary benefits of urban trees outweigh their maintenance and other associated costs. In a study of five U.S. cities, each dollar invested in urban trees returned between $1.37 and $3.09 in benefits. Benefits measured include energy savings, atmospheric CO2 absorption, air quality benefits, stormwater runoff reduction, and aesthetic and other benefits gauged by measuring increases in real estate values.” The contribution to the project’s story is immense as landscape architects are able to provide measurable value to the investment municipalities put into the landscape.          
 
Our landscape architects and planners have been working in the central North Carolina for a combined 80 plus years—and others across our different offices for even longer—and we’re looking forward to leveraging our experience to help our local municipalities as they respond to the welcomed growth of our communities in 2019.  
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  • Bentley Ruggles
    Bentley Ruggles
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    Jack Ritchie
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    Dennis Pitts
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