The landscape architect on designing in the south, the endless benefits of CAD technology, and the future of his industry.
[Alabama’s] environmental regulations are probably the most lax in the US, which is both difficult and an opportunity. If there isn’t a regulatory framework, it can be hard to convince a developer to avoid flattening a space from property line to property line. The day will come when regulations change and we will have to adapt. The good news is that most municipalities are starting to update their stormwater standards, and a lot of the civil engineers that we work closely with are used to working in jurisdictions that have much more stringent regulations.
gb&d: Do you ever find yourself advocating for sustainable solutions when the client hasn’t specifically requested it?
Schrader: [Laughs] I’m sure, I’m trying to cut down fewer trees and move less dirt to get a building pad prepared all the time. The truth is, you can get something with a whole lot more character, and it’s in your and your clients’ best interest, if you work with the land. And as it gets more expensive to move dirt around, it becomes easier to convince developers.
We always advocate for more efficient solutions, which are typically greener one way or another, whether it’s because we burn less fuel by moving less dirt, cut down fewer trees, or disturb fewer habitats. But in the South it isn’t that difficult to convince anyone that open, green spaces are more enjoyable, and we always need more trees for shade!–in gb&d (Green Building & Design).