2017 Annual WASLA Conference

Spokane Convention Center, April 21, 2017
One Day, Dynamic Sessions, Ultimate Location



1:30-2:30 PM
(Re)discovering the Slow(er) City in Sneakers: Running as a Tool for Guiding Design in the Virtual Sonice age


The story of running is the story of human evolution. Some scholars have argued that the development of the hominid brain and human intelligence resulted from our capacity to run long distances. But you don’t have to be a marathoner to appreciate the value of running (or to get smarter). As landscape architects, we have a tremendous opportunity to appreciate, communicate and design for human health, safety and welfare and this includes running. Aside from the obvious physical and psychological health benefits moving apace provides, running offers a simple yet profound mechanism by which to cultivate place attachment and reinvigorate our engagement with the world. Running simultaneously elates us (endorphins) and grounds us by making palpable our local geographies and topographies through which we move. Running enhances our sense of achievement and discovery, fostering positive associations with healthy habits, cultivating creative thinking, and building community connection and awareness. The presentation will examine opportunities, through slides, video and humor, for designing for movement, health and joy.

Lead Speaker:

Elizabeth Umbanhowar

Speaker Bios:

Elizabeth Umbanhowar, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP 
Elizabeth Umbanhowar is a practicing landscape architect with a focus on large-scale public infrastructure, non-motorized transportation planning, urban design, public involvement, and habitat restoration. She currently serves as a lecturer at the University of Washington, where she teaches lecture and studio courses focused on design process, tactical urbanism, large-scale infrastructure, and how art can be employed as a catalyst for community dialogue and exploring time, the body and city form. 

Noelle Higgins, PLA, ASLA, LEED Green Associate, Communita-Atelier PS
Noelle Higgins, PLA, ASLA practices with Communita-Atelier PS, a landscape architecture and planning firm. Her experience executing art installations throughout the world deeply informs her work as a landscape architect. She has worked on a broad variety of multidisciplinary projects including private development, senior living, academic campuses, sensory gardens, transportation facilities, art installations, and urban open space. Integrating far-reaching goals into construction details reflects Noelle’s deep knowledge of materials, water-efficient and native planting, social sensitivity, and project efficiency. Motivated by nature in our urban environment, she is passionate about cycling, running and beer.

Learning Objectives:
  • Peruse the history of running and human development and health 
  • Examine research on running, health, community, and the built environment
  • Gain insights on opportunities and successful elements in design for running
  • Explore communicating experiential qualities and conveying movement in landscapes



Where History Meets Nature

Spokane Convention Center
Spokane, WA