Landscape Architecture is a field that really helps you start seeing the connections in the world we live in. Just driving around it’s easy to spot not only the work of others, but sometimes the process is apparent as well. People often come to us with projects at loggerheads. Typically there’s a difference of opinion as to what the best use of a site is, or if it needs to be changed at all. Recent examples: dog park people vs. park people, soccer people vs. baseball people, natural turf people vs. artificial turf people. We aren’t there to tell them what the right answer is. We’re there to hear out all opinions and find a way to achieve consensus that goes furthest to meeting everyone’s goals. It’s surprising how often we succeed! Certainly prior experience in addressing similar issues makes a big difference. It gives you credibility at the outset. But that’s only good through the first meeting or two. After that it’s how well we managed THEIR project. If we demonstrate thoughtfulness, bring a different perspective and are not overtly partial to a particular solution most folks will ultimately be ready to ‘come to the table’. It originates with a belief in public outreach (warts and all) as still the best way to come up with solutions that will stand the test of time. We believe in the process. I think the sheer number of public sector projects that CALA has ‘delivered’ is testament to that.