2024 Promotion / Karly Behncke is Promoted to Project & Community Development Manager

Carducci Associates is thrilled to announce that Karly Behncke is stepping into the role of Project and Community Development Manager! This promotion is a testament to her unwavering dedication to nurturing our office community, especially in the wake of the challenges posed by the pandemic. From spearheading virtual initiatives to seamlessly transitioning back to in-person engagement, Karly has poured her heart into fostering a vibrant office culture and environment for her coworkers. 

Beyond our walls, Karly's advocacy for community shines in her project work as well, where she excels in outreach and connection. Through her recent endeavors in community outreach, such as her work for Fairmont Terrace Park and virtual engagement with Sunset Futsal Courts, Karly has demonstrated her ability to coordinate and lead diverse groups toward a design aimed at improving the lives of many within the community. Her current efforts extend to coordinating the design and green standards for ten schools within the Mountain View Whisman School District, showcasing her adeptness in navigating complex projects and bringing together individuals from various socio-economic backgrounds. With her approachable nature and genuine passion, she effortlessly unites people both within and outside the office.

Community Meeting for Bidwell and El Rancho Verde Park
Opening Day at Fairmont Terrace Park

Karly understands that a strong sense of community is essential for our team's growth and our ability to serve our clients effectively as well. She embodies this ethos through her active participation in conferences, public discussions, and her relentless advocacy for others' well-being. Indeed, Karly's recent participation at the CPRS JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Academy in Oakland underscores her fervent commitment to inclusion and her tireless advocacy for equity for all individuals.

As Karly steps into her new role, we eagerly anticipate the positive impact she will continue to make on our office and beyond. Cheers to Karly and to the bright future ahead for our team under her leadership!

Karly with Winston (aka our Junior Pawject Manager) at our recent office field trip to the Presidio Tunnel Tops

Feature / People

Community Impact / Why should Landscape Architects be leaders in their community and have a passion to serve? - Vince Lattanzio

Amidst the pressing challenges of climate change, the demand for environmental stewardship and nature-based solutions has reached a critical juncture. Landscape architects, with their distinctive skill set and comprehensive grasp of natural systems, are ideally positioned to spearhead this transformative journey. It's imperative to elevate the role of landscape architects in decision-making processes, given their expertise in collaborating with nature and communicating innovative solutions. As a profession, we must cultivate a fervent dedication to serving our communities and regions, crafting localized responses to global environmental issues.

Whether serving on committees, boards, or as elected officials, landscape architects have a responsibility to advocate, educate, and protect the natural world. My personal journey reflects this commitment. I initiated a Neighborhood Alliance Group (NAG) 24 years ago, comprised of eight Bel Marin Keys’ residents dedicated to safeguarding our natural environment and community. Through our advocacy efforts, we successfully lobbied for funding nature-based improvements in our region. Subsequently, I was invited to run for a seat on our community service district board, where I collaborated with experts in various fields to complete over 110 projects aimed at climate change adaptation and environmental restoration.

Aerial of Bel Marin Keys

Our efforts were centered on revitalizing the watershed and enhancing water quality. By installing aeration systems, we aimed to boost community health and biodiversity, while employing natural enzymes to manage algae blooms. This approach fostered a robust ecosystem capable of sustaining high biodiversity levels, promoting the healing and longevity of our natural systems. Additionally, we prioritized community education on watershed protection and improvement, advocating for a strategy that embraced the "4 R's" - sediment removal, relocation, restoration, and recreational education - as alternatives to dredging, thereby working in harmony with nature.

We're incredibly fortunate to reside alongside an undeveloped watershed, offering a prime opportunity for restoration efforts. By revitalizing this area, we can return the watershed to a sustainable system, bolstering natural habitats and safeguarding against flooding amid rising sea levels and the impacts of climate change.

With the expiration of our previous 20-year funding in 2022, our community rallied together, forming a new Neighborhood Alliance Group (NAG) to educate and advocate. Through six months of concerted efforts, including door-to-door outreach and town hall meetings, we successfully passed a new tax measure with overwhelming 80% support. 

While our community may be distinct, the challenges of climate change and sea-level rise resonate universally, underscoring the importance of collective action. My 38 years of volunteer experience have been emotionally and personally fulfilling, marked by collaboration, discovery, and resilience in the face of adversity. It has been a journey filled with challenges, but also with celebration, as we work together to protect and preserve the delicate balance between humanity and nature.

To delve deeper into Bel Marin Keys, take a look at this article featured in the SF Chronicle: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/bel-marin-keys-18941646.php

Vince Lattanzio prepares for passing through the south lock at the Bel Marin Keys community in Marin County.

Feature / People

Carducci Spotlight / Principal Edition

Wishing you a Happy New Year! This month, we're shining a light on our dedicated principals, delving into their perspectives on the profession through a brief Q&A. 

What are you most passionate about in Landscape Architecture? 

  • "I am passionate about creating places and experiences where people can discover, connect, and engage with nature."  - Vince
  • “Plants. They are consistent and diverse at the same time.” -  Bill 
  • “Improving human and environmental health” - Jin 

What is something you wish you knew when first starting in the profession? 

  • "Wish I knew how important presentation and sales skills were to the success of a business in landscape architecture." - Vince
  • “The importance of the environmental impact of development.” - Jin 

What was your most memorable job?

  • “My most memorable job was the Pleasant Hill City Hall competition with Charles Moore.  We charretted at his home in Sea Ranch and won the competition by public vote.  It was a very creative collaborative experience that gave me the confidence to design with an architect and to seek clients that wanted the landscape design to be a collaborative experience.” - Vince
  • “The first ones are most memorable.  I took care of an orchid collection and a vegetable and flower garden as a weekend and a summer job in college.  It taught me to manage my time independently and get things done.” - Bill 
  • "Fallon Sports Park" - Jin 

What inspires you right now?

  • “My inspiration is the new areas of Landscape Architecture. In response to new ongoing environmental issues. Climate change, sea level rise, and that the profession is grounded in the natural world” - Vince
  • “Automation and AI to help us advance our work and the quality of life. In 1980 futurist John Naisbitt authored the concept of “high tech/high touch” and it is still inspiring today as technology advances, people still crave nature.  And providing people access to nature is what we do as designers.” - Bill

What is your favorite plant and why? 

  • "Quercus agrifolia (Coast live oak) and Sequoia sempervirens (Coast redwood).  They are both coastal, so I enjoy seeing them in coastal California. Each plant has a strong individuality, like people." - Bill 
  • Quercus agrifolia. Something about groves of Coast Live Oak trees that connects me to nature. It is a force.” - Jin 

Who do they look up to? Which landscape architect has been an inspiration to you?

  • "The landscape architect I respect and look up to was an architect named Charles Moore.  He was so talented, gracious, collaborative and joyful and loved creating experiences and connections between the built world and the natural world." - Vince
  • “It is a long list:  Olmsted and Vaux because they created the masterpiece of Central Park; their innovations inspired a profession.  Ian McHarg because he respected nature as a strong force and asked questions like:  “What does the land want to be?”  I worked with Bob Royston who had worked with Thomas Church.  When doing design work, Bob was like a child in a sand box playfully creating what had not been done before.  He told me:  “Always look at the big picture.”  Whenever he started a new project, he would always scout the surroundings to observe which trees were growing well and remember them for his plant palette.” - Bill 
  • “The designers of Central Park, Olmstead and Vaux. I have always been impressed by how advance Central Park's design is.” - Jin  


Carducci Spotlight: Emma Lesser / A Culture of Change: The Inherent Power of Restorative Justice to Transform Public Schoolyards

Emma recently completed an MLA thesis entitled: “A Culture of Change: The Inherent Power of Restorative Justice to Transform Public Schoolyards” that explores how landscape architects can co-create safe and healing spaces in Oakland's public schoolyards. Her thesis topic stems from a deeply personal conviction that childhood learning environments play a crucial and protective part in a child’s experience of trauma. She first sets the scene with a review of the psychology and physiology of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), and how they are currently addressed by schools, focusing on restorative justice (RJ). She then investigates the current state of America's public-school spaces, their effects on students, and the politics and logic behind their designs. She presents landscape precedents that were designed with social emotional learning in mind, and their theoretical bases. Few of these precedents include schoolyards, particularly public ones, as they have only recently become the focus of landscape architects. Over the past several decades, the green schoolyard movement has grown to address heat and pollution, stormwater, community access, ecological learning, and even experimental or 'risky' play. Emma proposes restorative justice as a worthy rationale for schoolyard transformation. In doing so, she intends to not only push landscape architects towards working in support of social programs, but to also promote a more emotionally compelling rationale for schoolyard changes—and one that takes advantage of existing school social infrastructure. She concludes that RJ programming can indicate a school “culture of change” that would both more readily allow for and be supported by built environmental changes. 

"Restorative landscapes might serve as "compatible" feeling spaces: where one's environment is compatible with one's emotional state. In these contexts I demonstrate how my RJ landscape principles and elements can work together. In "the grove," loneliness can be met with connection under the warm colors and diffused light of a fabric-lined structure. Evergreen trees provide further shade, seasonal interest and greater enclosure of the space."

Feature / On the Boards / People