Video Brings to Life Toronto’s Underpass Park
Washington, D.C., October 27, 2016 – The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has released its first virtual reality (VR) viewing experience to the public, featuring exclusive footage of Toronto’s Underpass Park, which won the ASLA 2016 Professional Award of Excellence.
The ASLA VR video takes viewers on an exciting journey through this unique park found under a highway underpass, guided by landscape architect Greg Smallenberg, FASLA, principal at PFS Studio.
Free Viewing Options
Option 1: Watch a 360 Video on YouTube. If you are on your phone reading this page, simply click on this URL and watch it in your YouTube mobile app:
https://youtu.be/IUr2g5rabaU (please note that this video will not work on your mobile browser).
Be sure to turn around while watching so you can see all angles of the park!
Or if you are on a desktop computer, go to https://youtu.be/IUr2g5rabaU using your Chrome browser. Use the sphere icon to navigate through the park!
Option 2: Watch a 3D 360 Video on Samsung Gear VR. If you own a Samsung Gear VR headset and compatible Samsung phone, go to Samsung Gear via the Oculus App and search for "Underpass Park" or "ASLA" to find our video.
Why Underpass Park?
ASLA selected Underpass Park for the video because it won the ASLA 2016 Professional Award of Excellence. Less than one percent of all award submissions receive this honor. The award highlights Underpass Park because it’s a prominent example of reusing abandoned, derelict space. This award says that even underpasses can become great parks. It’s our hope that other cities will follow suit. New York City, Miami and other cities are now looking at their underpasses now, too.
Why Virtual Reality?
With video, you can pack in even more information about a work of landscape architecture, much more than you can in simply a photo or text. With video, you can get a sense of the sight, sound, and “feel” of a place. You can see people interacting with the design, bringing it to life. Virtual reality takes video to the next level: as you move your phone or VR headset, you control your experience in the landscape. It more closely mimics the experience of exploring a place in person. In part, it recreates that sense of discovery one gets in real life.
Why did ASLA make this VR film?
We are always looking for more effective ways to promote the value of landscape architecture to society. Virtual reality has proven to be a powerful tool for explaining how the places people love – like Underpass Park – are designed experiences. Virtual reality allows us to educate the public about landscape design in a more compelling way.
We have multiple goals with the video: We hope to use the video to promote the potential of virtual reality among the landscape architecture community, which totals approximately 25,000 design professionals in the U.S. and Canada. We also hope to use the video to explain the incredible value of landscape architecture to the public, and the ability of landscape architects to turn an unloved place like an underpass into a beloved community park.
We also hope community groups or local advocates can make use of it for their own goals. For example, when we were filming the video, we met a family visiting from Buffalo, New York. The mother of the child who was skateboarding there said it was a “no brainer to put a skatepark under an underpass.” She immediately got that the space was accessible when it’s raining or snowing because it’s covered. Ideally, this video will become a tool for her to promote the idea of an Underpass Park in Buffalo. We hope it can become an advocacy tool.
Why should landscape architects use VR?
Virtual Reality is a powerful tool for landscape architects, architects, planners and developers – really anyone involved in designing our built and natural environments. In the example of Underpass Park: many will never have the opportunity to visit the park in person, but with our video, they can get a good sense of what’s it like to be there.
For landscape architecture firms, this is an excellent way to really show clients that a place they’ve designed works – that people enjoy hanging out there, that kids love playing there, that people are drawn to events there.
Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 15,000 members in 49 professional chapters and 72 student chapters. Members of the Society use "ASLA" after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Landscape architects lead the stewardship, planning and design of our built and natural environments; the Society’s mission is to advance landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education and fellowship.
American Society of Landscape Architects