From June 28th to July 1st of this year, San Diego hosted the U.S. Green Building Council’s Convergence (mid-year conference). The USGBC is globally recognized for its LEED green building rating system, which (to the delight of Landscape Architects) has recently incorporated LEED for SITES. The world-wide non-profit is continuing to grow and is now making sustainable development available to under-served communities with the launch of the ADVANCE platform at Convergence this summer.

ADVANCE is a culmination of 23 years of research, testing, and learning from the LEED green building rating system and unlocks the knowledge, experience, and benefits of sustainable development for low-income neighborhoods. It is how the USGBC does social equity. This platform meets the project host (a school, faith-based group, or non-profit, for example) wherever they are on their path and gives them the tools they need to become a leader in energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainable resource management. ADVANCE uses feasibility studies, workshops, and plans to action in its four-step process: START, PLAN, FOCUS, LEAD. With ADVANCE, hosts can begin at whichever step is most appropriate and develop into an admirable example of ingenuity in the community.

Our ASLA Chapter was represented at Convergence on the Emerging Professionals National Committee (EPNC). At the epicenter of the launch of ADVANCE, San Diego benefitted from nine local service projects. These prospective ADVANCE projects (listed below) are the seeds of something potentially wonderful. They have positioned our city to become the leader in this nation-wide movement. ADVANCE could ultimately be San Diego Landscape Architects’ greatest call-to-action yet.

With the full support of our 2016 President, Rich Risner, our chapter will put significant effort into project and volunteer recruitment for ADVANCE in the coming year. But it cannot be done without you! With this effort, ASLA-SD will strengthen the USGBC’s mission that “buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation.” 

Convergence Service Projects and Prospective ADVANCE Projects:
• San Diego Salvation Army PLAN Builder
• San Diego Museum of Man LEED Hack-a-thon 
• Tree San Diego Strategic Plan 
• Pacific Beach Taylor Library PLAN Builder
• Joe and Vi Jacobs Center PLAN Builder
• San Diego Healthy Schools WELL Feasibility Study
• Clean the World Service Project
• San Diego River Garden Service Project
• San Diego Coastal Habitat Restoration Service Project

If you would like to volunteer for any of the potential ADVANCE projects listed above or know of an at-need community project that could benefit from ADVANCE, contact Kristen at

*An ADVANCE presentation will be integrated into the Holiday Gala program on December 10th given by our Emerging Professional Committee Chair, Kristen Koehrn.*