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Landscape architecture to love

One of the joys of being a being a business writer is we get to work with and promote other people’s passions.

Case in point: This article in American Builders Quarterly (ABQ) is about the excellent work of Sasaki, an interdisciplinary firm with a large landscape architecture practice. I went about interviewing CEO James Miner with prejudice, as I am a contract writer for the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and an urban gardener – and I freaking love some of the projects this firm has designed.

Those projects include the Einhorn Family Walk at Syracuse University, my alma mater, and the Chicago Riverwalk, a remarkable recent addition to the architecturally rich city I call home.

I literally walk on and through the Sasaki-designed Riverwalk. What I learned in putting together this story is how designers also have to be economists and sales people. To help Chicago finance the project, they identified the incremental sales tax revenue from retail that is part of or adjacent to this 3.5-acre string along the south bank of the river.

In other words, to bring about stunning design, the landscape architects at Sasaki also have to be skilled in the business of making things happen.

From my exposure to landscape architecture through ASLA, none of this is surprising. Landscape architects are designers, environmentalists, social justice advocates, planners, and business people. I've attended several of their national conferences and work with the suppliers to their industry; throughout, they take seriously their job at creating places where we play, commute, heal, and renew. They truly engage with passion in their work.

In conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, what landscape architects create has served an extremely important function in public health, both mental and physical – all the more underscoring the value of what they do and where their passions lie.

I’ve not had the opportunity to visit Syracuse in decades, but the conversion of some of the campus's once-heavily trafficked streets to pedestrian-only promenades looks awesome in pictures. I look forward to going back one day to walk those gently sloped ribbons of pavers.

I am also a little tickled the story made the cover of the first quarter 2021 issue of ABQ, a publication I’ve contributed to since 2009.

Not every writing assignment has the visual beauty of Sasaki’s landscapes. But almost everything that warrants written material – book chapters, guidelines, articles, blog pieces, websites, etc. – involves the passionate work of my clients. I’m honored to provide words that help them tell their stories, share their ideas, and extend the value of their passionate work.

Russ Klettke is a business writer with experience in a broad range of industries. Contact him at to discuss content creation, SEO tactics, corporate communications, and media relations programming.


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Russ Klettke

Business Writer

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