First Post!

Treeocracy is finally live and I am happy to share it with you. It has been a wild journey to get to this point. What started as a simple website to host my portfolio is now a full website, I am proud to say I built from scratch. I wanted to redirect the time and energy I was spending looking for the perfect template or tying to tweak what I found to fit my exact needs. So, I decided to learn how to do it myself. How hard could it be?

Really hard, it turns out. Of course, I didn’t learn this all on my own. Sure, there was plenty of trial and error, but I relied on guideposts to direct me through the sheer volume of possibilities to do something “simple”. Asking a million questions to my network and finding tutorials online have been invaluable to keeping me on course. I started with some introductory classes on M1M0, an online learning platform not unlike DuoLingo, to learn the basics to writing code. I also looked extensively at W3Schools both for their tutorials and as a reference as I began to get stuck.

Several other websites and blogs were helpful as well. Not surprisingly, the results that come up differ depending on the way I asked my question. As I learned more about the concepts I was working with, the easier it was to find answers. However, it took a circuitous path to get where I am now. Some tutorials were helpful, but not quite what I needed. Other concepts were outdated, overly complex, or just not comprehensible to me.

Disappointed with my results, I assumed I was to blame due to my ignorance. However, I then began to realize that there were limitations to the system. The foundations of HTML go back decades, which until about a year ago, required workarounds behind the scenes to make the seemingly elegant, responsive sites I aspired to make.

Recently and fortuitously (for me), a new system was introduced called CSS Grid. As far as I can tell, the idea is to make websites behave more like an assemblage of boxes that can occupy the available space on a given screen as determined by the parameters assigned to them. Items may overlap or be resized in endless variation. Cool! I am probably using 5% of its capabilities, but it did make things easier once I understood the underlying system.

You are probably wondering; how does this relate to landscape architecture? It doesn’t. However, it says something about how I think as a designer. I am not willing to give up easily, rarely follow convention, and always strive to better understand the nuts and bolts of what makes a system work. This is the premise of Systems Theory. Complex phenomena can share underlying principles regardless of their “substance, class, or spatial organization.” Landscape architecture as a field is concerned with the overlap of several interdisciplinary systems. Beyond that, as I research technology, it has been my observation that words like “landscape” and “architect” are often co-opted to mean very different things in the realm of computer science.

Add to this the burgeoning of virtual and augmented landscape and there is plenty of opportunities to blend approaches such as instilling classic principles into new technologies while revolutionizing the ways we shape the built environment. I hope to find like-minded individuals across disciplines that want to further explore these concepts in ways that are mutually beneficial. My hope is that this website will help me do just that. Because, at the end of it all, I am still ignorant.