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© 2016 Craig Churchward Contact


Craig Churchward, FASLA, PLA
Transportation Landscape Architect

Craig has over 30 years of professional experience related to fitting complex and controversial transportation projects into the natural environment and the social fabric of affected communities. He worked for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for nearly eleven years. Subsequently, he managed projects and directed the work of landscape architects for regional and national consulting firms, most recently HNTB where he was the National Director of Context Sensitive Solutions. In 2009, he started his own consulting firm, Avenue Design Partners, focusing on sustainable transportation.

As a landscape architect specializing in transportation, Craig has developed the architectural concepts for highway bridges, noise walls and retaining walls in several historically, environmentally or community sensitive areas. He is well versed in the constraints and opportunities found in geometric design of roadways and the structural design of bridges, sympathetically fitting them into the landscape and communities. His ability to engage the public and regulatory agencies in the planning and design process is a hallmark of his approach to large infrastructure projects.

His work includes the environmental analysis and preliminary and final design of major urban and rural transportation projects; the development of bicycle, pedestrian, and transit systems; the design of urban streetscapes, plazas, and gateways; and the sustainable development and marketing of scenic, historical, cultural and recreational resources to enhance tourism on scenic byways and historic roads. 
Considered one of the nation’s leading experts in assessing impacts to visual quality, Craig recently re-wrote the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) guidelines for conducting a Visual Impact Assessment (VIA). The 2014 guidelines were based on the game-changing findings of a National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) research project for which Craig was the Principal Investigator. The NCHRP study identified key scientific and practical improvements to FHWA’s former VIA process. Earlier he authored MnDOT’s visual quality management procedures for its design-build program and assisted the FHWA in developing its scenic byway program as an expert in scenic quality. 

Craig is the co-author of the chapter on Context Sensitive Solutions in his profession’s most authoritative reference manual Landscape Architectural Graphic Standards. He is currently on an NCHRP Panel overseeing the development of a Guidebook for Designing and Managing Rights-of-Way for Carbon Sequestration and Biomass Generation. He was an adjunct faculty member, teaching landscape architecture design and theory at the University of Minnesota for nineteen years and has lectured at universities throughout the United States. He is a frequent speaker at professional meetings and workshops for transportation planners, landscape architects, and engineers. AASHTO recently hired him to re-write its Landscape and Environmental Design manual to guide the practice of transportation landscape architecture. 

Craig developed training programs for the departments of transportation in Michigan (MDOT) and California (Caltrans). Both programs were typically delivered to small classes throughout the state over the course of 18 months. For MDOT, he created and taught an introductory course on Context Sensitive Solutions to over one thousand people, including agency staff and constituent partners. Similarly for Caltrans, he developed a three-day training course for Visual Impact Assessments. Both courses are still available on-line.

Craig is CLARB Certified (pending) and is licensed to practice Landscape Architecture in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. He has been a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Landscape and Environmental Design for over 15 years. He is currently Co-Chair of the Transportation and Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). 

In November of 2013, Craig’s leadership as a transportation landscape architect was recognized ASLA who made him a Fellow of that organization. 

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