Karl Fritschen

A Natural Vocation

Two Disciplines and Life Experience

Karl Fritschen is a rarity; licensed landscape architect and certified planner, rare in his profession. With certifications in these related fields, Karl is able to use his graphic and artistic skill to sell ideas and illustrate issues particular to an area or space, as well as having insight into the use of plant material and design.

A Love of History in City Structures - Karl Fritschen

Karl Fritschen has a special love for the place of historic architecture in the urban landscape. “I like to know why something is…the way it is. What was the history behind a particular decision or plan?” His respect for historical precedent is reflected in his study of urban architectural history in such divergent cityscapes as the Swan Lake neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Fells Point in Baltimore, and the Stockyards Area in Fort Worth, Texas.

Karl Fritschen’s work includes historically significant projects like the Old Campground Cemetery in Concord, NC. A historic African American cemetery, the project was funded by the Cannon Foundation. Years of neglect, and kudzu, were removed, and a prominent entry was constructed, using recycled materials from the city’s public works building. Karl himself wrote the grant application and collaborated with a local citizens group on the entry design.

In the Vantage Point Park project in Columbia, MD, Karl Fritschen focused on complementing the beauty of the historic plantation home adjacent to the site. Karl’s plan for the park aimed to fulfill the need for passive recreation opportunities for the senior citizens who lived in the community and the older adult and elderly population near the park site. The park elements of shuffleboard courts, benches, paths, picnic tables and period style fencing, coordinated with the plantation home, also used as a community center. Karl reflects that his “…keen sense of the development potential of a piece of land…(enables him) to think in 3 dimensions.”

The Impact of Environment on Human Behavior - Karl Fritschen

As a professional urban cityscape planner and landscape architect, Karl Fritschen’s years of experience have been informed by many observations of the effects of living conditions and environment on the health and well-being of city dwellers. What is apparent to him is the impact of surroundings on the social behavior of citizens, individually and as a whole. “I truly believe that the quality of life and built environment in a community makes a difference in social behavior. This, of course, includes exceptional park facilities, where many social bonds are formed…I think that as we continue to add more population, having quality outdoor public space that everyone can enjoy will become more of an issue.” Renovating a local park, a major gathering point for a community, is for Karl an important factor in improving the overall outlook, behavior and attitude of a community.

“Many disagree with this…but this does not discourage me from continuing to push out this message. I believe providing safe recreational places can help improve the health and well-being of people…” Karl feels much observational evidence supports his belief that adequately maintained facilities and attractive public spaces encourage interaction in a community, which in turn can make it safer by lowering crime rates and undesirable behavior. “Studies have shown that if we get out and know our neighbors, then maybe our communities can be a little safer.”

The Environment Impacts the Behavior of Humans

There are many who go about their daily lives in the city not realizing that their surrounding environment is directly affecting them. The living conditions and overall environment has been proven to impact the health and well-being of individuals living in the city. This would mean that the provision of parks and natural recreational zones are very important to the overall health and social well-being of the community. There are a variety of ways that natural settings can benefits humans and in some sense can have the effect of reducing crime and need for more funding for police.

Quality of Life

Some landscape architects and urban planners believe that the quality of life of any given person can have a direct impact from parks and natural settings being special places in that person’s life. That is why many of them press city councils and county governments to create, set aside, and establish land to be specifically used for parks and recreation purposes. Too often parks and their associated department face the ax when it comes time to trim budgets.

Karl Fritschen believes this may not be the best thing, as parks provide these special places for social bonding, where one gets to know another, and this can have the positive impact of reducing crime. Consider this Karl says “what was the one place you remember when you’re young or what was that special place you played at” Many times the answer is a park. “A street or sewer line doesn’t have the effect and they never will”. Parks and offer a places for reflection, solitude, meeting others, rest and physical exercise. Who would want that!

When a local park is established it essentially becomes a meeting place. Social gatherings are established often at a local park. This makes parks a gathering point for private or public gatherings where people can create memories and benefit the health of their life.

Lower Crime Rates

In many surveys and studies, the effects of a park show that they can have a direct connection to crime rates in a city. When a park is built and maintained well, often the crime rates in that area go down. Kids get off the street and there are “eyes on the park” thus a community becomes safer due to the presence of a park.

Karl Fritschen fully believes in the power that the environment has on humans. On the topic he says, “I truly believe that the quality of life and built environment in a community makes a difference in social behavior…providing safe recreational places can help improve the well being of people…studies have shown that if we get out and know our neighbors, our communities can be safer.”

Car Restoration As a Hobby

It has been said that taking up a hobby encourages mental health and promotes a longer life. This is because a hobby can both relax the mind and challenge it at the same time. Though that may seem to be somewhat oxymoronic, it is fascinatingly true.

A hobby for many people is a way to unwind. After a long day at work, men and women alike come home to their hobby and ‘go back to work’ in a sense. Though a hobby can have a varying amount of work, a hobby never truly feels like work. Which is why it can be so mentally relaxing for people. A hobby is something that is enjoyed by the hobbyist, which is why when they put work into it, the time flies by because they are having fun.

Many people choose hobbies that will challenge their minds. They like to figure things out and like a puzzle or and watch all the pieces come together. The mental challenge provides a unique way for the mind to grow. Though the mind is being challenged by something difficult, the mind hardly feels like it is something work related. This is because a hobby is something fun, like previously stated. So the mind is both relaxing while playing and yet being challenged and growing because of it.

One popular hobby for many people is car restoration. This is the perfect example of a hobby that is both challenging to the mind, yet relaxing as well. Karl Fritschen loves to mentally unwind and feel refreshed for the next day by working on his car restoration hobby. Though, originally he did not expect much to come out of his hobby, he is proud to show off his restored vehicle, one that has won a plethora of awards for its restoration.