Advancing Landscape Architecture Through Advocacy

The Capitol, Washington, DC
image: EPNAC

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) works with ASLA’s chapters, state and federal legislators, state and administration officials, and regulatory bodies to advance policies critical to the profession. ASLA’s current priorities are:

  • Licensure
  • Climate Change and Resilience
  • Environmental Justice
  • Public Lands and National and Community Parks
  • Transportation Design and Planning
  • Water and Stormwater Management

The new year may have only just begun, but ASLA’s Government Affairs team has already put forth a host of statements and updates in recent weeks. Below is a recap of recent announcements, in case you missed them, plus where to find the latest advocacy news.

National Scenic Byways Nominations Process Announced

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced that the application packet for nominations for new National Scenic Byways will be available on their website on February 13, 2020. For the first time in 12 years, state and tribal scenic byways around the country will have the opportunity to apply for the important National Scenic Byways status.

Under the National Scenic Byways Program, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads based on their intrinsic qualities. The Federal Highway Administration promotes the collection as America’s Byways. To be designated a National Scenic Byway, a road must possess characteristics of regional significance within at least one of the intrinsic qualities, including archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, or scenic.

ASLA and its advocates were proud supporters of the Reviving American Scenic Byways Act. We encourage members and chapters to work with stakeholders to nominate eligible projects.

The Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing

ASLA has joined the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL), combining forces with other professional organizations determined to ensure that the public’s health, safety, and welfare are protected by strong licensure requirements nationwide.

By bringing together the combined influence of several professional organizations of advanced professions, ARPL aims to educate lawmakers and the public on the importance of high standards, rigorous education, and extensive experience required to practice highly-technical professions like landscape architecture safely.

ASLA Applauds Introduction of TREES Act

The Residential Energy and Economic Savings (TREES) Act incentivizes tree-planting programs that bring down energy consumption while sequestering excess carbon that exacerbates the climate crisis. It also pays special attention to environmental justice and equity concerns by giving priority to projects in underserved and disadvantaged areas.

ASLA Opposes Administration Attempts to Weaken the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

The Trump Administration’s proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) would make substantial cuts to environmental reviews of government projects and limit the public’s input in the process—rushing projects regardless of the impact they could have on the environment and communities.

Learn more about ASLA’s advocacy efforts at asla.org/advocacy. ASLA members may also log in to asla.org to access the Advocacy FAQ, which covers ASLA priorities, resources, and how to get involved.

See our Smart Policies for a Changing Climate Report for a summary of policy recommendations to incentivize the use of green infrastructure methods, promote resilience, and design and plan in concert with natural systems.

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