Perpetual Adaptation

by Chris Hardy, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP ND


This has been an unprecedented year in so many ways for our lives and profession. During this fall’s reVISION ASLA, our team is sharing how our respective practices have been impacted this year, strategies and decisions we have made to navigate these times, and plans for moving into 2021. We are also sharing surveys and trends on the impacts for graduating professionals in both this recession and 2008.

The original title of this presentation was to be “Knock on Wood: Learning from the Great Recession,” where Rene Bihan, FASLA, of SWA, Molly Bourne, ASLA, of MNLA, and Chris Hardy of Sasaki, were going to share how our firms navigated 2008-2011, and preparations we were making for a future recession.

Since then, we have shifted our title to “Perpetual Adaptation: The Design Business in 2020 and Lessons from the Great Recession.” We have added Michael Grove, ASLA, the Chair of Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Ecology at Sasaki, to our panel, and refocused on a critical analysis of the differences between these recessions, what ideas are successful, and how this recession is structurally unique across practice sectors.

In preparation for this session, we are asking firm leaders to share their thoughts as well, on our survey here.

We are also reaching out to recent graduates and young professionals, including both those who were impacted by the Great Recession from 2008-2010, and the classes of 2020 and 2021, to gather their experiences and advice through this survey.

The intention of these surveys and session is to share lessons learned and collect advice. The secondary intent is to reveal our collective experience as professionals, and show those that may be struggling to enter the profession that they are not alone, and that there are many paths to one’s career. The results of these surveys will be presented at reVISION ASLA, and the full results may be publicly posted.

The session “Perpetual Adaptation: The Design Business in 2020 and Lessons from the Great Recession” will take place on Monday, November 16, from 2:15–3:15 p.m. (Eastern), during reVISION ASLA 2020. Right after the session, from 3:15–3:45 p.m. (Eastern), attendees are also invited to continue the conversation with the panelists.

Registration for reVISION ASLA 2020 is open! Join us and make your mark on the future of our profession.

Chris Hardy, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP ND, is a Senior Associate at Sasaki. Chris entered the workforce in the wake of the 2008 recession. In his work at MNLA and SWA Group San Francisco, Chris had the opportunity to learn how to navigate the landscape profession during the competitive years of the recovery. Chris will be representing the perspective and survey results of designers who entered the profession just before, during, and shortly after 2008. Chris will also present the results of interviews with Sasaki leadership, and their corporate plans for preparing for the next recession. Outside of practice, Chris participates in the design community through teaching, service, and writing.

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