A New Collaboration with the Library of Congress

ASLA 2021 Professional General Design Honor Award. Inspiring Journeys for All. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. HDLA / image: Charlie Craighead

The Library of Congress and ASLA announced a collaboration to archive the society’s Professional Award winning projects, the first time that collections representing the international landscape architecture profession will be archived by a U.S. federal institution.

While the Library of Congress has archived collections representing the professions of architecture, design, and engineering since the 1800s, this collaboration reflects the Library’s recognition of the growing significance of landscape architecture in society today. New designs will be added to the collection each year.

“This is a step forward in strengthening the connection between landscape architecture and the built environment. The chosen winners are a snapshot of the issues we face in our society each year and how landscape architects are addressing them, which also demonstrates the increasing relevance of landscape architecture to global communities,” said Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO of ASLA.

The national library’s significant collections documenting the history of landscape architecture include the papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, considered the founder of American landscape architecture, as well as a collection from the landscape architecture firm he founded. Olmsted is known for his work on New York’s Central Park, the U.S. Capitol grounds and many other landmarks. The Library also holds the original records of the American Society of Landscape Architects, dating from 1899-1966. The Historic American Landscapes Survey, begun in 2000, offers drawings and photographs for more than 900 heritage sites. A new research guide, Architecture, Design, and Engineering Collections in the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, makes it possible to explore landscape design work that is within the records of many architects and photographers.

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From Community Engagement to Community Investment

by Deb Guenther, FASLA

The Ecology of Partners / image: © Mithun

The Landscape Architecture Foundation Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership was established to “foster transformational leadership capacity and support innovation to advance the field of landscape architecture.” It is an opportunity to dedicate the equivalent of three months’ time over the course of one year to nurture emerging ideas. I am honored to be one of the six current fellows. The cohort is discovering many overlapping interests, shared agendas, and mutually reinforced ideas in our work. Consequently, we’ve been thinking about ourselves as a collective—exploring multiple dimensions of the same cultural thread, like the different chapters of a book.

I am exploring the dimensions of community wealth building, defined here as “a systems approach to community development that produces a reconfiguration of institutions and local economies on the basis of greater democratic ownership, participation, and control.”

Specifically, this work focuses on shifting standard practice from community engagement to community investment by building long-term relationships between designers and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color)-led, community-based organizations.

To better understand shared values and differences between designers and BIPOC community leaders, I have created this short, anonymous survey. Through this survey I hope to learn about the ways these groups could increase collaboration to support community investment approaches to the design of the built environment.

You are invited to inform this work! The survey will be open until March 6, 2022. Please feel free to share with others—landscape architects and community-based organizations.

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Earth’s Due

by Alli Wilson

ASLA 2021 Professional Honor Award in Urban Design. The CityArchRiver Project, St. Louis, MO. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates / image: Scott Shigley

A Call for Creative Responses to Climate Change

Responses to something as sprawling, manifold, and complex as the climate change crisis can take many forms, from advocacy to art, from research to action plans. While the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is accepting video submissions from emerging artists on the climate change emergency, here on The Field, the Sustainable Design and Development Professional Practice Network (PPN) is seeking creative responses to climate change from landscape architects. Today, we are featuring a poem by Alli Wilson, along with more from Alli on what inspired her to write. We welcome your submissions, and look forward to highlighting other entries here on The Field in the future.
– ASLA’s Sustainable Design and Development PPN leadership team

This Earth is Due Diligence

Tell me, landscape architect
Do you truly think
Our environment is resilient
Or is it more on the brink

Is earth and its climate
Healthy, equitable, and safe
Or against our core values
Is reality starting to chafe

We claim we are stewards
Protecting this earth
Yet of meaningful actions
I am finding a dearth

Individual colleagues
Do good work, to be sure
But we can’t all then claim
To be part of the cure

So let’s turn our mission
Into more than a statement
Those old wasteful habits
Let’s see more abatement

Those large format sheets
We print every day
The educational lunches
All in their own tray

Those shipments of rock
With tons of emission
When we look for materials
Let’s source with contrition

Planting non-natives
Pushes birds off that land
Their inevitable extinction
Then goes hand-in-hand

We focus on aesthetics
While the planet gets hotter
Will boulder color matter
If a project’s under water?

Invasives, like cigarettes
Once thought of as healthy
We know now it’s untrue
Yet we still plant them plenty

Just stop with the bottles
Of single use plastic
For community meetings
Carboys aren’t all that drastic

Leave that leaf litter
To naturally decompose
Don’t have it removed
That system just blows

We drive cars to meetings
A quick bike ride away
And should insist irrigation
Is recycled or grey

Have on-site compost
Built into designs
Why ship fertilizer
You can make it just fine

With metal structures
Bolt it, don’t weld
This makes reuse easy
When it needs to be felled

Our furnishing choices
Have long enough lumbered
Use reused, then recycled
You’ll feel unencumbered

Concrete doesn’t cure
Our problems at all
The soil can’t breathe
Plus emissions aren’t small

Until addressing these costs
Is part of each build
Our title of steward
Remains unfulfilled

If we do this right
It’s our time to shine
Our potential is sitting
Like fruit on the vine

Let’s set industry standards
Our peers by our side
So construction isn’t wasteful
But pointed to with pride

So let us start small
With our own pollution
Be more than a profession
Let’s be a solution

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New Opportunities for the New Year

Opportunities and RFQs

Now is the time to explore opportunities and prepare for what’s ahead, with the new year still before us. While you may already be familiar with ASLA’s current open calls—for honors nominations (due February 4), presentations for the 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture (due February 22), entries for the Professional Awards (due March 18), and entries for the Student Awards (due May 23)—all are welcome to find even more offerings from allied organizations and others through ASLA’s RFQs and Opportunities page.

Below, we highlight a sampling of the opportunities and competitions listed currently. And, anyone looking to share an opportunity with landscape architects may do so through the online submission form.


National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program
Deadline: March 1, 2022

Requests for Proposals and Qualifications

Framework Plan for Washington Park, Chicago
Deadline: February 2, 2022

Competitions, Awards, and Calls for Submissions

Call for Speakers for LABash
Deadline: January 31, 2022

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Equity at Work: Designing an Inclusive and Equitable Workplace Culture

by Jake Minden

image: Equity at Work Report

Equity at Work: Designing an Inclusive and Equitable Workplace Culture is a collaborative research project between University of Washington MLA Graduate Jake Minden, The College of Built Environments Applied Research Consortium, and Mithun.


Built environment design professionals are responsible for myriad spaces that contribute to positive or negative effects on societal health, well-being, and happiness. Who designs the built environment (representation), and how they do it (equitable practice) matters. Improving the representation and retention of design practitioners from historically excluded racial and ethnic minority groups and developing more equitable and inclusive workplace practices is imperative to reduce the negative effects of white supremacy in built environment design practice and the built environment itself.

Many racist barriers in need of removal exist within the design professions, from K-12 to post-secondary education to professional development and leadership. The scope of this research focuses on workplace culture as it relates to the retention of employees from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority communities.

Workplace culture is traditionally seen as top-down and defined by the leaders of a firm or organization. However, as workplaces become increasingly adaptable to a rapidly changing world and workforce, employees are expressing more agency in shifting workplace cultural norms and expectations. Independent of who creates workplace culture, it is ubiquitous to all firms and organizations, unspoken, and dynamic. Positioning workplace culture as a tool for or against white supremacy in the workplace places significant social and ethical responsibility onto those designing or influencing workplace culture. This research asks built environment design professionals to identify weaknesses within their workplace cultures and to empower professionals with information and concrete options for improving equitable practices.

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ASLA in Nashville: Planting Design and Transportation PPN Meeting Recap

by the Transportation PPN leadership team

At the Transportation and Planting Design PPNs’ joint session, the conversation focused on best practices to incorporate pollinator habitats along transportation corridors and approaches to fight back against invasive species. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, check out the reading & resources list prepared by Planting Design and Transportation PPN leaders. / image: Alexandra Hay

For the 2021 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture, the Transportation Professional Practice Network (PPN) teamed up with the Planting Design PPN to engage in a lively campfire discussion about planting design for pollinators.

Pollinator planting has been and remains a hot topic (see the December 9, 2021 Field post by Liia Koiv-Haus, ASLA, “Making Space for Pollinators,” and “Roadside Realm” from the March 2021 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine). Both PPNs agreed that preserving pollinator habitat is important, but the methods and resources used to create habitat differed. This is due, in part, to the landscape scales in which each PPNs’ members typically practice. Other differences included maintenance abilities and strategies, budgets, and “owner” motivation. Planting design practitioners are often hired by property owners intent on creating habitat; transportation practitioners are usually required to justify spending public dollars on habitat creation and not on other, more easily justifiable, competing interests (such as roadway improvements and accessibility).

Transportation PPN leaders started the discussion by outlining federal and state resources that departments of transportation (DOTs) use to inform policy and practice decisions about pollinators. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s Pollinators and Roadsides: Best Management Practices for Managers and Decision Makers is the primary reference for state transportation agencies. The document elaborates on a variety of techniques used by state DOTs, four of which also appeared in Liia Koiv-Haus, ASLA’s “Making Space for Pollinators”—altered mowing practices, reduced herbicide use, protection of existing stands of native vegetation, and re-seeding efforts post construction.

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The 2022 HALS Challenge: Olmsted Landscapes

by Chris Stevens, ASLA

Rockefeller Carriage Roads, HAER ME-13, Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine. / image: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

For the 13th annual HALS Challenge competition, the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) invites you to document Olmsted Landscapes. [Click here to see the winners of the 2022 HALS Challenge, announced at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Francisco.]

2022 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, social reformer and founder of American landscape architecture. By documenting Olmsted landscapes for HALS, you will increase public awareness of historic landscapes and illuminate Olmsted’s living legacy. Any site designed or planned in part or in full by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., his firm, and the firm continued by his sons, John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Junior, is eligible (see Master List of Design Projects).

The Olmsted Research Guide Online (ORGO) and Olmsted Online are helpful research tools. You may search for records held at the Olmsted National Historic Site and the Olmsted collections at the Library of Congress. The copyright status of some of these materials is uncertain, so please do not reproduce the graphics in your HALS documentation. You may analytically write about and cite them instead.

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Recognizing Outstanding Contributions to the Profession of Landscape Architecture

Magdalena Aravena, ASLA, receiving the Emerging Professional Medal from Immediate Past President Tom Mroz, FASLA, at the 2021 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville. / image: Jason Mallory

The honors awarded by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) each year recognize individuals and organizations for their lifetime achievements and notable contributions to the profession of landscape architecture.

Nominations will be accepted through Friday, February 4, 2022, 6:00 p.m. (Eastern), for the ASLA Medal, ASLA Design Medal, Community Service Awards, Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal, LaGasse Medals, Landscape Architecture Firm Award, Landscape Architecture Medal of Excellence, Olmsted Medal, Emerging Professional Medal, and Honorary ASLA Membership.

Any ASLA professional member or ASLA chapter may submit nominations for ASLA honors. Learn more about these prestigious awards below.

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