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.
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.
For the 13th annual HALS Challenge competition, the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) invites you to document Olmsted Landscapes.
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.
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.