Landscape Architecture Education

by Dale C. Davis

ASLA 2021 Professional General Design Honor Award. Orange Mall Green Infrastructure. Tempe, Arizona. COLWELL SHELOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE. / image: Marion Brenner

A friend of mine who is a writer shared this article with me. It highlights how landscape architecture can be seen as a pedagogical term and as a problem-solving method. I think it will be of interest especially for those who are in the research area of our profession.
– Arnaldo Cardona, ASLA

When searching for information about “Landscape Architecture Education” or “Education in Landscape Architecture,” the results show mostly academic programs to study landscape architecture as a career and academic institutions that have degrees in that area.

However, they can be seen as two completely different concepts. While searching for “Education in Landscape Architecture” produces entries about colleges that offer degrees for students to become landscape architects, “Landscape Architecture Education” should really be seen as a pedagogical term. In the same way, “Education in Art” is about becoming an artist and where to study to become one, whereas “Art Education” is a pedagogical term about the study of cognitive gains, skills, and processes involved in art making.

Then, how has “Landscape Architecture Education” been defined?

The study of behaviors, cognitive processes and problem-solving skills involved in the field of landscape architecture design. In curriculum design it can be used as a theme to develop interdisciplinary learning experiences. (Cardona, 2021)

In the field of landscape architecture, most of the time we are focused on our practices and on our projects (product), but it is time to bring more attention to how we study and reflect on the skills and cognitive gains (processes) involved in our profession.

It can be expected that doing more research and study in this area will enable students to see landscape architecture as more than a career, but as a new horizon for pedagogical study. Not only can “landscape architecture” be seen as a pedagogical term, it can also be seen as a problem-solving method (Cardona, 2021). It may also validate STEAM as embedded in the nature of landscape architecture itself and to be seen as one of the most holistic and interdisciplinary disciplines of all. Including landscape architecture as an art discipline will help promote studies in the areas of creativity development, design education, multiple intelligence (Gardner, 1983), perception, and spatial intelligences, among other art education issues.

ASLA 2021 Student Community Service Honor Award. Back to Nature: An Urban Garden that Reconnects Children to Nature and Enhances the Wellbeing of the Community. Guangzhou, Guangdon Province, China. Siyi Feng; Beibei Tao; Zhijun Liu, Student International ASLA; Wanshi Huang; Jiaqi Shi; Jiamei Zhao; Muhua Chen; Junying Feng; Haohua Li; Hongyan Liu; Wenqi Wen; Xieqi Xuan; Jiangtao Li; Zhiming Liu; Zexuan Lin; Zishang Huang; Lu Lu; Jieyu Rao. / image: Beibei Tao

I invite landscape architecture scholars to reflect beyond our practice and look at our profession as a medium to gain rich and meaningful experiences using an interdisciplinary and critical thinking framework. Let’s promote these studies at the masters and doctoral levels and even among practitioners. As a result, our profession may well be seen as an essential discipline to study and implement pedagogical research that will support the educational initiatives of the 21st century.


Bloom, B.S., (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook 1: Cognitive Domain. New York: David MacKay.

Cardona, Arnaldo, (2021). K-12 Landscape Architecture Education: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum Guide for Art, STEM and Vocational/Trade Educators. Ohio: Gatekeeper Press.

Gardner, Howard, (1983). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basis Books.

Hurwitz, A., (1991). Children and their Art. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovic.

Jacobs, H., (1989). Interdisciplinary Curriculum Design and Implementation. Virginia: A.S.C.D.

Dale C. Davis is a writer and editor who has worked on publications related to education, landscape architecture, and design. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and has a passion for everything related to landscape architecture.

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