While green schoolyards, outdoor learning spaces, and other places to get hands-on with nature are often discussed for children, adults may be just as likely to experience some nature deficit-related disconnection. When was the last time you considered the humble acorn, for example? A recent installation by social practice artist Shawn Shafner and associated events in Washington, DC, used this mundane feature of landscapes both urban and forested as a launching point for delving into a range of other issues, from the joy of taking the slow route to ways to support regenerative agricultural and local watersheds.
Last month, a multidisciplinary panel conversation at the Seva Teaching Kitchen, part of George Washington University’s Culinary Medicine Program, explored the cultural, culinary, and ecological value of oak trees and their seeds, focusing on acorns’ connections to health, agriculture, and ecology.
This year, four incredible donors have each pledged $1,000 to the ASLA Fund, but we need your help to unlock their matches. Your support fuels the ASLA Fund’s mission of investing in global, social, and environmental change through landscape architecture. Every dollar makes a difference! Give today.
Your generous support will propel us towards our goal, enabling the expansion of vital programs such as:
The term “landscape architecture” can be associated with many fields, like construction, design, horticulture, etc. Finding books about architecture and landscape architecture in college libraries that have programs in architecture, landscape architecture, or even engineering will be the most logical place to look. However, can you find books related to landscape architecture in college libraries related to medicine, journalism, law, business, pharmacy, human resources, or education? How can landscape architecture be in places where it was not before?
Let me share my personal experience. I had the joy of writing two books: K-12 Landscape Architecture Education (2021) and K-12 Architecture Education (2022). These books are interdisciplinary STEAM curriculum guides that put architecture and landscape architecture at the center of curricula. Beyond presenting landscape architecture as a design profession, it presents our profession as:
a problem-solving method,
an ideal theme for interdisciplinary curriculum design, and
an educational term defining “landscape architecture education” as a field of study that looks at the applications, behaviors, and cognitive gains that students can develop through the landscape architecture design process.
With these books, now part of the Teachers College Library, Columbia University, educators will be able to see landscape architecture as an ideal medium for curriculum design and instruction. Currently, there is a big trend in the pedagogical field in the areas of design education, STEAM education, and environmental education; now, K-12 educators and ASLA members will have a comprehensive interdisciplinary curriculum to develop these educational programs.
During the ASLA 2023 Conference on Landscape Architecture, 5,000 participants joined together to garner new insights and discover tools that will help you scale up your practice, with education sessions that covered everything from decarbonizing your site construction to artificial intelligence to learning how to navigate government agencies like the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
50 recorded conference education sessions are now available on-demand through ASLA Online Learning for Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™)-approved professional development hours (PDH).
You can purchase individual sessions or bundle and save—ASLA members can take advantage of a 25% discount when purchasing four or more conference recordings!
Throughout the conference weekend, 15 PPNs organized 17 events, taking place in the EXPO or in meeting rooms and featuring formats from presentations to lightning talks to breakout groups for conversation. These events were opportunities to meet and network with other ASLA members and conference attendees, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing. (And if this sounds like something you’d be interested in taking part in, not just at the conference but throughout the year, then consider joining your PPN’s leadership team!) It was fantastic to see everyone in Minneapolis—thank you to all who attended, and another big thank you to the PPN leaders who made these events happen.
If you missed the conference this year, we hope the photos below provide a glimpse of the PPNs’ goings-on. For those interested in watching recordings of education sessions that took place in Minneapolis, 50+ sessions will be made available on-demand via ASLA Online Learning in the coming weeks.
This past Sunday in Minneapolis, ASLA inducted 48 members into the Council of Fellows at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture’s Investiture Dinner.
Fellowship is among the highest honors ASLA bestows on members and recognizes the contributions of these individuals to their profession and society at large based on their works, leadership and management, knowledge, and service.
To be eligible for nomination, an individual must:
Be a current ASLA Full Member or International Member in good standing.
Have achieved at least 10 continuous years of FULL membership at the time of nomination.
Have demonstrated exceptional contributions over an extended period of time.
Have made a significant positive impact on the public and the profession.
Nominations may be made by the executive committee of a chapter, the executive committee of ASLA, or the executive committee of the Council of Fellows in one of four categories:
Throughout the year, ASLA Professional Practice Network (PPN) leaders and members share their experiences and expertise as authors here on The Field blog and as presenters for ASLA Online Learning webinars. For one very special weekend each fall, PPNs also organize in-person gatherings at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture. If you are heading to Minneapolis later this week (!), PPN meetings are an ideal way to see the PPNs in action and get a sense of what these practice area-focused groups for ASLA members are all about.
If you can’t make it to Minneapolis this year, a number of education sessions will be recorded and shared as Online Learning webinars so you can still learn about the latest in landscape architecture and earn PDH on-demand.
Below, we run through education highlights by PPN practice area:
Next month, thousands of landscape architects and allied professionals will converge on Minneapolis for the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture, ready to learn from their peers, forge new connections, and explore the city—and one way to do all three simultaneously is through the conference’s field sessions. Six are already sold out, but there’s still a few openings on the 12 other field sessions. Get your tickets now to secure your spot!
Field sessions run on Friday, October 27, and Monday, October 30, with a variety of departure times and session lengths. Can’t commit to a full-day excursion? Not to worry—we’ve added more half-day field sessions if your availability is limited.
Designers and photography enthusiasts work with professionals to enhance their landscape architecture photography. We will tour Historic Fort Snelling and Peavey Plaza, ending with a photo critique. Optional dawn shoot before the session begins. Photo assignments assist attendees in achieving professional photographic results. Images will be displayed at the EXPO.
Park(ing) Day is an annual, “global experiment in remixing, reclaiming and reprogramming vehicular space for social exchange, recreation and artistic expression.” The focus of this year’s event is pollinators, so ASLA decided to buzz around town to see the parklets popping up around DC.
Our first stop was the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (HU-MS2), where National ASLA partnered with the school and Jeff Holzer, ASLA, from the Potomac Chapter, to host a week of activities, including a mini course on landscape architecture, a walking tour of the Howard University campus, designed by African American landscape architect David Williston, and a design charrette. Students sketched their ideas for a pollinator-themed parklet and then constructed a parklet on campus on September 15. The parklet included flowers, a gaming station, lemonade, and a sound station set to 500 Hz, a frequency that attracts pollinators.
There is a good chance that summer temperatures are still very much in effect where you are, but with the passage of Labor Day, many are ready to ramp up for fall by seeking distractions from your end-of-summertime sadness. Looking to fill a few despondent blank spots in your calendar, while listening to a few mid-career perspectives or getting ready for the revamped Landscape Architecture Registration Exam? ASLA has a full slate of virtual events taking place in September and October, nearly all free for ASLA members—check them all out right here.
Schoolyard Forest Design Lecture Series
September 7-December 7, 2023
This series, hosted by Green Schoolyards America, will provide technical, design-focused guidance for creating and stewarding high-quality green schoolyards and schoolyard forests. Sessions will feature presentations by subject-area experts including Green Schoolyards America staff, along with time for audience Q&A.
At the start of August, ASLA put out a call for ideas that will change how the field approaches climate action, asking for submissions focusing on an ASLA Climate Action Plan goal. The Climate Action Plan seeks to transform the practice of landscape architecture by 2040 through actions taken by ASLA and its members focused on climate mitigation and adaptation, ecological restoration, biodiversity, equity, and economic development.
For the next month—through September 18, 2023—there is an outdoor art exhibition to explore across National Mall, from the plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial to Constitution Gardens and sites near the Washington Monument. The Trust for the National Mall, National Park Service, and the National Capital Planning Commission, with curator Monument Lab, selected six artists for Beyond Granite: Pulling Together. The goal: to “create a more inclusive, equitable, and representative commemorative landscape on the National Mall.”
The installations offer a striking contrast to the Mall’s permanent memorials. While articles on Beyond Granite abound (The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others, have covered it), it’s worth a visit if you’re in Washington, DC, to experience it for yourself. Written descriptions and photographs never quite capture the Mall, with its mix of tourists and locals enjoying the space and enlivening the monumental expanse, and cannot fully convey the installations’ sound and interactive components. On the sunny Saturday when I visited, the Mall was abuzz, as usual, with tour groups big and small, joggers, rugby players, dog walkers, picnickers… My impression was that many more people stumbled upon the exhibition than specifically sought it out. When you ascend the steps of the National Gallery of Art, or any of the Mall’s other grand structures, you know what you’re in for. But when you have an unexpected encounter with something new in an otherwise familiar landscape or setting, it can be a very different experience of art—one that surprises you into engaging with a perspective you might not have otherwise.
A vibrant community of volunteers are the heart of ASLA’s culture of collaboration: the Society is “devoted to the encouragement of volunteerism and benefiting from the expertise and creativity of members who give their time and energies to advance the Society and the profession.” The ASLA Outstanding Service Award program recognizes ASLA member volunteers who are making notable contributions to or on behalf of the Society at the national level.
ASLA trustees, committee and Professional Practice Network (PPN) chairs and members, ASLA representatives, and other volunteers involved in the work of the Society at the national level are eligible for the award. Below, we highlight recent recipients. In case you feel inspired to get involved after reading this, the call for volunteer service is open through July 31 and ASLA members may sign up to join their Professional Practice Network’s leadership team at any time.
ASLA member volunteers play a leading role in the success of ASLA. Your volunteer service is directly related to how we serve our members and the landscape architecture profession. A strong volunteer workforce of more than 250 members spread over 30 committees and other groups deploys the mission of the Society.
The ASLA 2022 – 2024 Strategic Plan guides and shapes the work of our colleagues and volunteer leaders. It lays out goals and outcomes in five focus areas: Community, Voice, Scale, Connections, and Innovation. We are looking for thoughtful, forward-thinking individuals with diverse experience to bring the ASLA Strategic Plan to life.
To volunteer for service, apply online by Monday, July 31, 2023.
Most committees meet once a month for an hour over Zoom during regular working hours. Some committees have additional meeting requirements for more focused conversations and work. Please review the committee descriptions for more information.
Geared toward landscape practitioners in the Eastern and Midwestern U.S., landscape designer Larry Weaner and native plant expert Ian Caton will explore the integration of restoration ecology and fine garden design. Larry’s sessions will cover open and canopied landscapes, from meadows to shrublands to woodlands. Then he will share ideas on how to apply an artistic overlay to these native plant compositions. Ian will follow up with a discussion on specific characteristics of plants applicable to ecology-based design, which are rarely considered in traditional horticulture.
Session 1 – Foundations of Ecology-based Design: Science into Practice
Tuesday, July 11, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT
Session 2 – The Open Landscape: Meadows, Old Fields, & Shrublands
Tuesday, July 18, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT
Session 3 – The Canopied Landscape: Woodlands, Edges, & Hedgerows
Tuesday, July 25, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT
Session 4 – The Artistic Overlay: Making “Wild” Legible
Tuesday, August 8, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT
Session 5 – Plants of the Open Landscape: Meadows, Old Fields, & Shrublands
Tuesday, August 15, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT
Session 6 – Plants of the Canopied Landscape: Woodlands, Edges, & Hedgerows
Tuesday, August 29, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:30 PM EDT
With the start of summer, you may be seeking new opportunities or projects to take part in to kickstart the season. ASLA’s RFQs, Opportunities, and Events page provides information on everything from calls for papers to competitions. Below, we highlight a few requests for proposals and qualifications, calls for proposals, and ASLA programs with deadlines coming up soon. Anyone who would like to share an opportunity may submit information online.
State licensure signifies a level of professional competency and is an important way to achieve greater career and business success. The Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program supports women of color in their pursuit of landscape architecture licensure and increase racial and gender diversity within the profession. Now in its second year, the program will provide 10 women of color with a two-year, personalized experience that includes up to $3,500 to cover the cost of sections of the Landscape Architectural Registration Exam (LARE), along with exam preparation courses, resources, and mentorship from a licensed landscape architect.
ASLA’s celebration of Pride Month continues on The Field as we share a second set of landscape architect profiles to promote LGBTQIA+ visibility and acceptance in the landscape architecture and architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professions. Last week’s post highlighted the panelists from ASLA’s June 12 webinar, Queer Emergence: An LGBTQIA+ Conversation in Landscape Architecture: Cheri Ruane, FASLA, Kelley Oklesson, ASLA, Max Dickson, Jordan Chiang, Assoc. ASLA, and Sam Dent, ASLA.
Today, we’re sharing the next set of profiles, of Natalia Bezerra, Matthew Mitsuaki Higa, Associate ASLA, Alyssa Gill, Arturo Merino, ASLA, Margot McLaughlin, Associate ASLA, and Shawn Balon, ASLA.
How has being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community influenced your work in landscape architecture?
As a queer woman, I often think about how people from different backgrounds and experiences, especially those who are “othered” in society, can connect to a place and feel heard during the design process. Marginalization can occur when designers and developers disregard the needs of communities. I started my career working in community design and realized the importance of connecting with communities as your authentic self…finding common ground and interests among groups who are underserved, lack the capacity or funding to seek design and planning services. By actively listening to community groups, I learned to be an advocate for their needs in addition to being a designer. Diversity and inclusion should always be at the forefront of landscape architecture and any discipline that serves the public realm.
From the June issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine and its featured story on nine queer landscape designers to yesterday’s webinar, Queer Emergence, to social media, ASLA’s celebration of Pride Month is well underway. Throughout June, ASLA is sharing profiles of LGBTQIA+ landscape architects for Pride Month and to promote LGBTQIA+ visibility and acceptance in the landscape architecture and architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professions. In case you missed any of these profiles from social media, we are recapping them here on The Field.
The set of profiles below feature the panelists from ASLA’s June 12 webinar, Queer Emergence: An LGBTQIA+ Conversation in Landscape Architecture, which was inspired by an event at LABash 2023 at Kansas State University. The intention of this panel session was to open discussion on greater queer representation in landscape architecture—understanding the strengths and challenges of being a queer professional, and how this can inform not only LGBTQIA+ individuals, but all landscape architectural professionals. Topics covered include “why did it take us so long,” “how are we presenting in our work,” “the importance of networking,” and “what’s next.” The panel consisted of five queer professionals at different stages of their careers, to capture a portion of the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals in landscape architecture.
Cheri Ruane, FASLA
Vice President and Design Discipline Leader, Weston & Sampson
How did you find your way into landscape architecture?
I worked for my cousin’s landscape contracting firm in high school and met someone going to UMass for landscape architecture and learned about it at age 15.
In the design and construction industry, complex problems arise daily. Join us for a course series to gain insight into approaches and tools to:
optimize team communication and problem solving
find and address hurdles before they slow down workflow
provide value to your projects and client
This series was created to help you design, document, and build projects on time and on budget. Lean methodology is aimed at creating more value for the client and eliminating waste occurring from a lack of collaborative planning.
Lean processes are often applied in the design and construction industry by owners, designers, general contractors, construction project managers, and tradespeople. With a Lean mindset, design teams can share information freely and collaboratively to solve difficult problems and make decisions quickly and efficiently.
This knowledge and skill set will help you excel in your role as a landscape architecture professional and contribute to the overall success of projects!
ASLA chapters are continuing to organize in-person and virtual events to advance the goals of the ASLA Climate Action Plan. Just a few examples:
Last month, the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA) organized a free webinar with Scott Bishop, ASLA, founder of Bishop Land Design, Immediate Past Chair of the Climate Action Committee, and ASLA Climate Action Plan Advisory Group Member. Earlier in May, five chapters—Vermont, Connecticut, Boston, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island—organized the second annual Landscape Architecture + Climate Action in New England Virtual Summit. The event recording, slide deck, and additional resources are available online.
All are welcome and encouraged to take part in these chapter events—many can be attended virtually, and they are often recorded if you can’t make it on the day of the event. Coming up later in May from the ASLA California Sierra Chapter: a virtual Climate Positive Design Pathfinder Bootcamp. Ever wonder how to measure the carbon impact of your projects? Climate Positive Design Pathfinder is a free tool for landscape architects that measures embodied carbon and sequestration of project designs.
Storms are a significant part of our decisions about how to manage urban trees. We invite you to participate in a survey about urban forest management and storms. This research is important to better understand professionals’ risk perceptions, communication needs, opportunities for collaboration, and general challenges with managing urban forests for storm events.
Please note: this survey studies storms and urban forest management in the Eastern and Southern United States, based on the USDA Forest Service Administrative Regions. Please complete this survey if you work in any of these states:
States in the Eastern Region (Region 9):
Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin
States in the Southern Region (Region 8):
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia
You are also encouraged to share this survey with your contacts working with urban trees. The survey will remain open through the end of June.
The survey is completely voluntary and will take ~ 15 minutes of your time. You can withdraw consent by stopping the survey at any time. This survey is approved by the University of Florida’s Institutional Review Board (IRB202101044). Thank you for your participation in this survey! Your responses are very important and will help to improve the overall management of urban forests and storms.
This project is TREE Fund-sponsored research led by Mysha Clarke, assistant professor at the University of Florida, and Stephanie Cadaval, Ph.D. Candidate in Forest Resources and Conservation and Graduate Assistant, Clarke Human Dimensions Lab, at the University of Florida.
Earlier this week in LAND, you read about two ASLA chapter programs launched to address the need to expand the diversity of the profession and to spark interest in landscape architecture as a career in young minds. Today, we are highlighting two career discovery activity examples from Professional Practice Network (PPN) leaders. We hope these initiatives, along with everything else happening for this World Landscape Architecture Month, might inspire you to share your passion for the field with the next generation.
From Subhashini (Subi) Gamagedara, ASLA, LEED AP, Park Planner for OKC Parks and a Women in Landscape Architecture PPN leader:
I recently had the opportunity to be the guest critic at a Spring Camp conducted by the Science Museum Oklahoma. The Spring Camp was themed Parkitecture and was focused on providing an enriching hands-on design experience on parks to participants aged 8-12. At the end of the week-long camp, they had created 3D models of a variety of parks, which they had to present to their class.
I was blown away by the creativity, empathy, and the level of critical thinking that these “young designers” demonstrated. Their work was outstanding. Through the presentations and the discussions that followed, we explored how intricate and muti-faceted park projects are in the real world. It was also a golden opportunity to talk about the benefits, expectations, responsibilities, and challenges associated with public parks.
Riverfront Recapture is soliciting proposals from qualified teams experienced in waterfront park design to provide Master Planning, Landscape, Architectural Design, & Engineering Services for a new riverfront park, regional trail extension, and a contemplated commercial development in Riverfront Recapture’s parcel bordering Hartford and Windsor, Connecticut.
The City of Alhambra is requesting qualified firms to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) to serve as a consulting City Landscape Architect to provide professional landscape design review services.
I am a supporter of the British concept of the mini-break. Every weekend should be treated like a vacation, a time to do something a little bit special, even if you’re not going very far. For a spring break this year, I didn’t venture too far from my usual environs—I live in Washington, DC, and made a jaunt over to Delaware—but made the most of it with visits to three gardens nearby.
Northern Delaware and the outskirts of Philadelphia are home to a surprising number of gardens and horticultural destinations, from Longwood Gardens to the Mt. Cuba Center to the elaborately designed landscapes surrounding the mansions of various duPonts. This area is within relatively short drives from Wilmington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, and is well worth a visit. If you attended the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Philadelphia back in 2018, many of these spots may be familiar from the field sessions that year. Even if you attended one of these sessions, that was October—these same places in spring are just as extraordinary, and I’d revisit them all in every season and am sure I’d find just as much to look at.
While the three spots highlighted here are all different in scale and scope, I’d recommend any of them if you need a day out to recharge in nature and to bask outdoors while surrounded by aesthetically astonishing plantings. It was a beautiful way to welcome World Landscape Architecture Month.
Natural Lands oversees this public garden and nature preserve, with grounds designed by Olmsted Brothers that have been reimagined as a landscape that “celebrates the beauty of native plants and the importance of biodiversity.”
World Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM) celebrates the role of landscape architects in shaping healthy, resilient, and beautiful places for all. April brings the opportunity to promote the profession and inspire the next generation of landscape architects. Get ready to take part in all the special offerings happening next month!
Use the hashtag #WLAM2023 to showcase your work on social media and connect with participants from around the world. Tag @NationalASLA for a chance to be featured on ASLA social media profiles, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, as well as in Landscape Architecture Magazine!
The ASLA Fund invites landscape architecture educators to develop succinct and impactful research reviews that investigate evidence of the benefits of landscape architecture solutions to the climate and biodiversity crises. The goals of the research reviews are to:
Understand and summarize the current state of knowledge.
Synthesize the research literature and provide insights, leveraging key data- and science-based evidence.
Create accessible executive summaries in plain language for policymakers, community advocates, and practicing landscape architects.
Over the next few years, research grants will be issued to explore solutions to a range of issues, but these first two grants will focus on:
SKILL | ED offers a wide cross-section of landscape architecture professionals the practice management education that is not always gained in day-to-day work.
ASLA’s ongoing SKILL | ED programming kicked off in June 2021 with a three-day virtual practice management program, during which more than 400 landscape architecture professionals and students came together to invest in their career development. 20 sessions from SKILL | ED 2021, highlighting skills crucial to career growth, are available on-demand via ASLA Online Learning, covering topics from business development, marketing, and professional contracts to billable rates, construction administration, and effective team collaboration.
The original survey was completed in 1979; then in 1981, the Olmsted Parks & Parkway National Register Thematic District was listed on the State Register of Historic Places and in 1982 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After four decades, the documentation is outdated and lacks a complete list of the many resources the Conservancy and City of Buffalo have restored and enhanced during that time and specific information on resource types and a comprehensive history. As such, BOPC is looking for a consultant or consultancy team who will produce a document to support the Conservancy’s preservation planning work by facilitating and enhancing the project review process which protects the historic integrity of the Olmsted Parks System.