K-­12 Educational Programs in Landscape Architecture

by Arnaldo Cardona, ASLA

images: Arnaldo Cardona

K­-12 Educational Programs in Landscape Architecture: How to Create Clients and Professionals of the Future

As an ASLA member, you have no doubt heard the phrase “K‐12 educational programs.” Why does this phrase keep resurfacing as an issue in landscape architecture? In this article, I will bring to light why this topic is important and worthy of further development.

First, let’s ask ourselves the following:

  • Do people understand what a landscape architect does?
  • Are there many positions in government for the recent graduate that recognize and differentiate the role of landscape architect?
  • What is the most effective way to promote our profession? Spending unlimited money in advertisement and public relations? Or is there a more effective and economical way to promote our profession?
  • Are we creating clients of the future? Are we creating landscape professionals of the future?
  • Are college programs in landscape architecture overwhelmed with applicants, or are some in jeopardy?
  • What are we doing as a profession to broaden our marketability and diversify our profession in non‐traditional roles?
  • How can we work together with other fields or professions to achieve common goals?

How can we expect government agencies to offer more positions in landscape architecture? How can we expect homeowners to hire landscape architects in these times of “do it yourself” TV shows? What can we do to be more effective in the outreach and understanding of the profession?

The answer is education.

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Last Call for reVISION ASLA 2020

reVISION ASLA 2020
The reVISION ASLA 2020 opening keynote featured Walter Hood, ASLA, ASLA CEO Torey Carter-Conneen, Majora Carter, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Hon. ASLA.

Registration for reVISION ASLA 2020 closes Wednesday, November 18, at 3:00 pm EST.

Even if you can’t attend live, all education sessions will be available on-demand. Register by November 18 and you’ll have access to reVISION ASLA 2020 content from November 23, 2020 through January 31, 2021.

The reVISION ASLA 2020 program includes education sessions in five tracks, allowing registrants to earn up to 25 Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™)-approved professional development hours (PDH) by watching sessions live or on-demand.

Individuals can earn PDH by passing an exam after each session, and then download course certificates from the event platform.

For a taste of the experience, a number of reVISION ASLA events are available to watch (for free!) right now. Check them out, and then register by November 18 for full access to the education session recordings and to earn up to 25 PDH!

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20 Years of Partnership: The Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program

A RTCA project group surveys the landscape. / image: courtesy of the National Park Service

For over 20 years, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the National Park Service (NPS) have joined forces to help communities across the nation plan, design, and manage their natural, cultural, and recreation resources through the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program.

Volunteers from ASLA chapters across the country provide pro-bono assistance to communities the National Park Service supports. The partnership between NPS and ASLA provides communities with access to expert planners and designers that can turn their ideas into actions, supporting healthy communities and extending the missions of the National Park Service and ASLA to all Americans.

Learn More about the RTCA Program at reVISION ASLA 2020

Next week during reVISION ASLA 2020, attendees will have an opportunity to meet chapter leaders and agency members and consider how we might collaborate over the next 20 years:

The Next 20: ASLA’s Community Assistance Partnership with the National Park Service: Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (NPS-RTCA)
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
5:00 – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Register now to join us for this conversation, along with a host of other education and virtual networking sessions!

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PPN Event Preview: reVISION ASLA 2020’s Virtual Networking Sessions

Landscape architect Ashley Schwemmer-Mannix
Ashley Schwemmer-Mannix, ASLA, Landscape Architect, West 8 urban design & landscape architecture, is a field session guide for Miami Beach Civic District Master Plan: Landscape Strategies for Better Living.

When a landscape architect faces a change in conditions for their project, they have to revise the plans—just as ASLA had to do with the conference when faced with the COVID-19 crisis. reVISION ASLA 2020 is a reimagined, virtual experience for an evolving profession where you will get the opportunity to learn, connect, and celebrate landscape architecture—all from the safety of your own home. Let’s make 2020 a year to remember for all the right reasons: join us at reVISION ASLA 2020, from November 16-18, and make your mark on the future of our profession.

The education program includes an opening keynote and 24 education sessions in five tracks for Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™)-approved professional development hours (PDH). Education sessions will be available to all registrants after the event for on-demand access through January 31, 2021.

In addition to sessions for PDH, there are also bite-sized learning opportunities to explore, offering a change of pace and time to take part in discussions. These include virtual field sessions, game changers, Inside the LA Studio, and virtual networking sessions.

Below, we take a look at what each ASLA Professional Practice Network (PPN) with a virtual networking session (or multiple sessions!) has planned for later this month. These 30-minute video chat rooms will be limited in capacity to create a virtual space where everyone can participate in the discussion. Explore the topics below, and register now to join the conversation!

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reVISION ASLA 2020 Education Overview: 25 PDH Available, and Much More

reVISION ASLA collage

Taking place November 16-18, reVISION ASLA 2020 is a virtual program that will embody the intersection of ASLA’s mission with some of the most urgent issues facing our society. Over three days, panelists and participants will address issues of equity as they manifest in our profession and institutions today, tools and methods for innovative design and successful implementation, transformative mitigation and adaptive resilience strategies for climate change, and much more.

The reVISION ASLA 2020 education program includes 24 education sessions in five tracks:

Design

  • The “Not So Inconvenient” Truth of Carbon and Landscape Architecture
  • Fill for Habitat? Design Processes for an Adapting Regulatory Environment
  • Contractors in Conversation – Strategies for Better Projects from Design Through Construction
  • Do You Really Know Your Soil? Avoiding Critical Soil Design Mistakes
  • The Exquisite Detail: How Big Ideas Get Expressed in Tangible Craft
  • Your Vision to Implementation – What a Contractor Needs to Know
  • Metro Atlanta’s Hidden River: 100 Miles of Access, Equity, and Ecology Along the Chattahoochee
  • Reconnecting Landscapes: Resilient Planting Design in Ecologically Deficient Zones

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Prepare for the L.A.R.E. with ASLA’s Virtual Workshops

Preparing for the Landscape Architect Registration Exam

Are you planning to take the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) this December or in 2021, but don’t feel fully prepared? If you need some extra help, ASLA has you covered! This November, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) will host virtual L.A.R.E. Prep Workshops for Section 1 and Section 2 of the L.A.R.E.

Workshop instructors, comprised of ASLA L.A.R.E. Prep Committee members, will review the content and format of the exams, share study strategies and test-taking tips, and engage in Q&A with the participants. Instructors include seasoned professionals that have long been engaged in L.A.R.E. prep support, as well as recent L.A.R.E. test takers.

Section 1 Live Virtual Workshop: Project and Construction Management
Friday, November 13, 12:00 p.m. ET (90-minute session)
Cost: $34.99

Section 2 Live Virtual Workshop: Inventory and Analysis
Friday, November 13, 2:00 p.m. ET (90-minute session)
Cost: $34.99

Register now for one or both workshops!

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White Paper: In Defense of Licensure in Virginia

McIntire Botanical Garden
From the white paper’s cover. 2019 ASLA Professional Honor Award in Analysis and Planning. McIntire Botanical Garden: Masterplan for Resiliency and Healing. Mikyoung Kim Design. / image: Mikyoung Kim Design

Last month, in response to the Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation’s study of the regulatory status of landscape architects, the Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA Virginia) released a white paper on the Justification of Continued Licensure of Landscape Architects in Virginia.

Advocacy is a critical component of ASLA Virginia. The chapter’s Government Affairs Committee is dedicated to monitoring issues related to the practice of landscape architecture in the Commonwealth of Virginia and to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of the public and environment.

Virginia’s Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation (BPOR) is conducting a study to determine if landscape architects should continue to be licensed. The study will be completed in December 2020, after a call for public comments closed on September 30.

ASLA Virginia and ASLA Potomac mobilized Virginia and Potomac chapter members and all landscape architects in the region to submit comments and to contact their clients, allied professionals, and others who value the work of licensed landscape architects to encourage them to submit their comments and declare their support for continued licensure of landscape architects.

The white paper prepared by ASLA Virginia with support provided by the Potomac Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA Potomac), the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), and the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB), supported the ASLA Virginia’s overall advocacy efforts.

With more than 200 pages of meticulously gathered documentation, the white paper is a valuable resource for landscape architecture licensure defense in every state.

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Perpetual Adaptation

by Chris Hardy, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP ND

reVISION ASLA 2020

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.

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Equity in the Built Environment

Opening day of the Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus. / image: courtesy of Ujijji Davis Williams, ASLA

On October 14, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) with the Black Landscape Architects Network (BlackLAN) will inaugurate the National Building Museum’s Equity in the Built Environment series. These conversations will focus on how buildings, landscapes, interiors, and streets can be the cause of—and, more important, the cure for—social and racial disparities.

Equity in the Built Environment: Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (Eastern)
The recording is now available online.

Learn how the Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus is helping to reverse the negative impacts of economic disinvestment, political neglect, and natural disasters that have eroded community pride and participation in New Orleans’ Central City, a once-thriving hub of African American civic and commercial life. Austin Allen, Ph.D., ASLA, associate professor of practice in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas Arlington; Chief Tyrone Casby, now retired, former Principal of Landry High School in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Matt A. Williams, ASLA, urban planner, City of Detroit, will discuss their roles in establishing this culturally significant site. The program is moderated by Ujijji Davis Williams, ASLA, a landscape architect, urban planner, and associate with SmithGroup.

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Cultural Diversity through the Latin American Landscape

ASLA 2019 Professional General Design Honor Award. Sundance Square Plaza, Fort Worth, Texas. Michael Vergason Landscape Architects. / image: Sundance Square

ASLA’s celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month continues today with the second event in a free, four-part webinar series led by Latin American landscape architects:

The Spectacular Nature of the Ancient Mexico
Thursday, October 1, 2020, 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Recording now available

The series continues with On Social Urbanism and Reframing Spatial Design in Latin America on October 8 and Climate Change, Landscape, Cultural and Natural Heritage on October 15.

For more information on these webinars and our presenters and moderators—Ricardo Austrich, ASLA, María Bellalta, ASLA, Lina Escobar, Dr. Saúl Alcántara Onofre, and Ricardo Riveros—please visit ASLA’s Hispanic Heritage Month webpage.

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Outstanding Service: Going Above and Beyond

image: EPNAC

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.

In memory of the late Mary Hanson, Hon. ASLA, and her 20 years of service to the Society and profession as ASLA’s corporate secretary, each year we present Outstanding Service Awards to volunteers whose dedication goes above and beyond the call of duty. The Society could not function without the selfless work of volunteers in every chapter and at the national level.

ASLA trustees, committee and 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.

Recipients have included:

  • 2019: David Cutter, ASLA, and April Westcott, ASLA
  • 2018: Lisa Horne, ASLA, and Thomas Nieman, FASLA

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Volunteers Needed for MasterSpec Review Committee

Precise drawing with ruler
image: Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash

Apply now to represent ASLA in the review of the MasterSpec landscape architecture library.

ASLA is seeking four to six members to join the MasterSpec Landscape Architecture Review Committee, a working group within the ASLA Professional Practice Committee.

The MasterSpec Landscape Architecture Review Committee (MLARC) members will represent ASLA in the review of the Landscape Architecture Library and volunteer their time in support of MasterSpec. We are seeking licensed practitioners experienced with MasterSpec to volunteer for a two-year term on the MLARC.

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Students & Educators: Step Up to the Campus RainWorks Challenge

Florida International University’s entry, Coastal Eco-Waters: Adapting for a Resilient Campus, won first place in the master plan category of the 2019 Campus RainWorks Challenge. / image: Florida International University Design Board

Registration for the ninth annual U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Campus RainWorks Challenge is open now through October 1, 2020.

The Campus RainWorks Challenge is a green infrastructure design competition that seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals, foster a dialogue about the need for innovative stormwater management, and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.

The Campus RainWorks Challenge is open to institutions of higher education across the United States and its territories. With the support of a faculty advisor, teams that compete are asked to design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus that effectively manages stormwater pollution and also provides additional benefits to the campus community and environment.

To learn more about the competition and hear from faculty and students that have previously participated, please register for this week’s free webcast:

Thursday, September 3, 2020
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Eastern)
Register Now

Speakers:

  • Bo Yang, PhD, ASLA, PLA, AICP, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning in the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona.
  • Matthew Lutheran, MLA, ISA Certified Arborist and Restoration Program Manager for the Tucson Audubon Society. Matthew graduated from the University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture in 2019 with a Masters in Landscape Architecture and was a member of the (Re)Searching for a Spot team, a demonstration project winner in the 2018 Campus RainWorks Challenge.

ASLA is a proud supporter of the EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge, and ASLA members participate as jurors during the review process. If you are interested in volunteering as a juror, please contact propractice@asla.org.

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Give Back: Become a Mentor

image: iStock

On a Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) survey, we asked members to share one essential lesson learned from a mentor (see LAND for a recap of the responses), and many of the answers reflected heartfelt gratitude for a helpful or transformative insight shared. Many professionals cite the importance of mentorship at different points in their careers. As students and emerging professionals navigate the impacts on the profession during the COVID-19 crisis, mentorship can play an even larger role, as a source of guidance and reassurance during these uncertain times.

The 2020 ASLA Mentorship Program launched in conjunction with the announcement of free ASLA membership for students this spring. The goal the program is to foster relationships between students and seasoned professionals that allows both parties to increase their understanding of the many facets of landscape architecture.

While many students have eagerly signed up, we are looking for more mentors to step up. What do you need to be a mentor? Just a minimum of five years of experience, and a willingness to be engaged. If you’ve benefited from the guidance of a mentor, now is the time to give back to the landscape architecture community by taking on that role. Prospective mentors are invited to sign up by August 31 so new student members can get paired with a mentor.

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A Call for Landscape Architects to Assist Schools in Creating Outdoor Classrooms

by Jennifer Nitzky, PLA, ASLA, ISA

Nueva School
ASLA 2010 Professional Honor Award in General Design. Nueva School. Hillsborough, CA. Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture. / image: Marion Brenner

Green Schoolyards America (GSA) and their partners are organizing a national COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative around the idea of using outdoor school space, parks, and other outdoor areas as assets as schools make plans to re-open in the fall.

The initiative, led by Sharon Danks, MLA-MCP, CEO of Green Schoolyards America, has created several working groups to develop strategies, ideas, and frameworks to assist schools across the country. This initiative was launched with an online public forum titled “Outdoor Spaces as Essential Assets for School Districts’ COVID-19 Response,” held on June 4, 2020, and co-hosted by Green Schoolyards America, The Lawrence Hall of Science, San Mateo County Office of Education, and Ten Strands.

Among the working groups developed through this initiative, a new pro bono landscape design assistance program called COVID-19 Emergency Schoolyard Design Volunteers is matching schools with landscape architects and design students.

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Measuring Performance: Findings and Insights from LAF’s 2020 CSI Program

by Megan Barnes, Associate ASLA

Arizona State University
Arizona State University Orange Mall Green Infrastructure Project / image: Chingwen Cheng

No matter how sustainability is defined—carbon neutral, net zero water, biodiversity, quality of life—it cannot be achieved without considering landscape.

The Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Case Study Investigation (CSI) program is a unique research collaboration and training program for faculty, students, and practitioners. Through CSI, LAF-funded faculty-student research teams work with leading practitioners to document the impacts of exemplary, high-performing landscape projects. Teams develop methods to quantify the environmental, social, and economic benefits of built projects and produce Case Study Briefs for LAF’s Landscape Performance Series. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Landscape Performance Series, which provides critical information to build capacity to achieve sustainability and transform the way landscape is considered in the design and development process. The Landscape Performance Series’ collection of over 160 Case Study Briefs created through CSI is an essential resource for educators, students, and practitioners seeking to assess progress toward environmental, social, and economic goals based on measurable outcomes.

The projects selected for the 2020 Case Study Investigation program represent a diverse geography and project types. Several projects have been recognized and awarded for their excellence in sustainable design and performance outcomes. Among the selected projects for the 2020 program are many that incorporate significant diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and address pressing challenges associated with climate change. Project types include an affordable housing project, a freshwater research lab, an adaptive use stadium converted partially into green roofs, and a series of fog collection and other interventions created in partnership with an informal settlement in Peru. The geographically diverse projects also include a rooftop garden in Sydney designed by and for indigenous users, a resilient university campus project in the Arizona desert, and two stormwater management and water conservation infrastructure projects that provide multiple layers of benefits.

Please join LAF’s 2020 Case Study Investigation Research Fellows and Research Assistants for a finale webinar in which they will present their process and most compelling findings from their efforts to quantify environmental, social, and economic benefits of exemplary landscape projects.

Upcoming LAF Webinar: Measuring Landscape Performance: Findings & Insights from LAF’s 2020 CSI Program (recording now available)
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
4:00 – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern)
1.5 PDH (LA CES/HSW)

Registration is required and space is limited. A recording of the webinar will be made available on the LAF website.

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ASLA to Host Virtual Listening Event: Introducing BlackLAN

Glenn LaRue Smith, ASLA

Upcoming Listening Event: Introducing BlackLAN Podcast
Monday, July 27, 2020 New date TBA

On July 27, ASLA will air the Everything but the Building podcast episode featuring the Black Landscape Architects Network (BlackLAN), interviewed by Stacey Brochtrup. Attendees will learn about the organization and then have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with Glenn LaRue Smith, ASLA, BlackLAN Founder and President and first black landscape architect awarded the Loeb Fellowship from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Everything but the Building is a podcast about the people, places, and history behind the profession of landscape architecture. It can be found on eight different platforms, including Apple, Spotify, and Stitcher.

BlackLAN was established in 2012 as an online communications network. The network was established by Glenn LaRue Smith, ASLA, as Manager and Kofi Boone, ASLA, as Co-Manager. BlackLAN is an organization for landscape architects of African heritage in the United States and internationally. The goal of the network is to foster mentorship, facilitate black diaspora conversations, disseminate news items, and provide resources and other information. In addition to the online network, the BlackLAN is currently moving to an open-source website platform to expand the work and mission of the network. To learn more about this vital community of landscape architecture professionals or sign up to receive the BlackLAN newsletter, contact BlackLAN.

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The Landscape Architect’s Guidelines for Construction Contract Administration

Landscape architects at work in a design office

Webinar: The Landscape Architect’s Guidelines for Construction Contract Administration and Experiences in the Time of COVID-19 (recording and additional resources now available)
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (Eastern)

Construction contract administration is an important part of the profession of landscape architecture. When properly orchestrated, this phase allows the landscape architect to take a decisive path to help ensure successful implementation of the design and materials they have specified for a project.

Seasoned landscape architects often have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform construction contract administration services, simply based on their real-world experience. However, even they can have specific questions about their role and processes—perhaps being unfamiliar or unsure of certain aspects. Beginning and emerging landscape architects may feel overwhelmed or insecure regarding this phase. It is also important that landscape architecture students have a preliminary awareness of this subject.

Therefore, the ASLA Professional Practice Committee created The Landscape Architect’s Guidelines for Construction Contract Administration with the intent of providing information, knowledge, and guidance to a sometimes unfamiliar and misunderstood facet of the profession. The document serves as a reference to assist landscape architects in the construction contract administration of landscape architecture construction projects.

ASLA members may access the guidelines for free—just add the document to your cart and check out, using your ASLA member username and password.

To learn more about construction contract administration, please join us on Tuesday, July 21 for an overview of ASLA’s Construction Contract Administration Guidelines, plus discussion of current events and how COVID-19 is affecting construction contract administration, presented by Wm. Dwayne Adams, FASLA, Emily M. O’Mahoney, FASLA, Joy Kuebler, ASLA, and Keven Graham, FASLA.

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Be a Professional Practice Network Leader

The call for Professional Practice Network leadership volunteers is open now.

Call for Professional Practice Network (PPN) Leadership Volunteers
Deadline: Friday, July 24, 2020

If you are passionate about your landscape architecture practice area, whether it is ecological restoration, planting design, urban design, or any one of ASLA’s 20 PPNs, please consider volunteering to join your PPN’s leadership team.

PPN leaders provide member input on specific practice area needs and ASLA programs and services, including webinar and blog post development and PPN Live event planning for the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture. Appointments are for one year, and all ASLA members are welcome to volunteer. Each leadership team conducts work via email and by conference call. The full PPN Council, composed of all PPNs’ chairs, meets quarterly by conference call. Individual PPN leadership teams typically have a monthly conference call.

To volunteer for service as a PPN leader:

  • Answer “yes” to question two on the committee appointment form, “Are you interested in Professional Practice Network (PPN) Leadership?”
  • You’ll then be prompted to confirm which PPN leadership team you are interested in joining, and which PPN activity interests you most.

Visit asla.org/ppn for the full list of PPNs and review the leadership toolkit for additional information.

Please note: all ASLA members are welcome to volunteer to be a PPN leader, but you must be a member of the PPN whose leadership team you would like to join. If you’re not sure which PPN(s) you are currently a member of, please log in to asla.org. ASLA members’ PPNs are listed on the Activities / Orders tab in your member profile. Members may request to change or add a PPN at any time via this form or by contacting ASLA Member Services.

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COVID-19 Business Impact Snapshot

image: Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

Which factors are having the greatest impact on ASLA members’ business operations?

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) forces changes to business practices globally, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) aims to provide an objective assessment of the impact that COVID-19 is having on members’ businesses. An online survey was conducted among ASLA members who have been identified as firm principals or as holding a leadership position within their organization. Survey data was collected between May 7–17, 2020.

The survey was designed to identify factors that are currently having the greatest impact on the business operations of ASLA members and to provide insight into how businesses are responding to the crisis.

View the survey results >

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Black Lives Matter. Black Communities Matter.

Indianapolis storefront
A storefront in Indianapolis features the names of African Americans who have lost their lives to police violence. / AP Photo. Michael Conroy

After hearing feedback from our membership and after much reflection, the American Society of Landscape Architects issues the following statement regarding the killing of George Floyd:

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) joins millions of people around the world in mourning the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered by a police officer.

ASLA recognizes that the brutal systems of slavery and Jim Crowism have dehumanized black people and weakened their communities. We also acknowledge that the planning and design of the built environment, including landscape architecture, has often had a disproportionate adverse impact on black communities. Systemic racism in the built environment has taken many forms, including redlining, urban renewal, and disinvestment. Environmental injustices, including lack of equitable access to clean air and water and greater concentrations of pollution, continue to plague these communities. Further, gentrification and displacement make it impossible for black communities to continue to exist. The landscape architecture profession can play a critical role in reversing these trends.

Public spaces have always been a critically important platform for the protest movement and democratic change. They have also become sites of violent confrontation and oppression against the black community. It is important that ASLA and others amplify the black narrative of these spaces.

ASLA stands in solidarity with black communities in the fight against racial injustice and police violence against black people. Moving forward, ASLA will deepen our partnership with the Black Landscape Architects Network (BlackLAN) to create a meaningful, sustainable plan of action to help guide the profession in addressing the wants and needs of black communities—no matter how much work and time it takes. Black Lives Matter.

Far From Business as Usual: Resources to Help You Adapt

image: Austin Distel on Unsplash

Before this year’s stay-at-home orders, temporary business closures, work stop orders, and other disruptions to life and work came into effect, landscape architects tended to seek out business advice and answers to practice-related questions from an array of sources, from colleagues to mentors to certain key books. To ensure members can locate all of ASLA’s business-related offerings in one place, our Professional Practice Committee developed the Business Toolkit last year. Since then, new content has been added—including recorded webinars on QuickBooks for small business owners and the recently released Construction Contract Administration Guidelines—and the Business Toolkit, along with ASLA’s COVID-19 Resources page, with its dedicated Business Resources section, will continue to grow and evolve as additional resources are developed.

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Be Heard: Requests for Input Closing Soon

Attendees participate in an education session at the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture. / image: EPNAC

There are several calls for comments, questions, and input closing soon—please take a moment to ensure that your voice is heard as the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board seek input on several issues:

COVID-19 and Contract Performance
Submit questions for the speakers by May 26
Register for the May 28 webinar

Join us for an upcoming webinar to discuss how COVID-19 may be affecting current projects for landscape architects working under existing contracts. Professional services contracts might take many forms; the speakers will specifically address the 2020 ASLA Standard Form Contract for Professional Services between Landscape Architect and Client, addressing key issues that have emerged during the crisis and that parties need to consider in light of COVID-19.

Before the webinar, download and review the recently published advisory guide COVID-19 Contract Provisions: Protective and Proactive. This guide illustrates how some contract provisions provide full or partial relief from impracticable/impossible-to-meet obligations/liability, while others are more proactive and could help the landscape architect make a valid claim for additional compensation for additional services. This information may be important to any business facing issues related to contract performance.

We also ask that you pose questions to the speakers—Charles Heuer, FAIA, Esq., The Heuer Law Group, and Frank Musica, Esq., Victor Insurance Managers Inc., with moderator Vaughn Rinner, FASLA—in advance of the webinar, so that we can address attendees’ most pressing needs and questions.

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America’s Chinatowns: Identity, Belonging, and the Future of Place

Cyclists and park visitors on a bridge in Ping Tom Memorial Park
Ping Tom Memorial Park, Chicago. site design group, ltd. / image: Andrew Bruah for site design group, ltd.

ASLA, in coordination with members of the ASLA Diversity Summit community, has crafted activities and resources for our celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month this May, including a four-part webinar series on the past, present, and future of Chinatown, drawing analogies to other neighborhoods like them that are subject to ongoing forces of gentrification driving neighborhood change. We encourage all those interested to register for the next two presentations in the series:

Portsmouth Square Renovation
Tuesday, May 19 | 2:00 p.m. ET
Speakers: Jim Lee, FASLA, and Yu-Chung Li, ASLA

The Future of American Chinatowns
Tuesday, May 26 | 2:00 p.m. ET
Speakers: Ernie Wong, FASLA, Jenn Low, PLA, and other special guests

All presentations are being recorded and will be posted to ASLA’s website, including the first two webinars that took place earlier in May: Chinatowns of America, presented by Ernie Wong, FASLA, and Dear Chinatown, D.C., presented by Jenn Low, PLA.

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Event Formats Evolve in Response to COVID-19

image: Justin Buisson on Unsplash

With businesses and organizations closely monitoring the evolving situation related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, numerous events have been canceled, postponed, or transformed, with often astonishing speed, into virtual gatherings. With protecting the health and safety of all involved as the top priority, more changes are likely to come as circumstances continue to change. With everything from national conventions to local events quickly shifting dates or formats, we are all exploring new ways to stay connected. We’ll be tracking event changes on ASLA’s Conferences for Landscape Architects page as we become aware of them, and are recapping a few event updates below to help keep you informed.

Virtual Events:

Urbanism Next Virtual Forum
May 14, 2020

ASLA Potomac Chapter Awards Gala
May 14, 2020, Facebook Live

Urban Land Institute (ULI) Spring Meeting Webinar Series
May 11-June 19, 2020

Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) Virtual Conference: Roundtables and Workshops
May 19-28, 2020

Epidemic Urbanism: Reflections on History Online Symposium
May 28-29, 2020

New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL)
Ecology and the Residential Landscape: webinar series May 28-June 24, 2020
Ecology, Culture, and the Designed Landscape: webinar dates TBA

Digital Landscape Architecture Virtual Conference DLA2020
June 3-4, 2020

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ASLA Student Awards Call for Entries: A Reminder for Students to Submit Your Best Work

ASLA 2019 Student Collaboration Award of Excellence. Cultivating the Future: Designing and Constructing a Didactic Garden. Mississippi State University. / image: John-Taylor Corley, Associate ASLA

ASLA 2020 Student Awards:

  • Friday, May 15: entry fees due
  • Sunday, May 31, 11:59 p.m. PT: submissions due

The American Society of Landscape Architects has extended the registration and submission deadlines for the 2020 Student Awards to provide extra time to registrants and submitters who are facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants must pay the required entry fee(s) before proceeding to the next step of the submission process.

Each year, the ASLA Student Awards give us a glimpse into the future of the profession. Award recipients receive featured coverage in Landscape Architecture Magazine, and ASLA will honor the award recipients, their clients, and advisors at the awards presentation ceremony during the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Miami Beach.

Entries for the Student Awards are completed through the online submission platform. To log in, current ASLA members should enter their ASLA member ID as their username along with the same password used to log in to asla.org. Watch the entrant video for an overview on submitting your application.

Entries are being accepted in eight categories:

  • General Design
  • Residential Design
  • Analysis and Planning
  • Urban Design (new!)
  • Communications
  • Research
  • Community Service Award
  • Student Collaboration

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April is World Landscape Architecture Month

The Platte to Park Hill: Stormwater Systems project, featured in ASLA’s Joint Call to Action to Promote Healthy Communities conversation guide, “A Stormwater Problem Becomes a Health Equity Opportunity.” / image: Livable Cities Studio

Landscape architects and allied professionals have kicked off World Landscape Architecture Month 2020 and the Life Grows Here campaign with great energy, engaging through social media and virtual interactions to keep this annual international celebration of landscape architecture and designed public and private spaces going strong, despite the current circumstances. All are invited to participate in WLAM2020, from wherever you are, in celebration and recognition of the spaces landscape architects create.

What’s happening this April for WLAM:

Keep an eye on ASLA’s social media feeds on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and the hashtags #WLAM2020 and #LifeGrowsHere for notable projects, practitioners, and progress in the field.

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Resources for Distance Learning: Grow Your Ability to Adapt

image: Slava Keyzman on Unsplash

Keep learning, wherever you are.

In ASLA’s 2017 Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) member survey, one question asked members to share one key piece of business advice on how to do well in landscape architecture. Among the top responses: cultivating a lifelong love of learning and adaptability. In times of disruption, those two characteristics may be more important than ever. Speculation is rampant, but no one knows how the next few weeks and months will unfold. Now is the time to expand your knowledge base and diversify what’s in your toolkit in order to make yourself more resilient when confronted with extreme uncertainty.

Sharpening existing skills and adding new ones can help make you a more valuable team member and give you the flexibility to best respond to whatever may come your way. Landscape architects are used to dealing with change—it is an integral part of practice. Given the disruptions currently taking place, now is the time to build on that existing versatility and grow your ability to adapt to whatever we may find going forward.

The Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System

Landscape architects and other design professionals can access information on continuing education courses from more than 250 approved providers through the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™).

Check the “Search for Distance Education courses only” box under For Professionals: Find a Course for webinars and other online offerings you can do from home. You can also sign up to receive email alerts about new courses.

As a LA CES education provider, ASLA provides a number of ways to earn LA CES-approved professional development hours (PDH) online: by participating in a live webinar (all of the upcoming April webinars are FREE for ASLA members!), watching a recorded presentation, or reading a peer-reviewed technical paper, you can earn PDH online, wherever you are and whenever you can.

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Out of Office: Remote Work 101

Home office
image: Domenico Loia on Unsplash

For many, remote work is the new reality for the foreseeable future. For some landscape architects, this is a whole new world; for others, the past few weeks have been a time of rapidly ramping up existing offerings to allow staff to work from home full-time. While staying as safe and healthy as possible takes priority over most more workaday concerns, a host of questions related to the sudden shift to remote work are also top of mind for many:

  • How to ensure your clients that you can seamlessly communicate with them.
  • How to maintain lines of communication amongst staff and project teams to continue design and planning work.
  • How to adjust to the “new normal.”

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and Landscape Architecture Magazine is pulling together tips and resources as we all work together to find our footing in this new terrain. We’ll continue to reach out to our committees, members, and leaders from across the profession to gather additional ideas to share. Stay tuned for updates going forward.

To hear directly from your peers in the profession, join us on March 31 for Out of Office: Tools, Team, and Togetherness for WFH, a webinar with three practitioners in conversation around the new urgency for setting up your team for success while working remotely. [The webinar recording, along with the presentation slides and a summary, are now available on ASLA’s COVID-19 Resources page.]

IT tools to maintain productivity when working remotely

While the IT tools you select and use will vary depending on your needs and setting, ASLA is offering general guidance below. It is ultimately up to our members and landscape architecture and design firms to implement what they are able to do in each case for themselves and their offices to help keep business going in this very challenging situation.

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