Centering Environmental Justice in Our Landscape Architectural Practices

ASLA 2021 Professional Urban Design Honor Award. Market + Georgia Public Space. Chattanooga, Tennessee. WMWA Landscape Architects and Genesis the Greykid. / image: WMWA Landscape Architects & Chattanooga Design Studio

As practitioners and advocates of environmental justice, we know that many communities across the country fall short of achieving equity and justice in terms of access to quality green spaces and being overburdened with negative environmental exposures. In this collaborative Field post, we highlight a few voices around the profession on why and how landscape architects should remain committed towards integrating environmental justice in our respective practices.

– Michelle Lin-Luse, ASLA, PLA, and Tom Martin, ASLA, on behalf of the Environmental Justice Professional Practice Network (PPN) Leadership Team

Cher Wong, Associate ASLA
Landscape Architect at SmithGroup

Why are you interested in the intersection of environmental justice and landscape architecture?

From many landscape architects’ training processes, including mine, we didn’t pay enough attention to learning how our work is closely tied with social, economic, political implications and how every design language has a historical context behind it. Now, when I stand at the intersection of environmental justice and landscape architecture as a designer, I see contradictions between our traditional definition of ‘design excellence’ and the implications of many landscape architecture work in environmental justice.

But I also see opportunities on how much we need to develop new design languages that break the contradiction and better support environmental justice.

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