SJTU School of Design Launches Professional International Master of Landscape Architecture Program

by Lee Parks, CMLI, International ASLA

Masters students for the course of Metropolitan Landscape Planning and Design on a site visit with Teaching Fellow Lee Parks, International ASLA, Director and Landscape Practice Leader, AECOM, Shanghai. / image: courtesy of Lee Parks

Founded in 1896, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher education in China. At the end of 2017, the university integrated high-quality resources in the design fields, and amalgamated three departments—Architecture, Design, and Landscape Architecture—to establish the School of Design. In 2021 the School of Design launched a professional (international) master’s program in Landscape Architecture (M.LA.) and began a new initiative to create practice-oriented academic positions and further emphasize design studio teaching and talent development.

The M.LA. program aims to achieve harmony between human and nature with the comprehensive application of scientific, technical, and artistic approaches. Students who graduate from this program will be interdisciplinary, creative, international high-quality talent, engaged in the professional field of landscape architecture planning, design, construction, and management. Research focuses include: Landscape Architecture Planning and Design, Landscape Architecture History and Theory, Landscape Plant Resources and Applications, Landscape Planning, and Ecological Restoration.

To attract design practitioners from around the world with backgrounds in architecture, design, and landscape architecture, teaching fellowship positions were created. Outstanding design practitioners from leading external universities and from professional practice are employed as teaching fellows to enrich hands-on experience in design.

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Shanghai Landscape Forum: The Future of Landscape

by Lee Parks, CMLI, International ASLA

The 8th Shanghai Landscape Forum was successfully held on the afternoon of December 4, 2021 at 800-Show, a Creative Park in Jing’an District, Shanghai. The event was broadcast on four live media platforms, which received the attention of the public and many peers. / image: Shanghai Jingan International Design Festival

The community of international practitioners in China represents a dynamic group of current and future landscape architects forging collaborations and deeper connections with people and organizations that share similar values to ASLA and serve the landscape profession.

In August 2021, the three founding firms of the Shanghai Landscape Forum (SLF)—Sasaki, SWA, and AECOM—met to share ideas and focus on issues that will shape the future of international practice as China advances use of technology and strives to address climate change and restore its natural environment. The 8th Shanghai Landscape Forum theme grew out of those discussions and led to ‘The Future of Landscape,’ which was held on the afternoon of December 4, 2021 after multiple delays due to the continuous disruption from COVID. As the forum could not be attended by a live audience, the event was broadcast on four live broadcast platforms, which received the attention of the public and many peers, with some 6,000 views of the live broadcast.

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The Seventh Shanghai Landscape Forum: Pandemic Revelations

by Lee Parks, International ASLA

Forum poster graphic
7th Shanghai Landscape Forum – The Revelation of Pandemic (poster) / image: The Shanghai Landscape Forum Committee

For the full event summary in Chinese and English, please visit mp.weixin.qq.com.

International practice has been an incredible challenge during the global pandemic as offices around the globe have adapted to new ways of working, attracting and retaining talent, and relying more on digital tools and communication platforms. During the early phases of returning to a ‘new normal,’ international practitioners in China came together for the 7th Shanghai Landscape Forum with the aim to share experiences of the pandemic. It was the first time the forum was held as an online event since it was initiated in 2017.

Speakers from seven world-famous design companies discussed the pandemic from a variety of viewpoints, including personal experience, academic exploration, and practical experience in the profession. Three invited guests included Qi Wei, Design Director of Vanke, Shanghai; Du Pengzhan, Planning and Design Director of Guangzhou Wanxi; and Dong Nannan, Associate Professor in the Landscape Architecture Department, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University. They shared views on development trends, new technologies, big data, autonomous vehicles, and future industry trends, offering advice to practitioners for the post-pandemic era.

Pandemics—Shaping Humanity, Our Landscapes, and Future
AECOM
Speaker: Lee Parks, International ASLA (Director, Landscape / Landscape Studio Leader)

Lee Parks, Chair of the ASLA International Practice Professional Practice Network (PPN), kicked off the forum with a personal viewpoint on pandemics. As a frequent speaker on nature conservation, biodiversity loss, and ecological design, he discussed the underlying causes, looking back in history at pandemics that shaped advances in public health, urban healthcare systems, and the provision of public open space.

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