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To date, over 800 built environment professionals from around the world have signed LAF’s New Landscape Declaration, a new vision and 21st century call to action for landscape architecture. Have you signed?
By signing the Declaration, you join us in asserting the vital role of landscape architecture in solving the defining issues of our time: climate change, species extinction, rapid urbanization, and inequity. Together, we can amplify our voices at this critical time when the talents and services of the landscape architecture community are so vitally needed.
Here are some of the inspiring comments we’ve received:
- “It’s time to reinvigorate our profession with a new and bold vision that addresses the complex social, environmental and political challenges facing the planet.” — Jeffrey Hou, Seattle, Washington
- “As a landscape architect and environmentalist I believe our unique skill set is desperately needed. Especially now.” — Kerry Mattie, North Haven, Connecticut
- “Never has there been a more urgent need for us to join hands and walk in the same direction towards this complex common goal.” — Amy Rampy, Austin, Texas
- “The New Landscape Declaration is an eloquent call to action for the immediate and long future of our profession and our world. Every design decision needs to be made within its context.” — Ann Milovsoroff, Shelburne, Vermont
- “Landscape is our remedy for our sicknesses.” — Tiganila George, Bucharest, Romania
- “The need for interdisciplinary cooperation and vision has never seemed so urgent. As a profession people must engage at the policy level and also at the entertainment and political realm in new and innovative ways. We must show the value of landscape architecture as a means to better our communities and the environment of those communities and the natural areas within and around them.” — Ann English, Rockville, Maryland
- “What I connect with in this declaration, is it’s relevance to all corners of the globe. Let’s foster imaginative solutions that are tangible.” — Bernice Rumble, Salt Rock, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
- “Let’s turn words into action and double down on our commitment to our field and to our shared future.” — Roberto Rovira, Miami, Florida
- “We have a collective vision, let’s share our collective tools, and achieve some collective goals faster for the sake of the planet.” — Brian R Nicholson, Denver, Colorado
- “As an ally, I am inspired by your thoughtfulness and heart. Please, please, landscape architects, carry on!” — Daisy Barquist, Baltimore, Maryland
Show your support by signing the New Landscape Declaration and sharing it with your colleagues, students, classmates, clients, and others. www.lafoundation.org/declaration
The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) released The New Landscape Declaration, a 21st century call to action, at the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Annual Meeting in New Orleans. LAF is now encouraging landscape architects across the globe to sign on to this ambitious vision and share how we can turn the ideas into actions to solve the challenges of our time.
The Declaration is the product of LAF’s historic Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future, which brought 700 landscape architects from around the world to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in June. For four months, LAF has been synthesizing all of the ideas and input from the Summit, and the The New Landscape Declaration is the result of many drafts and probing discussions.
We invite you to read through and share your thoughts for action in the comments section below.
THE NEW LANDSCAPE DECLARATION
Across borders and beyond walls, from city centers to the last wilderness, humanity’s common ground is the landscape itself. Food, water, oxygen – everything that sustains us comes from and returns to the landscape. What we do to our landscapes we ultimately do to ourselves. The profession charged with designing this common ground is landscape architecture.
After centuries of mistakenly believing we could exploit nature without consequence, we have now entered an age of extreme climate change marked by rising seas, resource depletion, desertification and unprecedented rates of species extinction. Set against the global phenomena of accelerating consumption, urbanization and inequity, these influences disproportionately affect the poor and will impact everyone, everywhere.
Simultaneously, there is profound hope for the future. As we begin to understand the true complexity and holistic nature of the earth system and as we begin to appreciate humanity’s role as integral to its stability and productivity, we can build a new identity for society as a constructive part of nature.
The urgent challenge before us is to redesign our communities in the context of their bioregional landscapes enabling them to adapt to climate change and mitigate its root causes. As designers versed in both environmental and cultural systems, landscape architects are uniquely positioned to bring related professions together into new alliances to address complex social and ecological problems. Landscape architects bring different and often competing interests together so as to give artistic physical form and integrated function to the ideals of equity, sustainability, resiliency and democracy.
As landscape architects we vow to create places that serve the higher purpose of social and ecological justice for all peoples and all species. We vow to create places that nourish our deepest needs for communion with the natural world and with one another. We vow to serve the health and well-being of all communities.
To fulfill these promises, we will work to strengthen and diversify our global capacity as a profession. We will work to cultivate a bold culture of inclusive leadership, advocacy and activism in our ranks. We will work to raise awareness of landscape architecture’s vital contribution. We will work to support research and champion new practices that result in design innovation and policy transformation.
We pledge our services. We seek commitment and action from those who share our concern.
If you’ll be in New Orleans for the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, we hope you’ll join us for these fun and thought-provoking events. LAF will participate in three education sessions, close out our 50th anniversary year with an epic Benefit featuring live jazz, and present highlights from our landmark Summit and a call to action for the future. We hope to see you!
Research and Practice: What Does It Mean? Why Do We Do It?
Fri, Oct 21, 10:30am-12pm
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 271
This Education Session with LAF’s Heather Whitlow, Eric Kramer of Reed Hilderbrand, and Kate Orff of SCAPE features an interactive panel discussion about how and why we undertake research, how we assess its legitimacy, and how we might better transform knowledge into practice.
LAF 31st Annual Benefit
Fri, Oct 21, 7:00-10:30pm
The Civic Theatre (*Ticket Required)
Join top designers and leaders from practice, academia, and industry for a festive evening with great food and drink, amazing company, and a live performance from jazz icon Kermit Ruffins and The Barbecue Swingers. Proceeds support LAF’s research and scholarship programs.
Women in Landscape Architecture: Pathways to Success
Sat, Oct 22, 11am-12:30pm
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 261
Moderated by Margaret Plumb of Design Workshop, this panel session features LAF’s Barbara Deutsch, Christine Ten Eyck of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, and Thaisa Way of the University of Washington sharing their personal career paths, while discussing the opportunities for female innovators in the field.
LAF Booth in ASLA Expo Hall (#100)
Sat-Sun, Oct 22-23, 9:00am-6:00pm
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Hall E-F
Visit our booth to help LAF celebrate 50 years, see highlights from our Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future, and add your voice to The New Landscape Declaration, our 21st century call to action for the profession.
What’s Next: The Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future
Mon, Oct 24, 10-11:30am
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 356
LAF’s Barbara Deutsch, Frederick Steiner of PennDesign, Laura Solano of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, and Kristina Hill of UC Berkeley present highlights from this landmark event and reflect on developing a 21st century call to action to achieve sustainability.
In addition, Kona Gray, President of the LAF Board of Directors and Lucinda Sanders, LAF Vice President of Leadership will be panelists at the Sunday morning general session on Designing for Diversity/Diversity in Design.
Couldn’t attend LAF’s Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future back in June? Or were you there, but want to revisit and share some of the ideas and arguments presented in the “Declarations” and panels?
LAF has just released The New Landscape Declaration, a 20-minute documentary featuring exclusive interviews and recorded footage from the Summit. The film highlights key themes from this critical, provocative, and inspirational examination of the role of landscape architecture in addressing the challenges our our time and the next 50 years. Interviewees include James Corner, Gina Ford, Randy Hester, Mario Schjetnan, Martha Schwartz, Kongjian Yu, and many more.
With music, landscape imagery and stark text animations, filmmakers Michael Rubin, Joanna Karaman and Sahar Coston-Hardy skillfully weave together thought-provoking clips from the Summit and interviews, imbuing the documentary with the same spirit of urgency and opportunity that rang through the Summit itself.
Get a preview in the trailer above, or see the full film at:
For those who want to see even more from the Summit, recordings from the full two days of Declarations and panels are now available and can be accessed at:
Thank you to all who attended The New Landscape Declaration: A Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future on June 10-11. (And to the 75 presenters and panelists who worked hard to prepare the thought-provoking content!) With 715 attendees coming from as far away as China, Argentina and Australia, the event surpassed all expectations!
Inspired by LAF’s 1966 Declaration of Concern, the Summit featured 25 “Declarations” from key thought leaders and nine thematic panels, taking a hard look at whether the landscape architecture profession has fulfilled its promise and how it can effect change looking forward to the next 50 years.
Overarching themes of humanism, interdependence, and concern regarding climate change ran through most of the declarations and discussions. Other common themes were the increasing importance of cities; how landscape architecture can contribute to managing and preserving vital resources like water, food and biodiversity; the importance of integrating communities into the design process; and how to communicate the value of landscape architecture to the broad public.
A few highlights from the two days include:
- James Corner of Field Operations stressed that with continued population growth, cities are the future and will demand new organizational frameworks. Landscape architects are well positioned to lead because they see the city as a kind of dynamic ecosystem and can go further than planners and engineers by striving to embed beauty, desire, and pleasure into the system.
- Kate Orff of SCAPE declared that she is “interested in making publics, not projects.” She emphasized that landscapes can be a pilot for physical and social change if designers invest in building ecological constituencies and community capacity.
- Mario Schjetnan of Grupo de Diseño Urbano in Mexico City called landscape architecture to a global perspective, as most of the urban expansion and environmental deterioration is happening in the so-called developing nations.
- Nina-Marie List of Ryerson University asked what will become of wilderness, wild things, and the wild in man as we continue on this relentless trajectory of global urbanization. She asserted that “E.O. Wilson’s half earth movement is a blunt instrument that needs designers.”
- Blaine Merker of Gehl Studio emphasized happiness and sustainability as self-reinforcing systems. He advocated for a new mentality of design humanism that fosters human-scale development, local social ties, people-powered mobility, and places for common ground.
LAF is synthesizing all of the ideas, discussions, and audience input from the Summit to draft The New Landscape Declaration, which will be released for public comment this fall. (If you have thoughts to share, be sure to leave them here.) Stay tuned!
Photos from the Summit are posted at:
Video footage from the Summit is posted at: (more clips are being added)
Storify social media summaries are at: