LAF News Blog
Stay up to date on LAF!
On June 10-11 in Philadelphia, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is convening preeminent thinkers and influencers from around the world to set the course for landscape architecture to make its vital contribution in the 21st century. Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this historic event, engage in dialogue, get inspired, and help propel the profession forward!
Top reasons you should attend The New Landscape Declaration: A Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future:
- Amazing line up of 70 speakers and panelists
- 25 “Declarations” of bold ideas for what landscape architecture can achieve
- 10 thematic panels about how to effect real world change
- 0 concurrent sessions – all attendees see every presentation and panel
- Dedicated breaks for intense conversation with speakers, panelists, and attendees
- Lunches, snacks, and champagne toast included
- 14.75 LA CES Professional Development Hours
LAF celebrates 50 years with this historic event. For more information and to register, visit: www.lafoundation.org/summit
The Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB), the official accrediting body for first professional programs in landscape architecture in the U.S., has included landscape performance in its recently-revised accreditation standards for all bachelor’s and master’s level programs. Landscape performance is listed in the Professional Curriculum section as one of the topics to be covered under “Assessment and Evaluation.”
The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) strongly supported this change, as did many of our colleagues in academia and professional practice, who provide input to the revision process. Future landscape architects must be able to assess and communicate the environmental, social, and economic impacts of design solutions.
Moving forward, as each landscape architecture program comes up for accreditation renewal (every 6 years), the program will need to demonstrate how landscape performance is being addressed. The revised 2016 LAAB Accreditation Standards take effect starting with landscape architecture programs scheduled for accreditation reviews in fall 2017. The revised 2016 LAAB Accreditation Procedures are effective immediately.
To assist faculty in incorporating landscape performance into coursework, LAF has developed a Resources for Educators database of sample teaching materials for studio, seminar, and lecture courses. Materials include syllabi, reading lists, and sample student assignments, as well as faculty reflections on their pedagogical approaches and experiences teaching landscape performance.
LAF will also continue to provide support to faculty through its Landscape Performance Education Grants. These $2,500 mini-grants allow select university faculty to develop and test models for integrating landscape performance into standard landscape architecture course offerings. Ten mini-grants were awarded in 2014 and 2015. LAF will offer five more for the Fall 2016 term/semester. Applications will be available in May and due June 15.
By Richard Weller and Billy Fleming, University of Pennsylvania
In 1966, Campbell Miller, Grady Clay, Ian McHarg, Charles Hammond, George Patton and John Simonds marched to the steps of Independence Hall in Philadelphia and declared that an age of environmental crisis was upon us and that the profession of landscape architecture was a key to solving it. Their Declaration of Concern launched, and to this day underpins the workings of, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF).
To mark its 50th anniversary, LAF will hold a summit titled The New Landscape Declaration at the University of Pennsylvania involving over 65 leading landscape architects from around the world. Delegates are being asked to deliver new declarations (manifestos, if you will) about the profession’s future. Drawing upon these statements and the dialogue at the summit, LAF will then redraft the original 1966 Declaration of Concern so that it serves to guide the profession into the 21st century.
On one level, redrafting the declaration is relatively straightforward: it would simply need to stress the twinned global phenomena of climate change and global urbanization — issues that were less well understood in 1966. On another level however, the redrafting of the declaration is profoundly complicated because if it is to be taken seriously, then a prerequisite is to ask why, after 50 years of asserting landscape architecture as “a key” to “solving the environmental crisis” does that crisis continue largely unabated? Seen in this light the declaration can be read as an admission of failure. Consequently, we must ask:
If McHarg and his colleagues were justified in placing such a tremendous responsibility on the shoulders of landscape architects, why have we failed so spectacularly to live up to their challenge?
In our defense, we might argue that landscape architecture is a very young and very small profession and an even smaller academy. We can also protest, as many do, that other more established disciplines — such as engineering and architecture — have restrained our rise to environmental leadership. We can argue that the status quo of political decision-making makes it impossible for us to meaningfully scale up our operations and work in the territory where our services are needed most. These justifications (or excuses) all contain aspects of the truth, but we argue that landscape architecture over the last 50 years is less a story of abject failure and more one of a discipline taking the time that has been needed to prepare for a more significant role in this, the 21st century.
From the last 50 years of landscape architecture we have three models of professional identity and scope: the landscape architect as artist (for example, Peter Walker), the landscape architect as regional planner (for example, Ian McHarg), and the landscape architect as urban designer (for example, Charles Waldheim). Rather than see these as competing models cancelling each other out, perhaps what we have really learned from the last 50 years is that each is somewhat incomplete without the other. If however we make a concerted effort to combine these three models, then perhaps we begin to really give credence to the notion of landscape architecture as a uniquely holistic discipline, one especially well-suited to engage with the contemporary landscape of planetary urbanization and climate change.
Considering our historical moment, one is reminded of the incredible optimism with which the moderns announced theirs. In 1920 the great architect Le Corbusier launched his journal L’Esprit Nouveau with the declaration: “There is a new spirit: it is a spirit of construction and synthesis guided by a clear conception … A great epoch has begun.” A mere 46 years later a small group of landscape architects would declare that epoch as one of environmental crisis. And now, precisely 50 years later as we acknowledge their original Declaration of Concern, the International Commission on Stratigraphy is expected to formally announce the dawn of the Anthropocene Epoch: a new geological period defined by the fact that the earth’s systems are now fundamentally and irreversibly altered by human activity.
The philosophical and practical consequences couldn’t be greater: in short, Nature is no longer that ever-providing thing ‘out there’; it is, for better or worse, the world we have created and the world we are creating. The landscape of the Anthropocene is one of permanent ecological crisis. As such, the Anthropocene is overwhelming, but since it is by definition a human creation, the Anthropocene is something we must take responsibility for, something we can design. This doesn’t automatically mean the hyper modernity of geoengineering planetary systems, but it does return us, humbly and critically to McHarg’s concept of stewardship.
This is now landscape architecture’s century — all the major issues of the times are at root about how we relate to land — and if by the end of it we are still small, weak and ineffectual, and if the world is a worse place than it is now, then we will only have ourselves to blame.
Richard Weller is the Martin and Margy Meyerson Chair of Urbanism and Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Board of Directors. Billy Fleming is a Doctoral Fellow in City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania.
Throughout its 50-year history, the Landscape Architecture Foundation has awarded scholarships to deserving students. This year, the total amount available increased significantly with the establishment of two new awards — the $20,000 LAF Honor Scholarship in Memory of Joe Lalli, FASLA and the $5,000 ASLA-NY Designing in the Public Realm Scholarship. The now 11 different scholarships and fellowships were established and made possible by their respective sponsors.
Scholarship winners are chosen through a competitive application and selection process. LAF convenes juries to decide the winners of four awards. We would like to extend a special thank you to this year’s jurors — we appreciate your commitment to supporting the next generation of designers!
LAF Honor Scholarship in Memory of Joe Lalli, FASLA
Dennis Carmichael, FASLA LEED AP
Lucinda R. Sanders, FASLA
CEO and Partner
Martha Schwartz, DSc, FASLA, Hon FRIBA, Hon RDI, RAAR
Martha Schwartz Partners
Gregg Sutton, PLA, ASLA
Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden and Design Jury
Virginia L. Russell, FASLA, PLA, LEED AP, GRP
Associate Professor of Architecture, Horticulture Program Director
University of Cincinnati
Randall W. Mardis, ASLA, PLA
President / Landscape Architect
Susan Olmsted, AIA, ASLA, LEED AP
Steven G. King Play Environments Scholarship Jury
Lisa Horne, PLA, LEED AP, ASLA
RVi Planning + Landscape Architecture
Kate Tooke, ASLA
David Watts, PLA
Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Landscape Forms Design for People Scholarship Jury
James Burnett, FASLA
The Office of James Burnett
Dan Herman, ASLA
Rabben/Herman design office
Scott Rykiel, FASLA, LEED AP
Executive Vice President
Mahan Rykiel Associates
The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) and its research initiatives will be well-represented at the upcoming Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference March 23-26 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Organized by Utah State University, the conference will also involve a day trip to the main campus in Logan, Utah.
LAF staff will present during two Concurrent Sessions, report to the CELA Board and Administrators during their respective meetings, and host a meet-and-greet for the 2016 CSI Research Fellows and past Landscape Performance Education Grant and Case Study Investigation (CSI) participants. The conference also features a number of presentations from LAF program participants, who will speak about their methods, findings, and further research.
In total, research from and about LAF’s various Landscape Performance Series initiatives will be part of seven sessions:
Concurrent Session 1, Thurs, 3/24, 8:00-9:20 am
Presentations: Landscape Performance: A Bold Idea in a Change-Averse Town
Matthew James and Erika Roeber, South Dakota State University
Integrating Life-Cycle Costs with Landscape Performance
Yi Luo, Texas Tech University
Case Study Meta-Analysis: A Step Toward Informing Design
Mary Myers, Temple University
Bo Yang, Utah State University
Concurrent Session 2 - Thurs, 3/24, 9:30-10:50 am
The Role of Landscape Performance in Standardized Landscape Architecture Curricula
Panel with: Andrew Fox, North Carolina State University
Kenneth Brooks, Arizona State University
Stephanie Rolley, Kansas State University
Emily McCoy, Andropogon and North Carolina State University
Arianna Koudounas, Landscape Architecture Foundation
Concurrent Session 2 - Thurs, 3/24, 9:30-10:50 am
Wadi Hanifah: Landscape Infrastructure for the 21st Century
Presentation by: Jean Trottier, University of Manitoba
Concurrent Session 5- Sat, 3/26, 8:00-9:20 am
Understanding Courtyards at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters: Methods to Quantify Use and Density
Presentation by: Chris Ellis, University of Maryland
Concurrent Session 6- Sat, 3/26, 9:30-10:50 am
Looking Beyond Case Studies in Social Performance Research: Replicable Surveys and Generalizable Outcomes
Panel with: Mary Myers, Temple University
Taner Ozdil, University of Texas at Arlington
M. Elen Deming, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Heather Whitlow, Landscape Architecture Foundation
Concurrent Session 8, Sat, 3/26, 2:00-3:20 pm
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Heat Island Performance
Presentation by: C. Dylan Reilly, University of Maryland
Concurrent Session 9, Sat, 3/26, 3:30-4:50 pm
Presentations: Measuring the Social Performance of Food Production Landscapes
Ellen Burke, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Evaluating Performance of Campus-based Agriculture: Is Bigger Better?
D. Scott Douglas, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign