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The past year has been a period of growth and exciting change for the American Society of Landscape Architects. We've formed several alliances that have enriched our work: with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to support the Foundation's Active Living By Design initiative; with the American Architectural Foundation, to support and participate in its administration of the Mayors' Institute on City Design; and with the National Building Museum, to reach a broader audience of related design professionals. In addition, organizations including the Society for Marketing Professional Services and the Society for Design Administration have agreed to be content providers for a new ASLA firm newsletter, the Firm Finder Business Quarterly. Our growing relationships with these organizations increase the value of membership in ASLA.

Meeting the Challenges

Advocacy on the issues and concerns of the landscape architecture profession continues to be a top priority for ASLA. One of those issues, and one that landscape architects are uniquely qualified to address, is security design. Leading the Security Design Coalition, an umbrella organization of design and construction associations advocating good security design, ASLA members and their firms are in the forefront on this issue. As part of this effort, ASLA and the Security Design Coalition have developed a security design track for the September conference on homeland security organized by the Infrastructure Security Partnership, in conjunction with Associated General Contractors.

Federal advocacy efforts this year have focused on funding the Conservation Trust Fund and the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery fund, the Historic American Landscape Survey, and reauthorization of TEA-21, the surface transportation act. Federal agency liaison also continues to be a high priority. Other government affairs highlights include work on a public practice forum in conjunction with the Annual Meeting and Expo in New Orleans, discussion of new policies on security design and invasive species, co-sponsorship of the June conference of the Congress on New Urbanism, and ongoing work with the U.S. Green Building Council.

Legislation that requires licensing of landscape architects became law in North Dakota and Idaho. Other licensing activities include the update and enhancement of licensure advocacy resources, outreach and assistance to states involved with licensing initiatives, review of the CLARB (Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards) model regulations, and ongoing liaison with CLARB and the other member organizations of the Partnership for the Advancement of Licensure.

In Celebration of Landscape Architecture

Another top priority for ASLA is public awareness and ASLA has made significant strides this year to increase the visibility of the profession. Landscape Architecture Week in 2003 was a popular and rewarding undertaking and will be expanded to a month-long observance in April 2004. National ASLA events included: dedication of a tree on the U.S. Capitol grounds in memory of Ian McHarg, FASLA; a lecture on McHarg's legacy; radio public service announcements promoting the many benefits of landscape design; a national radio tour featuring author and celebrated landscape architect James van Sweden, FASLA; and letters to the heads of each landscape architecture program. Chapter events included Landscape Architecture Week proclamations by public officials, lectures, and other special events.

ASLA's media relations efforts were ramped up this year, and resulted in significantly expanded coverage of ASLA and landscape architecture issues and events. Major articles and features appeared in media including: The New York Times; The Washington Post; The Denver Post; The Los Angeles Times; SmartMoney magazine; Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine; Architectural Record; Interior Design;;; and

One of the most exciting examples of the growth we have experienced this year is the ASLA Professional Awards Program, with the number of submissions growing from just over 200 in 2002 to well over 400 in 2003. Award recipients included public and private projects, from across the country and all parts of the world, including New Zealand, China, Japan, and Israel.

ASLA publications have been recognized for excellence by two organizations. SNAP (Society of National Association Publications) awarded Landscape Architecture magazine a Gold Award in the Magazines, General Excellence, category. APEX (Awards for Publication Excellence) 2003 is a national awards program in its fifteenth year recognizing work by professional communicators. APEX presented ASLA with awards for LAND Online, ASLA's e-newsletter; Landscape Architecture magazine; and the ASLA 2003 Awards Call for Entries.

Other Priorities

ASLA's foundation, LEAF (Library and Education Advocacy Fund), is commissioning a new national salary survey, a new business indicators survey, and a study of the economic impact of landscape architecture.

A redesign of ASLA Online is underway. The award-winning LAND Online helped boost traffic on ASLA's website to an average of over seven million hits per month during the second quarter. Members have access to JobLink, and it remains the most heavily used section of the website. Use of the Professional Practice Library resources also continues to be strong, with Landscape Architecture Registration Exam: A Guide for Professional Development and the LATIS (Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series) among the most popular resources. More and more visitors to the ASLA website are using Firm Finder to locate landscape architects for their projects, and ASLA's web resources are being enhanced to respond to the public's growing interest in investing in residential landscape improvements.

Looking Forward

We're looking forward with tremendous enthusiasm to ASLA's Annual Meeting & Expo in New Orleans, October 31-November 3, 2003. The Steering Committee selected 48 sessions to be conducted during the ASLA Annual Meeting. This year's tracks reflect a broader agenda and incorporate several specific topics under a larger grouping: House Rules (regional planning and public policy); the Green Machine (green building technologies); Ebb & Flow (water resource management); Getting There (transportation connections); Your Tool Box (personal professional development); Practice This (practice management); Meaningful Places (community planning and design); and LandTech workshops.

The annual meeting will also showcase four general session keynote speakers: Joel Kotkin, internationally recognized authority on global, economic, political, and social trends; Dr. Richard Jackson, director of the Environmental Health Division of the Center for Disease Control; Steve Thomas of "This Old House"; and James Carville, noted political commentator and Louisiana native.

Finally, in 2004, ASLA is looking forward to continuing growth and to building on the positive momentum and achievements of the Society's public awareness and government affairs programs.

Nancy Somerville, MA, has been with the ASLA since August 2000.

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December 6, 2019, 1:14 pm PDT

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