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Design Pros and Academics Weigh in on Landscape Architecture Education

The University of Georgia at Athens (main library pictured) was esteemed the number one undergrad program for landscape architecture, and the number two among landscape architecture graduate programs.

Cost of Wisconsin

Well, it's that time of year again when various organizations like to make lists of the best this, that and the other.

DesignIntelligence does an annual America's Best Architecture & Design Schools, in which the schools of architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design and interior design are ranked. The publication does acknowledge the rankings are "a flawed system," but notes its methodology "can be trusted to conduct a solid analysis of quality programs..."

The research was conducted in mid-2008, tapping "decision-makers from more than 200 U.S. firms and organization employing tens of thousands of architecture, design and landscape architecture professionals." Leading firms were asked what programs they considered best for preparing students for professional success, and to cite the programs best for educating and training for specific skills.

The response rate was more than 85 percent for the landscape architecture firms.

Sixty-seven percent of the professional designers express satisfaction in today's landscape architecture education; 14 percent expressed dissatisfaction. Asked if graduates had an adequate understanding of biology, biodiversity and environmental degradation to address these issues in real-world applications, 63 percent said "adequate understanding," but 25 percent opine they had "very little understanding."

The Top 15 Landscape Architecture Programs for 2009, according to DesignIntelligence

Undergrad Programs

1. University of Georgia

2. Kansas State University

Louisiana State University

4. Pennsylvania State University

5. Cornell University
Texas A&M University

7. Purdue University

8. Ball State University

9. Iowa State University

10. Calif. Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

12. Clemson University

13. Ohio State University

14. University of Florida
University of Rhode Island

Graduate Programs

1. Harvard University

2. University of Georgia

3. Louisiana State University

4. Texas A&M University
Cornell University
University of Virginia

8. Kansas State University
University of Calif. at Berkeley
University of Michigan

11. University of Pennsylvania
University of Texas at Austin

13. University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign

14. Auburn University
North Carolina State University
Rhode Island School of Design

DesignIntelligence also surveyed more than 100 university deans and chairpersons of landscape architecture academic programs to inquire what significant changes have been made in the past five years. Seventy-seven percent responded there is now more emphasis on sustainable design; forty-six percent say there's more emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration and integrated practice; thirty-four percent mentioned retention of quality teaching staff; thirty-one percent indicated upgrades in technology, more emphasis on global issues and international practice; only six percent, however, said there was now more emphasis on professional practice.

Sixteen percent of the academics noted LEED certification is now a component of their degree programs.

And what are the biggest concerns for the design profession, according to the academics?

  • Sustainability-89%
  • Design quality-46%
  • Urbanization-40%
  • Globalization-37%
  • Integrated design-34%
  • Speed of technological change-23%
  • Retaining quality staff of design practices-17%

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June 27, 2019, 2:00 am PDT

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