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University of Florida, Gainesville

What Sets Them Apart

John Simonds (one of the internationally-recognized individuals and firms who have donated their archives to the university) wrote what could be termed the program's mission statement.

"That sun-drenched shimmering glorious expanse of land and water that is Florida," he wrote. "Our role is to protect it, use it wisely and enjoy it, to insure that those generations to follow will be as blessed as we."

The University of Florida Department of Landscape Architecture has a long history of graduates who possess the ethical, professional and creative qualifications to embark on fulfilling careers. Armed with critical-thinking skills and a strong sense of community and environmental responsibility, graduates are equipped to practice and advance the profession of landscape architecture.

Jacksonville Green Infrastructure Project

The program's No. 1 goals are to promote long-term diversity and stability--ecologically and culturally. An additional high-priority for the program is advancing landscape architecture as a creative connection between culture and nature.

Founded in 1933, the University of Florida program has the only Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) program in Florida, and the oldest and largest MLA program. The school also offers a PhD concentration in landscape architecture.

The state of Florida and its booming development industry provide challenges and opportunities that require a balance of traditional practice and forward-thinking explorations. The theme of the 2004 LABASH event, hosted by UF students, was "Worlds Colliding", which underlined Florida's rapid growth, conflicts between development and the natural environment, changing demographics and cultures, and impacts of technology and world events that significantly affect this fragile web of ecosystems and heritage.

Main Street

The program is physically and culturally exciting, with strong ties to related programs. The University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning is one of the largest and most comprehensive design colleges in the nation. The college is the only member of the Association of American Universities to combine under one administration the disciplines of architecture, building construction, interior design, landscape architecture and urban and regional planning.

Students and faculty interact through a variety of centers and institutes, collaborative coursework, funded competitions, student organizations, service activities and research. Students take advantage of nationally and internationally-respected faculty and researchers in the college and throughout the university. This is particularly true in the final undergraduate independent project and in graduate thesis work.

Planting Design

Florida has a large and active body of practitioners in landscape architecture and allied professions who actively seek interaction with students and research collaboration with faculty. With more than 1,000 people moving to Florida every day, a diverse and strong tourism base, a wide range of ecosystems (many rare and endangered), natural resources issues, many different cultural and demographic groups, and strong contacts with the Caribbean and Central and South America, the profession of landscape architecture is becoming more and more important and influential in the state and beyond.

In 1998, Money Magazine named Gainesville, Fla., the best place to live in the US, due in part to the diverse natural environment of the region.

Trail System

Faculty research interests cover a wide spectrum of practice, theory and technology, including sustainability, land use and resource planning, community design, tourism, landscape management, GIS, historic preservation, social and behavioral issues, urban design, perception, and history. In the past five years, over $1.7 million was brought in through research grants. Faculty also bring a diversity of experience in practice, teaching, and service. Faculty include a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and a Fellow of the ASLA.

Student work shows strength in ecologically-based planning and design, urban issues, and conservation--all issues of strategic concern not only in Florida. While most projects are based in Florida or the southeastern US, international projects are common. Classes have traveled to Nantucket, Barbados, Italy, Paris, and Costa Rica. Students often see their work implemented. Student work has been put into working documents by regional professionals for such diverse projects as the American Orchid Society National Headquarters, Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge, and the Department of Defense Joint Interagency Task Force, among others. Quality of student work is well recognized. Most recently, three of the 17 2004 ASLA Student Awards went to UF students, and four students placed in two national competitions. In attaining this high quality of student work, two issues are critical--student initiative and faculty support. In recent years, two undergraduates won national research awards without taking any formal research-methods courses--they wanted to pursue projects with a strong research component and they found faculty willing to guide them above the usual classes or advisory positions.

Educational Facility

Graduate students have been primary authors of peer-reviewed journal articles. Students at both levels have taken on positions of leadership at the university and with the ASLA.

The department's faculty and staff include the following: Associate Professor and Chair: Robert “Bob” Grist. Office Manager (Undergraduate): Cindy Barton. Graduate Coordinator: Sara K. “Kay” Williams.

Additional Faculty: Glenn Acomb, Margaret H. “Peggy” Carr, Robert Grist , Maria C. “Tina” Gurucharri, Lester L. “Les” Linscott, R. Terry Schnadelbach, Gary Purdum.

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December 7, 2019, 4:47 am PDT

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