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Code#:13274 Author: George Magazine/Month: LASN 07/04 Total Wd Ct: 797 # Images: Mag Headline: Landscape Architecture Month, A Step in the Right Direction! Article: One of the things I've been privileged to see is the coming of age of the ASLA. With 100 years under its belt, one might think that statement to be off target, but truly, over the past several years I have seen real growth in the society and the way it works to improve the profession. Did Schmok just say that?!?! What was he drinking??? Calm down . . . calm down . . . ;-) Just because the ASLA is going to get a Kudo shower doesn't mean LASN is turning off its watchdog eyes. But as we welcome Landscape Architecture month a few things are worth noting. First of all the 50 states by 2010 program is exactly what the ASLA needs to be striving for. The goal is to have licensure as a requirement in all 50 states of the union. Sure, Colorado threw rock in the bearings, but back in the 80's the ASLA was, in effect, competing against licensure. Which was better, being licensed by a state agency or recognized by a panel of professional peers? Back then one of the main reasons for joining ASLA was to get the right to write ASLA after ones name on professional letterhead. That was considered the true reflection of ones professional status and ability. Of course, California's Raymond Page changed all that by leading the state into the realm of professional licensure. To refresh your memories, Ray was acting as a professional witness in a trial when the opposing lawyer questioned his credentials. Page answered that he was a qualified Landscape Architect to which the opposing lawyer blasted "You're nothing but a posy planter" . . . That was back in the late fifties and soon other states followed suit. Still through the 60's, 70's and even into the 80's, when LASN first appeared on the scene, the ASLA was fighting for membership and using the ASLA title was its primary benefit. That was then, but the point is that over the past 20 odd years the ASLA has really shifted from guarded neutrality to championing the cause . . . i.e. working for the benefit of the profession in the world of consumer and commercial development. Landscape Architecture month is another step in the right direction. Building awareness of the profession, promoting the profession as a career, encouraging competence, and strengthening the place of landscape architects in the land development industry is, in my humble opinion, the real reason for the existence of the ASLA. Focusing resources (also called your dues) on promoting the profession has paid off in many ways over the recent years. For example I keep seeing TV shows, movies and/or commercials where one of the characters is a landscape architect. Better yet, these parts are portrayed in way that the landscape professional is never seen planting posies . . . Ah . . . but with success comes competition . . . And more and more I see things like AIA Chapters holding "Open Space Design" competitions. I see a call for Landscape Lighting Designers to be certified. I see new associations for "Landscape Designers". Playground Design is becoming a specialty, Green Roof Design is being fought over by Landscape Architects and Architects . . . And thus comes a problem that things like Landscape Architecture Month can work to alleviate. I consistently hear from Landscape Architects, developers, parks departments, etc., that there is a lack of new landscape architects. That staffs are stretched thin . . . For a profession that is trying to carve a niche and carve out new territory, there needs to be a focused effort to recruit new students and open up new academic programs across the country. There are so many facets of development that should be under the control of this profession that are being chipped away by opportunistic groups. The profession is still just too small in numbers. At LASN we count roughly 20,000 licensed or registered landscape architects. The ASLA has somewhere around half of those as members. While licensure is critical to the growth of the profession there must be careful pause that it doesn't keep out qualified members. It may even be time to consider grandfathering in thousands of Landscape Designers in addition to working the academic avenues of growth. Now is not the time to lose focus, nor get too cute or puff out your chests in victory. Yes the profession has and is proving its value to the industry . . . You should be proud, but 20,000 are just not enough bodies to guarantee longevity or growth. I'm just glad to see the ASLA working in the right direction and look forward to great success in the years ahead . . . - God Bless [Sidebars]: Mag Headline: LOL Headline: Byline: TOC/Blurb: Special Instructions: Pull Quotes: [Image Id#]: [Photo Credits]: [Photo Captions]: Deck: Article:

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