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The ASLA Fund and the Landscape Architects Foundation: Programs & Progress

By Leslie McGuire, regional editor


New scholarships, more case studies, a very positive salary survey, the Library and Education Advocacy Fund and a new Business Indicators Survey, all successfully furthering professional knowledge, increasing public awareness and promoting the value of landscape architecture.

The highly successful launch of the Land and Community Design Case Studies Series has led to an expansion of topics for new publications. The Landscape Architect Foundation has put out a call for Letters of Interest for studies that will provide design and planning professionals with holistic solutions to complex social, economic and environmental issues. "We see the case study method not only as a potential tool in classrooms," says Susan Everett, FASLA, "but also as a means of influencing public policy." This series has set a new standard for case studies in the design disciplines, and the series will continue to follow the methodology outlined in A Case Study Method for Landscape Architecture. The Landscape Architecture Fund series advisory board reviews all submissions using the following criteria: Significance in scope, impact and/or applicability; Ability to advance knowledge and practice; Ability to demonstrate innovation and provide inspiration; and ability to address future challenges.

To continue the momentum of the series, ten academically rigorous case studies will be developed in the next two years to document the best solutions for land development and preservation, and the foundation is encouraging experts in the design professions to identify specific issues and places related to the following priority topics: Green Infrastructure and Open Space, Healthy Community Planning and Design, Active Living, River and Watershed Planning, Design and Planning Technology (including GIS), Healthy Open Space; Open Space Programming, Water Quality and Source Protection, Teaching and Learning Landscapes (campuses, schoolyards, interpretive landscapes), Green Roofs (including stormwater issues), Leadership in Energy an Environmental Design (LEED) Program, Sustainable Communities Planning and Design, Brownfields (including issues relating to urban and smaller communities, agricultural and mining pollution, quality of life issues, ecological restoration) and Planning and Design for Seniors.

The Landscape Architecture Foundation Scholarships

The scholarship program is ongoing and applications are now available for 13 scholarships and internship programs given out by the Landscape Architecture Foundation, with awards ranging from $500 to $1000. The awards are open to undergraduate and graduate landscape architecture students and can be applied at any accredited university for the study of landscape architecture.

National Salary Survey

The ASLA National Salary Survey showed that the average salary for landscape architecture positions showed an increase of 23.4 percent as compared with the survey done in 1998. Between l981 and l987 the average salary for landscape architects rose only 6 percent, and the 1994 survey showed a loss in income compared with l981. So there is clearly a significant growth in demand for landscape architecture services. By comparison, the average compensation for architects has outpaced inflation by only 15 percent since 1990, according to the latest report by The American Institute of Architects. The salary survey is offered online and allows subscribers to create their own interactive charts and tables from over 350 unique data combinations. In addition to information on annual salaries, it includes data on bonus programs, profit sharing, employer retirement contributions and services offered outside primary employment. These fields are searchable by census data, metropolitan region, market sector, years of experience, gender, age, ethnic background, level of education and total gross revenues.

Awards Program

As one of its ongoing initiatives, the ASLA fund is continuing to support the ASLA Library and Education Advocacy and ASLA research, library, archives and professional education programs to provide outreach and education to clients and the public at large. In addition, the ASLA Fund also supports the ASLA Awards Program, including the Landmark Award, the Community Service Award and the Professional Awards to celebrate professional achievements. The 2004 Community Service Award was given to the West Philadelphia Landscape Project. Led by Anne Whiston Spirn, ASLA, numerous landscape architects and others did pro-bono landscaping for the 17-year project. The ASLA and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have given the Landmark 2004 Award to Andropogon Associates, Ltd. for revitalizing the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1978 the arboretum commissioned Andropogen Associates to design a master plan for the institution's revitalization project and this was the beginning of an on-going, 26-year relationship between the arboretum and the landscape architects, who have guided the site design and implementation of the master plan. All of the awards will be presented during the ASLA Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.

New Initiatives

Contributors to the ASLA Fund also supported many new initiatives in 2004. The Fund commissioned a study of the economic impact of landscape architecture, researching and documenting the value that landscape design and planning contribute to properties and communities. It will include case studies that illustrate the positive impact of landscape architecture. Examples may include correlations between campus landscaping and application rates, streetscape improvements and successful retail businesses as well as residential and commercial landscape improvements and increased property values. The study is slated to be used as an advocacy and a public relations tool in addition to supporting the establishment and expansion of landscape architecture programs.

A new ASLA Business Survey is also in the works tracking business indictors in 2004. It was initially established in 1997 to monitor landscape architecture's professional practice aspects. This is the third survey, and since it takes three data points to establish a trend line, this third survey will provide a tracking plan on how the profession is maturing in terms of impact and prosperity. Indicators include market sectors, project types, client types, billing rates, contract types, design competitions, marketing, risk management, construction costs and profit margins among others.

 

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October 17, 2019, 9:15 am PDT

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