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Welcome 2018! It's Time to PLA . . .
A look back at the journey as we move forward

George Schmok, Publisher


Raymond E. Page FASLA (circa 1986) in his office patio overlooking Crescent Drive, one of the main streets of Beverly Hills, which he had recently redesigned.

Welcome to 2018! I guess this is the year that the 21st century becomes an adult . . .

You know, it's sometimes good to look back at our history as we prepare to move forward in our journey. I was reflecting a few days ago about the licensure of landscape architects and a meeting I had more than 30 years ago with Raymond Page . . . Beverly Hills, as he was known in that town and immortalized in the local newspaper there back in the 1950s. That's right . . . In the heyday of Hollywood, back when Beverly Hills was the playground of the rich and famous, a landscape architect . . . In fact the first official landscape architect . . . also carried the 'official' moniker of Mr. Beverly Hills. (LandscapeOnline article # 8809) I call him the original landscape architect, because he was literally the guy who initiated licensure for landscape architects.

Page's licensure number was actually #2, because his friend, Harry Shepard, was dying and he was given the honorary number 001, but make no mistake about it, it was Raymond Page who first set the course for landscape architecture licensure. In that meeting with the 90 year old Page, we came up with the tag many of you adopted to distinguish yourselves as a Registered Landscape Architect or an 'RLA.'


Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon in Jack London Square, Oakland...The birthplace of Landscape Architectural Licensing.

Today, though, more and more of you are using the tag 'PLA.' The ASLA says the 'P' is for "Professional," but I think it should stand for Practicing Landscape Architect. This is especially appropriate now, as virtually every state is licensed with a Practice Act. I think Page would approve of the shift from RLA to PLA, but the shift can only hold water if we continue to maintain the nationwide Practice Act. But then, why wouldn't we be able to convince the country of the importance of landscape architects to the public's health, safety and welfare, especially when reviewing the projects in this 'Sustainability' issue?

Landscape architects have come along way since Page was called a "Possy Planter" in court, setting him on the course to legitimize the profession through licensure. It's good for us to remember that that happened only a few short years ago and that the profession itself is just now entering its adult years and that the act of licensure is not a right, but instead an earned title . . . One worth defending as you continue to Practice the art of being a Landscape Architect.

God Bless . . .

George Schmok, Publisher

As seen in LASN magazine, January 2018, Commentary.

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December 8, 2019, 8:33 am PDT

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