I consider World Landscape Architecture Month as an opportunity to celebrate our profession’s storied past and promising future – a time to recognize where we began and the journey each of us will travel as we all venture onto a path leading us to continual uncharted territories of design. Within my professional career, and even academic life, I have experienced a noticeable change within landscape architecture from a social, economic, and even political perspective.
Looking forward, the future of landscape architecture looks promising, practicing during a generation when new technologies and new approaches to design offer unprecedented options and tools to ply our trade. There also seems to be a shift in both the framework as well as the fundamental theories that fuel the profession.
This brings me to an interesting collection of essays I remember reading while still in school, all written from various views and perceptions of the design fields. One essay written by Chris Reed – a Principal at Stoss – titled, “Ecology and Design: Parallel Genealogies” describes the profession of landscape architecture from previous eras, a time when the field could be categorized as either a decorative or scientific practice of planning and design. Today, landscape architecture is more than ever dependent upon dynamic and multidisciplinary frameworks geared towards a new landscape urbanism.
I believe the profession of landscape architecture is progressing well beyond decorative solutions or solely working from ecological studies. Instead the field is shaping research, social change, ecological solutions, and aiding in establishing urban networks from all angles. These new frameworks enable landscape architecture to be a catalyst for complex systems, serving a greater purpose to citizens than ever before, both shaping the environment and working to shelter various networks and ecosystems around the planet. As another Landscape Architecture Month passes, I am already looking forward to next year’s celebration to witness – and be part of – the inevitable changes to come.