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July/August 2023

ASLA Advocacy Pays Off 

Recently our colleagues at ASLA achieved a well deserved recognition by the Department of Homeland Security. Landscape Architecture is now a confirmed STEM discipline. Congratulations to ASLA and all its members. Please read on about this designation and what it means for our society and the world. 

Department of Homeland Security Designates Landscape Architecture a STEM Discipline
The designation recognizes the high degree of science, technology, engineering and mathematics course work required in landscape architecture collegiate programs. 
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has designated landscape architecture a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degree program. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) advocated for the designation. "Landscape architecture applies science, technology, cutting edge research, and engineering principles, to design healthy communities, active transportation projects, campuses and parks. We help communities, adapt to climate driven extreme weather and support biodiversity," said Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO of ASLA. "The infrastructure challenges in municipalities across the country are enormous - landscape architects bring transformative solutions. Today's (7/12/23) decision will advance landscape architecture education and practice, and that is great for America and the global community."
Landscape architecture programs are pioneering some of the most innovative research and developing new technologies - from using artificial intelligence for urban agriculture, to urban planning for autonomous vehicles; by hydraulic modeling, robotic fabrication, and augmented reality for water bodies, and more. 
"The STEM designation finally reflects the reality of the discipline of landscape architecture. Our work is fully dependent on science and technology, from understanding soils at the level of microbial interactions and nutrient exchanges, which keep our urban canopy alive, to coastal adaptations informed by continuously evolving climate data," said Gary Hilderbrand, FASLA, the Peter Louis Hornbeck Professor in Practice and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design. "The new designation brings with it greater opportunities for students and graduates throughout the United States and beyond to become leaders in the field."
"Landscape architects have incredible responsibility for the health, safety and well-being of communities which is why it's imperative for landscape architects to continue to be licensed to practice," said Emily O'Mahoney, FASLA, President of ASLA. "The STEM designaiton will be an additional tool in helping decisions-makers understand the rigor this discipline demands. 
This article was written by Lisa Hardaway, a contributor to "The Dirt" on July 12, 2023.  Click here to view the application materials ASLA submitted. 
Thoughts and Ideas from "The Credential" Editorial Staff: 
This commentary appeared in 
"City Lab Daily" 8/2/23. We like the nudge Jeremy Thomas has offered. 

Learning from landscapers 

“It’s the boots-on-the-ground versus the people in the air-conditioned office. Any time you open up dialogue between two groups that typically don’t interact, you really do start to see each other as humans.” 

Jeremy Thomas

Gardener with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department in Ohio

At Ohio State University’s Diggers Studio, architecture students work alongside city parks crews and landscapers in the design and construction of community green spaces, as part of an effort to bridge the divide between laborers and designers.

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