What is Landscape Architecture?

At the opening of our Professional Practice in Landscape Architecture course each student was asked to each respond to the prompt “What is Landscape Architecture?” A question that should be fairly straightforward for a group of grad students to answer.  My response was as follows:

“The professional discipline of documenting, evaluating, designing, and constructing the merging of the built and natural environments, in regards to the ecologies of a space.  Here ‘ecologies’ being the interconnected systems operating within a space, and ‘space’ being subject to variations in scale from site to territory.  Landscape architect’s should concern themselves with the connections between scale, form, function, and temporality among other variables and the ways they can be used to positively influence the daily lives of the population.”

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) considers the practice of landscape architecture the practice that “encompasses the analysis, planning, design, management, and stewardship of the natural and built environment through science and design.”  A much more concise definition than the one I provided that’s for sure.  The ASLA also states in its Code of Professional Ethics that landscape architecture as a profession has  a “dedication to the public health, wellbeing, safety, and welfare and recognition and protection of the land and its resources.”  With these definitions in mind I think we can wrap the profession of landscape architecture into three key bullets: exploration through design; stewardship through investigation; and social improvement through ethical practice.

This blog will serve to investigate these principles of professional practice and as a way to foster discussion on the future of the profession of landscape architecture.



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