In the January issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, I was fortunate to have my opinion about the state of our profession included on the back page. You can read my essay on the ASLA blog The Dirt.
I’m thrilled that the post has spurred a few comments and here is my response to those:
While I fully appreciate the view that “nature is not dead” I believe this comments missed the point. In our profession there are two words Landscape and Architecture. The rally cry “long live design” is the heart of the story and an area that our profession needs much greater articulation of and focus on. I have sat through to many ASLA juries where applicants lackadaisically submit projects with a checklist of “natural system” ingredients; porous paving, Bio-Swales, use of reclaimed water. The reality is that for the most part these ingredients came from outside of the profession and all too often they are applied as a panacea for traditional development projects and without a clear idea in place to distinguish their purpose. Many accomplished Architects, Engineers, Industrial and Web designers will lay claim to the fact their work “exist’s in Nature” but few would agree that “as long as the design’s elements jibe with or effectively replicate the endemic natural systems of a place” that their work is done. Yes water runs downhill and we are all still breathing oxygen but in an age of global warming we need to advocate for a larger role in the design and development of place. We need to be the profession which is centered on ideas, not nostalgic replications of nature.