The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) began in 1899 with eleven members. With a mission “to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments,”1 membership has grown to over 18,000 members in all 50 states, the U.S. territories, and over 40 countries around the world.2 Through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship, ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and practice.
The profession of landscape architecture includes “the analysis, planning, design, management, and stewardship of the natural and built environments” including projects involving parks and recreation, gardens, residential planning, urban design, transportation corridors, streetscapes, and public spaces to name a few.3
Many landscape architects have specifically devoted their interests to the playground needs of park and recreation departments as well as design and manufacture of play equipment. Monty Christiansen, David Spease, and Robin Moore have all been involved in the design of play spaces as landscape architects.
Full membership in the American Society of Landscape Architects requires a degree from an accredited landscape architecture program as well as three or more years of professional experience.4 The highest honor a landscape architect can receive is to be honored with the designation of Fellow. This designation is given in recognition of exceptional accomplishments over a sustained period of time. Steve King, co-founder of Landscape Structures and known play design innovator, became a Fellow, joining the ASLA Council of Fellows in 2002.5
As an advocate, the American Society of Landscape Architects promotes initiatives, campaigns, and congressional acts in areas of economic recovery, transportation, sustainable design, livable communities, water and stormwater, and historic landscapes.6 Some of these programs include the Safe Routes to Schools, No Child Left Inside, Complete Streets, Transportation Enhancements, Sustainable Sites Initiative, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).7 The ASLA, as a member of the National Landscape Conservation System Alliance, advocated for The Omnibus Lands Management Act of 2009, which is called the “most significant wilderness law in at least 15 years.”8
The American Society of Landscape Architects promotes education in the field of landscape architecture by providing a Professional Practice Library; LATIS, the Landscape Architects Technical Information Series;9 and the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES).10 Since 1981 they have given an annual ASLA Professional Award for well-designed projects, and in 2004 they added an annual ASLA Student Award.11
In 1910, eleven years after ASLA was formed, the Landscape Architecture Magazine (LAM) was launched. Now, as a full color, glossy photographic magazine with regular columns and features, it is published in print and digital formats. Written for landscape architects, it focuses on their successes, ASLA award winning projects, issues and products of interest, and new trends, research and policies in the profession.12 At the end of each year LAM also publishes the LAM Product Directory of companies, products, and services for the Landscape Architect professional.13
- 1. “Our Mission.” American Society of Landscape Architects. < http://www.asla.org/AboutJoin.aspx > 17 Oct. 2011.
- 2. “Frequently Asked Questions.” American Society of Landscape Architects. < http://www.asla.org/FAQAnswer.aspx?CategoryTitle=%20About%20the%20American%20Society%20of%20Landscape%20Architects&Category=3146#DispID3116 > 17 Oct. 2011.
- 3. Op. cit., “Our Mission.”
- 4. “Join/Renew.” American Society of Landscape Architects. < http://www.asla.org/JoinRenew.aspx > 3 Nov. 2011.
- 5. “ASLA Fellows.” American Society of Landscape Architects. < http://www.asla.org/ContentDetail.aspx?id=17382 > 3 Nov. 2011.
- 6. “Advocacy.” American Society of Landscape Architects. < http://www.asla.org/GovernmentAffairs.aspx > 23 Oct. 2011.
- 7. “Advocacy: Livable Communities.” and “Advocacy: Transportation.” American Society of Landscape Architects. < http://www.asla.org/ContentDetail.aspx?id=23268 > and < http://www.asla.org/ContentDetail.aspx?id=23266 > 17 Oct. 2011.
- 8. Op.cit., “Advocacy: Liveable Communities.”
- 9. Op.cit., “Frequently Asked Questions.”
- 10. “About Us: Sustainable ASLA.” American Society of Landscape Architects. < http://www.asla.org/sustainableasla.aspx > 17 Oct. 2011.
- 11. “Honors & Awards.” American Society of Landscape Architects. < http://www.asla.org/HonorsAwards.aspx > 23 Oct. 2011.
- 12. “FAQs.” Landscape Architecture Magazine. <http://landscapearchitecturemagazine.org/about/faqs/> 14 April 2013.
- 13. “Product Directory.” Landscape Architecture Magazine. <http://landscapearchitecturemagazine.org/product-directory/> 14 April 2013.