The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is extremely disappointed in the U.S. Congress' failure to avert the shutdown of the federal government. While much about the effects of the shutdown remains unclear, it is expected to impact our nation's landscape architects.
A halt of federal funds intended for infrastructure projects could hamstring many landscape architecture firms. These firms partner with the federal government to provide valuable design services for crucial infrastructure projects, like transportation networks, stormwater solutions, and others. This shutdown could delay or cancel many ongoing projects and hamper new projects, leaving many firms vulnerable.
ASLA's second-quarter 2013 Business Quarterly survey results had shown an uneven economic picture for the landscape architecture profession. Landscape architecture firms had reported stable or rising billable hours but have pared down their plans to hire. Ninety eight percent of landscape architecture firms are small businesses, and about 24 percent of landscape architects are self-employed. Stalling federal funding could force these firms to further reduce their hiring plans as well as reduce their ability to meet their customers' demand.
Along with thousands of other federal employees, landscape architects serving in our federal agencies are directly impacted by the shutdown with impending furloughs, leaving them with less income to make ends meet.
The message is simple: Landscape architects, like most Americans, do not want a federal government shutdown. We realize that Congress has difficult fiscal decisions. We urge President Obama and Congress to focus on supporting policies that provide economic certainty and that will allow families and businesses, like landscape architecture firms, to prosper and thrive.
ASLA has created a preliminary analysis of the impacts of the federal government shutdown on federal programs important to landscape architects. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide our members with any critical updates.
Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 15,000 members in 49 professional chapters and 76 student chapters. The Society's mission is to lead, to educate and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use the "ASLA" suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more at www.asla.org.