Educating for a Region in Change
ACal Poly Pomona offers a glimpse into the profession’s
By Frank Edgerton Martin
The future, it’s been said, starts in California. One
glimpse of the future of landscape architecture education is visible at
California State University–Pomona, or “Cal Poly,” roughly 40 miles east of
downtown Los Angeles. This is a landscape architecture teaching program that’s
based in an urban region and is financially accessible. In April 2007 Cal Poly
Pomona’s landscape architecture department celebrated its 50th anniversary.
It’s a relatively old program at Cal Poly, given that the entire campus dates
back to only 1938.
With its explorations into sustainable—or as they prefer at
Cal Poly, “regenerative”—landscapes, Cal Poly’s is a landscape architectural
education where the gritty landscapes of the Los Angeles region are not made to
look sleek. It is an education where the precedents of star designers are less
relevant than creative appropriation from a global palette of grassroots
precedents in Brazil, Mexico, China, and Los Angeles itself. With regenerative
strategies at its heart, Pomona’s program looks beyond the design of gardens or
plazas—icons that landscape architects such as Tommy Church and Lawrence Halprin,
FASLA, invented for California throughout much of the 20th century—to the
creation of self-renewing systems for an entire region that is both socially
rich and environmentally stressed.
With about 55 graduate students and more than 300
undergrads, Pomona is California’s largest landscape architecture program, and
it is the only California program with accredited undergraduate and graduate
degrees. For both undergrads and grads, tuition is only $2,500 per year for
in-state students. Although nonresident tuition is more (capped at $10,100 per
academic year), California makes residency relatively easy to achieve within a
…To read the entire article, subscribe to LAM!
New | LAND | Annual
Product Profiles & Directory