ASLA Declares April 2005 National Landscape Architecture Month

Michigan ASLA Chapter Plans School Walkability Audits


LANSING, MI, April 5, 2005—The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has declared April 2005 as National Landscape Architecture Month. In recognition of the theme, Design for Active Living, Michigan landscape architects will join walkability audits being conducted by eight elementary schools around the state in conjunction with the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness as part of the statewide Safe Routes to School initiative.

”Years ago, we all used to walk to school, to the store, to the park, or to a friend’s house, but now we often are unable to walk or bike anywhere safely, because our communities are designed mainly for car travel,” said Doug Schultz, ASLA, vice president of communications for the ASLA Michigan Chapter. "The change from a pedestrian to a commuter lifestyle has fueled an epidemic of obesity in the U.S., particularly among children. We want to encourage everyone to look at their communities during April and become advocates for an environment that is more exercise-friendly. As landscape architects, working with public officials, developers, and residents, we can design active living components back into our communities."

The theme, Design for Active Living, highlights how community design effects residents’ daily activity levels and, in turn, their overall health. Studies show that access to resources such as parks, recreational facilities, bicycle paths, walking trails, and sidewalks can increase physical activity among residents, lowering obesity and improving health.

Safe Routes to School, funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation with additional support from the Michigan Department of Community Health, is a statewide movement to make walking and biking to school safe, efficient, and fun. The Michigan initiative is completing a two-year pilot project, culminating in a Safe Routes to School Toolkit that will be available to all Michigan elementary schools in August 2005.

“Safe Routes to School (SR2S) is a perfect fit for landscape architects because they have the expertise and dedication needed to assess and improve walking and biking routes. I am so pleased that the Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects has been such an active partner in our statewide effort and that individual members will join local walking audits,” said Marilyn Lieber, president and CEO of the Michigan Fitness Foundation/Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness.

Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects representing more than 15,000 members. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation, and rehabilitation. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship. Learn more about landscape architecture online at and at

For more information on supporting or participating in the Michigan ASLA Chapter activities, please contact Doug Schultz, ASLA,

For an up-to-date schedule of SR2S walking audit locations, dates and times, contact the Michigan Fitness Foundation at 800 434-8642 or Candance Lee Kokinakis,


Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371