ASLA Releases Comprehensive Policy Recommendations for Biden-Harris Administration

ASLA released a comprehensive set of policy recommendations for the new Biden-Harris administration titled “Landscape Architects Design Vibrant, Resilient, and Just Communities for All - Recommendations for the Biden-Harris Administration.”

“Our climate is in crisis. Social and racial injustice issues continue to go unaddressed. The pandemic is forcing us to rethink public space," said Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). "Landscape architects aren’t just designing resilient, sustainable solutions for all these problems – they’re designing the public policies necessary to support that vital work.”

The report makes specific, actionable policy recommendations in four major areas:
  • Applying STEM-related design principles to protect communities.
  • Addressing climate change through sustainable, resilient design.
  • Supporting green community infrastructure solutions.
  • Promoting racial, social, and environmental justice in design.  
“Landscape architects play a vital and irreplaceable role in the design of the built environment. It’s time their recommendations for how that design is governed are heard and implemented,” Carter-Conneen added. “ASLA urges the Biden-Harris administration and the new Congress to review these recommendations and begin the process of implementing them.”

ASLA and our partners look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration and the new Congress on implementing these policy recommendations that will lead to vibrant, resilient and just communities across the nation.

View the full report at >

Support from Our Partners

ASLA's policy recommendations have board support from organizations within the landscape architecture profession.

 LF logo “The pandemic has revealed now more than ever the value of public open spaces: we are human beings and need to be outside and with other human beings. These policy recommendations provide overdue support to enable landscape architects to design healthy, accessible and equitable outdoor places for people to connect with nature and each other, and rebuild the public realm infrastructure.”
    - Barbara Deutsch, FASLA – CEO, Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF)

BlackLAN logo"The Black Landscape Architects Network (BlackLAN) Board of Directors supports the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) policy recommendations submitted to the Biden-Harris Administration. As a community of Black landscape architecture students and professionals, we support actions that advance racial equality, spatial equity, and environmental justice. These recommendations reaffirm the importance of Black landscape architects as leaders and place makers who work within diverse ecologically and socially changing communities in our nation and globally."
    - BlackLAN Board of Directors 

CELA logo"The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA), as a part of our mission to support educators to advance the profession, strongly supports the policy recommendations presented by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) on behalf of all landscape architects. We believe that these recommendations are the foundation for healthy, equitable and sustainable communities in the U.S.A. and the World.”
    - Sadik C. Artunc, FASLA – President, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA)

LAAB logo"The Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) fully supports ASLA’s recommendations to the Biden-Harris Administration, particularly the focus on STEM, climate change, and racial, social, and environmental justice which directly align with the recent revisions of LAAB’s Accreditation Standards. These standards ensure that graduates of accredited landscape architecture degree programs are prepared to address the critical contemporary issues facing our country."

McHarg Center Logo  “Rebuilding this country—literally and metaphorically—is an all-hands on-deck moment. To do it well, we’ll need landscape architects throughout the Administration, working together with technical experts, movement leaders, and workers to develop bold new approaches to climate, racial, and economic justice through the project management of this country’s infrastructure and public works. ASLA’s policy recommendations will help make this possible.” 
      - Billy Fleming  Wilks Family Director, Ian L. McHarg Center - University of Pennsylvania
CLARB Logo“The Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) works to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare through establishing and promoting professional licensure standards of landscape architects, in addition to administering the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) which is a requirement for licensure in the United States. CLARB supports ASLA’s efforts to ensure state licensing standards remain rigorous, accessible, and in the interest of public protection, so the profession can continue its critical work in serving the public through the natural and built environment.” 

About the Report

The American Society of Landscape Architects compiled a comprehensive series of specific, actionable policy recommendations designed to give landscape architects a seat at the table and support for their vital work. The report is broken down into four sections.

The first, Landscape Architects Apply STEM to Protect the Public, outlines the measures necessary to assist landscape architects in meeting the economic demands and challenges facing our nation.

Recommendations in this section include:
  • Support continued state licensure of highly complex technical professions, including landscape architecture, to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
  • Provide targeted and sustained COVID-19 relief for small businesses, including landscape architecture firms.
  • Appoint landscape architects to key positions throughout the Biden-Harris administration, including within the Departments of Transportation, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture, and in the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, the U.S. Access Board, and others.
  • Include landscape architecture on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Designated Degree Program List.
The second section, Landscape Architects Lead in Climate Solutions, focuses on policy solutions that support landscape architects’ work to design resilient, sustainable spaces that help communities mitigate and adapt to the effects of the ongoing climate crisis.

Recommendations in this section include:
  • Create a comprehensive, science-based climate action plan to significantly reduce carbon emissions.
  • Establish adaptation and mitigation strategies using natural systems to make communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
  • Protect underserved communities from climate and environmental injustices.
  • Adopt the Sustainable Sites Initiative® (SITES®) for all federal projects.
  • Reverse rules, regulations, and policies from the Trump administration that weaken environmental protections and ignore climate change, specifically involving the National Environmental Policy (NEPA) and the Waters of the U.S.( WOTUS).
The third section, Landscape Architects Transform Community Infrastructure, outlines policies to encourage the designing and building of community infrastructure projects in a way that fosters sustainable development, generates jobs, encourages healthy lifestyles, and creates resilient, equitable, and economically vibrant communities.

Recommendations in this section center around the following goals:
  • Upgrade to a multimodal transportation network.
  • Fix our nation’s water management systems.
  • Recognize public lands, parks, and open space as “critical infrastructure.”
  • Design resilient communities.
The fourth and final section, Landscape Architects Seek Racial, Social, and Environmental Justice, provides specific recommendations that seek to address the inequities that harm underserved communities, including communities of color, low-income populations, and Tribal and Indigenous communities across the country.

Recommendations in this section include:
  • Work with Congress to codify Executive Order 12898, so that it is permanent law for federal agencies to identify and address the disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental effects of agency actions on low-income and minority communities.
  • Join stakeholders across the country in advancing the tenets of the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 5986), which help to ensure that all communities are protected from pollution and that all voices are heard in the federal environmental decision-making.
  • Consider policies that promote design techniques as a tool to address racial, environmental, and social justice for all.
The full list of recommendations is available in PDF form on our website at >


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