America Needs More Livable Communities

National Organizations Join Together to Advocate Federal Action


Washington, D.C. -Leaders from ten national associations concerned with livable communities and associated smart growth issues met in Georgetown yesterday for a one-day symposium to begin drafting a vision statement and list of shared legislative goals for presentation to Congress to help shape their agenda for the year 2000. Congressional Task Force on Livable Communities Co-Chair Bob Weygand (D-RI) and Congressman Douglas Bereuter (R-NE) led the bipartisan session. 

Facilitated by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the meeting included representatives from the American Institute of Architects, American Planning Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Consulting Planners, Community Association Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Society of Professional Engineers, Surface Transportation Policy Project and the Trust for Public Land.

"Our organizations represent a wide range of views," said ASLA Executive Vice President Peter Kirsch. "We often discuss our differences and will undoubtedly continue to do so. What makes this meeting unique is that we came together to find our areas of commonality. Finding these areas of agreement makes it possible for us to work together to put forward a positive agenda to benefit American communities."

The vision statement touches on six areas held to be key to livable communities: education, housing, the physical environment, economic development, health/safety/security and transportation. Necessary Congressional actions discussed include full funding of TEA-21 and the Land and Water Conservation Act as well as passage of pending legislation such as the Brownfields Redevelopment and Liability Mitigation (HR 2580 and HR 1300), Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) (S-25 and HR701), Commercial Tax Credits for Inner City Revitalization (HR 2305) and Better America Bonds (S. 1558 and HR 2446).

The group's shared consensus will be circulated this month to the organizations for review and approval. In January, the final document outlining the group's vision and legislative goals will be presented to Congress to assist them in their decision-making. These recommendations will also be made public at that time.

The American Society of Landscape Architects, celebrating its centennial in 1999, represents more than 13,000 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation. Typical projects include site design and planning, town and urban planning, regional planning, preparation of environmental impact plans, garden design, historic preservation, and parks/recreation design and planning. Landscape architects hold undergraduate or graduate degrees. They are licensed to practice in 46 states and are required to pass a rigorous national three-day examination.


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