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D.C. Licensure Becomes Law

The District joins all 50 states.

On April 7, landscape architecture licensure became law in the District of Columbia, making it the 52nd jurisdiction in the United States (including Puerto Rico) to require landscape architecture licensure. The Regulation of Landscape Architecture and Professional Design Firms Amendment Act (B21-0790) establishes licensure through a practice act and adds landscape architecture representatives to the newly renamed Board of Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape Architecture.

“Licensure is a critical government function,” says Nancy C. Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA. “A substantial body of evidence proves that landscape architectural services have a significant impact on public health, safety, and welfare. Landscape architects lead the way on initiatives such as designing to conserve water and protect water quality, managing stormwater runoff, planning cutting-edge transportation corridors, and designing parks and recreation projects that promote active lifestyles.“

In 2001, ASLA created the 50 by 2010 Licensure Campaign. At the start of the campaign, only 30 states regulated the practice of landscape architecture through practice acts. An additional 16 states protected the title "landscape architect" through a law called a title act and four states had no regulation. A practice act requires licensure to practice landscape architecture, while title acts allow any individual to practice landscape architecture as long as they do not call themselves a landscape architect. Now, with passage of the D.C. law, 48 jurisdictions regulate landscape architecture through practice acts and three states (Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maine) regulate the profession through a title act. While the official campaign has long ended, its core values are still relevant and remain key priorities for ASLA: protecting public health, safety, and welfare; defending the practice of landscape architecture from challenges; and enhancing laws to ensure that landscape architects are empowered to practice to the full breadth of their competence.

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