Updates from ASLA


What Is Public Practice Landscape Architecture?

Engaging and collaborating with community members is an essential skill for landscape architects that work in public practice. | ASLA 2021 Professional Urban Design Honor Award. Market + Georgia Public Space, Chattanooga, Tennessee. WMWA Landscape Architects and Genesis the Greykid. Client: City of Chattanooga C/O Chattanooga Design Studio. / WMWA Landscape Architects & Chattanooga Design Studio

Public practice landscape architecture is a not-for-profit enterprise. Its mission is to design, implement, and manage functional, liveable, safe, and attractive places for the public. These spaces are often developed with a larger social goal in mind.

Goals can include:

  • Community gathering
  • Preservation and acknowledgment of history and place
  • Environmental resilience
  • Economic vitality

Public practice, including non-profit and governmental work, offers unique opportunities and challenges for practitioners. The ASLA Public Practice Subcommittee encourages more landscape architects to pursue careers in the public sector. They are especially interested in encouraging students in landscape architecture programs and emerging professionals.

Less than ten percent of ASLA’s membership identify as public practitioners. They work for local, state, and federal government agencies, universities and colleges, transit agencies, or parks and arboreta. Many of these ASLA members have found their way to public practice after years in private practice. They seek to have an impact on public spaces for the common good.

For landscape architects, emerging professionals, students, allied professionals, and others who may be less familiar with this type of landscape architecture practice, members of the Public Practice Subcommittee have created a new online guide outlining 10 distinctive aspects of public practice work:

  • Public Communications
  • Contract Administration
  • Data Collection & Analysis
  • Design
  • Engagement
  • Project Management
  • Public Asset Management
  • Regulation & Compliance
  • Representation
  • Research & Documentation

Explore Public Practice Landscape Architecture >

This resource was created by the Public Practice Subcommittee of the SKILL | ED Practice Management Institute Committee, previously the Public Practice Advisory Committee.

Many thanks to the authors and contributors:

  • Jean Senechal Biggs, ASLA, Vice President, Professional Practice
  • Adrian Smith, FASLA, Immediate Past Vice President, Professional Practice
  • Maureen Colaizzi, ASLA
  • Mark Heinicke, ASLA
  • Derek Holmer, ASLA
  • Bradley Jones, ASLA
  • Om Khurjekar, ASLA
  • Jill Ochs Zick, ASLA
  • Jennifer Shagin, ASLA
  • Kris Sorich, ASLA
  • Amie Wojtech, ASLA
  • Jon Wreschinsky, ASLA
  • Bethany Znidersic, ASLA

The Public Practice Subcommittee worked to:

  • Increase the number of landscape architects and their level of participation in ASLA from all areas of practice (local, state, and federal government; private; academic; and nonprofit) that are involved in public works of landscape architecture.
  • Serve the professional needs and increase the recognition of ASLA members employed in government, nongovernmental organizations, and nonprofit agencies who are involved in public works of landscape architecture.
  • Encourage students in landscape architecture programs to pursue careers in the public sector.
  • Identify and promote opportunities for collaboration among public and private landscape architects.
  • Increase awareness of the value of built and natural public landscapes.

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