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January 16, 2003
Contact: Jeff Lofton

American Society of Landscape Architects
636 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-3736
TEL. 202-898-2444
FAX 202-898-1185
Press Releases

Landscape Architecture Community Opposes U of Arizona
Plan to Close School of Landscape Architecture

WASHINGTON, DC—Leaders from across the landscape architecture community expressed their opposition to a plan presented yesterday by the University of Arizona (UA) to close its School of Landscape Architecture.

"All of our data shows there is a dire need for more landscape architecture degree programs, not fewer," said Paul F. Morris, FASLA, president of The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the lead urban designer with Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade and Douglas, Inc. "Arizona is struggling to balance development and population growth with environmental concerns—issues at the very core of what landscape architects do. At the same time, the UA landscape architecture program has been praised in its accreditation report and is practically unique in its focus on arid environmental design. Given those facts, we hope the University will reverse its decision."

Studies indicate that the demand for landscape architects will soon outpace the number of graduates being produced to enter the profession due to the expanded role of landscape architects in environmental design and the expected retirement of baby boomers.

The Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) accredited the school for the maximum six-year term in 2001. Ironically, suggestions from the positive LAAB report were cited by the University as a reason for closing the school.

"What are the real reasons for this decision?" asked Sara Katherine Williams, ASLA, chair of the LAAB and graduate coordinator at the University of Florida's Department of Landscape Architecture. "Providing reasonable access to research materials and improving the library are not major expenses in the larger picture and certainly not compelling evidence that a program is not viable or meeting its educational goals. LAAB handed down a positive report and it was for full accreditation for the maximum of six years. Citing one statement from the report as support to eliminate a program is inappropriate."

"There is a very high demand for graduates of this program, who understand our regional environmental and growth issues," said Dean Chambers, ASLA, president of the Arizona chapter of ASLA and an associate with EDAW, one of the largest landscape architecture firms in the world. "The UA graduate program is meeting a real need in our state and region."

The proposed cuts will now undergo a 105-day public comment process and University officials plan to present a final list of proposed eliminations to the Arizona Board of Regents in June.

Founded in 1899, the ASLA is the national professional association representing more than 13,500 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, management, preservation, and rehabilitation. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship.


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