US profession shows green shoots
Employment in the field is growing at a faster rate than the average of all US professions.
This marks a stark change from the 1980s and 1990s, when the profession suffered from a backlash against environmentalism, which some critics said ignored aesthetics in favour of efficiency. Now landscape architects are being vindicated, having shown that environmentalism and aesthetics are complementary.
The political and regulatory environments are working in their favour, too. The Obama administration’s emphasis on climate change, as well as existing environmental regulations, zoning laws and water restrictions, have shone a light on the benefits landscape architects can bring to a project.
The numbers bear this trend out. ENR reports that “employment of landscape architects through 2014 is expected to increase 18% to 26%, faster than the average of all US occupations, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics”. The field has caught the attention of mainstream media, too, with US News & World Report naming landscape architecture as one of its 30 best careers for 2009.
And practitioners’ confidence is growing; a decade ago, landscape architects would defer to the engineer’s opinion. “Today, we are more critical, knowing there are ways to step more lightly on the land,” said Jeff Zimmermann, a principle in the Denver office of Design Workshop.
With so many opportunities presenting themselves, it is clearly an exciting time in the world of American landscape architecture.
You can read ENR’s original article here.