Landscape Architecture is the profession which applies artistic and scientific principles to the research, planning, design, and management of both natural and built environments. Practitioners of this profession apply creative and technical skills and scientific, cultural, and political knowledge in the planned arrangement of natural and constructed elements on the land with a concern for the stewardship and conservation of natural, constructed and human resources. The resulting environments shall serve useful, aesthetic, safe, and enjoyable purposes (Rogers 2011).
Landscape architecture may, for the purposes of landscape preservation, development and enhancement, include (Approved and adopted by the Board of Trustees, November 18, 1993. Source: ASLA 1993):
investigation, selection, and allocation of land and water resources for appropriate use;
formulation of graphic and written criteria to govern the planning and design of land construction programs;
preparation, review, and analysis of master plans for land use and development;
production of overall site plans, landscape grading and landscape drainage plans, irrigation plans, planting plans, and construction details;
cost estimates and reports for land development;
collaboration in the design of roads, bridges, and structures with respect to the functional and aesthetic requirements of the areas on which they are to be placed;
negotiation and arrangement for execution of land area projects;
field observation and inspection of land area construction, restoration, and maintenance.
Brief History of the Profession
The modern profession of landscape architecture, according to Norman T. Newton, began with the design of Central Park in New York City by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux (Newton 1971).
May 1863 is considered by Newton to be the founding date for the profession. On May 12, 1863, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. and Calvert Vaux resigned their positions as designers of New York’s Central Park and signed their resignation letter “Olmsted and Vaux, Landscape Architects.” This is the first official use of the title landscape architect and “serves to establish the date, perhaps better than any other, as the birthday of the profession of landscape architecture” (Newton 1971, 273).
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