Can I apply for MLA programs or jobs in LA?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums EDUCATION Can I apply for MLA programs or jobs in LA?

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    Tosh K

    Robert has in the past made his views clear on ‘sustainability’ and as I understand practice in the more conservative parts of TX.  I’m not sure, but I suspect some of it may be a reaction to ‘market fads’ (correct me if I’m wrong here Robert).

    I do agree wholeheartedly with you (and you’ve made great points below).  Each part of the country has differing issues pertaining to environmental/economic/cultural sustainability, but I think it’s safe to say most design professions take a keen interest in this area.

    David Larouche

    Well said, thank you Barbara.


    Hello Barbara;

    I read your comments here with great interest…and appreciate your contribution to this discussion.   Also, I spent some time looking over your LA firms’ website….outstanding!

    I have spent time studying LEED, but am far from being an expert on the subject that you are.

    As I mentioned, I realize that “sustainable design” is a worldwide movement, I just believe that it’s a reasonably small niche.  Though, I noticed when reading about your LA firm, you offer a wide scope of design services…which, especially in today’s economy, is a wise approach to doing business as an LA.

    For most of my 30+ LA career, I was focused on upscale multi-family develops (from coast to coast).  Maybe that industry is changing, maybe it’s beginning to move a bit towards being more “green”, more “energy efficient” in the way the developers design & build those types of projects, I really don’t know.

    But, throughout my LA career, had I tried to push LEED, sustainability or other green energy thinking in my design process…it would have been like beating my head up against a brick wall……..*smile*.  Of course, when I had opportunities to specify native plants in an effort to conserve water usage, I did.  But, I always had “budgets” to deal with…always. And, I found that many times, trying to find sources for “native plant materials” were just not cost effective in the eyes of my clients. 

    And, I know, times are changing.  But, I can’t help but believe that much of the “sustainability” & “green energy” movement is somewhat “political”.  Many University LA programs offer & encourage courses in “sustainable” studies….but, we have to all remember, the Gov’t grants many millions to U.S. Universities…so, if the Gov’t is wanting to have its’ say on the directions of education – what programs should be considered high priority, I think we can count on the Gov’t in having its’ say in the matter.

    As for TOSH’s comment or somewhat of a slur towards the fact that I live in TEXAS.  All I can say, is, it’s a sad state when an LA can’t come to a Landscape Architecture forum (like LAND8) and express their opinions without getting slammed…..for either their opinion or because the live in a different location in the Country.  I have never understood WHY many people living in the NYC or far NE of the U.S., believe that LIFE doesn’t exist SOUTH of NYC…I assure those people, it does. Personally, I could never see living & working in the NE…..high cost of living, high taxes and unbearable Winters to endure…like this year’s Winter!

    And, I’m all for “sustainable designs”…and LEED. But, what of the other Nations on our Planet….Nations like China and other Counties (3rd World countries) where, yes, there are those designers who are very much in favor of “sustainable design”, but, the air & water pollution problems are beyond belief.  Unfortunately, there is no “wall” in the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans to keep air pollution from foreign nations from invading our airspace. 

    Maybe it’s just a matter of time, when more people on our Planet wake up and realize that our resources ARE limited and we must all make efforts to preserve them as we continue to develop and re-design our environments…making the Planet a better place for future generations.

    Again, I enjoyed your comments…Thank You!

    Respectfully Yours,

    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner 

    Eli Paddle

    With your background, skillset and interest and given that you are in Canada, you should look at the MLA program at the University of Guelph.  Sustainability is a major focus (have a look at the research done by the faculty there for more info) and you do not need a BLA to do an MLA.  Bear in mind that an MLA is a research degree and is intended to be more theoretical.  While some that practice question the value of theoretical education, there would be little to apply the practice without research. 

    Tosh K

    Robert – it wasn’t meant as a slur, just there is a different perception of TX in its conservative slant (I myself grew up in CO, MN, MO and VA).  I do agree with you in the concerns I have for degrees in ‘sustainability’  (the local elite university here spits kids out with all kinds of degrees in sustainability with many ‘interested’ in green infrastructure etc, but have never heard of Olmsted.  However, native plants are often strongly encouraged by local codes (in my experience in the Midwest and South as well as the Northeast); ditto for runoff treatment on site. My response above was the impression I get from what I perceive is your continued comments that most work LAs do has nothing to do with ‘sustainability’ – I find it odd and misleading.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I’m not one to wear socks with sandals, but working with environmental issues is pretty much as common and constant as working with plants or working with hardscapes in this profession whether you do residential work, National Parks, strip malls, or urban development.

    That supports both Trace’s perspective AND Robert’s perspective in this way. It is written into regulations and it is something we all do inherently to one degree or another. Because of that, “sustainability” is not really a niche and concentrating specifically in it is not likely to be as elevating and attractive to future employers as some might think.

    It is not a separate practice and I think this is Robert’s point. It is part of almost any LA work. In order to apply sustainable practices you have to be engaged in the development of the design that requires such practices. This means that you have to be sought after by developers to work toward their goals to just have a chance at making their projects more “sustainable”. It follows as a part of the overall project and not the other way around.

    Tosh K

    Well put Andrew.

    Omar – it seems you have skill sets that are valuable in the profession both computing and (presumably) broader conception of ‘sustainability.’  Many LA graduate programs (at least in the US) are geared toward those of us who studied something else.  For example, my classmates had undergraduate degrees in art, english, art history, engineering, biology, policy, photography; many had a few years of work experience varying from publishing to environmental law.  In terms of jobs, you’ll have more success if you have a network to work with as the computing skills are what would make you most useful to a firm.  Minor in sustainable studies won’t get you much in LA.


    Trace……….Well, there’s NOT sufficient info. provided on your LAND8 Folio….to know where you’re coming from.

    ***Please go read my comment on PAGE 2***

    Oh, geeezzzz, you’re in California. And from reading a few of your other blog comments, you must be 100% onboard with the “green energy” movement as well.  I’ve got some sad news for you & our President…it’s not working.

    Would you believe….for most of the 30 yrs. I practiced Landscape Architecture…..the TERM “sustainability” never came up….never.  And, I’ve worked with hundreds of design consultants, other Landscape Architects and well over 100 developers.

    You’re absolutely entitled to your opinions… just gets really OLD writing anything here in the LAND8 Forum….because, people (like you) just love to hammer people….and put them down for expressing their opinions.

    Your FOLIO shows us nothing of your “credibility”.  Where you work or have designed.  Design samples, etc.  Are we to believe that you are the GURU of U.S. sustainability??? 

    Trace One

    Haha @Robert, all I said was BMP’s are  written into law, through NEPA, I think, which is Federal. So it applies across the country as far as I know. Have you never had to design stormwater systems? I do work at the state scale, so perhaps if you do a lot of residential you don’t deal with stormwater so much, but BMP’s are still a really good idea, at that scale..

    And yes, I am on-board – I went to Penn, so if you have been around for so long, you will remember Ian McHarg teaching environmental design, the layer cake method of analyzing and then designing sites in an environmentally  conscious fashion, which in turn is intended to allow the landscapes to evolve and survive  over time, working WITH nature, in other words, sustainability. 

    I just can’t relate to not seeing sustainability, whatever you want to call it, as not being part of Landscape Arch. It is what we do. Landscapes must be living beings, you have to work with the earth, the sun, the climate, over time. Right?

    Calm down, buddy! I am  not impugning you, just your ideas. Although you seemed a LOT more on the fence on the issue, in your response to Barbara Brem.

    If you are, as others have pointed out, very vociferous in this site as anti-green, it is probably pointless fo spend any more time trying to respond to your opinion. As would be the same for you – I have found that mostly people have their minds made up, on a lot of stuff, and their own decision making has deep roots, that I cannot touch – parents, growing up, head-denting football games, whatever..So, chuz, RW.

    : )


    Yes, Trace (RW), I am very familiar with the teachings of Ian McHarg (as well as his book “Design With Nature”). He was, without a doubt, one of the top and foremost leaders in the ecological movement (now, pretty much known as “sustainability”).

    I am also aware of well known people such as Al Gore, who, is probably best known for the term “Global Warming”…now, more commonly called “Climate Change”.  Oh yeah, the weather keeps changing – what a revolutionary concept, Ha!  Sort of been going on here on Planet Earth for millions of years. Surely, people don’t believe that we can CHANGE what “mother nature” from doing what she has been doing here on Earth for the past million years!?

    I invite you to read, maybe do a little research about Wayne Visser of Cambridge University.  For over 20 years, he has been one of the World’s foremost authorities on “sustainability”.  But, recently in an article has stated “sustainability faces extinction”. He discusses that fact that fortune 500 companies have a lifespan of 40 to 50 yrs., while smaller companies may last only 12.5 years.  So, while it’s a wonderful and self-fulfilling thing to “save the planet”, we sort of have to save ourselves first.  Interesting reading, take a look.

    And no, I have never designed a “storm water management system”.  While I understand there are cross-over areas of design between various design professionals (like Landscape Architects & Civil Engineers), throughout my LA career, CE’s handled storm water management.  Though, I have personally designed (by hand) over 500 site Grading Plans (from pancake sites to very steep sites and everything in between), I have always understood and respected the importance of designing sites while respecting the environment. 

    I know, you believe me to be “old school” set in my ways, etc. No, I’m not at all, I’m a very open-minded person and former practicing LA.  I’m also a “realist”.  I believe that while we are all busy trying to “save our Planet”, we must also live our lives. Trust me, mankind will not even make a dent in our Planet.  Earth has been and always will change, in spite of what we humans do or don’t do. But, I think it’s admirable that many are doing what they can to help lessen the negative impact that we may have on the Planet…..I just believe that our impact is a bit over-stated.  I tend to believe Wayne Visser (who has written 18 books about sustainability) has a pretty good grasp of the subject.

    Well, we can all agree to disagree on most any topic.  I totally respect your views.

    Kind Regards,

    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

    Andrew Harvey


    I have a BA, double major in English and Liberal Arts, from Concordia, took a couple of courses in landscape as an independent student at U de M and I ended up going to U Manitoba for an MLA.

    With your academic background, I would suspect you would easily be a candidate.

    1st thing you need to know:

    it is extremely unlikely that you will graduate from a Canadian MLA programme within the prescribed time. Took myself about 2.5 years for the course and studio work, including two summer studios, plus almost an additional three years to complete my practicum. This was pretty much the norm at U Manitoba. When I was at U de M and the graduate programme was strictly academic, the same was true, but I do not know what will come of the new MLA programme that started this year.

    2nd thing: 

    As I am sure you already know, Montreal doesn’t have the greatest job market and in landscape architecture there’s a fair amount of competition given the high number, 35~45 annually or so?, of graduates from the BLA programme. This doesn’t mean you won’t find work, but conventional routes are easier in places like Laval and South Shore.


    Get involved now! CEUM, Eco-Quartier, CCA, Sustainable Concordia, Santropol, Pousse-Urbaine, etc. Volunteering and networking with any of these orgs can lead to some interesting projects that will help build your portfolio.


    Autocad, Autocad, Autocad. Most entry level jobs and internships you will get in Canada are landscape technician positions. You will need to pump out CAD drawings at a quick pace.


    To “Trace One”;

    Just now, I was viewing an interview on FOX News of the Co-Founder of Green Peace“…an organization I feel you are very much aware of.  Probably an organization that former VP Al Gore is buddies with.  This Co-Founder (Mr. Patrick Moore, PhD in Ecology) is no longer with “Green Peace” as he no longer shares their views.

    In the interview, he states basically there is ZERO PROOF of Global Warming.  He mentions that the Climate Change Committee at the United Nations stated that Humans have been causing the Earth to warm up over the past 50 years.  When, in fact, it has been warming for the past 100+ years.  He went on to state that what’s going on with this entire “CONCEPT” of Global Warming or Climate Change….whatever you want to call it is for the benefit of the “green energy” companies and politicians who will PROFIT from all this talk.  Mr. Moore stated that Mankind is but a blink of the eye when you look at the overall millions of years the Earth has been in existence. He went on to state that the levels of Co2 on the Planet, not more.

    Mr. Moore also stated that University Professors can’t even get Gov’t Grants unless they buy into the whole “Global Warming” theory.  And then, of course, these liberal University Professors pass along their agendas with regards to “Global Warming – Climate Change” to their University Students. 

    I’m much more convinced that Mr. Patrick Moore (with 30 yrs. of research/experience & a PhD in Ecology) is CORRECT about all this than others who think they know so much about so called Global Warming…..including Al Gore.  Besides, Al Gore sold out to Al Jazeera (one of the largest OIL interest groups in the World).  I believe about 3 or 4 yrs. ago, Al Gore predicted that Polar Ice Caps would be melted by now…..too funny.

    Well, I do realize that on more local levels, ecology and sustainability are all good…and that many local governments have laws in place that designers (like LAs) must adhere to.  But, as I mentioned before in this discussion……sustainability is a very “narrow’ area of Landscape Architecture…a positive thing to practice, but, from what Mr. Patrick Moore was saying, he believes NOW, that billions of dollars are being directed in the wrong direction…that there are many better uses for the people on this Planet than what’s being spent by the supporters of “Green Peace” and that entire movement.

    Craig Anthony

    Horse poo, if ecology and sustainability make sense on a local level, why wouldn’t it make sense on a global scale. Are we living in a bunch of disconnected bubbles? I really don’t think anyone knows for sure the effects of burning fossil fuels, strip mining, deforestation and dumping pollutants on the land and water has on the world, but if it’s bad for my backyard or neighborhood, why wouldn’t it be bad for the planet as a whole, especially if it’s being done by millions of individuals and industries. I’m no scientist, but common sense tells me that until we really know what all this stuff we’re doing to the earth is doing in the long term, we might want to throttle it back some.

    I’ve been in the business for 25 years and I have always focused on being “green” and sustainability. It was drilled into me by my professors, but they just called it something else.

    Besides if I were trying to get someone to listen to my point of view on a subject, the last thing I would say is that I’m getting my information from Fox News. I wonder how many people stopped reading your comment after the first sentence. I’m sorry Bob but it seems the more you post, the more you illustrate just how narrow minded you really are. 


    Well as much as I despise Greenpeace, this fellow is correct in his assertions about global warming. We definitely should be working on our level of consumption in terms of cutting down forests and such, but placing limits on CO2 emissions is just a money spinner and power trip by vested interests.. it just does nothing for us as a society, and does nothing in terms of global climate. Completely pointless exercise.

    We need sustainable thinking, as well as energy and economy. Making life more expensive for the average person by utilizing a toxic ideology is not sustainable practice to me.

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