Tone of the Discussion Board

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    Tanya Olson

    Wow! What an eye-opening link. Thanks for posting.
    I THINK you are saying (in your previous entry) that there is a difference between criticizing and critical thinking – one is destructive the other, productive. Sometimes its easy to forget the vast difference between the two.


    Right. I’m also saying that idealism is good for the community at large. Design is inherently subjective- your ideals in design may not match with others and ther is no right or wrong answer, ever. To that end, I think passionate discussion, even argument and the expression of discontent is important in moving the profession forward (or backward).

    In short, I agree there’s an epidemic of ‘soul crushing’ culture in the corporate environment today. How we respond is up to each of us, but keep the line of communication open and try to be constructive.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I’m not saying that we should not have ideals and aspire to do more. I am saying that it all starts from ourselves understanding what specific opportunities are out there and finding a way to make it work until we can move to the next better situation. Ideals are great unless they are keeping you from participating or keeping others from wanting you to participate.


    I think we’re generally on the same page, philosophically.

    I think I was trying to say what you just said in the last part of your comment with this:

    Whether we carry this philosophy into the professional environment is up to each of us, but I think you fisrt need to educate yourself enough to have something to respond to- some way to DO something that is real and quantifiable.

    I dont think I made my point very clear.


    I have also noticed the negative vibe on the blog as well. I agree with the other comments stating that this blue tone is a product of the slow economy. I personally know of several professionals that are going through the same thing. I think most of the architects in the NYC area are starving right now, unless they were fortunate enough to have secured long term and well funded projects before the bottom fell out. That’s right, we are suffering along with every body else. I’m bringing in a fraction of what I earned two years ago, but I’m still thankful that the profession of landscape architecture has provided me with a good income for 20 plus years. Yes, there have been lean times during my career, but I couldn’t imagine myself being anything other than an LA. I love what I do and I am proud to wear the title of Landscape Architect.

    When economic downturns occur they usually affect all design professionals. I know it’s hard right now, these are trying times. But, it’s not the end of the world. As far as I’m concerned the future is bright for landscape architects, the US is going through a major transformation. Attitudes regarding the built environment are changing in favor of our profession. My recommendation to landscape architecture graduates and junior landscape architects is to hone up on your skills, network and position yourself to take advantage of the opportunities that will be available for you in the near future. Stay positive, this “funk” is just temporary. Please don’t let these guys whining about their decision to study landscape architecture bring you down. As a guy who has earned his stripes as an LA; this kind of talk rubs me the wrong way. It doesn’t matter what you have to do right now to ride out this storm, weather its delivering pizza or wearing a chicken costume, don’t give up on the profession. You can make a good honest living and work with some really cool people. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, the sky is the limit. Just hang in there; things are going to get better.

    Tim Waterman

    A healthy combination of pragmatism and idealism is what’s called for at the moment. I think that at present we have as strong a sense of ourselves as a profession as we have ever had, combined with the certainty that the work we do can be a tremendous force for positive change.

    On the other hand, we’re in a lousy job market that no amount of ‘soul-searching’ will rectify. You can’t seek inside yourself to correct a problem that is external and systemic (leave the soul-searching to the financiers). What you can do, though, is:

    1) Create amazing visions – a bit of spare time and teamwork and drive spawned groups like Archigram and Superstudio
    2) Keep designing – whether it is pro bono work or guerrilla gardening or small projects (there were a great many architect-designed chairs produced during the Great Depression)
    3) Get involved – your professional organisation needs you to promote and defend landscape architecture – remember that you’re a member and not a beneficiary

    Hard-headedness and determination wins the day over either rosy positive thinking or grey depression in times like these. And this is absolutely and utterly the time to act on all that idealism you learned in school!

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