When did you determine that the profession is not respected?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION When did you determine that the profession is not respected?

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    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    There are and have been several threads that are based upon a single premise. That is that the profession of landscape architecture is not respected. I don’t happen to believe that, but several people clearly do.

    My question is at what point did you determine that it was not respected? I have to think that no one would enter a profession that he or she believed was not respected. That makes me think that somewhere between entering school and the present there was a change in perception. I’m very interested in hearing what made that change for you. Can anyone point to what triggered it for you?

    Jonathan J. Bob

    I’m not sure I agree with you about the profession not being respected. Certainly there are people that don’t respect Landscape Architects/Architecture because they don’t know what we do or what it is (back to the “can you do my backyard” theme in another discussion). Then there are people (clients) that want a landscape architect involved in all aspects of their project. It comes down to education and perception (of the public). All it takes is one good (or bad) experience by a person to form a pretty solid opinion. How many people don’t respect lawyers or car salespersons. Have a good experience with either one and you will use them again when you need one. Now if you are talking about other design professionals (ie engineers, planners, etc) I think any lack of respect comes from the fact that in most situations they can “legaly” do what we do, and we can’t do what they do. We are seen as unnecessary. But sometimes the answer isn’t as simple as XYZ. Sometimes its X*7 and it takes a creative person, thinking outside the box to suggest the difference.


    I believe it’s the general lack of Landscape Starchitects and the general offense to the classic “design my backyard” remark for many. Otherwise, this field is actually becoming much more respected. See: http://archrecord.construction.com/news/daily/archives/090806landscapearc-1.asp

    For me, as a landscape architect I think our magazine is relatively lacking. The overall marketing, layouts, and process behind it seems to deliberately go out of it’s way to make this profession bland, but that’s just a matter of my own taste. See : http://faslanyc.blogspot.com/2009/09/man-down-bill-thompson-ends-reign-of.html

    Winston White

    Landscape Architecture for me started before I went to formally start my MLA at UCT. The firm I worked for had a principle landscape architect who had been around for +/- 40 years. The firm was well established, and was well known and still is in that part of the world amoungst all kinds of professionals, architects, engineers, planners, developers. Developers often contacted my boss as a first resort, and international clients flew out to south africa to meet my boss on his terms.

    Other landscape architects are also well known for being an absolute nuisance on any professional team. It seems to me that the profession of LA has lots to offer within the development process, and all other professions and developers realise this but sometimes might want to recognise this because of a bad experience with a particular LA. The onus is on us to represent LA in a respectful way, thats the only way we can gain respect amongst other professionals. It entails groundbreaking but realistic thinking having a good grounding in what can be realistically achieved on the ground and thinking wholistically about the effects that our professional work has on other professions. Opposition is experienced when we don’t work with other professionals. We’re a profession on the rise, and still very young in the majority of countries around the world, and we can’t really afford to step on toes at this early part of our professional establishment within the built and natural environment.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    My question is not why others may not respect landscape architects or what we can do to make it more respected by them. My question is to those who are in the profession who now believe that they entered a profession that is not respected. Again, I am NOT one of those.

    The question is when did you determine that it is not respected and was there a particular event or revelation that happened to make that clear?

    I think there is a big difference between not being respected and not being revered. Sometimes I wonder if a lot of the frustration that is out there has more to do with the latter.

    Trace One

    I see a difference in the status of LA’s, east coast and west coast..In Virginia, Wlm. McDonough is like a little god, and New York, home to the most beautiful designed parks in the world, loves LA;s unqualifiedly.. But I think here in CA., we are more decorators and irrigation specialists, less land forming and site interpretation..

    Perhaps another aspect to the, I would say, lack of status of LA’s is the general resistance of the public to thinking about ecology..Compared to the advances made in medicine, the understanding of the earth is nowhere..All cancers are minutely analyzed at the cell level and smaller, but are hardly addressed at the macro scale..If medicine had a north pacific garbage gyre in the middle of national health, there would be hundreds of little post-docs running around with grants investigating how to solve it..And it would get solved..There is not hardly one pinky being lifted to clean up the earth, to live in an increasingly environmentally conscious way….

    Keven Graham

    You raise an interesting discuss here and I am glad you have. The threads of recent have been good for raising questions but as one who is proud to use ASLA behind my name, I must say disappointing. The profession of LA is long and rich in history and we have great opportunities in the future. I know the times right now are dreadful, I own a firm and I see it, I get it. But it is disturbing to hear and read some of the dissolution and complete lack of LA professionalism. Is there a lack of respect, maybe. Is there a lot of competition out there right now, yes. Ask any profession and you are going to here the same thing. We have debated on this forum about titles and what we do. The fact is we use the title Landscape Architecture and some do break it down to more specific areas of the discipline. I understand some to not understand why, perhaps we should ask all engineers why they break out what they do, civil, electrical, structural. Because they do specialize, why is it wrong for an LA to do the same.

    To the respect issue and we keep complaining about other professions not respecting us. Engineers and architects have a few more numbers than we do. Yes they have a bigger voice, a bigger bark when it comes to lobbing and I think that is were the issues really is. If you, we want to be respected we must have a voice. The staff at ASLA works extremely hard at advocacy these days. But how many of the members are doing their part in being vocal advocates for our profession. If you want respect, demand respect. Go out and make sure your political representative know who you are and that you can be a resource to them. If you, we can attain that the respect will follow from the other profession we like to complain about. It is not a new argument or question, just not one we have truly acted on.

    Sorry had to vent a bit, just get involved and help make the change so we come out of these times stronger.

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