Balancing the Growth of Cities

This letter from ASLA National Student Representative Paul Fusco appears in the latest issue of LAND Online. Please let your voice be heard by using the comment system below.

No matter what we try to do the population is going to grow, and cities will follow the same path of expansion. Due to this growing change, we can’t try to fight the growing cities but should work with them and try to adapt what we love to what is more ecoefficient. This is where green design can flourish and produce an environmentally stable area. A visitor to The Dirt blog recently made a comment (echoing singer Joni Mitchell) asking why we pave our land and put up parking lots. I agree with the question, but I am sure that the majority of our population does not see eye to eye with us landscape architects. They are looking to have larger houses, wider highways, bigger parking lots—all resulting in the destruction of our natural environment. We must look at ways to balance the needs of our society and green space so our environments can survive.

There are many ways to do this, but the ideas and concepts behind green design fit and work perfectly. For instance, covered parking areas can be created where either green roof or solar panels can be placed to help reduce the heat island effect as well as provide other benefits. Another idea is to design cities and developments that promote public transportation and walking/biking to and from locations. In the field of landscape architecture there are a number of techniques that can be used to help better our environment.

With this being said, recent graduates and students of landscape architecture are going to be at the forefront of this endeavor. ASLA knows this and is working to help promote landscape architecture and to prepare and support students in the field. One of ASLA’s major goals is to try to bring a greater number of students to the national ASLA Annual Meeting. This is at the top of their list because the national conference is a gathering place of all landscape architects in the world. It is a way for students to see the new designs/techniques that are taking place in the profession. One of the special meetings at the national conference is an emerging professionals roundtable where topics picked by the students can be answered and talked about by professionals. It is a chance for students to bring questions and concerns they might have about entering the field and get them answered by both professionals and recent graduates.

Because I am on the committee that is working to create this roundtable I wanted to ask you, the students and graduates, what topics you feel would be of interest. They can be about salary, workload, interviews, and anything else that you feel would be beneficial to hear before you have to enter the working world.


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