Landscape Architects: Share Your Most Innovative Ideas

Driverless highway of the future / Natalia Beard, SWA Group
Driverless highway of the future / Natalia Beard, SWA Group

There are lots of great conferences that offer speaking opportunities for landscape architects. One in particular is SXSW Eco, which has become a leading forum for sustainable design across all disciplines. Last year, SXSW Eco provided a platform for a number of landscape architects, who spoke about everything from the future impact of autonomous vehicles on the built environment to how social media can be used to increase public participation in planning and design. Speaking at these kinds of inter-disciplinary events is important because it helps landscape architects reach a broad audience of influencers. SXSW Eco said last year nearly half of the conference’s attendees were their companies’ lead decision maker.

This year, SXSW Eco will be held in Austin, Texas, on October 10-12. Landscape architects can showcase their breakthrough ideas for the following subjects: cities, communications, conservation + adaptation, corporate responsibility, energy, food systems, policy, and water.

The conference organizers are looking for “content that inspires, educates, and informs, providing motivation as well as the tools to take action.” They want a real “diversity in perspective, opinion, and representation.” Furthermore, “self-promotion and advertorial presentations are not well-received.” Session proposals could include panels, workshops, debates, or any other creative format.

The conference will also feature a keynote speech by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the head of the Waterkeeper Alliance, who will talk about the movement to create swimmable, drinkable, fishable water for all; and talks by Annette Kim, University of Southern California’s Spatial Analysis Lab, who will uncover the “hidden connections between urban residents and their actions through data visualization;” and Raj Patel, University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs, who will explore the interconnected global food system.

Submit your session proposals by April 29. Using the “PanelPicker” tool, the SXSW community will then vote on which sessions will make it into the conference. Also, submit ideas for Place By Design, SXSW Eco’s “pitch competition,” which celebrates design with social and environmental impact, by May 27.

For those just looking to attend some conferences and hear some new ideas this spring or summer, here are a few: Leading with Landscape II: The Houston Transformation, Houston, Texas (March 11-13); American Planning Association (APA), Phoenix, Arizona (April 12-15); Dumbarton Oaks: Landscape and the Academy, Washington, D.C. (May 6-7); Grey to Green: Addressing Climate Change with Green Infrastructure, Toronto, Canada (June 1-4); Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), Detroit, Michigan (June 8 – 11); and Resilient Cites: 7th Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation, Bonn, Germany (July 6-8).

See hundreds of upcoming conferences at ASLA’s continuously-updated free resource: Conferences for Landscape Architects and also check out LA CES for yet more options that yield PDHs.

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