Will Green, ASLA, is a Professor of Landscape Architecture at URI has created something that we all wish we would have had back in the day – a free “Green Design Academy.” See his interview below and coverage from the local paper. Feel free to create a “camp” in your area for those design deprived youth of America:
The Warwick Beacon described the program best:
The Green Design Academy will be held July 11 to 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the URI Kingston campus. This is the first time the academy has been offered.
The Green Design Academy will feature examples of sustainable development projects and career options with classroom instruction, guest speakers and field trips.
1. How was the Green Design Academy created?
Director of the URITC, Deb Rosen, considered it a good addition to the URITC’s summer offerings that are introducing young people to design and construction discipline/career tracks. The interest in environmental sustainability was a driver as the Landscape Architecture program at URI focuses much of its attention on sustainable/green design. Since all transportation systems include landscape / ecological elements, it seemed like a good fit.
2. How were the curriculum, speakers, and field trips determined?
Once Green Design/Sustainable Design was selected as the theme for the academy, it was just a question of determining how to provide high school students with an exciting introduction to the topic. We decided on themes, skills, tools, and careers by introducing the students to speakers and then setting out to explore and discuss design considerations and choices/options. Alumni and others in the design and construction fields were approached who are willing and interested in sharing their thoughts and showing projects and/or business sites with young people who may not be aware of the vital green career options that are out there.
3. Why should high school students consider landscape architecture as a field of study?
Good landscape architecture makes people smile. Parks, urban plazas, campuses, homesteads, communities, and many other places and environments are used, valued, and critical to the health of communities and the resources on which we all depend. Careers in design are rewarding, as they allow practitioners to create, preserve, and protect places that enhance the quality of life in our cities and towns. Landscapes can be beautiful, safe, and healthy, and they involve their designers in satisfying the needs of clients and communities. Landscape architecture is a career that has many facets and can be applied nearly anywhere that there are lands, systems, people, and governments in need of the wide range of design and communication skills that they possess. Some of the skills include drawing and seeing, interpreting the landscape and working with the public, knowledge of ecology and local regulations, sustainable practices, grading and drainage as well as plants and computer applications.
4. What role does sustainable landscape architecture play in transportation?
It is important to the character of the landscape and contributes to the health, safety and welfare of transportation facilities. Landscape architecture can be used to define spaces and contribute to the visual and ecological values found throughout our transportation corridors. It can channel movement, direct views, and create colorful environments that help define our roads, paths, and communities while also directing and filtering runoff, enhancing ecosystems and protecting areas prone to flooding and erosion. It can lead to fewer impacts on our forests and cleaner water supplies. Green design can also result in the protection of sensitive resource areas and green fields and the reestablishment of blighted urban areas or brownfields.
5. What does the job market look like in the next 5-10 years for landscape architecture?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics within the U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment of landscape architects is expected to grow much faster than the average for all design professions, an expected increase of 20% through the year 2018. The planning and development of new construction, along with the continued redevelopment of existing buildings and sites, will together create more opportunities for landscape architects. With rising land costs and a public desire for more beautiful spaces, the importance of site planning and landscape architecture is growing proportionally. Environmental concerns and an increased demand for sustainable sites will also increase the demand for the services provided by landscape architects. As such, there should be good job prospects for landscape architecture graduates, although opportunities may vary by year and geographic location.