Sept. 19 2019 07:02 AM

Report examines issues that underrepresented groups face in the profession.

The American Society of Landscape Architects, Washington, D.C., has released its 2019 Diversity Summit Report. The report, the product of a summit held earlier this year, examines issues that African American, Latinx, Native American and other underrepresented groups face in the landscape architecture profession.

“We are landscape architects. We have common things that make us the same, as well as important differences that I want to make part of this profession,” says Shawn T. Kelly, FASLA, president of ASLA.

As ASLA continues to advance the recommendations of past Diversity Summits, the organization and the growing community of attendees is committed to:

  • Preparing ASLA members and chapters to adopt and implement engagement outreach strategies to increase educators, new strategic partners, and STEM stakeholders;
  • Optimizing a contemporary paradigm whereby messaging and resources are developed to showcase unique solutions landscape architects apply to real-world problems, and;
  • Establishing ASLA national position, values, and goals for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through an awareness campaign for firms, institutions, and individuals.

Together, these strategies will serve to educate and engage young people in the profession of landscape architecture and position ASLA members and chapters to implement and measure.

In 2013, ASLA convened its first Diversity Summit with the goal of developing a deeper understanding of why landscape architecture as a profession doesn’t attract a more diverse profile. Each summit brings together a group of experienced and emerging landscape architects who identify as African American or Latinx to develop strategies that address diversity issues in the field. These strategies are compiled into Diversity Summit Summaries and reports, which are implemented throughout the year and reexamined at the following year’s summit.

Participants evaluate goals from previous summits, develop focus areas for key diversity initiatives to guide ASLA’s work plan, and discuss the future of the Diversity Summit.

This year, seventeen landscape architects from across the country participated, representing a wide array of sectors including residential design, education, horticulture, and urban planning. They were chosen to help address challenges in diversifying the profession and build upon recommendations for a path forward. Interested parties apply to participate in the summit and are chosen by a panel of experts each year.