The ASLA Board of Trustees met in New Orleans on October 20-21, just ahead of the Annual Meeting. We welcomed our new Student Advisory Committee chair — Joni Emmons, a second-year grad student at LSU — and our new Associate Advisory Committee chair — Carlos Flores, of the Southern California Chapter. Both are non-voting representatives from their committees to the Board of Trustees.
The Center for Landscape Architecture is nearing completion, and staff expect to move back in early December. They have enjoyed a more collaborative, less-compartmentalized environment in their temporary close quarters, and are looking forward to the openness of the new space and better floor-to-floor circulation. Work on the Center is about 5% over budget due to repair of some structural deficiencies uncovered in the course of demolition. Gifts for the Center stand at about 70% of the fundraising goal. Donations are collected through the ASLA Fund and are tax-deductible.
Our Government Affairs team is at work planning for next year’s Advocacy Day, insofar as they can with the election still a couple weeks away. According to the priorities survey, top areas are still transportation, (storm)water management, and parks and recreation, and we have seen some success with Congress on these issues. Interestingly, small business issues continue to generate apparently low interest among members — whether that’s because folks aren’t reading the small business news emails or responding to the government affairs priority survey, who can say? Since most of us are in small businesses, it might paint a more precise picture if more of us responded to the survey next year.
“Good governance” might have been the theme of our meeting. We had a lot of ground to cover in adopting revisions to ASLA’s administrative polices and the model chapter constitution and bylaws, renewing the Memorandum of Understanding between ASLA and LAF, adopting the budget and operating plan, and approving updated versions of our public policies on Open Space, National Parks, and Public Lands (selected by the Policy Committee for update this year coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service). We also heard a brief presentation from Poulin + Morris, the New York graphic design firm selected to lead ASLA’s upcoming rebranding.
Once we got past the housekeeping items, our breakout discussions included spirited idea-sharing on how transportation systems are changing with the advent of driverless cars. We also discussed credible data sources, case studies, nature-based solutions, and self-mitigating streets, as a means of collecting information to formulate a statement on the position of landscape architecture in the face of rising sea levels, changing temperatures, and intensified rainfall and drought events. “Climate change” remains a polarizing term, but it’s hard to deny shifting weather patterns in the middle of a drought that’s already leaving our headwater streams dry, just months after a thousand-year flooding event in Baton Rouge.
Lois and Jane probably had a lot more fun next door in the Chapter Presidents’ meeting. Look for updates from them soon!
As ever, if you have questions or thoughts about the national organization, I’m your link. I’m always interested in what our members think and need, and I’m happy to discuss with ASLA staff and/or the rest of the Board.
• The Center for Landscape Architecture is finally under construction! Permits were finalized last week. You can find out more about the renovation of the ASLA headquarters building here: https://cla.asla.org. Work is also underway to move forward with the Chinatown Green Street Demonstration Project.
• The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) rating system, recently acquired by USGBC, is currently accepting ASLA members’ projects for certification at a discount, and will be offering professional credentialing examinations late this year.
• ASLA’s annual Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, will be Thursday, May 19. Chapter leaders from across the country will visit the offices of our senators and representatives to encourage them to support legislation that provides opportunities for landscape architects, including green infrastructure, funding for active transportation, and issues relevant to small businesses.
• CLARB recently completed its Task Analysis Survey, which supports the content of the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE). Practitioners were asked about the frequency with which they completed a wide variety of tasks, along with the potential for public harm should those tasks be done incompletely or incorrectly by someone without sufficient experience.
• PBS recently premiered “10 Parks That Changed America,” highlighting the development of public space in American cities. This one-hour survey included works of landscape architecture that sought to challenge what public space could be.
• ASLA’s membership continues a slow but steady growth overall. Full and Associate membership are growing at 1.7% and 1.1%, respectively. Last year’s sharp decline among student members has slowed noticeably.
• The Board of Trustees will meet in Washington, DC on May 20-21. Expected action items include review of dues rates; the implementation of a five-year graduated dues structure for Associate members (to replace the current three-year step-up); and amendments to bylaws to create Student and Associate Advisory Councils, each of which will elect a representative to the Board. The Advisory Councils will be seated through the committee appointment process which occurs each year in early July. Members can view the meeting agenda books 30 days before each Board meeting.
• Auburn’s Master of Landscape Architecture program has been re-accredited for six years, based on the program’s self-report, the visiting team’s observations, this institution’s response to their report, and discussions between the visiting team, faculty, administration, and the professional advisory council.
• Registration and housing reservations for the Annual Meeting in New Orleans opens in early May. You can get a discount off your registration if you book in the reserved hotel block at the same time. (Booking in the block allows ASLA to meet its obligations to the conference host cities, and helps leverage negotiations with larger, more desirable conference destinations.) The Annual Meeting will be October 21-24.
For more information on the Trustee’s Report, please contact Stephen Schrader.
Countdown to ASLA Annual Meeting & Expo
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