LANSING, MI, April 5, 2005—The American Society of Landscape Architects
(ASLA) has declared April 2005 as National Landscape Architecture Month. In
recognition of the theme, Design for Active Living, Michigan landscape
architects will join walkability audits being conducted by eight elementary
schools around the state in conjunction with the Governor’s Council on Physical
Fitness as part of the statewide Safe Routes to School initiative.
”Years ago, we all used to walk to school, to the store, to the park, or to a
friend’s house, but now we often are unable to walk or bike anywhere safely,
because our communities are designed mainly for car travel,” said Doug Schultz,
ASLA, vice president of communications for the ASLA Michigan Chapter. "The
change from a pedestrian to a commuter lifestyle has fueled an epidemic of
obesity in the U.S., particularly among children. We want to encourage everyone
to look at their communities during April and become advocates for an
environment that is more exercise-friendly. As landscape architects, working
with public officials, developers, and residents, we can design active living
components back into our communities."
The theme, Design for Active Living, highlights how community design effects
residents’ daily activity levels and, in turn, their overall health. Studies
show that access to resources such as parks, recreational facilities, bicycle
paths, walking trails, and sidewalks can increase physical activity among
residents, lowering obesity and improving health.
Safe Routes to School, funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation
with additional support from the Michigan Department of Community Health, is a
statewide movement to make walking and biking to school safe, efficient, and
fun. The Michigan initiative is completing a two-year pilot project, culminating
in a Safe Routes to School Toolkit that will be available to all Michigan
elementary schools in August 2005.
“Safe Routes to School (SR2S) is a perfect fit for landscape architects
because they have the expertise and dedication needed to assess and improve
walking and biking routes. I am so pleased that the Michigan Chapter of the
American Society of Landscape Architects has been such an active partner in our
statewide effort and that individual members will join local walking audits,”
said Marilyn Lieber, president and CEO of the Michigan Fitness
Foundation/Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness.
Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape
architects representing more than 15,000 members. Landscape architecture is a
comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management,
preservation, and rehabilitation. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture
profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication,
and fellowship. Learn more about landscape architecture online at www.asla.org and at www.michiganasla.org.
For more information on supporting or participating in the Michigan ASLA
Chapter activities, please contact Doug Schultz, ASLA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For an up-to-date schedule of SR2S walking audit locations, dates and times,
contact the Michigan Fitness Foundation at 800 434-8642 or Candance Lee