Washington, D.C., December 9, 2009 — If the National Park Service is allowed to move beyond a “no-action” approach for the neglected National Mall, the historic public space could serve as a model of sustainable design for millions of visitors each year. Today the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) voiced strong support for the Park Service’s sustainable vision within the newly-released National Mall Plan. This milestone document that will guide the future management of the National Mall incorporates dozens of sustainable practices, including the application of standards defined by the Sustainable Sites Initiative, the first national rating system for sustainable landscapes.
“We applaud the vision to incorporate the sustainable landscape benchmarks from the Sustainable Sites Initiative in the National Mall Plan,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO, Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. “While the National Mall still faces shameful neglect from lack of resources, we urge Congress to grant the National Park Service the means to transform this critical public space into a national example of sustainability.”
ASLA, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the U.S. Botanic Gardens worked in partnership to develop the Sustainable Sites Initiative rating system, incorporating work by dozens of the country’s leading sustainability experts, scientists and design professionals as well as public input from hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations over four years.
The current plan from the National Park Service offers five options for the future of the National Mall: one “no-action” approach, three alternatives and one “preferred” approach that encompasses the best practices of three alternatives. Anything other than no action would ensure extensive use of sustainable approaches throughout the revitalization of the space. The National Park Service released the document online as part of a 90-day public comment period, closing March 9, 2010. To learn more about ASLA’s efforts on the National Mall, visit www.asla.org/nationalmall.