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Public Awareness 2012: Let the Planning Begin

National Landscape Architecture Month Theme: Public Health and Landscape Architecture.

Now is the time. Childhood obesity is surging to epidemic proportions, health care costs move ever higher, and divisive politics provide no solutions. Meanwhile, as the 2011 annual meeting theme attested, the landscape architecture profession continues to rise, offering solutions to these stark problems.

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  • Two out of every three American adults 20 years or older are overweight or obese.
  • Since 2000, antidepressants have become the most prescribed medication in the United States.
  • In 2007, 16 percent of the United States’s gross domestic product—$2.3 trillion—was spent on health care.

Landscape architects will join forces across the country during the month of April to educate the public as to how their profession contributes to reversing these dangerous trends. They’ll hold public events showcasing just what can be done through hands-on work with the public, speaking engagements, and design charrettes. For ideas, check out this slideshow of 2011’s events.

Logo For Download - NLAM - WebRGB

With the theme of Public Health and Landscape Architecture, National Landscape Architecture Month 2012 welcomes these new and necessary discussions about the profession. Contact your chapter, get involved, and help be part of the solution.


In addition, planning is under way for landscape architects, students, and related professionals to again take to the streets, parks, and plazas to engage the public in conversations about the profession. On 04.26.12, we will all publicly celebrate Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday. By once again taking to the streets from coast to coast, volunteers will tell the public why their profession matters, just as they did on 08.17.11. Some 1,000 people participated in more than 250 08.17.11 events to launch this ongoing campaign, generating 80 news stories and an estimated reach of 15 million people. This year, the call to celebrate Olmsted’s birthday could not be more in line with the NLAM theme, as Olmsted’s roots in landscape architecture first started with his dedication to public health and well-being.

Start planning your events for NLAM, and everyone reading this should begin thinking about how you’ll take action with your community on 04.26.12. Contact the organizer in your state and start forming teams to once again take this coast to coast with your firms, friends, allies, and coworkers.

Questions? Reach out to Michael Cowden for questions and requests for inspiration.

Comments January 10, 2012 5:10 PM
GREAT graphic that is current and stands with our associated design professions. Public education will never cease to be possibly the most important task for our profession. I would love to see bumper stickers with this campaign; large advertisements on busses and in the transit system ad space. Can some of our largest Green companies contribute to an expanded ad buy (Scotts, Toro, Gametime, etc.) for public education. This would support our work in back door fashion; as we have more project work, we specify more products from these companies. I am sure there are consultants that could help to leverage this idea. January 11, 2012 8:28 AM
Could we receive the notices on the dates of some of ASLA conferences well in advance for those of us who are keen followers from outside. January 11, 2012 10:16 AM
You can see future dates and locations for the national annual meetings at To find out chapters meetings, you will need to visit their sites or contact them. January 18, 2012 8:14 AM
How appropriate that this year's NLAM theme is about Public Health. Here in New Jersey, the Chapter leaders have been asked to contribute to a new teaching module for newly elected planning officials relating public health to land use design and planning. On January 26 we are going to a "Kick Off" meeting with the public health organizers, planners, engineers and representatives from NGOs. Any ideas on how to find a niche among these professionals? Any suggested resources will be appreciated. Send any suggestions to under the subject heading "Public Health". We don't want to get too far ahead of the group but also don't want to be marginalized or pigeonholed.
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