Letter from the Chair and Co-Chair
by Timothy Coppola, ASLA, Chair and Martin Flores, ASLA, Co-Chair

Technology is driving many changes throughout our society. Things that seem unrelated can create mammoth shifts to our culture. As an example, e-readers and tablets have begun to offset book stores and libraries. Netflix and the Internet impact the long-term status of movie theaters. New technologies may also counter the skyrocketing cost of higher education by providing more off-campus venues such as online courses.

Similarly, changes in technology affect our profession in general and landscape and land use planning in particular. It is essential that we stay abreast of these changes to better serve our clients and remain relevant.

This current economic downturn also compounds the need to identify trends and products as a way to bring us through this recession and into new prosperity. This may be even more important with dwindling municipal and state resources needed to update or fix basic infrastructure and provide public services.

A related concern is the removal of valuable programs such as state redevelopment agencies that apply tax dollars to specific project areas that generate jobs and tax revenue and remove urban blight. We as landscape architects must become vocal advocates for programs and policies that fund public facilities. We must point out the social benefit and need for these programs from our unique perspective. Otherwise, we most likely will lose critical amenities such as public spaces, parks, external infrastructure, beautiful streets, vibrant attractive cities, accessible and enjoyable waterways, and more. These are the things that create livable environments.

This newsletter explores some of the changes and the opportunities that can impact landscape architects as we move forward. These include redevelopment, wayfinding, smart growth, mentorships, and privately-owned public open spaces. To take advantage of the changes and opportunities, we must become more resourceful, better informed and more “tech-oriented” in order to compete.

We look forward to feedback from you regarding the changes and opportunities and how they will affect us. Perhaps we can create new roles for ourselves that did not exist before.

Timothy Coppola, ASLA, Chair
Martin Flores, ASLA, Co-Chair

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