Mark A. Focht, FASLA
Candidate for 2013 President-Elect
Concepts and Aims Statement
It is an honor to be a candidate for President-Elect of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The diverse nature and focus of our profession positions us at the forefront of positive change on design, environmental, and social issues. Our work is meaningful and affects people on all levels: individual, neighborhood, state, and global.
We are poised at a crucial moment for our profession and, importantly, the state of our Society is strong. Although the past several years have been challenging, ASLA continues to operate in the black and the 2011 Annual Meeting was the highest-grossing and second-best-attended in our history. Landscape Architecture Magazine has been redesigned to broad acclaim, a major public awareness campaign was launched, and The Dirt consistently ranks as one of the top environmental blogs. We achieved licensure in 50 states and advocated successfully on Capitol Hill. When the EPA asked for 300 projects to support new stormwater regulations, members responded by submitting 479 exemplary projects.
If entrusted to be your President, I will work with you to accelerate this momentum. We will grow membership and finances, increase diversity, advance awareness, advocate aggressively, celebrate innovation and quality design, defend licensure, and advance the Sustainable Sites Initiative. Together we will strengthen our relationships with allied professions and cultivate strategic new alliances to increase our profile as groundbreaking leaders in planning and design.
Landscape architects can, have, and will lead. We should not lament our small numbers relative to our allied professions. Simply put, we know how to creatively, aesthetically, and cost-effectively solve problems. We analyze and synthesize opportunities and challenges into cohesive plans that propose holistic, enduring, and sustainable solutions.
That is how we will work together. We will partner with others to build a green, sustainable world and better future. Join me in leading a global civic dialogue, advocating for design excellence, raising our professional profile, and spreading our message of “Green Since 1899.” Let's celebrate our impact.
Mark A. Focht, FASLA, has had a varied and rich professional journey. Working in private, nonprofit, public, and academic practice has afforded the opportunity to engage a wide range of clients, students, users, and allied professionals. Focht's commitment to improve the extent, accessibility, and quality of the public built and natural environment is deeply rooted and provides great personal and professional fulfillment. As first deputy commissioner, parks and facilities, for Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Focht is responsible for operations, maintenance, planning, capital, property management, urban forestry, ecosystem management, and security of a 10,100-acre park and recreation system composed of 197 passive parks, 55 recreation centers, 97 playgrounds, and 71 outdoor swimming pools. Previously, Focht served six years as executive director of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park System.
Prior to joining city government, Focht was director of capital projects for Philadelphia’s Center City District, a private-sector business improvements district, and he also has more than 10 years of experience working for two multidisciplinary design firms, including WRT. From 1989–2011, Focht was an adjunct professor in landscape architecture at Temple University.
For more than 20 years, Focht has served ASLA as a volunteer. In 2010–2011, as national ASLA vice president of communications, he was involved with the redesign of Landscape Architecture Magazine and the launch of the national public awareness campaign. Focht currently serves on the Honors and Awards Advisory and LAM Editorial Advisory committees and is a member of the 2012 ASLA national student awards jury. Previously, he served on the Government Affairs Advisory Committee and Public Practice Advisory Committee, serving as chair from 2002—2007. Focht cochaired the Tours Committee as a key member of the Host Committee for the 2008 ASLA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. Chapter-level service included Eastern Pennsylvania Section chair, member at large, and communications chair.
Focht received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in landscape architecture from the Pennsylvania State University and University of Massachusetts, respectively, and is licensed in Pennsylvania. He lectures extensively, serves on several local and regional boards, and was the recipient of the 2007 Penn State College of Arts and Architecture Alumni Achievement Award.