Professional Practice Network News
Members of the Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) were recently surveyed about their career paths in landscape architecture. Responses were varied and had many insightful comments and suggestions, which will be shared and discussed with everyone here over the next few months.
As mentioned in the previous edition of LAND and highlighted in Green Building & Design, “Where we work matters.” Whether an expansive open office, a maze of cubicles, in a home office, or out on site, our workplaces influence how well we perform and how much we enjoy the work we do every day.
Though the answer to that question necessarily varies depending on the season, the weather, the type of projects being worked on, and what stage those projects are at—as one respondent put it, there is “no such thing as a typical day” for some landscape architects—there were some clear trends that emerged. Ninety percent of respondents spend more than half their time in an office, compared to only 4 percent that spend more time outdoors. Only 6 percent reported splitting their time evenly between the office and being on site.
Survey takers were also asked if they preferred one work environment to another. While many respondents said they spend “way too much” time in the office, the most frequent response highlighted the need for balance, with some time spent in both kinds of work environments.
Here are a few remarks from respondents on why they prefer a little bit of both the office and the outdoors:
• “One of the things I enjoy most about the profession is the mix of office and site work. Keeps life from becoming stagnant.”
• “You have to have balance—it is always more fun to be outside, but the time designing is relaxing and rewarding.”
• “My greatest impact is made within my office walls, with clients and consultant teams, and in group gatherings of various types. However, I love being outdoors, which makes the times I do get out that much more special and appreciated.”
• “I would prefer a more equal split. I’m generally in the office, but nothing is more rewarding than seeing the work done in the office come to life in the field.”
• “I like a mix and love the days when I am in the field...time away from the computer, hands-on time, moving around, fresh air, etc.”
• “I enjoy a mixture because, while I enjoy working indoors and designing, I also like to have a chance to go outside and see the design taking shape.”
• “I like both. At the beginning of my career I spent 100 percent of my time in an office and mostly on a computer. It was awful. I went back to school to get my master’s to be able to get a better job (project management). Now, I have a good mix of indoor/outdoor work.”
• “You need both. Being outside/on site is great but then having the office to do the work is great because of the resources that are there.”
• “This is the best part of design/build...getting to do both!”
• “My long-term practice involved both deeply; each project was different and some were field oriented. Now I teach, and some classes are field classes and others studio work.”