The scope of the profession includes landscape design; site planning; stormwater management; erosion control; environmental restoration; parks and recreation planning; visual resource management; green infrastructure planning and provision; and private estate and residence landscape master planning and design; all at varying scales of design, planning and management. A practitioner in the profession of landscape architecture is called a landscape architect.
The activities of a landscape architect can range from the creation of public parks and parkways to site planning for campuses and corporate office parks, from the design of residential estates to the design of civil infrastructure and the management of large wilderness areas or reclamation of degraded landscapes such as mines or landfills. For the period before 1800, the history of landscape gardening (later called landscape architecture) is largely that of master planning and garden design for manor houses, palaces and royal properties, religious complexes, and centers of government. The term landscape architecture was invented by Gilbert Laing Meason in 1828, and John Claudius Loudon (1783–1843) was instrumental in the adoption of the term landscape architecture by the modern profession. The practice of landscape architecture spread from the Old to the New World. The term "landscape architect" was used as a professional title by Frederick Law Olmsted in the United States in 1863 and During the latter 19th century, the term landscape architect begun to be used by professional landscapes designers, and was firmly established after Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and Beatrix Jones (later Farrand) with others founded the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in 1899. The variety of the professional tasks that landscape architects collaborate on is very broad, but some examples of project types include:
Parks of general design and public infrastructure Landscape managers use their knowledge of landscape processes to advise on the long-term care and development of the landscape. Landscape scientists have specialist skills such as soil science, hydrology, geomorphology or botany that they relate to the practical problems of landscape work. Landscape planners are concerned with landscape planning for the location, scenic, ecological and recreational aspects of urban, rural and coastal land use. Some may also apply an additional specialism such as landscape archaeology or law to the process of landscape planning. The combination of the tradition of landscape gardening and the emerging field of urban planning offered landscape architecture an opportunity to serve these needs. Urban Planners are qualified to perform tasks independent of landscape architects, and in general, the curriculum of landscape architecture programs do not prepare students to become urban planners. Landscape architecture continues to develop as a design discipline, and to respond to the various movements in architecture and design throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Thomas Church was a mid-century landscape architect significant in the profession. Innovation continues today solving challenging problems with contemporary design solutions for master planning, landscapes, and gardens. Ian McHarg was known for introducing environmental concerns in landscape architecture. In Europe, North America, parts of South America, Australia, India, and New Zealand, landscape architecture is a regulated profession.
The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) provides accreditation of university degrees and non statutory professional registration for landscape architects. Once recognized by AILA, landscape architects use the title 'Registered Landscape Architect' across the six states and territories within Australia. Landscape Architecture within Australia covers a broad spectrum of planning, design, management and research. In Canada, landscape architecture, like law and medicine, is a self-regulating profession pursuant to provincial statute. For example, Ontario's profession is governed by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects pursuant to the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects Act. In Italy, there are several different professions involved in landscape architecture:
Architects Landscape designers Doctor landscape agronomists and Doctor landscape foresters, often called Landscape agronomists. The New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA) is the professional body for Landscape Architects in NZ www.nzila.co.nz. Lincoln University also has an accredited masters programme in landscape architecture.
The Irish Landscape Institute ILI is the officially recognized (by the Irish State) professional body representing landscape architects and parks professionals, in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The ILI was formed in 1992 by the merger of the ILHI (Institute of Landscape Horticulture of Ireland) and the IILA (Irish Institute of Landscape Architects), representing the related disciplines of landscape architecture and landscape horticulture. ILASA’s mission is to advance the profession of landscape architecture and uphold high standards of professional service to its members, and to represent the profession of landscape architecture in any matter which may affect the interests of the members of the Institute. The UK's professional body is the Landscape Institute (LI). It is a chartered body which accredits landscape professionals and university courses. This new campaign includes other landscape-related professions such as landscape management, landscape planning, landscape science and urban design.
For a landscape architect, obtaining licensure requires advanced education and work experience, plus passage of the national examination called The Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.). The national trade association for United States landscape architects is the American Society of Landscape Architects.
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