Training in landscape architecture – The domain

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by Dale C. Davis

2021 ASLA Professional General Design Honor Award. Orange shopping center green infrastructure. Tempe, Arizona. COLWELL SHELOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE. / picture: Marion Brenner

A friend of mine who is a writer shared this article with me. It highlights how landscape architecture can be seen as an educational term and as a method of problem solving. I think it will be of particular interest to those who are in the research field of our profession.
–Arnaldo Cardona, ASLA

When searching for information on ‘landscape architecture education’ or ‘landscape architecture education’ the results mostly show university programs to study landscape architecture as a career and academic institutions with degrees in this field.

However, they can be considered two completely different concepts. While searching for “Landscape Architecture Education” yields entries about colleges that offer degrees for students to become landscape architects, “Landscape Architecture Education” really should be viewed as an educational term. Similarly, “art education” is about becoming an artist and where to study to become one, while “art education” is an educational term about the study of cognitive gains, skills and processes involved in artistic creation.

So how was “Landscape Architecture Education” defined?

The study of behaviors, cognitive processes and problem-solving skills involved in the field of landscape architecture design. In curriculum design, it can be used as a theme to develop interdisciplinary learning experiences. (Cardone, 2021)

In landscape architecture, we are most of the time focused on our practices and on our projects (product), but it is time to bring more attention to how we study and reflect on the skills and the cognitive (process) gains involved in our craft.

It can be expected that more research and study in this field will allow students to see landscape architecture as more than a career, but as a new horizon for educational study. Not only “landscape architecture” can be considered as an educational term, but also as a method of problem solving (Cardona, 2021). It can also validate STEAM as being embedded in the nature of landscape architecture itself and be seen as one of the most holistic and interdisciplinary disciplines of all. The inclusion of landscape architecture as an artistic discipline will help promote studies in the areas of creativity development, design education, multiple intelligence (Gardner, 1983), perception and spatial intelligences, among other arts education issues.

2021 ASLA Student Community Service Honor Award. Back to nature: an urban garden that reconnects children to nature and improves the well-being of the community. Guangzhou, Guangdon Province, China. Siyi Feng; Beibei Tao; Zhijun Liu, ASLA international student; Wanshi Huang; Jiaqi Shi; Jiamei Zhao; Muhua Chen; Junying Feng; Haohua Li; Hongyan Liu; Wenqi Wen; Xieqi Xuan; Jiangtao Li; Zhiming Liu; Zexuan Lin; Zishang Huang; Lu Lu; Jieyu Rao. /image: Beibei Tao

I invite landscape architects to think beyond our practice and see our profession as a means to gain rich and meaningful experiences using a framework for interdisciplinary and critical thinking. Let’s promote these studies at the master’s and doctoral levels and even to practitioners. Accordingly, our profession may well be seen as an essential discipline for studying and implementing educational research that will support 21st century educational initiatives.

References

Bloom, B.S., (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational objectives, Handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York: David MacKay.

Cardona, Arnaldo, (2021). K-12 Landscape Architecture Education: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum Guide for Art, STEM, and Vocational/Trade Educators. Ohio: GatekeeperPress.

Gardner, Howard, (1983). Frames of mind: the theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.

Hurwitz, A., (1991). Children and their art. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovic.

Jacobs, H., (1989). Design and implementation of interdisciplinary study programs. Virginia: ASCD

Dale C. Davis is a writer and editor who has worked on publications related to education, landscape architecture, and design. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and has a passion for all things landscape architecture.

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