Like Moths to a Flame
July 25, 2023
National Intern Day
July 27, 2023

Landscape Architecture as STEM

Author: Kate Eihausen

In 1997, The War for Talent was published by Ed Michaels which highlighted the need for advancing, attracting, and maintaining the most qualified employees. This business challenge is coupled with increasingly competitive talent markets, a global pandemic, unstable economies, and a growing focus on social justice issues. Recruiting and retaining science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) talent can be a challenge for companies in these turbulent times. Therefore, it is of particular significance that on July 12, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security declared degrees in landscape architecture as part of the STEM program. This settlement manifested as the result of efforts by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

The decision highlights the significance and importance of educational operations and professionals in the field of landscape architecture and their scientific contributions. Landscape architecture utilizes principles of STEM disciplines to guide developments involving planning, transportation, park design, plant and soil health, and the development of new technologies using natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

As stated by ASLA President, Emily O'Mahoney, “Landscape architects have incredible responsibility for the health, safety and well-being of communities which is why it’s imperative for landscape architects to continue to be licensed to practice. The STEM designation will be an additional tool in helping decision-makers understand the rigor this discipline demands.” Additionally, this industry plays a crucial role in both private and government mitigation services, which works to reduce the effects of climate change, the most pervasive threat to the natural environment. Great Ecology is thrilled about this decision. As restoration practitioners, Great Ecology brings ecologists and landscape architects together to work on projects that achieve innovative, beautiful, and ecologically sound solutions for our clients.

Great Ecology honors and emphasizes the importance and similarities of STEM assignments between landscape architecture and ecology by building strong relationships between the two professions which entails educating, including, and exposing landscape architects to the world of ecology and vice versa. Landscape architects and ecologists at Great Ecology have worked incredibly closely together through iterative design processes that are focused on restoration and revegetation with native plants and to attract native species. The continuation of merging and uniting the roles and responsibilities of landscape architects and ecologists makes way for STEM specific operations and activities, creativity, and growth for those involved and for the company.