Landscape Architects Partner With National Park Service
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program have announced a collaborative partnership. Under the partnership, ASLA's local chapters will volunteer in their communities to provide technical assistance for outdoor resources such as trails, bike paths and other recreational facilities.
In 2000, ASLA and the National Park Service formalized a partnership to help communities across the nation plan, design and manage their natural, cultural and recreational resources. This unique partnership, first tested in the Pacific Northwest, expanded opportunities for ASLA chapters and National Park Service staff across the country. Dozens of community projects have benefited from this collaboration, and the two groups will be ramping up their efforts in 2013.
"Partnerships like this one between the National Park Service and ASLA give communities access to expert planners and designers so they can turn their ideas into actions," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "We are proud to support healthy communities and extend the missions of the National Park Service and ASLA to all Americans."
ASLA has designated 2013 as the Year of Public Service to spotlight the community service performed by landscape architects across the nation, and to engage the public in the landscape architecture profession. Among the design professions, landscape architecture plays the most significant role in encouraging active living, thus contributing to public health. Landscape architects create and design environments that encourage daily exercise, provide clean air and water, and even supply nutritious food. This helps combat growing epidemics of depression, obesity, diabetes, asthma and heart disease.
According to Nancy Somerville, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA, you can expect to see landscape architects actively contributing to the development of healthy communities through sustainable landscape design. National Park Service staff will work with ASLA's 49 local chapters to identify, plan and implement technical assistance projects or activities, including community design charettes.
"Both ASLA and the National Park Service have goals in common, including creating a national network of healthy, sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities," Somerville said. "We encourage our local chapters to collaborate with the National Park Service on mutually beneficial projects, and undertake at least one public service project this year."