Landscape Forms recently brought together 14 female leaders and three female students in landscape architecture to discuss critical issues and future prospects for women in the profession. Women in Landscape Architecture: Amplifying Our Voices was held at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, hosted by Landscape Forms CEO, Margie Simmons, and moderated by Allyson Mendenhall, FASLA, PLA, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Sasaki.
Roundtable participants included women who lead design practices, divisions of large firms, and non-profit organizations and serve in prominent roles in the public sector and academia. The discussion focused on structural and cultural issues facing women in landscape architecture to identify ways in which they can be supported and empowered to utilize their knowledge, skills and passions; gain recognition for their contributions; have a full voice in defining the goals and ethos of the profession; and promote equitable and rewarding opportunities for the women landscape architects of the future.
Margie Simmons welcomed the group. “Thank you all for taking the time to participate in this Roundtable. As many of you know, Landscape Forms has a long-term organizational commitment to the landscape architecture profession. Our founder, John Chipman, was a landscape architect; our former President and current Chairman, Bill Main, is a landscape architect and past president of the Landscape Architecture Foundation; landscape architects are well represented on our Board of Directors; and many of our product solutions are designed by landscape architects. This is a deeply personal issue for me, and I have wanted to host an event like this ever since I became CEO of Landscape Forms. Many women have had an impact on my career, and I want to pay it forward.”
According to the VELA Project, while women earn 55% of the degrees in landscape architecture, just 27% of licensed landscape architects are women and only 12% rise to leadership positions in the profession. Through the career ladder, there is a large, observable loss of women in practice and leadership. “That is why we are here today – to talk about that and what we can do individually and collectively to solve the issue,” Margie declared. “I believe in the power of many. When we gather and work together, we can have a real impact for all women in the profession.”
Moderator Allyson Mendenhall offered her observations on the discussion. “Landscape architects shape the world we live in, and many of them are women. We represent incredible potential and positive impact on our cities, community spaces, ecosystems and society. That is why this issue of women in landscape architecture is so important. I was thrilled by the diversity of perspectives and the level of engagement at the Roundtable, including that of the students. The discussion revealed the motivation and innovation of women working to craft influential and fulfilling professional paths. We saw how women are creating meaningful opportunities for themselves and others. This event engendered a call to action to assert our value and to seek out and raise awareness of the many roles and sectors of the economy, beyond narrow choices, where women landscape architects can inspire change by crafting individual careers that integrate well with their lives.”
The Roundtable had an ambitious agenda and goals. Participants reached deep into their own learning and experiences and engaged in spirited, purposeful exchange to address critical issues and concrete directions forward for women in the profession. A whitepaper documenting the discussion will be published by Landscape Forms and made available online.
Women in Landscape Architecture roundtable participants included:
Aan Coleman, ASLA, LEED, AP, President & Founder, Coleman & Associates
Barbara Deutsch, FASLA, CEO, Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF)
Diana Fernandez Bibeau, Deputy Chief of Urban Design, City of Boston
Gina Ford, Principal & Co-Founder, Agency Landscape + Planning
Ying-yu Hung, PLA, FASLA, Managing Principal, SWA
Diane Jones Allen, D.Eng., PLA, FASLA, Director/Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Texas at Arlington, and Principal Landscape Architect, DesignJones LLC
Elizabeth J Kennedy, FASLA, RLA, Principal, Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architect, PLLC
Karen Janosky, ASLA, Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Program, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Diane Lipovsky, Partner & Co-Founder, Superbloom
Adrienne McCray, RLA, ASLA, Principal, Lee and Associates, Inc.
Stacy Passmore, Partner & Co-Founder, Superbloom
Maura Rockcastle ASLA, PLA, Principal & Co-Founder, TEN x TEN Landscape Architecture
Sarah M. Whiting, Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Naomi Canino, Student & LAF Ignite Awardee, Rhode Island School of Design
Jakobi Johnson, Student & LAF Scholar, Michigan State University
Cheryl Zeng, Student & LAF Scholar, Cornell University
Landscape Forms is a proud sponsor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA)