Thursday, January 13, 2011

Promoting Landscape Architecture

A recent debate unfolded in two forums, a blog and a, successive LinkedIn post located here: http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=685357&type=member&item=38849118&qid=078419f2-19d0-49e0-b49f-e2788e48f9aa&goback=.gmp_685357.  The challenge is how “we,” as a profession, proceed to promote, educate, and appear to the Public, especially-related to retaining our Licensure status and the type of Work we are allowed to perform in our respective State and Municipality.

To promote Landscape Architecture, I have chosen to go beyond simply a membership in the typical professional associations.  I volunteer for two County Advisory Committees and am a member of a local Rotary Club, both allow time to simply talk to people and explain what I do, promote.  However, the Advisory Committee roles also allow me to showcase my formal education in the field of Landscape Architecture.  Through debate and dealing with regional context or geographic issues, I can show how one decision could effect a chain of events that may impact other issues, as a connective precept.  Example one then deals with our training in Urban/Regional Planning.  In addition, the fundamental skills associated with graphic design, via logo production (as gratis work), and presentation skills enable and substantiate a platform, engaging both Committees in discussion, while potentially debating a regional issue.  Example two displays our background with presentation skill  (aka ‘Design Crits’), design process (inventory and analysis), and graphic production.  Further, our background training in resource use, spatial organization, site planning, and additional education-based skills, can only serve to “spread the word” about the field of Landscape Architecture.

In Professional Practice, we interact with Municipal Staff, Elected Officials, and Other Committee Volunteers (some of whom may also be Landscape Architects), further promoting the field and our knowledge of State and Local Code, serving to safeguard the Public’s Health, Safety, and Welfare.  Public Meetings, where projects are vetted, are recorded (if required) or broadcast on the internet or public access cable channels.  The latter are often re-broadcast at odd hours, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “you know I saw you on TV, late one night, when you were presenting the…”  The two ‘layers,’ one-on-one interaction or public forum, offer a mode of Advertising and Marketing like no other.

Letters to the editor.  This venue provides for ‘sound bytes’ that offer mini-critiques or chances to get the word out on an issue which has been recently published or is being debated by newsreaders.  Whether through misperception, partial truth, or single-sided debate, Landscape Architects can provide regional or specific insight, professionally.  Indeed, letters to the editor can also serve as a segue to Guest Commentary pieces, in which the point can be made more fully or with a comprehensive overview explained.  And remember that Google searches tend to crawl newspaper sites for more immediate, pertinent data, due to a media outlet’s frequency of posts, vast audience, and media-based credentials.

While not an exhaustive list, these are simple modes of promotion that I am using or have used to promote the great field of Landscape Architecture – so, what do you do?

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