From the February 2013 issue of LAM:
Professors from both sides of the Pacific talk about the amazing cultural exchange happening between American and Chinese universities and the rising stature of landscape architecture in China.
By Daniel Jost
A decade and a half ago, the Chinese government “canceled” landscape architecture education in China. Some bureaucrats decided the discipline was superfluous. Today, the profession of landscape architecture is growing in that country like nowhere else in the world. Landscape architects are among China’s most highly paid professionals, and Chinese students are flooding into American universities to study landscape architecture at an unprecedented rate.
Meanwhile, landscape architecture education has come back into favor in China, and Chinese universities have established or reestablished nearly 200 landscape architecture programs in less than a decade. Some of the people who lead China’s most influential programs studied in the United States, and some of the programs have strong connections with American academics. Tsinghua University’s landscape architecture program was established with the help of a team of American landscape architects led by Laurie Olin, FASLA, of the University of Pennsylvania. Patrick Miller, FASLA, a longtime professor at Virginia Tech, is the honorary chair of landscape studies at Tongji University in Shanghai.
Yet the teaching of landscape architecture in China is often quite different from what U.S. students would recognize—many Chinese programs make a stronger connection between education and practice. And what each program teaches is, for the moment, less standardized than even America’s highly diverse programs. Right now, China has no system for accrediting landscape architecture education, though efforts are under way to change that.
In December, we brought together eight academics from the United States and China to talk about the cultural exchange taking place between their countries and issues educators face in China as they try to build the profession there. (more…)