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FEATURE: We Declare

Reformulating a historic agenda after half a century.

From the May 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

At Independence Hall in Philadelphia in June of 1966, Ian McHarg, Grady Clay, Campbell Miller, Charles R. Hammond, George E. Patton, and John O. Simonds presented “A Declaration of Concern” on behalf of landscape architecture. It was a statement on the growing crisis in the natural environment and the claim of landscape architects in averting the environment’s total destruction. To the degree the declaration was dramatic and self-regarding, it was also true. It preceded much of the formal regulatory protection—preventive, punitive, and remedial—of resources that we know now. The declaration’s alarm over pollution and ecological ruin speaks for itself, but it managed to be both critical and optimistic. Its hope lay in the ability of landscape architects to figure out across disciplines how to make nature and society work as a whole, healthy system.

The Landscape Architecture Foundation is marking the half century of “A Declaration of Concern” with “The New Landscape Declaration,” a gathering of landscape architects, scholars, and advocates at the University of Pennsylvania on June 10 and 11. The foundation, which is also turning 50, asked a number of participants to write declarations of their own for the occasion as latter-day responses to the original. Five are printed here. Landscape architects have by no means retired the threats of 50 years ago, and other threats have proliferated around them, but the moral vision of the profession conceived at the midcentury has enlarged accordingly.

For more information on the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s event, go to https://lafoundation.org/news-events/2016-summit.

Throughout the month of May, we will be releasing the five featured essays and posting them below.


 

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sustainable Happiness: Actions for Interdependence

By Randolph T. Hester Jr., FASLA

Into an Era of Landscape Humanism

By Gina Ford, ASLA

The Landscape Architect as Urbanist of Our Age

By Charles Waldheim, Honorary ASLA

Developing Landscapes of Resource Management

By Alpa Nawre, ASLA

Fifty Years of the Declaration: Evolution and Prospects

By Mario Schjetnan, FASLA

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