Landscape architecture is having a moment. The latest proof: last week, the US Department of Homeland Security decided to accredit the field with its prestigious STEM designation. As part of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines that fall under this category, landscape architecture students can now spend an additional 24 months seeking employment and training post-graduation in the United States after an initial period of a year granted to all graduates. The title also promises more prestige, higher entry salaries, and additional career flexibility. Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), calls the development a significant advancement for 'landscape architecture education and practice, and that is great for America and the global community.'
The news corresponds to a growing emphasis on landscape architecture as a pivotal practice around the globe in recent years – one that is closely connected to notions of public health, environmental design, biophilia, sustainability, and re-wilding. It also underlines the intimate relationship between technology and the discipline. Landscape proposals increasingly rely on advanced science and technology to predict how ecological interventions might alter an existing terrain and determine what measures will yield the highest benefit for both humans and nature. The contemporary ideal of wild meadows and biodiverse forests may exist free from external influence, but the path to get there requires assistance.