Landscape architects play a crucial role in shaping the built environment to be more resilient, equitable, and welcoming. However, the field itself still lacks diversity.
While more than half of landscape architecture students are women, the number of practicing landscape architects is less than 30%. This number plummets further when looking at leadership—women occupy just 12% of advanced leadership positions.
This year, Landscape Forms hosted a roundtable discussion at the Harvard Graduate School of Design to discuss critical issues and future opportunities for women in the profession.
Fifteen distinguished design leaders and three landscape architecture students joined the discussion. The roundtable was moderated by Sasaki’s director of professional practice, Allyson Mendenhall, FASLA, PLA, LEED Green Associate. Sasaki intern Naomi Canino, an MLA candidate at the Rhode Island School of Design, was one of the participating students.
To better understand the barriers women are facing and envision different paths towards gender equity in the industry, the roundtable asked one another questions like:
- Have your opportunities as a woman expanded with changes and growth in the landscape architecture profession?
- Do women bring particular perspectives and ways of operating to landscape architecture?
- How would you characterize the work culture for women in the profession?
- How can we act individually and collectively to ensure women at all stages of their careers have full access to opportunities in the profession?
The conversation that followed has been distilled into a whitepaper written by Gail Greet Hannah, “Women in Landscape Architecture: Amplifying Our Voice.”
“I was thrilled by the diversity of perspectives and the level of engagement at the Roundtable, including that of the students,” said Mendenhall. “The discussion revealed the motivation and the innovation of women working to chart professional paths that are influential and fulfilling. We saw how women are creating opportunities for themselves and others.”
“This event engendered a call to action,” continues Mendenhall, “to assert our value and to seek out and raise awareness of the many roles and sectors of the economy, beyond narrow choices, where female landscape architects can inspire change by crafting individual careers that integrate well with their lives.”