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A Landscape Declaration for the 21st Century


The New Landscape Declaration drew inspiration from the LAF's 1966 Declaration of Concern drafted by Ian McHarg to address the burgeoning environmental crisis.


"The Declaration is a potent reminder of the common values that we share as designers," said Barbara Deutsch, FASLA, executive director of the Landscape Architecture Foundation.

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) has released the new Landscape Declaration, a bold vision and 21st century call to action for landscape architecture to make its vital contribution in solving the defining issues of our time. LAF is now encouraging landscape architects across the globe to read, discuss, sign on, and share ideas on ways to turn this ambitious vision into actions.

On June 10-11, 2016, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia assembled over 700 landscape architects with a shared concern for the future. Inspired by LAF's 1966 Declaration of Concern, a call to action has been issued and new vision for landscape architecture in the 21st century has been crafted. Ian McHarg, and five others who decried the burgeoning environmental crisis drafted the 1966 Declaration of Concern. Building on this legacy, the new Landscape Declaration asserts the critical role of landscape architecture in addressing the challenges of our time.

"The Declaration is a potent reminder of the common values that we share as designers, and we hope that it will serve as a beacon to guide our work collectively and as individuals, firms, civil servants, educators, non-profit leaders, mentors, and the many other capacities in which we work," said LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch, FASLA. "We are proud and humbled to have led this powerful and timely effort."

The text of the declaration is as follows.

Across borders and beyond walls, from city centers to the last wilderness, humanity's common ground is the landscape itself. Food, water, and oxygen - everything that sustains us comes from and returns to the landscape. What we do to our landscapes we ultimately do to ourselves. The profession charged with designing this common ground is landscape architecture.

After centuries of mistakenly believing we could exploit nature without consequence, we have now entered an age of extreme climate change marked by rising seas, resource depletion, desertification and unprecedented rates of species extinction. Set against the global phenomena of accelerating consumption, urbanization and inequity, these influences disproportionately affect the poor and will impact everyone, everywhere.

Simultaneously, there is profound hope for the future. As we begin to understand the true complexity and holistic nature of the earth system and as we begin to appreciate humanity's role as integral to its stability and productivity, we can build a new identity for society as a constructive part of nature.

The urgent challenge before us is to redesign our communities in the context of their bioregional landscapes enabling them to adapt to climate change and mitigate its root causes. As designers versed in both environmental and cultural systems, landscape architects are uniquely positioned to bring related professions together into new alliances to address complex social and ecological problems. Landscape architects bring different and often competing interests together so as to give artistic physical form and integrated function to the ideals of equity, sustainability, resiliency and democracy.

As landscape architects we vow to create places that serve the higher purpose of social and ecological justice for all peoples and all species. We vow to create places that nourish our deepest needs for communion with the natural world and with one another. We vow to serve the health and wellbeing of all communities.

To fulfill these promises, we will work to strengthen and diversify our global capacity as a profession. We will work to cultivate a bold culture of inclusive leadership, advocacy and activism in our ranks. We will work to raise awareness of landscape architecture's vital contribution. We will work to support research and champion new practices that result in design innovation and policy transformation.

We pledge our services. We seek commitment and action from those who share our concern.

To sign the New Declaration of Concern visit the LAF online. (

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November 14, 2018, 2:39 pm PST

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