The year starts off with news that we’ve all know for years. US News and World Report issued their Best Careers of 2008, which includes Landscape Architect in the listings. Also included for 2008 from the design world are Urban Planner, and Engineer. While perhaps over-simplifying the profession, here’s Marty Nemko’s description of a typical day in the life of a landscape architect:
Landscape Architect: A Day in the Life
“You’ve started a new assignment: designing the landscape for a school district’s administration center. You’ve already met with the developer, project architect, civil engineer, hydrologist, and government regulators. Today, you’re considering the site’s sun patterns, land slopes, and soil characteristics. You read the results of a questionnaire you gave to the site’s future users, trying to figure out what would make their experience most pleasant and efficient. Then, using a computer-design program, you sketch out a first draft of the site’s land grading, building placement, walkways, and roadways, along with decorative features such as plantings and a fountain. Next, you head out to the work site for a walk-through, documenting your stroll with a camcorder. You get excited as you set up a meeting to present your draft plan to the client. If only you didn’t have to spend two days writing a sheaf of land use and environmental documents for the government.”
Making the dubious Overrated Careers list was our friends the Architect. I don’t know if i agree totally with the the prognosis, there is some validity regarding the negative trends including: “…the housing decline souring the job market… more potential clients are offshoring the work to India, downloading premade blueprints developed by top architects, or having lower-cost interior/exterior designers or building contractors design their structure.”
Either way, there is perhaps a shifting of the bias/balance between architecture and landscape architecture regarding our value and skill-set, including site planning, sustainable design, and integrated building/landscapes. I think in the end, both professions are healthy and vibrant, and in need of a collaborative spirit that will continue to provide innovation and creativity – which cannot be out-sourced or prefabricated.