ASLA Marks Black History Month With #BlackDesignExcellence Campaign



Black History Month
Today, ASLA kicks off its Black History Month campaign by remembering David Williston, one of the first African American landscape architects and designer of Howard University. PHOTO: Howard University.



Today marks the beginning of Black History Month. As part of the annual observance, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) will be hosting Design Excellence by Black Landscape Architects, a social media campaign celebrating African American landscape architects and their valuable contributions to the profession.

“This will be the third year that ASLA has made a special effort to recognize Black landscape architects, members, and non-members, around the world. We’re working to bring some much-overdue attention to the talented and growing community of professionals who are expanding and enhancing this profession — and doing so in ways that elevate the practice, challenge the norm, and innovate design,” said ASLA CEO Torey Carter-Conneen.

Black History MonthThe ASLA Black History Month initiative was kicked off with a post and links about David August Williston, one of the first African American landscape architects. Williston designed some of the major campuses of historically African American colleges like Booker T. Washington’s Tuskeegee Institute and Howard University in Washington, D.C. In his lifetime, he never experienced full integration, having passed away in 1962 at the age of 94, but managed to accomplish a lasting legacy of built work.

Learn more about Black landscape architects making strides in the profession and design projects that exemplify excellence on ASLA social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, with the hashtag #BlackDesignExcellence.

In similar news, ASLA released a comprehensive set of policy recommendations for the new Biden-Harris administration titled “Landscape Architects Design Vibrant, Resilient, and Just Communities for All – Recommendations for the Biden-Harris Administration.”

The report makes specific, actionable policy recommendations in four major areas:

  • Applying STEM-related design principles to protect communities.
  • Addressing climate change through sustainable, resilient design.
  • Supporting green community infrastructure solutions.
  • Promoting racial, social, and environmental justice in design.

BlackLAN, along with four other landscape architecture-related organizations, expressed their support for the policies. “The Black Landscape Architects Network (BlackLAN) Board of Directors supports the ASLA policy recommendations submitted to the Biden-Harris Administration. As a community of Black landscape architecture students and professionals, we support actions that advance racial equality, spatial equity, and environmental justice. These recommendations reaffirm the importance of Black landscape architects as leaders and place makers who work within diverse ecologically and socially changing communities in our nation and globally.”

BlackLAN will be holding its Black Landscape Symposium Speaker Series throughout February. The first session will be held February 4 at 6 PM EST and will cover “Decentering from Federick Law Olmsted (F.L.O.).” For more information, or to register, visit here.