A Message from Potomac ASLA on June 9, 2020:
Change is Needed
Let’s Be Part of the Solution!
At last night’s meeting of our Executive Committee (our Chapter’s governing body), we discussed not only what to say to show our support of the peaceful protesters calling for an end to systemic racism, but also what we can do to contribute to accomplishing this important and necessary goal.
We acknowledge that our profession and ASLA membership do not reflect the United States population and that this needs to change: according to US Census and ASLA data, about 14 percent of the population identifies as African American, but only 3 percent of landscape architects and just over 1 percent of ASLA members do. What can we do collectively, as a Chapter, as well as individually, to make our profession and association more inclusive and reflective of the communities in which we work?
While our Chapter has taken some steps in recent years, such as participating in school STEM fairs and career days and adopting a DC public school, we recognize we have a long way to go. If your firm is promoting diversity/inclusion in your practice and/or specific projects and we can share that with our membership, please tell us about it.
Like many of our members, we want to do something, and we are still figuring out how best to help. If you have an idea, please share it with us. We need more ideas and voices to help us create a meaningful plan: email us if you’d like to volunteer to help.
We pledge to continue to pursue strategies toward the important goals of ending systemic racism and creating a more diverse and inclusive community of landscape architects and look forward to your ideas and help.
Kerri Blackman, ASLA
2019-2020 Potomac Chapter President
Led by Potomac Chapter member, Glenn LaRue Smith, ASLA, BlackLAN was founded in 2012 and is a communication platform open to students and professionals of African ancestry. The goal of BlackLAN is to foster mentorship and dialogue around issues relevant to the African-American community. One of the Network’s primary goals is to increase the number of African-Americans in landscape architecture.
You can read their June 2020 statement about the protests, systemic racism, and their work to bring recognition to the importance of black landscape architects in society here: BlackLAN Statement-1.
Their most recent newsletter is here: BlackLAN Newsletter Vol. 1-6.8.2020-1.
In April 2017 we announced that after several years of our Potomac Chapter’s efforts, licensure for landscape architects in DC had become law. And then we spent another three years, first providing input into the final regulations and then waiting for DCRA to fix the problems they had with the online portal.
And now you can finally apply for your landscape architecture license in DC!
Special thanks to Marsha Lea, FASLA and Robert Alter, ASLA who have served as our Advocacy Chairs during this time and have spent many hours spearheading our Chapter’s efforts. Bob has been attending the meetings of the District’s Board of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Interior Design (BAID) for more than two years to keep us apprised and to keep landscape architecture in front of the BAID.
The DCRA licensing system for landscape architects and professional design firms has been turned on for accepting applications for these license types. Click here to apply. (If for some reason, the embedded link doesn’t work, open Licensing Services at https://dcra.dc.gov/architects
DCRA has revamped their online customer service to ensure that you get the help you need within three business days. To contact them electronically, fill out their on-demand customer intake form.
We look forward to recognizing new DC licensees and celebrating licensure in the District!
Potomac ASLA has joined with the Virginia Chapter to voice support for continued licensure of landscape architects.
The Board of Professional and Occupation Regulations (BPOR) has cancelled its public hearings, due to COVID-19. The study was due to be completed in December 2020. If hearings are rescheduled in our area, we will let you know.
Background information: JLARC info.
The Chapter has adopted ASLA’s Advocacy Checklist and will follow it when other issues are brought to the Chapter’s attention. You can review the document here: Chapter Checklist for State Federal Issues
Now that DC licensure is finally a reality, our Chapter is committed to tackling the sales tax currently levied on landscape architectural services. So there are new opportunities to get involved. Please let the Chapter know if you are interested by emailing us at email@example.com.