Sculptural Terrain For The New Face Of Landscape Architecture


Sculptural Ornaments


Arnold Alanen, Honorary ASLA, and Darrel Morrison, FASLA, launched Landscape Journal with the notion that "the journal represents an important bridge between academia and the practicing profession." This vision has been echoed by all subsequent editors. But when Matthew Powers, ASLA, an assistant professor at Florida A&M University, and Jason Walker, ASLA, an assistant professor at Mississippi State University, looked over 25 yearsofarticles published in landscape Journal, they found a consistent and nagging disconnect between research and practice (see Resources).

Powers and Walker categorized journal articles into 11 categories (see graphs, below). Between 1982 and 1988, when Alanen and Morrison edited the journal, only 8 percent of the articles fell into the landscape design and implementation category. Like his predecessors, Robert Riley, who edited Landscape Journal from 1988 to 1995, "saw improvements in scholarship as a way [of} improving [the] practice of landscape architecture," but the articles related to design and implementation stayed at 8 percent during this period.

From 1995 to 2002, landscape Journal was edited by Kenneth Helphand, FASLA, and Robert Melnick. They challenged the traditional approach to research that CELA had initially espoused, writing "text and statistics are not the only way to represent the methods and products of our research.. .we envision a circumstance in which results of scholarship are not primarily written or numerical, but graphic. However, the format continued to be very text heavy, and coverage of design- and implementation-related subjects fell to 3 percent.

The rhetoric continued in the final period studied by Powers and Walker (2002— 2007), when editors Elen Deming, ASLA, and James Palmer, FASLA, ventured to "[expand] the categories of research and [reaffirm] tlie value placed on creative and applied scholarship." Again we can see that the quantity of research that can be applied to practice remained minimal at 6percent. Academic research was dominated by subjects such as history and culture, land planning, and design theory. Many articles focused on expanding, explaining, or verifying the applications of established theories or advancing new theories and paradigms. But there was a lack of research in the emerging areas of sustainabil-ity and green design in Landscape Journal.

Powers and Walker concluded that "the least common product [of an article in Landscape Journal} was design and planning guidelines, covering only 2 percent of all articles. The journal needs to attract more practitioners by publishing for application-oriented scholarship." They also felt that practitioners were being discouraged from reading the journal and submitting their own research due to the types of subjects covered and the mostly written or numerical format used.

"Academic research was dominated by subjects such as history and culture, land planning, and design theory But there was a lack of research in the emerging areas ofsustainability and green design."

Landscape Journal 1932-2007

Percentage of articles by topic

Journal of Landscape Architecture 200G-present

Percentage of articles by topic

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