Friday, January 2, 2009

Best Careers 2009

I'm having one of those deja vu moments from last year, as a recent post from ASLA's Blog The Dirt linked to a US News & World Report article that named Landscape Architecture one of the Best Careers of 2009. And lo and behold, it's a snappy cut and past job (mostly from last years kudos...). More interesting is a stream of comments from LAs around the country - giving a voice to the fact that the economy hurts even some of the best fields. Not to minimize the fact that people are being laid off, but the point being it's a career - implying time, ups, downs, and needing flexibility, of which landscape architects possess - those wide-ranging and adaptable skillset to make it through life's recessions. Stick with it.

"Overview. Yes, you might end up creating palatial backyards for rich people, but you might also help design restored wetlands, mountain resorts, urban plazas, and zoos. A landscape architect must have talent for both the aesthetic and the functional, the art and the science—you're creating an ecosystem that must thrive over time. Indeed, sustainability has increasingly become a high priority among many landscape designers and clients. One of the latest innovations includes green roofs, which are plants set in a layer of compost over a moisture-proof barrier.

:: Got compost? - image via Jetson Green

Since it costs little to open up shop, 20 percent of landscape architects are self-employed. Those who are less entrepreneurial work for firms or for the government. One thorn: Landscape architecture projects are subject to an ever growing thicket of government regulations. To be content in this career, it helps if you're an avid environmentalist and can tolerate the often labyrinthine approvals process. And if the stress builds, you can always seek a moment of peace in one of your landscape projects."

I'll spare you the rest as it's virtually a carbon-copy of '08, but it is interesting the focus this year which includes Ecosystem Restoration as a 'smart speciality' and mentions China as a hot place for practice, along with a link to an ASLA interview with Chinese landscape architect Jie-Hu, designers of the Beijing Olympic Forest Park.

:: image via ASLA

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