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What is landscape architecture?

Central Park, the first major landscaped
public space in urban America, was created
in the 1850s as an antidote to the turbulent
social unrest, largely as the result of the
country's first wave of immigration, and a
serious public health crisis, caused by harmful
environmental conditions.

In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., considered today the Father of Landscape Architecture,
initiated a project that would redefine the industrial city.

He understood that the creation of a great public park would improve public health and contribute
greatly to the formation of a civil society.

Chosen by the city and the
park planners because its
terrain was unsuitable for
commercial building, the
site for the new park offered
rocky vistas, swamps which
would be converted into
lakes, and the old city
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) defined landscape
architecture as:

a science and an art [which] embraces those professional activities
relating to the systematicplanning of land areas, the design of
outdoor places and spaces, the conservation of our
natural resources and the creation of a more useful, safe and
pleasant living environment.
(ASLA Handbook of Professional Practice, 1981, p. 19)
Landscape architect
The scope of the profession includes:
urban design;
site planning;
storm water management;
town or urban planning;
environmental restoration; parks and recreation planning;
reclamation of degraded landscapes such as mines or landfills
visual resource management;
green infrastructure planning and provision;
and private estate and residence landscape master planning and design; all at
varying scales of design, planning and management.
Landscape architecture is a multi-disciplinary field, incorporating aspects of: botany,
horticulture, the fine arts, architecture, industrial design, geology and the earth
sciences, environmental psychology, geography, and ecology.
ecology is all about- the inter-relationship between living and
non-living things and their habitat.

When man builds, he must take both nature and society into
With this concept the ecological approach to landscape
architecture-both the natural and man-made environment
should be blended to produce a harmonius whole, so that
while altering the living system, the vital inter-relationships
between living and non-living things are not distributed.

Lawrence Harpin, the eminent landscape architect says
if one can step for a moment into an outdoor space, no
matter how small and get a glimpse of the sky and the
smell of the earth, trees and flowers, then the
overwhelming scale and density of urban life can be
largely overcome.
Earth is experiencing a so-called environmental crisis (ecological crisis). This crisis is
characterized by three major themes:

Rapid growth of the human population and its associated economic activity,

The depletion of both non-renewable and renewable resources, and

Extensive and intensive damage caused to ecosystems and biodiversity.

The environmental problems have boosted the sustainable explorations necessary for
protecting ecological system in order to address and find solutions to the problems.

In landscape architecture ecologys emphasis on natural processes and the interrelatedness of
landscape components influenced outlook and method and prompted an ecological approach to

Carrying capacity
The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of
the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other
necessities available in the environment.
The carrying capacity of an environment may vary for different species and may change over time
due to a variety of factors, including: food availability, water supply, environmental conditions and
living space.

Ecological footprint
One way to estimate human demand compared to ecosystem's carrying capacity is
"Ecological footprint" accounting.
It represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area necessary to supply
the resources a human population consumes, and to assimilate associated waste
. Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate how much of the Earth (or how many
planet Earths) it would take to support humanity if everybody followed a given lifestyle.
For 2007, humanity's total ecological footprint was estimated at 1.5 planet Earths;
that is, humanity uses ecological services 1.5 times as quickly as Earth can renew
them .
This is a good way of informing a country as to what extent it uses its resources as
compared to the available resources
WWF claims that human foot print has exceeded the bio capacity of the planet by 20%.