The LSU landscape architecture program, offered by the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture (RRSLA), has been designated a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degree.
The degree change follows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s July 2023 announcement designating landscape architecture a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degree program. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) advocated for the designation change.
The LSU landscape architecture program has been consistently ranked among the top three undergraduate and graduate programs in the nation according to DesignIntelligence magazine, the leading journal of design professions. The STEM designation will further attract highly competitive design students to LSU from around the world.
“Landscape architecture is important because we make our communities more resilient,” said Haley Blakeman, RRSLA associate director. Well-designed spaces bring people together, she said. For students, the major is “all about problem solving, learning how to talk to community members, and using the design skills they’re trained with to come up with solutions for the future.”
There is a common misconception that landscape architecture is landscaping, Blakeman said. The field is in fact often an intersection between urban planning, sustainable design, and land resource management. Landscape architects plan and design traditional spaces from parks, campuses, and gardens to commercial centers, transportation corridors, waterfront developments, and more. Today’s landscape architects design and plan the restoration of natural places and work to revitalize post-disaster sites and redevelop blighted landscapes of urban settlements. In Louisiana, more than ever, landscape architects are involved in coastal adaptation.
Landscape architecture degree programs are now pioneering some of the most innovative research and developing new technologies – from using artificial intelligence for urban agriculture, to urban planning for autonomous vehicles; to hydraulic modeling, robotic fabrication, and augmented reality for water bodies, and more.
“Landscape architecture applies science, technology, cutting edge research, and engineering principles, to design healthy communities, active transportation projects, campuses and parks. We help communities adapt to climate driven extreme weather and support biodiversity,” said Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO of ASLA. “The infrastructure challenges in municipalities across the country are enormous — landscape architects bring transformative solutions. The decision will advance landscape architecture education and practice, and that is great for America and the global community.”
This change follows the STEM degree designation of the LSU architecture program.