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President’s Message: A message from Jane Welsh, OALA President

Access, as a concept and practice, is something landscape architects think about often: how humans move through space, and about the design clues and triggers that keep people safe. Our designs evoke surprise, delight, and respect, and make connections that allow people to access to a deeper part of themselves.

Adaptation Canada 2020, Vancouver
Collectively, OALA Council and our amazing volunteers are making the landscape architecture profession more visible and accessible to the public: reminding decision makers about our role in addressing the big issues.

One of the issues we are well-placed to address is climate change adaptation, and I was fortunate to represent the CSLA at the Adaptation Canada 2020 conference in February.

Increasing Capacity: Awareness, Rules and Resources
Landscape architects understand the capacity of the land and the dynamic forces of nature.

There are two important ingredients for deeper capacity within the profession: raising awareness and setting out new rules and regulations for climate adaption. Professional awareness is being led by IFLA, our international body, which has declared a climate and biodiversity emergency. Public awareness is being driven by the worldwide, youth-led climate strikes. One example of developed capacity is the Toronto Green Standard, which requires sustainable performance measures on all site plans.

The CSLA, as our national body, provides web-based resources, its Committee on Climate Adaptation has prepared a position paper, and the Municipal Roundtable of landscape architects working in Canadian municipalities is committed to sharing information and resources.

World Wide Pandemic
Our April 30-May 2 Conference and AGM 20/20 Vision Improvement and Clarity in London, ON was not held in person this year. The South West Chapter of the OALA is to be commended for their hard work. Chapter Chair Andrew Wilson says “as landscape architects, who hasn’t prepared a plan, design, or document, only to have circumstances change resulting in the plan being shelved? While the conference will not materialize as we had envisioned, the consolation was the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse, creative, and, yes, visionary group of landscape architects and OALA administrators.”

I hope everyone has been able to stay healthy and take the opportunity to be outside and connect with nature, while observing the recommended health and safety precautions.

Jane Welsh, OALA, FCSLA
OALA President
[email protected]