Carolina Carvajal Participates in the ASLA Diversity Summit 2015

Aug 05, 2015

Boston 3Written by Carolina Carvajal

I was one of 12 Landscape Architecture emerging professionals, from across the country selected, to participate in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 2015 Diversity Summit held in the ASLA Headquarters in Washington D.C.

Knowing that the face of the Nation is changing dramatically, ASLA has put an emphasis on increasing the diversity within the profession. Only 4% of Landscape Architecture students are Hispanic and only 1% African-American. According to the Census Bureau projections for the 2012-2060, minorities are 37% of the general population and will more than double by 2060. ASLA, the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards and the Landscape Architecture Foundation released a statement called Mirroring the Nation: Landscape Architecture and the Future of the Profession, in which it states, “For Landscape Architecture to remain a relevant and responsive profession, it must reflect the communities it serves. Greater diversity in the profession will bring new perspectives to its education and practice that increase social equity, creative potential, and profession/community connections. The undersigned organizations hereby make a commitment to increase resources and actions that recruit minority students to Landscape Architecture programs and help mentor graduates through licensure and their careers. Further, we agree to strive to achieve a profile for the profession that over the next 10 years achieves at least parity with 2012 population-share estimates while working towards the longer-term goal of parity with 2060 projections for the nation as a whole.”

Last year’s attendees focused on 1) raising general public awareness (with an emphasis on minority parents); 2) early exposure to the profession; and 3) mentorship, with special focus on strategies for recruiting students in grades K-12 to the profession and establishing successful MLA programs.

In order to achieve the diversity goals set forth in the ASLA statement, participants this year approved of last year’s focuses and concentrated on continuing developing strategies and programs that focus on the same three priorities:

 – General public awareness (creating an emphasis on minority parents),

– Early exposure to the profession, and

– Mentorship.

The group alternated time between discussion in smaller groups to generate ideas and then the groups reported-back to all participants for approval. Then developed a series of toolkits and curriculums to raise awareness in minority communities and how to provide early exposure to the profession for students, parents, teachers, and communities. Also, we created an inclusive mentoring opportunity that engages Landscape Architects at all stages during their career. This year’s Diversity Summit attendees worked to further produce a preliminary structure and business plan for the mentoring program created by last year’s attendees. Moving forward, ASLA and their staff will work to refine and further develop the program and potentially release it as the 360 degree mentorship model.

At the next ASLA Diversity Summit in 2016, six new participants will be introduced to review the progress and continue to work on the programs developed by this year’s attendees. ASLA will continue to focus on the diversity goals mentioned above, until there is a significant and quantifiable change in the diversity of the profession. They will work on connections with individual chapters, universities, and other design-related nonprofits was recognized as a crucial step toward promoting diversity within the profession. They will also explore the possibility of implementing a pilot program that involves individuals from K-12 for the 360-degree mentoring program.


Juanita Shearer-Swink, PLA, FASLA Senior Transportation Planner at Go Triangle

Terrence Poltrack, Director of Public Relations and Communications at ASLA


Kona A. Gray, ASLA, Principal at EDSA and President-elect of the Landscape Architecture Foundation

Paul Voos, ASLA from Morgan State represents the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture

Jose M. Alvarez, ASLA Designer at EDSA

Carolina Carvajal, ASLA Landscape Designer at IBI Group

Courtney Hinson, ASLA Landscape Architect at Parsons Brinckerhoff

Diana Fernandez, Associate ASLA Landscape Designer at Sasaki

Bianca Paz, Landscape Designer for City of St. Paul Parks & Recreation Department

Melissa Henao-Robledo, Landscape Designer at Landscape Forms

Angelica Rockquemore, ASLA Planner/Landscape Designer at HHF Planners

Roberto Rovira, ASLA Principal of Studio Roberto Rovira, Inc. & Associate & Assistant Professor & Landscape Chair at FIU

Aaron Lamar Ruffin, ASLA Senior Urban Planner at JACOBS Engineering Group

Lindsey D. Smith, ASLA Landscape Architect & Management Supervisor at Favrot & Shane Architects

Christopher L. Sanders, ASLA Designer at SWT Design

Mercedes A. Ward, Assistant Landscape Architect at NYC Parks Capital Projects Division

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