The American Society of Landscape Architects
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is a national professional organization representing 17,000 landscape architects. ASLA is an active advocate for the profession at the local, state, and national levels on public policy issues, including licensure, livable communities, sustainable design, surface transportation, the environment, conservation issues, historic preservation, small business issues, and providing outdoor access that exceeds the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
ASLA has 48 state and regional chapters who are at the forefront of advocacy efforts. Through its Advocacy Network, ASLA National helps to inform Congress regarding issues of important to the landscape architecture profession. Members of Congress need to hear directly from their constituents. ASLA Advocacy Network is at the forefront of making sure that happens by informing you to contact your local representative and senators on issues that can affect the profession of landscape architecture and/or stewardship issues to protect the land.
The Northern California Chapter of ASLA
The Northern California Chapter represents approximately 450 landscape architects at the local level. The Chapter is the main advocacy body to advance the profession on the local level by holding events, meetings, outings, and providing information regarding the profession to the local media and schools. The Chapter may also interface with municipal governments regarding local issues that could impact the profession or the public realm.
The California Council of ASLA
The California Council of the ASLA (CC-ASLA) is comprised of the four California Chapters (San Diego, Southern California, Sierra, and Northern California) representing approximately 1350 California landscape architects. The CC-ASLA is the coordinating body regarding state-wide legislative and licensure issues. CC-ASLA monitors bills proposed by the State Legislature that could impact the profession and/or the public realm. CC-ASLA is also involved with the regular sunset review process regarding the Landscape Architecture Technical Committee; the State organization that oversees the licensure of landscape architects. CC-ASLA invests time and resources from membership dues to keep an eye on state regulatory, legislative, and citizen actions and initiatives that affect the profession and our communities.
Recent CC-ASLA efforts include advocating, in conjunction with then State Senator Alan Lowenthal, for changes to the Mechanics/Design Professional Lien Law, which became operative on January 1, 2012. This law protects practitioners’ rights to pursue legal recourse for non-payment of design fees from the landowners, if such design work is built. CC-ASLA represented the profession at various meetings to ensure that Landscape Architecture would be included as a design profession named in the revised law.
State Licensure Law
In 1953, California enacted the Landscape Architect Licensure Law to oversee consumer protections regarding services provided by landscape architects. Currently, landscape architects licensed by the Landscape Architecture Technical Committee (LATC), established in 1997 under the California Architects Board (CAB) in the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). Licensing of businesses and professions protects consumers from unscrupulous businesses and unqualified professionals. CC-ASLA is a major force in protecting state licensure of the profession.
In California, to be called a landscape architect, you must hold a professional license to practice landscape architecture, as defined under Business and Professions Code Section (BPC) 5615. Engagement in the practice of landscape architecture, or use of the title “landscape architect,” or any other confusingly similar title, by an unlicensed individual is a violation of the State’s Landscape Architects Practice Act.
Landscape architects who are initially licensed in California are required to have six years of combined training and educational credits and pass both the national licensing examination and the California Supplemental Examination. Once licensed, landscape architects are required to comply with the laws and regulations governing the practice of landscape architecture.
According to section 5615 of the State Business and Professions Code, “Landscape architect means a person who holds a license to practice landscape architecture in this state under the authority of this chapter.”