Landscape Architects Release Climate Change Policy Recommendations

Staff | September 28, 2010

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has released a series of strategic policy recommendations on climate change to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate global warming. ASLA encourages Congress to adopt these strategies, as well as pass the Safe Climate Act and America's Climate Security Act—actions that will increase energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the natural environment.

According to Nancy Somerville, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA, the techniques landscape architects use for sustainable design can translate into effective public policy and these strategies can save billions of dollars on infrastructure, create vibrant and healthy neighborhoods, preserve our natural resources, and reduce global warming if Congress acts soon.

Policy Recommendations

  • Encourage sustainable site planning for new communities and buildings of all types.
  • Require open space and parkland preservation as a component of all public and private development, from small site-specific projects to regional land use plans.
  • Encourage the research and use of native and adapted vegetation in the built environment to take full advantage of the most appropriate plants to increase air quality, conserve water resources, and sequester carbon dioxide.
  • Encourage the use of sustainable stormwater management practices that enhance the treatment and increase the infiltration of stormwater.
  • Encourage the use of green roofs on public and private buildings of all types.
  • Require comprehensive transportation and utility planning as a component of land use planning, matching infrastructure capacity with current/proposed land uses.
  • Encourage the development of smart growth communities.
  • Enact policies that support design of safe transportation routes for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and those who use wheelchairs.

Full white paper and policy recommendations can be viewed at

ASLA also encourages Congress to pass comprehensive climate change legislation in the forms of the Safe Climate Act of 2007 (H.R. 1590) and America's Climate Security Act of 2007 (S. 2191). These bills will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emission in the U.S., support reasonable energy-efficient building codes, lower motor vehicle emissions, and provide funds to protect the country's national forests, grasslands, freshwater and estuary ecosystems, and other essential natural resources.