Refreshing. That’s the only word I can think of after hearing Jane Amidon gloss over her impressive, and diverse career in the field of landscape architecture. What stood out particularly was her off the cuff demeanor in the range of inquiries that were asked. In the beginning of telling her background, she brought up the idea of a “liberal arts” mentality in landscape architecture. Meaning, that as landscape architects we cannot pigeonhole ourselves into over-specialization, rather we must delve into the tangential discourses that influence landscape architecture. Examples she gave were partaking in Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) conferences or engaging journals of philosophical inquiry, such as “New Geographies”. As she stated, there needs to be a “hybridization of liberal arts thinking with design.” Moreover, I thought her opinion on design being more multifaceted by being more data-driven was particularly interesting. As a student, becoming proficient with emerging technologies and using rich data banks, like GIS, I have seen projected designs become denser and more scaler.
Another sentiment that Amidon highlighted was an awareness to policy. As someone who was initially interested in policy, she highly encouraged that landscape architects stay on the forefront of policy issues that could affect landscape architecture. I think this was very important to hear. because as landscape architects,= we need to think in terms of longevity, and the way that longevity in designs is solidified is by insuring its immutability at a policy level.
As a director of an unaccredited landscape architecture program, Jane Amidon demonstrates the diversity of the profession and how it can–and should–be thought of in varying facets.