MiASLA Legislative Talking Points

Posted 27 February 2013

The Arguments Against De-Regulation of Landscape Architects


Landscape architecture is a profession that blends creativity and science. Every day, landscape architects work to improve our communities and the environment, using their talents in planning, design and land‐use management. Projects that landscape architects design and contribute to include parks, urban design, residential developments, campuses, shopping centers, gardens, transportation facilities, corporate and institutional facilities and more. The profession became licensed in 2008 with Public Act 490.

The following are reasons to keep the landscape architect license in place here in Michigan:
  • If licensure is revoked, Michigan will be the only state that does not regulate landscape architecture.
  • Without a license to practice, every Michigan-based landscape architect will immediately be placed at a competitive disadvantage with a lack of reciprocity and inability to bring projects and work out of state back here to Michigan.
  • Landscape architects compete and collaborate with other design professions, such as architects and civil engineers. Without licensure, we simply cannot compete and our businesses cannot function. Licensure levels the playing field for Michigan landscape architects by eliminating this competitive disadvantage on a regional and national basis, even within our own profession.

  • Without licensure, Michigan landscape architects will not be able to effectively compete for projects not only in our own state but in neighboring states as well. As a practical example, an Upper Peninsula landscape architecture firm can now effectively compete for projects at a half dozen or more national forests across the northern tier of Wisconsin and the U.P. because they meet the federal requirement of being a “licensed landscape architect.” Michigan-based landscape architects compete with Wisconsin firms on the basis of providing exceptional service and design expertise in part due to our high level of training. If landscape architecture is deregulated, we will no longer be able to compete for those projects.
  • The practice of landscape architecture directly impacts public health, safety, and welfare, and a license is the strongest form of regulation to ensure that the public is adequately protected.
  • Licensing is the model best suited to integrate design and construction regulations which often require a licensed design professional for certain projects followed by the need for a design professional’s stamp. Landscape architects currently fully participate in this system, but without a stamp (which comes from licensure), it would be impossible to do so.
  • The Michigan Occupational Code currently allows anyone to perform landscape contracting, gardening, landscape design and landscape nursery work and therefore poses no barrier to entry for individuals desiring to work in the landscape trades.
  • Projects such as public parks, streetscapes and other “public places” require design by licensed professionals for the protection of health safety and welfare. The education, experience and passing of a national examination ensures that a “landscape architect” possesses the minimum skills necessary to design, seal and oversee projects in the public realm where health, safety and welfare are required.
  • Many design projects require a license for a design professional to lead the development. Without a license, landscape architects will no longer be able to lead projects. This will reduce the completion for these projects and will open up opportunities to out of state landscape architects to take Michigan projects out of state!
  • Without a license, landscape architects cannot become principals/partners at multi-disciplinary design firms. Landscape architects currently work side by side with engineers, architects and surveyors across the state. Without a license, landscape architects are placed in subsidiary roles to their colleagues.
  • Landscape architecture has been recognized as a distinct design profession for over a century. Landscape architects earn a university degree in landscape architecture, like those available at the accredited programs at the University of Michigan and MichiganStateUniversity. In fact, the UM and MSU programs are among the premier landscape architect programs in the country!
  • Without a license, UM and MSU landscape architect program graduates will leave Michigan upon graduation to seek work and lead projects in other states.