Landscape Architecture

Posted July 2, 2018
  • LA+ WILD. Article by environmental historian Steve Pyne. Image by Karen Wattenmaker.

LA+ Reflects the Interdisciplinary Approach to Landscape Architecture

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LA+ (Landscape Architecture Plus) explores landscape architecture's interdisciplinary potential, bringing readers a rich collection of contemporary thinkers and designers in two lavishly illustrated print issues annually. The aim of LA+ is to reveal connections and build collaborations between landscape architecture, urban design, and other disciplines by exploring each issue’s theme from multiple perspectives. 

What is the history of the publication?

As a discipline, landscape architecture claims to bring the sciences, arts, and humanities together, yet before LA+ there were no journals that reflected this interdisciplinary approach. We started LA+ Journal in 2014 in response to this, and also in response to the lack of truly beautifully designed and produced journals in landscape architecture. 

Who runs the publication?

Our Editor in Chief, Tatum L. Hands, runs LA+ with assistance from PennDesign’s Chair of Landscape Architecture, Richard Weller, who is the journal’s Creative Director.

How are the issues constructed?

First, we decide on the overarching theme for the issue, then we conduct a broad-ranging review of literature and ideas. From this we create a curated shortlist of interesting authors from around the world who are dealing with the theme from their own disciplinary perspectives, but in a way that speaks to our readership. So, for example, we look for elements of spatiality and design, different ways of reading cities and populations, unusual interdisciplinary collaborations, and new approaches to thinking about the environments in which we live. We invite around 80% of the authors in each issue to get a good mix of non-design disciplines and we have a very competitive open call that attracts some excellent design-based submissions. 

Is there any other medium to it but the printed object?

We hope to launch a digital version in 2019.

How often is it released?

Twice a year, spring and fall.

What does it focus on?

LA+ stands for “Landscape Architecture Plus” – our focus is on showing landscape architects and urban designers what other disciplines can contribute to critical thinking about the design of cities, systems, and public space. In addition to sourcing material from other disciplines we also foreground designers who are extending the boundaries of the profession.

How are the editors organized?

Most issues are organized and edited by the Editor in Chief and Creative Director. We do bring in specialized co-editors for certain themes and occasionally we hand off an entire issue to guest editors.

What is the long-term goal of the publication?

LA+ aims to broaden the intellectual reach of landscape architecture. We hope to inspire this new generation of landscape architects to bring more criticality to their work by finding ways into sites and projects through different disciplinary lenses. A side effect of our interdisciplinary approach is that we are also raising the profile of landscape architecture among other disciplines. Additionally, we are using the journal as a platform for events such as international design competitions and exhibitions that align with the journal’s mission.

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