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SKETCHBOOK: a creative tool and a way of life that celebrates design and drawing as vital ways to see and value culture, to discover ideas, and to envision a better world.

Monday, December 29, 2014

"If You Don't Want to Change the World, Why Bother?"

A quick doodle of Peter Walker made in my pocket notebook during his session at the ASLA Annual Meeting in Denver.

At the recent Annual Meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in Denver, I was fortunate enough to snag a 2nd row seat in an educational session that featured renowned landscape architect Peter Walker. Walker's iconic works and towering influence in the world of environmental design over 50 years continues to fascinate and inspire me and countless others, but this session took me back to the first time I heard him.  It was 1976, and I was a green, 20-year-old design student traveling the East Coast of the U.S. with my landscape architecture classmates from LSU.  Our travels had brought us to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where Walker was serving as Chair of Landscape Architecture.  In an early morning, informal discussion, Walker's thoughts turned to career advice for our cadre of aspiring designers.  He spoke of the massive positive changes landscape architecture could have on our cities, our country and beyond, but that making a difference would take a tremendous amount of energy, focus and dedication on our part. In speaking of the challenges ahead of us as students and professionals, he said, "There are lots easier ways to make a living.  If you don't want to change the world, why bother?"

Those words come back to me often, and I share them with my students every year.

Who are your influences?