Friends and Colleagues:
I am pleased to present the Illinois Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects' Folio for 2009. This commemorative publication showcases the high caliber of professional practice exhibited by Illinois landscape architects this year in the fields of design, memorable landscapes, planning and analysis, communications, and environmental stewardship. As evidenced by these extraordinary projects, Illinois landscape architects continue to make a difference in the places we live, work, and recreate.
This past year has certainly had its challenges and many have had to redefine ourselves and our work during this economic slow down; that's just smart business. But despite one of the worst economic downturns in recent history, landscape architecture survives and even thrives in many cases. The present economy is only one point in time, but the ideals and principles of landscape architecture are a constant. As we move through this economy, let's celebrate our accomplishments of the year and look to the future with a renewed sense of commitment to our profession. In 2009, Illinois landscape architects and ILASLA have accomplished some great things - three of which deserve special note.
First, is the excellence in creative design and insightful planning exhibited by our membership. The awards given this year represent the greatest number of honors presented in our chapter's history - and with good reason. Juried by the Prairie Gateway Chapter ASLA, the 2009 ILASLA awards competition recognized 23 projects in five diverse categories. These include: design, memorable landscapes, planning and analysis, communications, and environmental stewardship. In addition, two uniquely Chicago award categories - the Burnham Award and the Jensen Awards - were added to honor work exemplifying the ideals and values of Daniel Burnham and Jens Jensen.
Second, during Chicago's yearlong Burnham Plan Centennial celebration, it was fitting that ILASLA and Chicago hosted one of the most successful and significant ASLA Annual Meetings in history. Drawing 5,100 attendees from the U.S. and abroad, ILASLA hosted this four-day annual meeting together with the largest exposition in ASLA history. The success of the annual meeting couldn't have been possible if not for the incredible volunteer effort from the Illinois Chapter members who helped plan every aspect of the meeting including over 120 educational and field sessions. Those who were fortunate enough to attend the meeting returned home with a renewed sense of what Illinois and the City of Chicago offer in cultural, architectural, and natural environments, and how landscape architecture remains at the center of Chicago's best planning and design as it was in the day of Burnham and Jensen.
Last, but certainly not of least significance, is the greatest professional recognition landscape architects will now enjoy under Illinois law. After nearly six years of tireless effort, 2009 saw a significant upgrade to our landscape architectural license law. As of August 2009, landscape architects in the State of Illinois will be designated as design professionals alongside architects, engineers and surveyors. We will now be licensed instead of registered; our drawings, plans, specifications and reports will require a seal; and as licensed professionals, both professional liability insurance and continuing education will become mandatory as the new rules are established in the coming year. This is a significant change in the law that elevates the profession and will benefit Illinois landscape architects for years to come. Many thanks must be given to our Chapter members whose dedication, in no small measure, helped to push this law through.
As I reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of 2009, I see that our profession is still here; we are strong and getting stronger. So as we enter the next decade of the new millennium, I ask that you stand fast to the design ideals and environmental stewardship of our profession, for these values do not ebb and flow with the economy; they are timeless and enduring. Hold true to ASLA's mission of being leaders, educators and participants in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Through our continued professionalism, the future is filled with hope and promise.
I wish each and every one of you a safe and prosperous new year.
Greg Stevens, ASLA, RLA