National President's Message - 19 January 2015

2015 is already shaping up as a big year for AILA. Hopefully you feel energised for the year ahead after an enjoyable festive season. Aside from being more actively involved in AILA, I believe the following were some of the top New Year resolutions for landscape architects.

  • Stop being frustrated when people ask you to come around to their house and give free garden advice (this includes family members)
  • Start doing site visits only on sunny days especially as this seems to be what everyone thinks landscape architects do anyway
  • Increase project budgets (this year it is definitely going to happen)
  • Stop taking photos of plants/paving/furniture/walls/landscape details/etc while on holidays
  • Reduce my carbon footprint which might including working out a way to claim carbon credits from all the plants specified on projects this year
  • Come out and reveal my true self. I will start identifying myself as a landscape architect.

Landscape architecture has so much to look forward to in 2015. The following are just a few activities that AILA will be undertaking that I am looking forward to.

  • 12 months ago there were no AILA national committees. Already the committees have covered a lot of ground and in 2015 we will start to see the work of the committees produce more outcomes. A new AILA awards program and proposals to help member’s access services and information required to run a successful workplace are two of the many areas to be explored this year.
  • AILA has started to raise its profile in the media and is increasingly advocating for landscape architecture with government and decision makers. Advocacy activities will be expanded further this year including the release of position statements and media releases on key issues.
  • The success of the 2014 festival makes the 2015 Festival of Landscape Architecture an event not to be missed. The creative directors are exploring exciting propositions that are bound to make the festival one of the highlights of the year.
  • On an operational level AILA’s financial position will strengthen further and further resources will be provided to State Chapters. Improvements to governance and management systems will continue to take place in consultation with members including a long overdue update to the AILA constitution.
  • This year is an election year for National Council and Chapter executives. It is great time to be involved in AILA and I look forward to seeing who is elected to the new national and chapter leadership teams for the profession. Involvement in these committees provides an opportunity to shape the future of the profession as well as being in the fortunate position to see where the profession is heading through discussions with leading landscape architects.

In 2014 we showed what was possible when we focus our energies to work together and progress the profession. The growth in membership highlighted how landscape architects were reconnecting with AILA. Increased member involvement made it possible to discuss, explore and take action on issues as well as starting to repositioning AILA to align with the needs and aspirations of the profession. We have all been frustrated by the lack of recognition of the profession and we all have a role in promoting the skills and capabilities of landscape architects. Getting involved with AILA is one way to assist with promotion but so is promoting yourself as a landscape architect in your workplace, through project work and discussions with friends, family and the community. AILA has already started activities in 2015. National and chapter committees have had meetings and last week I took part in teleconferences with National Council and Chapter Presidents who are focused on the year ahead as well as being excited about the possibilities for AILA and profession. Get set for another big year in 2015.

Mark Frisby
National President
Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

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