ASLA calls for Biden-Harris Administration to deepen SITES commitment

Published on: 
23 Feb 2021
Author: 
Paul Wessel

In a comprehensive set of policy recommendations for the new Biden-Harris administration, ASLA is calling for the expansion of SITES certification to all federal projects and federally-funded projects including housing, transportation and community development block grant projects.

ASLA is also encouraging GSA, an early adopter of SITES, to publish case studies and document climate and resiliency elements of the certification program.

ASLA’s push on SITES is part of a wide-ranging package of policy recommendations in four major areas:

  • Applying STEM-related design principles to protect communities.
  • Addressing climate change through sustainable, resilient design.
  • Supporting green community infrastructure solutions.
  • Promoting racial, social, and environmental justice in design. 

“Our climate is in crisis. Social and racial injustice issues continue to go unaddressed. The pandemic is forcing us to rethink public space," explained Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO of ASLA. "Landscape architects aren’t just designing resilient, sustainable solutions for all these problems – they’re designing the public policies necessary to support that vital work.”

SITES, now owned and administered by Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI), grew out of a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort of the American Society of Landscape Architects Fund, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden.

USGBC’s Senior Policy Counsel, Elizabeth Beardsley, celebrated ASLA’s recommendations. “The Biden Administration’s Build Back Better proposals call for orienting and optimizing Federal investment and agency activities to address the pandemic, climate, equity and economy. Leveraging the way we design, build, and maintain buildings, grounds, landscapes and parks is a natural fit to advance these goals. We applaud the ASLA’s policy recommendations to incorporate the professional expertise of landscape architects into agencies and policymaking; to protect and use natural systems for climate mitigation and adaptation; to facilitate community resilience; and to increase the role of design in achieving environmental justice.”

For more information, see the ASLA press release and the full list of recommendations.

And if you’d like to weigh in, here’s how you can contact the White House.