Landscape Architects Applaud New National Park Service Plan to Sustainably Transform the National Mall

Washington, D.C., — December 10, 2009 — If the National Park Service is allowed to move beyond a “no-action” approach for the neglected National Mall, the historic public space could serve as a model of sustainable design for millions of visitors each year. Today the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) voiced strong support for the Park Service’s sustainable vision within the newly-released National Mall Plan. This milestone document that will guide the future management of the National Mall incorporates dozens of sustainable practices, including the application of standards defined by the Sustainable Sites Initiative, the first national rating system for sustainable landscapes.

“We applaud the vision to incorporate the sustainable landscape benchmarks from the Sustainable Sites Initiative in the National Mall Plan,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO, Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. “While the National Mall still faces shameful neglect from lack of resources, we urge Congress to grant the National Park Service the means to transform this critical public space into a national example of sustainability.”

ASLA, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the U.S. Botanic Gardens worked in partnership to develop the Sustainable Sites Initiative rating system, incorporating work by dozens of the country’s leading sustainability experts, scientists and design professionals as well as public input from hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations over four years.

The current plan from the National Park Service offers five options for the future of the National Mall: one “no-action” approach, three alternatives and one “preferred” approach that encompasses the best practices of three alternatives. Anything other than no action would ensure extensive use of sustainable approaches throughout the revitalization of the space. The National Park Service released the document online as part of a 90-day public comment period, closing March 9, 2010. To learn more about ASLA’s efforts on the National Mall, visit

About ASLA

Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 17,000 members in 48 professional chapters and 68 student chapters. The Society's mission is to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use their “ ASLA ” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at


Jim Lapides
American Society of Landscape Architects
Tel.: 202-216-2371
E-mai: Email Contact

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