Landscape planning is a facet of landscape architecture dealing with the actual design and use of outdoor public spaces. Utah faces many environmental, social and political challenges as an Inter-mountain Western state with limited natural resources that must be considered in landscape design. This state offers prime examples in modern landscape planning from firms involved with cutting-edge theories and design in practical situations such as the water conservation effort.
Landscape planners are responsible for designing traditional outdoor spaces as well as the restoration of natural environments damaged by human disregard. After the founding of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1899, landscape planning became more concerned with the development of a community and the impact of its surrounding land use.
Land Planning Process
Landscape planning firms design parks, master planned communities and commercial areas. Besides designing exterior green spaces, they consider "pedestrian and vehicular circulation, functionality, spatial organization, way finding, aesthetics, and general site requirements," according to G. Brown Design in Salt Lake City. Landscape planners account for landscape architecture, community master planning, recreation planning, visual resource analysis, land use planning, parks and open space planning, small-scale local and large-scale regional planning.
Examples of Successful Landscape Planning in Utah
Some prominent examples of successful landscape planning in Utah include the "Making Tracks" Park City Olympic Legacy Entryway Enhancement in Park City, Sunset Garden "Garden of Atonement" in Salt Lake City and The Swaner Green Space Institute established in 2003 at Utah State University.
Landscape Planning and Water Conservation
A huge concern for the state of Utah related to land use and design is water conservation. "Slow the Flow," the Governor's Water Conservation Team, advises individuals on ideas to create beautiful landscapes that are also water-efficient. "Slow the Flow" offers free landscape planning courses to the general public.
Studying Landscape Planning in Utah
Landscape planning can be studied at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning (LAEP) at Utah State University, established in 1939. According to the LAEP program, the "focus is on the practical and theoretical dimensions of sustainable natural and cultural systems, social and behavioral concerns, aesthetic sensitivities and engineering implementation." Students and teachers deal with challenges in landscape planning such as limited natural resources, diversification and growth of population.