Landscapes Become Focus of Climate Change Strategies

Survey finds growing demand for landscape planning and design solutions to climate change

By HFT Editorial Staff
November 24, 2021

Andriy Blokhin /

Healthcare facilities managers are continuing their efforts to minimize the impact of facilities on the environment and address climate change. In pursuing these goals, the natural inclination is to focus on facilities and operations. While this approach is understandable, given the related energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, managers who think outside the box — or building, in this case — are finding additional strategies to address climate change.

The nationwide demand for planning and design solutions to climate change has increased over the past year, according to a recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) on demand for landscape architecture planning and design solutions to climate change. Seventy-seven percent of landscape architects and designers responding to the survey experienced at least a 10 percent increase in client demand for these solutions in comparison with 2020. Of these, 38 percent of landscape architects and designers experienced more than a 50 percent increase in demand over the past year.

City and local governments are the foremost drivers of demand for climate change-related planning and design projects, according to the survey results. Non-profit organizations, state governments, and community groups, which might or might not be incorporated non-profit organizations, are also key drivers of demand. Clients are concerned about a range of climate impacts, including:

  • Increased duration and intensity of heat waves
  • Increased intensity of storms
  • Increased spread and intensity of inland flooding
  • Loss of pollinators, such as bees and bats
  • Changing / unreliable weather, or "weird weather.”

Nationwide, 65 percent of landscape architects and designers surveyed are recommending the integration of climate solutions to “all or most” of their clients. They are creating demand for more sustainable and resilient landscape planning and design practices through “advocacy by design” approaches that persuade city, local government, and other clients to update policies and regulations.

The top community-wide infrastructure solution clients are requesting is stormwater management to reduce flooding. Solutions that reduce reliance on fossil-fuel-powered vehicles and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, which account for approximately 30 percent of all U.S. emissions, take up the next top four in-demand solutions: walkability improvements, trails, bike infrastructure, and complete streets.

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Topic Area: Sustainable Operations

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