Visual Resource Stewardship Conference

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-27-2019


The inventory, evaluation, and planning for the management of visual resources is within the domain of professional knowledge, skills, and abilities required of professional landscape architects. The characterization and treatment of scenery has been a core skill from the early eras of the profession( Bloom et al 1956, McHrg 1969) Significant advancements in the theory, practice, and policies related to Visual Resource Management (VRM) were stimulated by the environmental movement of the late 1960s culminating with the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1970. Although views and scenery were considered important and visual resource management became a significant aspect of practice, there has been inadequate development of appropriate visual assessment pedagogy. This situation seems to exist despite the fact that visual assessment is a topic frequently referenced as a specialization and is widely covered in celebrated textbooks in landscape architecture education (Hubbard & Kimball 1917,LaGro 1913, Newton 1971, Steiner 2000). Previous standards set by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) before 2016 did not explicitly reference visual and scenic assessment as an identified component of an accredited curriculum (LAAB 2016) However, in 2016 as part of LAAB’s systematic updating of standards, visual and scenic assessment was explicitly identified as a component expected in professional curricula (LAAB 2016) This paper explores the current state of visual analysis and management by 1) reviewing how LAAB address visual analysis, 2) reviewing the educational offerings of visual analysis at various educational institutions, 3) evaluating the implementation and efficacy of visual resource management instruction in a recent landscape architecture studio, and 4) proposing suggestions for future visual analysis pedagogy that closes the gap between education and practice.