Weaponizing Nature
The Psychological Power of Trees
Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), Conference Proceedings (2021): 20-24
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Accepting that differences in environment correspond to differences in human health, we understand that landscape architects, through the design and improvement of spaces of nature, act to positively shape physical and mental states. Indeed, it is critical to the profession of landscape architecture to make a strong assertion that how nature is designed and consequently perceived matters. If there were no measurable difference between the health impacts of a self-generating nature and the work of the trained landscape architect, then design services would be far less necessary. This being the case, the landscape architect is responsible for shaping environments that aim to have a controlled, predictable and measurable impact on the mental health and well-being of the public. This paper extends the trajectory of this argument, asking, what if any, is the profession's obligation to contribute design expertise to sites facing the combined challenges of a significant depression of human health and the loss of nature.