Black Landscape Architects Network Strategic Plan

The BlackLAN 2021-2025 Strategic Plan offers a roadmap for organizations and its long-range sustainability.

Letter from the Executive Board

The Black Landscape Architects Network (BlackLAN) has a history beyond its official founding as a nonprofit organization in June 2020. The organizations early beginnings occurred at a Summit of Black landscape architects at Howard University, Washington DC, in September 2010. This gathering of Black students and professionals included a panel and discussions on a wide range of topics such as increasing Black student representation and retention, support for Black professionals, and issues of bias in the workplace. It was this small summit that sparked the establishment of the BlackLAN LinkedIn social media platform in 2012, which became the first home for the Black Landscape Architecture community. Eleven years since that Howard University summit, BlackLAN now boast in excess of 300 members in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Internationally.

The organization stands on the shoulders of the many Black landscape architects who worked for broader representation of Black professionals in the 1970’s. This work was conducted through the Committee on Blacks in Landscape Architecture, which was a group directly connected to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Committee system. BlackLAN, as an independent organization, continues these ties with ASLA and works continuously to collaborate and build productive joint initiatives that benefit Black students and professionals.

The BlackLAN Executive Board realized early on that a Strategic Plan would offer a roadmap for the organizations and its long-range sustainability. In May 2021 the Executive Board and the Advisory Council held a two-day facilitated Retreat that yielded the Strategies and Actions presented here for our members, supporters, and allied organizations.

The Executive Board and Advisory Council are pleased to present the 2021 - 2025 Strategic Plan.

Vision

Education

Support Black Landscape Architecture students and emerging professionals through scholarship and grants, ensuring career retention and advancement within the profession.

Community

Build a network of committed Black Landscape Architecture students and professionals in all phases of their careers.

Service

Ensure that all Black Landscape Architects are at the table, are heard, and are decision-makers.

Mission

The mission of the Black Landscape Architects Network is to increase the visibility, support the interests, and foster the impact of Black practitioners in Landscape Architecture.

Values

Commitment

We are committed to sustaining Black landscape architects and their success within the profession.

Advocacy and Collaboration

We work in partnership with a range of organizations that overlap with our mission to promote the importance of Black landscape architects, Black cultural landscapes, and Black communities.

Diversity

Our mission is to support and advocate for Landscape Architects globally who identify as Black or of African ancestry.  We do not exclude based on age, nationality, economic status, gender identification, location, legal status, marital status, mental ability, cognitive spectrum, work experience, or physical ability.

Respect

We acknowledge efforts and accomplishments of others in the Indigenous, Black, and other Communities of Color.  We choose to narrow our focus on Black Landscape Architects to explore the rich history and potential they bring to the profession and to increase representation.

The Strategic Plan Elements

1

Strategy One: Celebrate / Gather and elevate this visibility of Black Landscape Architects

Action Steps:

  • Develop a strategy and schedule Symposia, Webinars, Panels, and other celebratory events each year
  • Create a Professional Speaker and Writer database for symposia, webinars, panels, and publications 
  • Utilize the BlackLAN Website and other Social Media channels to cultivate “thought content” on relevant issues to Black landscape architects and publish content in the quarterly Website News and other media
  • Develop strategies to maximize the BlackLAN social media platforms - LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others
  • Advocate for Black landscape architects to join committees & legislative bodies that impact policy and regulations, affecting Black landscape architects
  • Establish and continue dialogue with students on topics that may be relevant in today’s conversation on Black landscape architects

2

Strategy Two: Develop a demonstrated capacity to adapt

Action Steps:

  • Continue to establish and define the duties and responsibilities of the Advisory Council to best benefit the organization’s Vision and Mission
  • Continue to diversify the Executive Board, incorporating a wider range of perspectives and voices on issues that can impact BlackLAN
  • Identify and target prospective private donors, foundations, firms, and others that align with the Vision and Mission of BlackLAN
  • Develop Standard Operating Procedures to enhance the internal operations of the organization and future staffing 

3

Strategy Three: Institute sustainable practices that support programs & initiatives

Action Steps:

  • Develop a Business Plan to support part-time to full-time paid staff and detailed position descriptions and responsibilities
  • Develop a process to increase representation and participation of Black students and professionals who contribute to the Mission of the organization - Student Council and Emerging Professionals Council
  • Explore grants and foundation support for strategic BlackLAN initiatives

4

Strategy Four: Define BlackLAN relevance as a resource to the profession

Action Steps:

  • Build the membership database to better facilitate Surveys that track Black students and professionals
  • Develop collaborative programs and activities with Landscape Architecture Programs, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA), American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and others to advance opportunities for Black students
  • Publish the varied accomplishments and writings of Black landscape architects to advance a diverse knowledge of the profession
  • Build a database an interactive website listing and job site for Black landscape architects internationally

5

Strategy Five: Continue to build a community network among peers both nationally and internationally

Action Steps:

  • Research the timeline and market demand for any new landscape architecture programs with particular emphasis on Historically Black Colleges and University’s (HBCU)
  • Continue to build an Intern Mentorship Program with North Carolina A&T University Black students (HBCU) 
  • Partner with ASLA to elevate the visibility of landscape architecture as a profession for K-12 students in communities of color
  • Establish a database on the BlackLAN website that directs Black students to financial aid and other assistance resources
  • Define strategies to advance partnerships and initiatives outside the professional network of landscape architecture
  • Establish ties with the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) to expand the BlackLAN global reach

6

Strategy six: Establish education initiatives supporting Black students & emerging professionals

Action Steps:

  • Launch a major fundraising campaign with a named scholarship in honor of Edwards Lyons Pryce - the first Black landscape architect to be elevated to ASLA Fellow in 1979
  • Define all scholarship levels and other award and grant programs to support Black landscape architecture students
  • Establish BlackLAN sponsored professional Licensure Bootcamps, including potential licensure fee subsidies for Black emerging professionals 
  • Establish Webinars and a Professional Shadow Program that allows Black students to “shadow” a Black professional
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