Mission Statement

Written and updated collaboratively by our Committee of the Department (the team of academic staff members and student representatives who serve as our principal governing body), this mission statement is a living document and our most fundamental expression of why our department exists.

Text of the Mission Statement

At Illinois, we prioritize public-facing creative practices that critically address complex global challenges to improve outcomes for society and promote stewardship of environmental systems. We are committed to cooperative learning spaces where people with diverse backgrounds, viewpoints, and voices are heard, respected, and supported in ways that counter systemic racism and discrimination in all its forms, including in the regional context of the University of Illinois. By recognizing the field of landscape architecture’s participation in discriminatory land use development modes and practices, our department works actively to build standards countering those legacies.

Our department’s work is informed by the tensions inherent in including all perspectives and experiences, and it is enriched by our position in a land-grant research university and the College of Fine and Applied Arts. We provide a foundational experience that enables powerful and relevant new ideas to emerge through two accredited professional degrees – a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) – as well as a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture and a new Master of Sustainable Urban Design (MSUD). These programs prepare students to collaborate with others across disciplines in pursuing innovative research and creating equitable and responsive landscapes that address complex threats of the climate emergency through the lenses of green infrastructure, urban design, geo-design, water systems, habitat stewardship, productive landscapes, cultural and historical inquiry, quantitative analysis, and human and ecosystem health.

Our graduates work in wide-ranging local and international practices including design firms at all scales, urban parks districts, community development organizations, government and non-profit agencies, education, and the arts. For some, the study of landscape architecture leads to further research and careers in related fields such as planning, architecture, and heritage management. We aspire to increase equitable access to the profession of landscape architecture and to foster graduates to become leaders in the field who will make positive contributions to the environment.

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