Lake Douglas, PhD, FASLA, PLA, is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at LSU’s Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and Associate Dean of Research and Development for the College of Art & Design. Having published extensively over the last four decades, he edits the Reading the American Landscape series for LSU Press and has worked in the past with DW staff on several writing/research initiatives, including a series of articles on practice-based research in Architectural Worlds. At the October 2016 ASLA meeting, he will lead an educational session on “Navigating the Publication Process” that will include DW’s own Kurt Culbertson. On sabbatical from LSU in fall 2016, he will visit several Design Workshop offices in November as part of a research effort to understand how writing interfaces with professional design practice. Douglas teaches a professional elective course, “Writing for Design Professionals,” and is seeking to understand how to prepare students to be competitive and how to make his class more responsive to what the profession needs.
He is investigating ways in which design practices use different formats and kinds of writing and wants to determine if there are demands in professional practice for writing skills among new hires, if demands are being met, and how might undergraduate and graduate curricula be adjusted to respond and better prepare students for practice. Following a survey sent to landscape architecture firms of different sizes, practice types and locations to seek answers to these questions, Douglas will visit Design Workshop to “embed” himself in a design practice to more deeply understand the ways in which writing is integrated into a design office and which types of writing skills are critical to practice. He will have conversations with firm leadership and staff, participate in project team meetings, and provide feedback to staff on any current writing efforts. Based on the results of the survey and his experience at Design Workshop, Douglas hopes to develop an article on writing in design pedagogy and practice. More info on Lake Douglas.