MLA Program Philosophy

The MLA Program is design studio based and explores the design and planning complexities of project work at different scales from site-specific to regional. Processes and forms in ecology, urbanization, land use and social dynamics are explored through core courses, study abroad opportunities, and intense special topics courses with experts. Throughout the degree, students have a chance to work and learn from professionals from different disciplines including engineers, architects, and planners, and to work on projects directly involving communities, local governments and the development industry.

The MLA first professional degree program meets all the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects accreditation requirements. In terms of our Program identity, the following five principles are key to our curriculum design and delivery:

1. Process and Form

Landscape Architects work with ecological, spatial, and biological processes as well as human processes. Over time these processes and process interactions have created the patterns and forms on the landscapes around us. Recognizing and understanding this process-form relationship is fundamental to social ecological design. 

2. Design Studio-Based 

‘Studio’ is a teaching and learning format that engages students in experiential learning through problem identification, analysis, and the design of interventions for preferred outcomes.  A traditional part of design education in Architecture and Landscape Architecture it puts students in real or simulated planning project situations where instructors engage with students in problem solving that result in physical or spatial design outcomes. 

3. Interdisciplinarity

The profession of Landscape Architecture, like all design professions, focuses on the interactions of people with the natural and physical environment.  In doing so, Landscape Architects will work closely with engineers, architects, planners as well as public and private sector land owners and developers on both large and small-scale projects. Since the founding of our School working with other Professional Programs and disciplines has been the foundation of our educational culture.

4. Sustainability

Constructed human environments are complex and multi-faceted systems with social, cultural, technological, ecological, and economic flows and inter-relationships. The challenge for the professions of Planning, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture is to ensure that the forms we create do not create social, economic, and ecological conflicts and trade-offs. 

5. Real-World Problem Solving

Professional practice means working with people within legal and governmental institutional frameworks. It is vital that professional practice education be placed in that context.  Program courses and studios incorporate the real world context of practice as part of a student’s experiential learning.