Landscape Architects Planting Seeds for Economic Future

Article excerpt

Landscape architects may be doing more than deciding where to plant trees and shrubs. They also may be helping decide Oklahoma's economic future, according to Edmund Hilliard, associate professor or architecture at the University of Oklahoma.

OU is one of only a few universities which offer a master's degree in landscape architecture.

To earn a master's degree in landscape architecture, students must complete a two-year program and a research project, said Hilliard, director of the master's program.

"The one thread that runs through most of these projects is that they are community-service oriented," Hilliard said. "Most projects come from a cry for help."

An example was a project at Spiro Mounds State Park. The Oklahoma Department of Tourism had expressed a desire to expand the park's museum to turn the park into a national tourist site.

An OU student developed a master plan for the expansion. It was accepted by the state, and segments of it are being developed.

Other successful master's program projects have been the revitalization of downtown Jenks, establishment of an interpretive center at the Tsa-la-gi park in Tahlequah and a plan for landscaping ordinances and requirements for developers and homeowners in Norman.

The goal of most of the projects is economic development, Hilliard said.

"Many of the projects take two years to complete," he said. "So many people have ideas, but no way to present them. That is where the student comes in. He or she prepares materials that further people's ideas and help them get funding. These projects go way beyond being academic exercises."

Students involved in the projects research how a project area's environment and natural resources can best be used, he said. The students also consider the state's historical heritage and other aspects. . .

- Don Anderson has been appointed commissioner of the Oklahoma Health Planning Commission.

Anderson had been interim commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health since April 1. As a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1980 to 1988, he chaired the general conference committee on appropriations and the health and social services subcommittee.

- Jay Spradling has been named project manager of Bank of Oklahoma, N.A.'s Chateau Subdivision.

Spradling is a real estate broker and attorney with Property Resource Group. He was with the residential division of Trammell Crow Co. …