The Business of Design

The Business of Design


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Private practice in landscape architecture is highly competitive, with firms of many sizes and disciplines vying for the same contracts. For firms to survive in crowded, talent-rich markets, they must provide valuable design and planning services while maintaining the profitability of their office(s). Without exception, both of these demands must be met if a sustainable practice is sought. This talk explains the significance of business practices in the minds of practitioners, sharing results from a 2021 study of one of the oldest and most successful firms in North America.

Dr. Michael holds a joint appointment in Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Outdoor Product Design & Development. He served on the faculty at Texas Tech and Washington State Universities before joining USU in 2008 as Department Head. His past research interests have included the relationship between landscapes and criminal behavior, Western gateway communities, and recreational trail design. He recently completed a sabbatical focusing on the history of vehicle-based adventure travel, while studying the role of business practices in landscape architecture as the Design Workshop Faculty-in-Residence. He is a Fellow of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, and previously served as the organization’s President.


Utah State University

Publication Date



Landscape Architecture, Valuable Design and Planning Services, Business Practices


Landscape Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning

The Business of Design