During the 1970s, as in the profession generally, emphasis on design was decreasing in the department, and other issues were taking precedence.  Environmental planning at the regional level; the scientific analysis of ecological conditions; and the structure and form of the urban environment were backed with new federal and state government mandated environmental impact laws and reviews (NEPA, CEQA, EIRs).

Indicative of the commitment to include environmental issues in the landscape curriculum and to support Interdepartmental Studies, Joe McBride was hired in a joint appointment with the Forestry Department, and geomorphologist and hydrologist Luna Leopold was hired in a joint appointment with the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

Within twenty years the program had successfully integrated diverse approaches to design and environmental planning. In addition to studio, designers were encouraged to learn scientific methods to effectively use and critique environmental data. The curriculum incorporated original case study research on projects that integrated design and environmental science and both MLA and MS environmental planning students were required to take Ecological Factors in Urban Design, a core design studio.

Department Chair Matt Kondolf states that today “in order to integrate science into the landscape architecture curriculum, we encourage students to take classes and involve scientists (natural and social) from allied departments in teaching, research, and on thesis committees. Berkeley has been unusual in that it has also appointed scientists to positions within the department to insure adequate involvement of science in the studio environment, and because the physical presence of scientists on the faculty provides quality control to insure rigor in the curriculum.”[1]

[1] Kondolf, G. Mathias, “Restoring the Waters of California: Five Decades of Teaching, Research, and Public Engagement,” Landscape at Berkeley.