The legal landscape
From my earliest involvement with landscape architecture, I have been incredibly interested in the interplay between the law and the landscape. In few places is the impact of the law more apparent than in the mining and reclamation business. Millions of acres of United States land have been affected by mining in the last hundred years, and millions more will be affected in the next century. There is no single business operation today that approaches the magnitude of landscape change that can occur at a modern mine. Mountains can literally be turned into valleys and valleys into mountains. A single mining operation can move across thousands of acres, completely removing and reconstructing the surface. Nowhere else provides a greater opportunity for the landscape architect to consider the future landform and its use on such a scale. For the practitioner to be truly effective, however, design talent alone is not enough. A thorough understanding of the complex of laws and regulations that mandate the myriad of legislated environmental, social, and economic objectives is required.