This past January, a group of professionals — landscape architects, architects, historians, and planners — got together to develop a program to identify and document historic landscapes in San Diego County.

Led by landscape architect Joy Lyndes of Coastal SAGE Landscape Architecture, the program is called the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). It is a committee of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), San Diego Chapter and part of the national HALS movement.

The program’s initial goal was to provide a central source of information, which would contain a data base listing properties and significant master designers to be used by the community.

Following the national HALS model, the committee promotes the identification, documentation, preservation, and advancement of knowledge of historic landscapes in San Diego and highlights the role landscapes have had in the history of our community.

Since the 1900s, landscapes have been identified and documented at local, state, and federal levels, but never systematically in this manner.

Established by the National Park Service in October 2000, HALS is the first permanent federal program to focus on historic landscape documentation.

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This article was also featured in January’s “The Landscape Report”.