Leadership | LAF Medal and Founders' Award

2018 LAF Founders’ Award Recipient: The Trust for Public Land


tpl-helendillerplaygroundsHelen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds (Photo: Lindsay Upson)
For over 45 years, the Trust for Public Land has worked to protect land for people, emphasizing the value of designed and natural spaces for our increasingly urban population. TPL’s mission and values align closely with those of landscape architects, and their efforts have had positive impacts for tens of millions of Americans.
         — Awards Committee Chair Dennis Carmichael, FASLA


Since its founding in 1972, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has focused on conserving land for human use and public benefits. Distinct from other environmental organizations and land trusts, a founding goal of TPL was to extend the conservation movement to urban areas, where 80% of Americans live. Over the years, the organization has been involved with more than 5,400 park and conservation projects in 47 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Today, TPL helps communities raise funds, conduct research and planning, acquire and protect land, and design and renovate parks, playgrounds, trails, and gardens. The organization has become an indispensable advocate for public lands and the legal protections and funding structures that support them.

Through its work, TPL has helped to transform the conversation about urban parks and open space so that they are seen not just as an amenity but as a community investment. TPL’s Center for City Park Excellence, founded in 2001, conducts research on what makes urban parks successful and how these parks provide economic, environmental, and social value. The center gathers and maintains the most extensive data set on city parks and park systems in the U.S., publishing numerous articles and reports, including the ParkScore annual ranking of the 100 largest urban park systems.

Newer strategies and initiatives like TPL’s Climate-Smart Cities, 10-Minute Walk campaign, and Our Public Lands advocacy efforts keep The Trust for Public Land at the forefront of the urban parks and conservation movement. The Trust for Public Land’s values align closely with those of LAF and landscape architects, who are trained to design for natural processes, natural resources, and people.