News & Events

News & Events

Meet the 2018-2019 LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership Cohort

We are delighted to introduce the incoming cohort for the 2018-2019 LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership program year. Established in 2016, the program selected four Fellows this year to participate in the year-long fellowship program and receive a $25,000 award to develop a proposal idea that has the potential for positive and transformational change in the profession, environment, and humanity. It’s an investment in the future of the profession and we look forward to working with the program’s second cohort as they tackle these important challenges and issues.

2018-2019 LAF Fellows

  • Pamela Conrad, Senior Associate, CMG Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA

pamela-conrad-226w-6q6The Landscape Carbon Calculator: A Tool to Understand and Reduce our Carbon Footprint

To improve the impact of our projects on the planet, we need to better understand their landscape carbon footprints. To date, no publicly available carbon calculator for landscape architecture exists.

As landscape projects contain trees and plants, they possess the power to sequester carbon. That said, can landscape architects do better than carbon neutral? Can we instead strive beyond neutrality to do “net good” and contribute to the fight against global warming? The answer is yes, but in order to join this global initiative we must understand how to measure our contributions. With a carbon calculator specifically designed for landscape architecture, we can actively set goals for ourselves as a profession to combat global warming.

  • Maisie Hughes, Owner, Rhetorical Virtues LLC, Washington, D.C.

maisie-hughes-226w-msyThou Shalt Not Trespass: Cultural Diversity in Landscape Architecture

Maisie will produce a documentary series that seeks to uncover feelings of belonging or exclusion in the landscape to help elucidate how socio‐economic factors effect landscape interpretation. This project will explore how different types of people interpret the same landscape by creating short web documentaries each exploring the concepts of belonging and trespassing in high‐profile DC landscapes, both public and private. The project will document DC residents from diverse backgrounds in Dumbarton Oaks, Washington National Cathedral grounds, Meridian Hill Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the Gotelli and Asian Collections of the U.S. National Arboretum.

  • Karl Krause, Senior Landscape Architect, OLIN Partnership, Philadelphia, PA

karl-krause-226wThe Landscape of Public Housing

Decades of diminished federal funding and limited capital improvements have left millions of Americans in deteriorating 50s-era housing in a landscape hindered by dated urban design initiatives. Recent restructuring of federal financial support for public housing has generated billions of dollars to fund capital improvement projects. Landscape Architects have an opportunity to lead developers and public housing officials in solving long-standing problems of social isolation while creating a new vision for public housing. To support this opportunity, The Landscape of Public Housing will combine site visits, interviews and analysis to illustrate the conditions of public housing campuses in a documentary video, and create design resources intended for use by landscape architects engaged in the rehabilitation of public housing communities.

  • Sanjukta Sen, Senior Associate, James Corner Field Operations, New York, NY

sanjukta-sen-226wVolume for Water: Legislating our Urban Waterfronts for a Resilient Future

As coastal cities grapple with sea level rise and more frequent occurrences of nuisance flooding, it is necessary to codify standards for open space in waterfront developments to play a role that is more efficacious and mitigating, with zoning laws and codes that focus not only on the ‘area’ provided but also the ‘volume’ provided, for water. The model of public private partnerships between developers and city governments are and will continue to be responsible for urban development projects that will shape our cities and coastlines in the years to come. It is incumbent on our profession to question and critique existing legislative frameworks that govern these developments; and to propose replicable and incremental mechanisms that allow public open space to perform a role beyond its traditional social and ameliorative characterizations.

Olmsted Scholar Participants

In the continued support of our growing Olmsted Scholars community, 3 recent Olmsted Scholars have been selected this year to participate alongside this year’s Fellows and gain support and mentorship in the development of their professional passions and interests outside of the workplace.

  • David de la Cruz (2018 National Olmsted Scholar, Graduate), Project Manager, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, Los Angeles, CA

david-de-la-cruz-226wEnvironmental Justice through Community Engagement and Education

David will archive, through film, the built environment of Los Angeles by exploring the land uses that affect communities and point to the potential of landscape architecture paired with on-site phytoremediation as a way to address sites that are polluted. This project is intended for high-school classrooms to explore topics of both environmental and social sciences while simultaneously grounding the built environment experiences of high-school-aged youth from working class families. In partnership with extensive advocacy work, this film will also point to landscape architecture as a profession fit to address environmental justice issues.

  • Lauren Delbridge (2017 National Olmsted Scholar, Undergraduate), LA Designer, Land Design, Charlotte, NC

lauren-delbridge-226wCoal Ash Ponds and Designed Remediation

Lauren will continue her thesis explorations at Virginia Tech to explore the future of coal ash ponds and research successfully remediated wastescapes in the U.S. and abroad. Lauren plans to collect precedent case students through the documentation of her travels, discussions with stakeholders, and the collection and study of existing remediation strategies. Furthermore, Lauren looks forward to the support of the fellowship cohort to help her develop and refine a strategy for further research on disturbed sites. The collaboration with the cohort will be valuable in guiding her research and building her leadership skills to allow her to propel her advocacy work from academia into the public realm.

  • Andrew Sargeant (2016 University Olmsted Scholar), Landscape Designer, OLIN Partnership, Philadelphia, PA

andrew-sargeant-226wImmersive Technology and Landscape Architecture

Andrew seeks to emphasize and clarify the benefits that immersive technologies offer the profession of Landscape Architecture. Immersive technologies, specifically augmented reality and virtual reality, provide greater potential than all previous rendered visualizations of landscape. Although traditional means allow us to prototype, with immersive tech, designers are provided a more direct experience by being able to walk, fly and interact with their prototypes, either in a VR or AR environment. I plan to conduct survey research that will help forward the development of immersive based solutions for landscape representation and design. I plan to use this initial research to garner partnerships with stakeholders to create and make available solutions for landscape architects to use in the design and advocacy of public space.

New Emerging Professional Webinar Series

LAF is excited to launch a new webinar series geared especially toward emerging professionals. Topics include professional journeys, alternate modes of practice, and innovative projects and research that address timely issues.

The series is inspired by the LAF Olmsted Scholars, a community of rising landscape architects who, as students, were nominated by their universities and recognized by LAF for their exceptional leadership potential. The quarterly webinar series was created in late 2016 by and for the Olmsted Scholars, and this year we are pleased to make it open to all.

The first webinar will be a presentation and Q&A session with Wes Michaels, Principal at Spackman Mossop Michaels, who will discuss their work with the Caño Martin Peña Restoration Project in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Caño Martin Peña Restoration Project

Live webinar with Wes Michaels of Spackman Mossop Michaels
Tuesday, March 20, 3-4pm EDT
Register now

Across the globe, climate change promises to have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable communities. Many economically disadvantaged communities are in low-lying areas, and often settled informally without basic infrastructure or flood protection.

In Puerto Rico—even before Hurricane María—the communities along the eastern half of the Caño Martín Peña, a tidal channel within the San Juan Bay Estuary, faced public health and safety challenges. Buena Vista Santurce is a community that was settled informally in the mangrove wetlands there in the early 1900s. The neighborhood lacks critical infrastructure—sanitary sewer systems, storm drainage systems, flood protection, access to public open spaces, among others. Repetitive flooding, typically by contaminated water, has had serious health impacts on the residents, especially the children. Hurricanes Irma and María exacerbated these conditions.

In 2016, as part of the larger Comprehensive Development Plan for the Caño Martin Peña led by ENLACE, Spackman Mossop Michaels was awarded funding through the EPA Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program to work on green infrastructure design options for the community. The collaborative process involved multiple community-based meetings and workshops. The final report proposes a series of interconnected water plazas and green infrastructure to clean the water and reduce flooding, while also creating a framework of civic open spaces to strengthen the social fabric of the community.

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