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The Landscape Architecture Foundation is thrilled to announce the Fellows and recent Olmsted Scholars selected for this inaugural year of the LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership. Each Fellow receives a $25,000 award to support pursuit of their proposed project. Over the course of the year-long fellowship, Fellows dedicate 12 weeks of time to their project and participate in three, 3-day residencies in Washington, D.C. Participating LAF Olmsted Scholars have the unique opportunity to develop and advance their ideas alongside the LAF Fellows in preparation for a future fellowship, partnership, or funding opportunity.
Each of the selected fellowship participants put forth ideas that have the potential for profound change toward environmental and social equity and investment in the future of the landscape architecture profession. The 2017-2018 fellowship year kicks off at the first residency on May 4-6 and concludes in Spring 2018 with a final symposium to showcase completed work.
We look forward to working with this inaugural cohort as they tackle these important challenges and issues.
Meet the 2017-2018 LAF Fellows
- Claire Latané, Senior Associate, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Los Angeles, CA
Advocating for Landscape Policy Progress at LAUSD Schools
A growing body of research points to the restorative and academic benefits of trees, green views, and multi-purpose landscapes for school children. And yet, most school districts do not mandate multi-purpose landscapes. Schools that do have these landscapes are located in predominantly white, advantaged neighborhoods. Often even these schools have classrooms with covered windows and playground policies that prevent students from accessing the nature right outside.
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the second largest school district in the United States. What are the obstacles to implementing multi-purpose landscapes at LAUSD schools? How can we advocate for LAUSD to update its landscape policies to reflect the research? How can we communicate the importance of landscape to those making daily decisions that could allow children to access the restorative qualities of nature? It is time to catalyze the elevation of school landscapes in a district that can set an example. This project will leverage Claire’s writing and advocacy background to develop a communications initiative focused on changing policy and practices to revalue landscape in schools.
- Brice Maryman, Senior Landscape Architect, MIG l SvR, Seattle, WA
With compassion, respect and empathy, the HomeLand project intends to present proactive strategies that respect each individual’s “right to housing” and “right to the city,” while also enhancing public spaces that are significantly impacted by our current, haphazard strategies for managing homelessness. The project will explore the spatial manifestations of homelessness on the urban landscape, document current management approaches, and offer comprehensive, community‐based spatial strategies at the region, city and neighborhood scales to create better, more successful public spaces for all.
Brice is looking to develop proactive, multi‐scalar spatial strategies that government agencies, nonprofits, designers, and politicians can implement in their communities. The project will position landscape architects as uniquely qualified to develop a comprehensive, adaptable landscape management strategy that works for both for those experiencing homelessness and other public space users.
- Alpa Nawre, Assistant Professor, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Transforming Landscape Architecture Practice Through Resilient Water Management in India
Landscape architecture is a little known profession in India. About 800 landscape architects serve a country of over 1.25 billion people. This is a missed opportunity for the profession to engage with pressing questions that deal with how resources such as food, waste, and water can be better managed through the design of the built environment. This entrepreneurial project proposes to create a landscape infrastructure plan for an existing settlement in India by conducting research on local materials, plant palette, and construction practices that aid in resilient water management, designing and testing a part of the plan by implementing it on-site, and including the public and the policymakers in the entire process. By exploring designs for sustainable water management in the context of a developing country, this project will contribute to new knowledge in landscape architecture, provide a hands-on service-learning opportunity for landscape architects and students, increase public awareness of the discipline, and set new benchmarks for its practice in India.
- Nicole Plunkett, Landscape Architect, Cotleur & Hearing, Jupiter, FL
Creating Future Landscape Architects Through Education
Nicole looks to expand on the foundation she has built through her non-profit, the Future Landscape Architects of America (FLAA), to work towards the profession’s goals of increased advocacy and diversity. FLAA connects educators with practitioners and provides well-developed curricula and engaging projects to support the K-12 student discovery of landscape architecture. Established and founded by Nicole in 2015, the program has grown into a state-wide organization within Florida. FLAA has a volunteer committee of 16 landscape architects from Miami to Jacksonville and support from the University of Florida and Florida International University landscape architecture departments. Nicole has laid the groundwork in establishing a successful program that provides opportunities for students to learn about the profession and looks forward to making these resources available nationwide.
Meet the Olmsted Scholar Participants
- Scott Douglas (2016 Olmsted Scholar), Lecturer, Iowa State University, Ames, IL
Multi-Purpose Highway Corridors
The United States of America is crisscrossed by networks of highways, railroads, and utility corridors, each of which was designed to serve a single purpose: move people and/or goods from point A to point B. However, a majority of these corridors encompass more space than they utilize, resulting in swaths of unused spaces, particularly along perimeter edges. Repurposing these unused spaces could transform the corridors into multi-purpose corridors, while continuing to support their original purpose. Scott’s thesis project, “Interstate Interventions”, explores possible improvements that could be implemented on the estimated 58,000 acres of planted shoulders and medians along the Interstates in the state of Illinois.
- Harriett Jameson (2013 Olmsted Scholar), Landscape Designer, Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, Alexandria, VA
The Mississippi Delta Region is the most distressed region in the United States. Like its sister Appalachia, to the east, it is a rural region that has suffered enormous loss in the past 50 years due to sweeping changes in its main industry, agriculture. It is plagued with high rates of blight, poverty, obesity, environmental degradation, and opioid addiction. These issues are manifest in and exacerbated by the rural cultural landscape of the region—where access to health care, public space, and public transportation are rare, if existent at all. Harriett’s project aims to push the urban-centric profession of landscape architecture outside of its comfort zone, to address contemporary issues facing the rural 85% of this country’s terrain. It seeks to help the region and its people by presenting creative, landscape-driven solutions to the obstacles inherent in the cultural geography of the Mississippi Delta Region, in particular, and rural geographies of the U.S., in general.
The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is delighted to announce that on March 1, Megan Barnes will join the organization as Program Manager for LAF’s research initiatives, including the Landscape Performance Series, Case Study Investigation (CSI) program, Landscape Performance Education Grants, and research partnerships.
Megan’s background is in landscape architecture, international development, and the nonprofit sector. A two-time Peace Corps volunteer, she recently returned from Panama where she led a university program to develop a hydroponic garden and supported Panamanian wildlife conservation efforts. Her past experience also includes outreach and management work for the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy and horticulture training and master planning for Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Megan fills a critical staff role for LAF, leading our efforts focused on the measurable environmental, social, and economic impacts of sustainable landscapes. Linda Ashby, who has been serving as Interim Program Manager for the CSI program, will continue on through May to provide support and ensure a seamless transition for the five participating CSI teams.
We are thrilled to have Megan on board!
Climate change, infrastructure investment, public health, social equity, the EPA — whatever issues you are passionate about, it’s time to use your voice! LAF’s New Landscape Declaration asserts the vital role of landscape architecture and calls upon landscape architects to commit and act upon their ideals. One of the key calls to action is:
“We will work to cultivate a bold culture of inclusive leadership, advocacy and activism in our ranks.”
To help cultivate this culture, LAF is spreading the word about current issues and resources to help you make your voice heard. While landscape architects are uniquely positioned as designers, there is also much we can do to ensure that our leaders, policies, and institutions are working to address the defining issues of our time: climate change, species extinction, rapid urbanization, and inequity.
Follow us on Twitter (@lafoundation) to get updates on upcoming legislation, hearings, and tools for civic engagement. Here are a few of our favorite resources:
- A Handy Flowchart to Make Your Way Through the Political Maze
Having trouble separating fact from fiction, news from noise? This well-researched chart guides you from info to action.
- Senate.gov and House.gov
These clearinghouses let your find your Senators/Representatives, see committee activities, track active legislation, see past votes, and more.
From bills introduced to hearings schedules and videos of proceedings, this website provides a wealth of resources.
Curated Sets of Action Items
- 5 Calls
Select the federal issues that are important to you, and based on your location, the site provides phone contact information for your representatives and an example script.
- Natural Resources Defense Council - Take Action
This website makes it really easy to send messages to the appropriate decision-maker on a wide range of environmental and public health issues.
- 350.org - Campaigns
This climate change and climate justice-focused group offers petitions, mobilizations, and other ways to get involved.
- National Parks Conservation Association - Take Action
This website makes it really easy to send messages to the appropriate decision-maker on federal, state, and local issues affecting our national parks.
- Alt National Park Service - Legislation Tracker
Rougue National Park Service employees compile and update this summary of bills that impact public lands and wilderness.
- ASLA iAdvocate Network
Sign up to get email alerts with information and tools you need to quickly and effectively communicate with your policymakers about issues important to the profession
What resources are you using to follow and weigh in on issues of concern to landscape architects? Please share using the comments section below.
The 11th Street Bridge Park will be Washington, D.C.’s first elevated public park and a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education, and the arts. As a result of a unique partnership with the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), park managers now have a set of metrics and recommendations to track performance towards the park’s key objective of improving the surrounding environment.
Expected to open by late 2019, the park will be built on the piers of the old 11th Street Bridge spanning the Anacostia River. The park is being designed by OMA+OLIN, the team that won a seven-month design competition. The park vision, design, and desired impacts have been informed by an extensive community outreach and consultation process.
Over the past year, LAF partnered with the 11th Street Bridge Park staff to document environmental performance goals and objectives, make recommendations to collect baseline information, and propose a set of metrics and methods that can be used to effectively evaluate the Bridge Park’s performance once it is built and operating. Many of these metrics can also be used to test scenarios and inform the design of the space.
The report draws on LAF’s seven years of experience measuring and documenting the performance of exemplary landscape projects for its Landscape Performance Series. It represents an important, but often overlooked, first step in the performance evaluation process: thinking about and documenting how success will be defined and measured. This should be done from the earliest stages of a project and refined throughout the design process.
LAF hopes that this partnership with 11th Street Bridge Park can serve as a model for how landscape performance should be integrated into the design and development process. LAF will continue to pursue similar collaboration opportunities through grants and fee-for-service partnerships.
LAF plans to stay involved with the 11th Street Bridge Park project as it moves through the design process and hopes to partner to evaluate the performance of the site and produce a Case Study Brief once the park is built and operating.
To date, over 800 built environment professionals from around the world have signed LAF’s New Landscape Declaration, a new vision and 21st century call to action for landscape architecture. Have you signed?
By signing the Declaration, you join us in asserting the vital role of landscape architecture in solving the defining issues of our time: climate change, species extinction, rapid urbanization, and inequity. Together, we can amplify our voices at this critical time when the talents and services of the landscape architecture community are so vitally needed.
Here are some of the inspiring comments we’ve received:
- “It’s time to reinvigorate our profession with a new and bold vision that addresses the complex social, environmental and political challenges facing the planet.” — Jeffrey Hou, Seattle, Washington
- “As a landscape architect and environmentalist I believe our unique skill set is desperately needed. Especially now.” — Kerry Mattie, North Haven, Connecticut
- “Never has there been a more urgent need for us to join hands and walk in the same direction towards this complex common goal.” — Amy Rampy, Austin, Texas
- “The New Landscape Declaration is an eloquent call to action for the immediate and long future of our profession and our world. Every design decision needs to be made within its context.” — Ann Milovsoroff, Shelburne, Vermont
- “Landscape is our remedy for our sicknesses.” — Tiganila George, Bucharest, Romania
- “The need for interdisciplinary cooperation and vision has never seemed so urgent. As a profession people must engage at the policy level and also at the entertainment and political realm in new and innovative ways. We must show the value of landscape architecture as a means to better our communities and the environment of those communities and the natural areas within and around them.” — Ann English, Rockville, Maryland
- “What I connect with in this declaration, is it’s relevance to all corners of the globe. Let’s foster imaginative solutions that are tangible.” — Bernice Rumble, Salt Rock, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
- “Let’s turn words into action and double down on our commitment to our field and to our shared future.” — Roberto Rovira, Miami, Florida
- “We have a collective vision, let’s share our collective tools, and achieve some collective goals faster for the sake of the planet.” — Brian R Nicholson, Denver, Colorado
- “As an ally, I am inspired by your thoughtfulness and heart. Please, please, landscape architects, carry on!” — Daisy Barquist, Baltimore, Maryland
Show your support by signing the New Landscape Declaration and sharing it with your colleagues, students, classmates, clients, and others. www.lafoundation.org/declaration