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On June 10 at LAF’s 50th Anniversary Celebration and Dinner at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, LAF recognized first recipients of its new LAF Medal and Founders’ Awards. With Independence Mall as the backdrop, Dennis Carmichael, FASLA, Chair of the 2016 Award Committee presented the two awards before the crowd of 450 LAF friends and supporters.
Grant Jones, FASLA, co-founder of Jones & Jones Architecture and Landscape Architecture, took the stage to receive the first LAF Medal, which is conveyed to a landscape architect for distinguished work over a career in applying the principles of sustainability to landscapes. As the keynote speaker at the dinner, Grant delivered an inspiring speech full of history, wisdom, hope, and charges for the future.
“The Earth is our client, our partner in a life relationship. The landscape is not a fuzzy, vague or indefinable thing; it’s as real as your mother and father, and it’s got to be everything to you.”
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) received the first LAF Founders’ Award, which is conveyed to a firm, agency, or organization that demonstrates a significant commitment to preserving, creating, or enhancing landscapes over a sustained period of time. ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville accepted the award and then turned the tables, issuing a Philadelphia-style proclamation from the ASLA Board of Trustees expressing its sincerest appreciation to the Landscape Architecture Foundation in celebration of its 50 years.
LAF was so honored to recognize these innovators that have made a significant and sustained contribution to the LAF mission of supporting the preservation, improvement and enhancement of the environment.
Mpre photos from LAF’s 50th Anniversary Celebration and Dinner can be found at:
Thank you to all who attended The New Landscape Declaration: A Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future on June 10-11. (And to the 75 presenters and panelists who worked hard to prepare the thought-provoking content!) With 715 attendees coming from as far away as China, Argentina and Australia, the event surpassed all expectations!
Inspired by LAF’s 1966 Declaration of Concern, the Summit featured 25 “Declarations” from key thought leaders and nine thematic panels, taking a hard look at whether the landscape architecture profession has fulfilled its promise and how it can effect change looking forward to the next 50 years.
Overarching themes of humanism, interdependence, and concern regarding climate change ran through most of the declarations and discussions. Other common themes were the increasing importance of cities; how landscape architecture can contribute to managing and preserving vital resources like water, food and biodiversity; the importance of integrating communities into the design process; and how to communicate the value of landscape architecture to the broad public.
A few highlights from the two days include:
- James Corner of Field Operations stressed that with continued population growth, cities are the future and will demand new organizational frameworks. Landscape architects are well positioned to lead because they see the city as a kind of dynamic ecosystem and can go further than planners and engineers by striving to embed beauty, desire, and pleasure into the system.
- Kate Orff of SCAPE declared that she is “interested in making publics, not projects.” She emphasized that landscapes can be a pilot for physical and social change if designers invest in building ecological constituencies and community capacity.
- Mario Schjetnan of Grupo de Diseño Urbano in Mexico City called landscape architecture to a global perspective, as most of the urban expansion and environmental deterioration is happening in the so-called developing nations.
- Nina-Marie List of Ryerson University asked what will become of wilderness, wild things, and the wild in man as we continue on this relentless trajectory of global urbanization. She asserted that “E.O. Wilson’s half earth movement is a blunt instrument that needs designers.”
- Blaine Merker of Gehl Studio emphasized happiness and sustainability as self-reinforcing systems. He advocated for a new mentality of design humanism that fosters human-scale development, local social ties, people-powered mobility, and places for common ground.
LAF is synthesizing all of the ideas, discussions, and audience input from the Summit to draft The New Landscape Declaration, which will be released for public comment this fall. (If you have thoughts to share, be sure to leave them here.) Stay tuned!
Photos from the Summit are posted at:
Video footage from the Summit is posted at: (more clips are being added)
Storify social media summaries are at:
The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) has announced the public launch of its LAF: 50 & Forward Campaign with a $3.5 million minimum goal. This campaign coincides with LAF’s 50th anniversary, at a time when greater investment in landscape architecture research, scholarships, and leadership is critically needed.
LAF works to support the preservation, improvement and enhancement of the environment through research, scholarships, and leadership to increase our collective capacity to achieve sustainability.
The campaign will allow LAF to expand its existing programs for research and scholarships by increasing stipends to Case Study Investigation (CSI) teams, strategically enhancing the Landscape Performance Series, and endowing $20,000 in new awards to students. Additionally, LAF will create two new $25,000 long-term research grants, and $25,000 fellowships as part of a new leadership program for mid- and senior-level professionals.
Critical, early investment in the campaign was provided by way of 77 gifts from organizations and individuals. With $3.28 million already raised, LAF anticipates achieving and exceeding its goal, allowing the foundation to provide even more programming and investment for the landscape architecture profession.
We would like to thank the following donors for their early, leadership commitments to the LAF: 50 & Forward Campaign:
Jeanne Dawson Lalli
Brightview and Brightview Design Group
Anonymous, in memory of Deb Mitchell
Joe Brown and Jacinta McCann
Mark and Doreen Dawson
Thomas C. and Gerry D. Donnelly
Lucinda Reed Sanders
Aquatic Design and Engineering
Burton Landscape Architecture Studio
D’Arcy and Diane Deeks
!melk landscape architecture & urban design
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
James Corner Field Operations
PWP Landscape Architecture
Chip and Pat Crawford
A full list of campaign donors can be found at:
On June 10-11, landscape architects from around the world will gather in Philadelphia to present their big ideas and engage in lively debate about realizing landscape architecture’s potential and effecting real world change. Speakers at the Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future will deliver a series of decisive ‘Declarations’ that respond to LAF’s seminal 1966 Declaration of Concern. On the second day, thematic panels will reflect on the ‘Declarations’ and discuss how landscape architecture can make its vital contribution in the 21st century.
We want your voice to be part of the conversation — even if you are not able to attend the Summit. What do you declare?
How can landscape architecture make its vital contribution to help solve the challenges of our time and the next 50 years?
For inspiration, you can check out this month’s Landscape Architecture Magazine where five of the speakers’ essays are printed and posted online at:
Share your thoughts, make your statement of leadership and ideas, challenge, poeticize, incite — we want to hear from you! #LAFSummit
As the first recipient of the $20,000 LAF Honor Scholarship in Memory of Joe Lalli, FASLA, Sanaz Chamanara embodies much of what Joe stood for during his 46-year career as a landscape architect, artist, philanthropist, mentor, and teacher. Sanaz is a young designer with a powerful combination of talent, work ethic, experience, and sense of social purpose that provides her with a strong platform to significantly advance the design of urban landscapes in her native Iran and potentially throughout the Middle East.
Sanaz is pursuing a Masters of Landscape Architecture at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She holds a degree in Architecture from the Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) and a Landscape Architecture graduate degree from Shahid Beheshti University (BSU), where she ranked first in her graduating class.
Sanaz describes the suburb where she grew up in Shiraz, Iran as a “grey neighborhood” — an image that is in stark contrast to a place that was historically known as the “Garden City.” Shiraz is the capitol of Fars Province and one of the oldest cities in southern Iran. Over a century ago, Shiraz was covered by lush gardens, including hundreds of hectares of orchards in Ghasr-Dasht, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. However, many of these gardens and productive landscapes have been destroyed by decades of rapid population growth and private development spurred by increasing land values. The result has been overall environmental decline.
In “Revitalizing Urban Gardens, The Transfer of Development Rights in Shiraz, Iran,” Sanaz and her co-author Amirreza Kazemeini, a graduate student at Qeshm International University, propose that the City make shifts in policy to protect and support productive landscapes and their water resources and to identify more suitable areas for future development and urban growth.
Through this graduate research and her professional experiences in both Shiraz and Tehran, Sanaz came to realize that landscape architecture is still a fairly new field in her country and that its importance is often overlooked. She observed an absence of experts in Iran with an understanding of ecological processes and solutions to combat issues of pollution, drought, and flooding that are plaguing many Iranian cities today. Sanaz has been actively working to fill this void throughout her academic endeavors in landscape architecture.
“I didn’t learn about ecological concepts in my graduate studies in Iran, and that’s why I am here.”
Sanaz just completed her first year at the University of Michigan and is currently researching the application and design of green infrastructure towards social cohesion in Detroit. She sees many parallels that will help inform her work in the future. “The problems that currently plague Detroit I can definitely see happening to cities like Tehran in the future,” she observes, unless more sustainable development solutions and policies are put into place.
Sanaz is also passionate about gender-equal design in the landscape. As an Iranian born women, she has a distinct and essential design perspective. In a country that is dominated by the male point of view and where women are often marginalized — particularly in the poorer communities, Sanaz espouses the importance of landscape architecture in the design of spaces that can help provide both recreational and economic opportunities to empower women and promote more gender-equal communities.
Sanaz intends to continue her studies in the U.S. and pursue a PhD. Looking further into the future, she plans to move back to Shiraz, where she hopes to serve on the Board of Directors for the City to affect policies and lead the city toward a more sustainable future. And one day, she hopes to open a school in landscape architecture in her hometown, educating students on the principals of ecological systems and the critical role of the landscape architect in Iran.
We commend Sanaz for her accomplishments and commitment to the field of landscape architecture, and we look forward to following her as she continues her academic and professional pursuits!