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Can't Attend Our Summit? Add Your Voice to the Conversation

declare-530wOn 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

Scholarship Winner Looks to Advance Ecological Design in Her Native Iran


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!

Announcing Our First LAF Medal and Founders' Award Recipients

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is delighted to announce the first recipients of its new LAF Medal and Founders’ Awards. These two annual awards honor individuals and firms/organizations that have made a significant and sustained contribution to the LAF mission of supporting the preservation, improvement and enhancement of the environment.

grant-jones-300x350LAF Medal

The LAF Medal is conveyed to a landscape architect for distinguished work over a career in applying the principles of sustainability to landscapes. The first LAF Medal goes to Grant Jones, FASLA, co-founder of Jones & Jones Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

“Grant Jones has a depth and breadth of work focusing on natural systems. He was a real innovator of the 1980s and 1990s in many areas, from how site analysis informs planning to completely reinventing what it means to be a zoo,” said Awards Committee Chair Dennis Carmichael, FASLA. “His work, writings, poetry, and advocacy created the transformative change LAF seeks to make in the profession.”

LAF Founders’ Award

The LAF Founders’ Award 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. The first LAF Founders’ Award goes to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).asla-4line-300w2

“ASLA is the first organization in the world to promote the practice and ethics of landscape architecture as a profession. ASLA serves as the premier advocacy and educational forum for landscape architects,” said Carmichael on behalf of the Awards Committee.

The LAF Board Emeritus Council manages the nomination and selection process for the awards. Members of the 2016 Award Committee were:

  • Dennis Carmichael, FASLA, Parker Rodriguez, Chair
  • Chip Crawford, FASLA, Forum Studio
  • Chris Dimond, FASLA, AICP, PWP Landscape Architecture
  • Richard Hawks, FASLA, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Len Hopper, FASLA, Weintraub Diaz Landscape Architecture
  • Ginger Murphy, ASLA, U.S. Department of Agriculture

The recipients will be honored during LAF’s 50th Anniversary Celebration and Dinner, which takes place at the Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Philadelphia on June 10 during the Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future.

Tickets to the dinner can be purchased at:

Five Landscape Performance Education Grants Available for Fall 2016


To help university landscape architecture programs integrate landscape performance into their curriculum, LAF is offering five $2,500 mini-grants to faculty for the Fall 2016 term/semester. Landscape performance is part of the the revised 2016 LAAB Accreditation Standards, which take effect starting with landscape architecture programs scheduled for accreditation reviews in fall 2017.

Faculty selected for the Landscape Performance Education Grants will work with LAF to develop and test models to incorporate landscape performance in standard landscape architecture courses, such as research and methods, site planning and analysis, design studios, and other lecture or seminar courses.

Applications are now available and will be due June 15, 2016. Each application is to include a teaching proposal, which will be evaluated for quality and feasibility by LAF and an independent committee of educators. Grant recipients will be announced in early July.

Download Grant Application

Grant recipients will work closely with LAF and its Education Committee to finalize the teaching proposals, which will then be implemented during the Fall 2016 term/semester. Formal course evaluations will be used to determine the success and replicability of the teaching models tested, including whether specific landscape performance learning objectives are met.

Course materials developed through the Landscape Performance Education Grants are added to the Resources for Educators section of This library of teaching tools includes syllabi, reading lists, and sample student assignments, as well as faculty reflections on their pedagogical approaches and experiences teaching landscape performance.

LAF awarded five Landscape Performance Education Grants in 2014 and five in 2015. This third round will bring the total in mini-grants awarded to educators to $37,500.

New LAF Program Manager for Scholarships and Leadership

jennlow-300wThe Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is happy to announce that Jennifer Low has joined the organization as Program Manager. Jennifer will head LAF’s scholarships, Olmsted Scholars Program, and new leadership initiatives.

Jennifer is a licensed landscape architect with over eleven years of professional experience, most recently in her hometown of Seattle, Washington. Her primary passion and drive as a landscape architect is to improve environmental health and social equity through landscape design. She values community engagement in the design process and the transformative power that landscape can have on improving both mental and physical well-being.

Jennifer is excited to apply her design and project management skills to academic and advocacy-­related endeavors within the profession, focusing on outreach and leadership development to serve both existing and future landscape architects. She has also developed a new affinity for printmaking, and her prized possession — aside from her two dogs — is her tabletop letterpress.

We are thrilled to have a dedicated staff member to focus on building and growing LAF’s scholarship and leadership initiatives! This newly-created position brings the number of LAF permanent staff up to six.