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Award Recipients Honored at LAF’s 50th Anniversary Celebration and Dinner


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.”
grantjonesrecipient-530wGrant Jones receives the first LAF Medal from Awards Commitee Chair Dennis Carmichael.

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.

proclamation-530wASLA's CEO Nancy Somerville and President Chad Danos deliver a Philadelphia-style proclamation.

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:


That's a Wrap! LAF Summit Draws over 700

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!

eo7i4493-530wLAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch welcomes attendees to the Summit.

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.

eo7i5589-530wAesthetics Panel with Ken Smith, Maria Goula, Chris Reed, Mikyoung Kim, Claude Cormier, and Adam Greenspan

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.
lafsummitupenn038-530wThe Summit ended with a toast to the next 50 years.

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:

Happy 2016!

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) wishes you all the best as 2016 gets underway! This year marks LAF’s 50th anniversary, and we look forward to celebrating with you throughout the year. Look for announcements about new transformative programs and initiatives, and save the date for June 10-11 in Philadelphia when we host a landmark summit about landscape architecture and the future!

Thanks to all of our friends and supporters who stopped by our photobooth in Chicago to help us kick off this year of celebration! (See a higher resolution version here.)


Olmsted Scholar Events in Chicago

On Nov 5-6, LAF held a series of events in Chicago to honor the 2015 Olmsted Scholars, landscape architecture students who were nominated by their faculty for demonstrating exceptional leadership potential. Thirty-four of this year’s 72 Olmsted Scholars traveled from across the U.S. and Canada to participate.


The Olmsted Scholars Luncheon gave the scholars the opportunity to meet each other, the LAF Board of Directors, staff, and program sponsors. Short presentations from the two National Olmsted Scholars showcased the incredible people and projects that the program supports. Maria Muñoz, winner of the $15,000 undergraduate prize, presented an overview of her research on Puerto Rico’s network of local vendors, their sources of home-grown agricultural products, and how this network may offer a more environmentally sustainable and resilient type of agricultural system. Grant Fahlgren, winner of the $25,000 graduate prize, discussed traditional ecological knowledge and how it applies to landscape architecture, using the Fraser River watershed in the Cascadia Bioregion as an example.

maria-markNational Olmsted Scholar Maria Muñoz with outgoing LAF President Mark Dawson

Following the luncheon, the scholars participated in a facilitated Leadership Conversation with members of the LAF Board and Board Emeriti, discussing how to continue to pursue their passions, stay accountable, and keep motivated as they transition from school to the workforce. They also shared their thoughts on how to enhance the Olmsted Scholars Program and the community of scholars, who now number 391 as the program enters its ninth year.

The events culminated with the LAF Annual Benefit at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. The sold-out crowd of over 500 guests honored the 2015 Olmsted Scholars during a special certificate ceremony. “What an honor and treat it was to meet this impressive group,” said outgoing LAF Board President Mark Dawson, FASLA. “The future of our profession is in good hands.”

Thank you to the generous Olmsted Scholars Program sponsors whose support makes the financial awards and events like these possible. Photos from the Annual Benefit and other Olmsted Scholar events can be found on LAF’s Flickr Photostream.

LAF Events at the ASLA Annual Meeting

Heading to Chicago for the 2015 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO? We hope you’ll join us for some or all of the following events to celebrate, support, and raise awareness about LAF and its transformative programs. Between receiving two ASLA Professional Awards and kicking off the festivities for our 50th anniversary in 2016, it will be an epic series of events. We hope to see you!

starrynightStarry Night, LAF’s 30th Annual Benefit
Fri, Nov 6, 7:00-10:30pm
Adler Planetarium

Join top designers and leaders from practice, academia, and industry for a star-filled evening at the Adler Planetarium where floor to ceiling windows and outdoor terraces offer awe-inspiring views of the Chicago skyline. Enjoy cocktails, fine local food, and amazing company, all while raising money to support LAF’s research and scholarship programs.

Landscape Performance: Determining What and How to Measure
Fri, Nov 6, 1:30-3pm
McCormick Place, Room E451A, Level 4
Don’t miss this Education Session moderated by LAF’s Heather Whitlow and featuring Skip Graffam of OLIN, Emily McCoy of Andropogon Associates, and Allyson Mendenhall of Design Workshop. Panelist will present widely applicable metrics and methods for environmental, social, and economic performance and share insights on gathering baseline data, setting objectives, and evaluating performance of built projects.

photocollage2LAF Booth in ASLA Expo Hall (#2821)
Sat-Sun, Nov 7-8, 9:00am-5:00pm
McCormick Place
Visit our booth to learn more about LAF, help kick off our 50th anniversary celebration in our photobooth, and try out the award-winning

ASLA Professional Awards Ceremony
Mon, Nov 9, 12:00-1:00pm
McCormick Place - Lakeside Center, Arie Crown Theater
See the best in landscape architecture from the U.S. and around the world. LAF’s Landscape Performance Series will receive the 2015 Award of Excellence in Communications, and our Case Study Investigation (CSI) program will be recognized with an Honor Award for Research.