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LAF Symposium and Awards Dinner Recap

On May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC, LAF hosted two events to showcase and celebrate leading-edge thinking and achievements in landscape architecture and sustainability. Thank you to all who attended! Photos from the events are posted to LAF’s Flickr page.

LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium

The sold-out symposium showed how six landscape architects are tackling a range of pressing issues, including homelessness, resilient water management in India, and reconceiving public space in the American south. The symposium is the culmination of the year-long LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership, a unique program and $25,000 award that supports working professionals as they develop and test new ideas.

symposium-alpa-530wAlpa Nawre presents her work on design interventions to address water and other issues in rural India.symposium-scottdouglas-530wScott Douglas asks, “How have 60 years of innovation and technology not affected highway corridors?”

 The powerful presentations left audience members energized and emboldened:

“The symposium reminded me of the real breadth of issues we can work on as a profession. It’s easy to get overly focused on your own projects and forget the far-reaching impacts we can have.”

“I was impressed by the scope and importance of all that landscape architects do.”

“As an architect, I was reassured that our professions are in line and pursuing the same problems, but also encouraged to see a new, vibrant, human-centric take through the eyes of landscape architects.”

Recordings of the presentations will be posted in early June. In the meantime,  look for great event summaries from ASLA’s The Field and Land8:

symposium-fellows2-530wSymposium presenters and LAF Fellows Harriett Jameson, Nicole Plunkett, Claire Latané, Scott Douglas, Alpa Nawre, and Brice Maryman


 2018 LAF Awards Dinner

The Awards Dinner honored the 2018 recipients of the LAF Medal and Founders’ Award, our highest honors for individuals and organizations that have made a significant and sustained contribution to the LAF mission of supporting the preservation, improvement and enhancement of the environment.

Carol Franklin received the 2018 LAF Medal and provided a retrospective of Andropogon’s work, including their experimental and pioneering ideas about ecological design. Among the memorable moments was this remark about the extradinary effort involved in turning ecological restoration into art: “It’s like spending two hours in front of the mirror so that you can look natural.”

dinner-carolfranklin-530wCarol Franklin, a founding principal of Andropogon, accepts the 2018 LAF Medal

Diane Regas, President and CEO, accepted the 2018 LAF Founders’ Award on behalf of The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and provided an overview of the organzation’s work, particularly its new 10-Minute Walk movement to put a quality park within a 10-minute walk of everyone in U.S. In describing their schoolyard-to-parks projects, Diane said, “We like to think that we are helping to inspire and train at least a few landscape architects of the future.”

dinner-tpl-530wThe Trust for Public Land's Diane Regas accepts the 2018 LAF Founders' Award from Awards Committee Chair Dennis Carmichael

These leadership events and the LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership were made possible by the many generous contributions to the LAF: 50 & Forward Campaign.

Seven Selected for 2018-2019 LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is delighted to announce the amazing people and projects selected for the second year of the LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership. Four Fellows and three LAF Olmsted Scholars will participate in this year-long transformation program to develop ideas that have the potential to create positive and profound change in the profession, environment, and humanity.

Each Fellow receives a $25,000 award and will dedicate 12 weeks of time over the course of the year to pursue their proposed project. The year-long fellowship consists of this project work, supported by facilitated discussions, critiques, mentorship, and explorations of transformational leadership that occur during three, 3-day residencies in Washington, D.C. The 2018-2019 fellowship year kicks off at the first residency May 17-19 and concludes in Spring 2019 with a final symposium to showcase completed work. (Learn more about the final symposium for the 2017-2018 Fellows.)

LAF is proud to make this investment in the ideas and the people that will drive the future of the landscape architecture profession, and we look forward to working with the 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? To do this, 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 climate change.

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

maisie-hughes-226w-msyThou Shalt Not Trespass: Cultural Diversity and Landscape Interpretation

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 affect landscape interpretation. This project will examine how different types of people interpret the same landscape by creating short web documentaries that explore 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 ideas. Recent restructuring of federal support for public housing has generated billions 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, The Landscape of Public Housing will combine site visits, interviews, and analysis to illustrate current conditions in a documentary video and create design resources for those 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 flooding, it is necessary to codify standards for open space in waterfront developments, with zoning laws and codes that focus not only on area but also on volume provided for water. Public-private partnerships 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

Recently-named LAF Olmsted Scholars are selected to participate in the fellowhip to develop and advance their ideas alongside the LAF Fellows in preparation for a future fellowship, partnership, or funding opportunity.

  • David de la Cruz (2017 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

Through film, David will archive 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 studies through the documentation of site visits, discussions with stakeholders, and the collection and study of existing remediation strategies. Lauren looks forward to the support of the fellowship cohort to help her develop and refine a strategy for further research on disturbed sites. Participation in the fellowship 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. Andrew plans to conduct survey research and use it to garner partnerships with stakeholders to create and make available solutions for landscape architects to use in the design of and advocacy for public space.

HomeLand Lab: Exploring the Intersection of Public Space and Homelessness


Brice Maryman is a 2017 recipient of the $25,000 LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership. His project explores the spatial manifestations of homelessness on the landscape, documents current management approaches, and aims to offer comprehensive, community‐based spatial strategies to create better, more successful public spaces for all.

As part of his research, Brice has created the HomeLand Lab podcast. Available at or on iTunes, the podcast invites listeners to engage in a wide-ranging conversation on homelessness and public space. With a diversity of perspectives, Brice hopes that  a more nuanced and productive conversation can emerge about the profound relationship between homelessness and public space.

In the first five episodes, he has spoken with politicians, people who have experienced homelessness, designers, academics and public space managers, each of whom has offered intelligent, insights about the state of poverty and homelessness in American public spaces today.  

LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership: First Residency Complete!

laf-fellow-cohort-1-photo-530wLeft to right: Alpa Nawre, Claire Latané, Brice Maryman, Nicole Plunkett, Harriett Jameson, Scott Douglas

Last week, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) welcomed its first cohort of the new LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership. The four LAF Fellows, two participating Olmsted Scholars, and fellowship facilitators gathered in Washington, D.C. for an intense 3-day residency to kick off the fellowship year.

Before getting to work, the participants attended a special dinner with the LAF Board of Directors, local Board Emeriti, and representatives from the National Park Service, which was recognized with the 2017 LAF Founders’ Award. After an inspiring evening, the cohort gathered at Impact Hub DC, a non-profit co-working space for “entrepreneurs, creatives, and professionals taking action to drive positive social, economic, and environmental change,” and the fellowship’s home-base for three days.

Lucinda Sanders, CEO and Partner at OLIN, and Laura Solano, Principal at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, serve as facilitators for all three fellowship residencies. At this first one, they explored the different aspects of transformational leadership with the cohort. They also underscored the importance of asking for help and of mentorship in all directions, as each cohort member is there to support the others throughout the fellowship year.

Residency I of the fellowship is designed to deepen the commitment of each cohort member and to help remove obstacles from her or his path. Repeated presentations and critiques were one of the primary exercises used to achieve this. The LAF Fellows and participating Olmsted Scholars presented their project proposals multiple times and in multiple formats over the course of this first residency, with each speaking opportunity further reinforced with guidance and feedback from the cohort team, facilitators, and invited guests.

laf-fellow-small-group-1-530wLeft to right: Alpa Nawre, Harriett Jameson, Laura Solano, Brice Maryman

Day 1 was dedicated to small group, workshop-style discursive presentations and some project work time to advance or refine their presentations for Day 2, when the entire cohort reconvened for their formal presentations and critique with invited guests Brad McKee, Editor of Landscape Architecture Magazine and Daniel Pittman, Design Director at A/D/O, a design/creative incubator in Brooklyn, New York. Their insights and perspective were invaluable to the project team. The cohort also received feedback from the LAF Board of Directors following a round of short, PechaKucha-style presentations.

Residency I wrapped up on the morning of Day 3 when the fellowship cohort and facilitators came together to reflect on the past two days and discuss the work and challenges they plan to confront over the course of this year.

To maintain momentum throughout the fellowship year, the cohort will check in monthly via conference call to report out on progress. In six months, the cohort will reconvene in Washington, D.C. in early November for Residency II. We look forward to sharing their progress in the months ahead!

Six Selected for New LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership

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, IA

laf-fellow-2017-sdouglas-226wMulti-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 (2014 Olmsted Scholar Finalist), Landscape Designer, Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, Alexandria, VA

laf-fellow-2017-hjameson-226w-yf0Delta Terra

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.