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Presentations from the LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium

On May 17, the first cohort from the year-long LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership, presented their projects at our sold-out symposium. This unique fellowship program provides a $25,000 award that supports working professionals as they develop and test new ideas to bring about impactful change to the environment and humanity and increase the visibility and leadership role of landscape architecture.


Critical Places: Design Interventions to Address Water and Other Issues in Rural India

Alpa Nawre, Assistant Professor, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Alpa’s work in India aims to prototype a process to address critical issues such as water scarcity and waste management through design strategies and small-scale, physical interventions to create a stronger, more cohesive and forward-looking community.  


Making Space: Optimistic Strategies for Urban Homelessness

Brice Maryman, Senior Landscape Architect, MIG l SvR, Seattle, WA

What is the role of public space in confronting the growing challenge of homelessness? Through the HomeLandLab project, Brice Maryman explores the ways that the connective tissue of our cities—our public spaces—can be shaped, programmed and managed to improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness.


For the Love of Teenagers: Advocating for Safe, Restorative High School Environments

Claire Latané, Senior Associate, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Los Angeles, CA

Claire advocates for high school environments that support students’ mental health and well-being. Using Los Angeles as a case study, she works with students, educators and administrators, designers, non-profits, city agencies, and the community to develop policy and design that reflect a sense of love and safety rather than security and fear. 


Cultivating Future Landscape Architects: Career Discovery in K-12 Education

Nicole Plunkett, Landscape Architect, Cotleur & Hearing, Jupiter, FL

Who will shape the future of landscape architecture? Nicole explored how the continued development of her nonprofit, Future Landscape Architects of America (FLAA), can help to grow and diversify the profession in the coming years.


Shifting Perceptions: Reconceiving Public Space in the American South

Harriett Jameson, Landscape Designer, Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, Alexandria, VA

A Native Tennessean, Harriett (2014 Olmsted Scholar Finalist) explores the opportunities of public space in the South to catalyze social resiliency and reconciliation. She is interested in the power of place to shape our personal narratives and its ability to expand and reshape those narratives through sites of conscience.


The (Large) Space Between: Reimagining Highway Corridors as Performative Landscapes

Scott Douglas, Director of the Hahn Horticulture Garden, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Scott (2016 University Olmsted Scholar) investigates alternative uses for the maintenance-intensive highway corridors. His work includes a review The Ray, an 18-mile section of Interstate 85 in southwest Georgia that serves as a testing ground for new ideas and technologies to transform transportation infrastructure.


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!