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LAF Olmsted Scholars: Ready to Act on the New Landscape Declaration, Part 4

Inspired by LAF’s 2016 Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future and the New Landscape Declaration, a group of ten Olmsted Scholars developed their own response focused on moving forward with deliberate actions to meet the ambitions set forth in the Declaration’s four calls to action.

Through a series of blog posts, we are showcasing their action plans. Over the course of the past few months, we’ve introduced Action 1Action 2, and Action 3. Today, we conclude with Action 4:

We will work to support research and champion new practices that result in design innovation and policy transformation.

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ACT NOW

  • Partner with an academic institution and a professional office to implement a research project.
  • Implement a short/medium-term demonstration project to create knowledge and showcase effectiveness for long-term change.
  • Experiment with innovative tools and technology.
  • Become your own client. Support in-office research to proactively identify issues that can be solved with landscape architectural services.

PLAN NOW

  • Establish metrics to prove the environmental and cultural value of ecosystem services.
  • Expand funding sources for cross-disciplinary knowledge-building in both academic and professional practice.
  • Require ecosystem services, environmental justice, and research experience as requirements for ASLA membership and/or licensure.
  • Advance the integration of sustainable techniques and culture in our practices. Divest from fossil fuels and offset CO2 footprints.
  • Evaluate existing project delivery methods and test new platforms.

You can download a PDF copy of the full The Olmsted Scholar Agenda: from Declaration to Action, which includes all four action plans and corresponding precedents for reference and inspiration. The document is a framework for a more detailed action strategy that can be used to inspire, direct, and hold us all accountable. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to be the beginning of a larger dialogue to address the concerns and hopes stated in the New Landscape Declaration.

As 2017 comes to a close, please take a few minutes to review and reflect on which calls to action resonate with you.

What is your action plan for 2018?

Thank you Olmsted Scholars for your leadership and inspiration! The Olmsted Scholars who contributed to this effort are: Leann Andrews (2013 National Olmsted Scholar), Andrew Bailey (2014 Olmsted Scholar), Zach Barker (2013 Olmsted Scholar Finalist), Marin Braco (2012 Olmsted Scholar Finalist), Nina Chase (2009 Olmsted Scholar), Kim Dietzel (2015 Olmsted Scholar), Karl Krause (2008 Olmsted Scholar), Tim Mollette-Parks (2009 Olmsted Scholar), Andrew Sargeant (2016 Olmsted Scholar), and Nate Wooten (2016 Olmsted Scholar).

LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program recognizes and supports landscape architecture students with exceptional leadership potential who are using ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits.

Olmsted Scholar Events in Los Angeles

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To recognize and build community among our 2017 Olmsted Scholars, LAF held a series of events in Los Angeles on October 19-20. Of this year’s 81 Olmsted Scholars, 38 traveled from across the U.S. and Canada (and from as far away as Hong Kong!) to participate. The Olmsted Scholars Program honors students who are nominated by their faculty for demonstrating exceptional leadership potential and using their ideas, influence, communication, and service to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits.

The events kicked off with the Olmsted Scholars Luncheon where the scholars had the opportunity to meet each other, the LAF Board of Directors, Board Emeriti, staff, and program sponsors. The luncheon included the award certificate ceremony and short presentations from 2017 National Olmsted Scholars David de la Cruz (MLA, University of Washington) and Lauren Delbridge (MLA, Virginia Tech).

David, winner of the $25,000 graduate prize, discussed his interest and work on environmental justice issues in his home community in South Central Los Angeles. David will work collaboratively with educators, school administrators, and students at under-resourced high schools to “build youth leadership around urban environmental issues in working-class communities and communities of color.” Lauren, winner of the $15,000 undergraduate prize, shared her thesis project and investigations into the complex nature of coal ash ponds where she is utilizing landscape architecture to develop remediation strategies that have the potential to transform these contaminated sites into multi-functioning places for human interaction, education, and experience.

Following the luncheon, the Olmsted Scholars participated in small group discussions facilitated by LAF Board Emeritus members and special guest 2011 Olmsted Scholar Billy Fleming, Research Coordinator at PennDesign’s The McHarg Center. Each shared their path, aspirations for the profession, and their own personal and professional development goals as they transition from school to professional lives and communities.

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The day concluded with a visit to Studio-MLA’s new office space on an industrial site overlooking the Los Angeles River. Thank you to LAF Board member Mia Lehrer and to Studio-MLA Senior Associates Claire Latane and Kush Parekh for hosting and sharing your inspirational and impactful work in Los Angeles.

The activities culminated the following evening with LAF’s 32nd Annual Benefit in the historic ticket concourse of Los Angeles’ Union Station. The Olmsted Scholars were among the over 600 attendees who gathered to catch up with friends and colleagues and support LAF. The scholars were recognized as part of the program, which featured the launch of LAF’s The New Landscape Declaration book and recognition of 2017 LAF Medal recipient Cornelia Hahn Oberlander.

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Thank you to the generous Olmsted Scholars Program sponsors whose support makes the financial awards and events like these possible. Lead Sponsor: The Toro Company; Annual Sponsors: EDSA, HOK, OLIN, Sasaki Associates, IRONSMITH, LandDesign, Thomas C. and Gerry D. Donnelly, Steven G. King, FASLA, and Bill Main, Hon. ASLA; Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects.

More photos from this year’s Olmsted Scholars Luncheon and LAF’s 32nd Annual Benefit can be found on LAF’s Flickr Photostream.

LAF Olmsted Scholars: Ready to Act on the New Landscape Declaration, Part 3

Inspired by LAF’s 2016 Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future and the New Landscape Declaration, a group of ten Olmsted Scholars developed their own response focused on moving forward with deliberate actions to meet the ambitions set forth in the Declaration’s four calls to action.

Through a series of blog posts, we are showcasing their action plans. We recently introduced Action 1 and Action 2, and this week we present Action 3:

We will work to raise awareness of landscape architecture’s vital contribution.

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ACT NOW

  • Use clear, relatable language in public presentations. Do not use jargon.
  • Foster citizen urbanists and community partners.
  • Promote the profession via social media. 
  • Educate the public on the benefits of working with landscape architects.
  • Evaluate current communication strategies and explore non-traditional and contemporary communication methods.

PLAN NOW

  • Partner with branding/marketing professionals to create a campaign to position the landscape architectural design process as relatable and relevant to the public.
  • Increase opportunities for idea competitions or conferences that foreground multi-functional, “artful and performative” landscapes to stimulate fresh solutions to local and global issues and gain visibility for the profession.
  • Seek short-term and alternative projects for their ability to catalyze public conversation, stimulate new ideas and teach the profession how to fail forward.

You can download a PDF copy of the full The Olmsted Scholar Agenda: from Declaration to Action, which includes all four action plans and corresponding precedents for reference and inspiration. The document is a framework for a more detailed action strategy that can be used to inspire, direct, and hold us all accountable. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to be the beginning of a larger dialogue to address the concerns and hopes stated in the New Landscape Declaration.

Stay tuned later this month for our final post in this series on Action 4: “We will work to support research and champion new practices that result in design innovation and policy transformation.”

LAF Olmsted Scholars: Ready to Act on the New Landscape Declaration, Part 2

Inspired by LAF’s 2016 Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future and the New Landscape Declaration, a group of ten Olmsted Scholars developed their own response focused on moving forward with deliberate actions to meet the ambitions set forth in the Declaration’s four calls to action.

Through a series of blog posts, we are showcasing their action plans. Earlier this month we introduced Action 1 and this week we present Action 2:

We will work to cultivate a bold culture of inclusive leadership, advocacy and activism in our ranks.

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ACT NOW

  • Join local and global advocacy boards, governmental committees, and allied professional organizations.
  • Encourage students and emerging professionals to seek out alternative career paths in government, non-profit, advocacy, activism, research, health industries, technology, agribusiness, etc.
  • Pursue work or build relationships with clients who focus attention on marginalized communities, endangered ecosystems, and neglected places. 

PLAN NOW

  • Seek funding sources and structures for design activism and advocacy projects.
  • Make community engagement and public service a requirement for ASLA membership and/or CEUs for licensure.           
  • Expand local and state advocacy programs to encourage ecological development and reuse opportunities in urban areas while also protecting vital ecosystems and supporting underserved rural landscapes
  • Support local and national policies and programs that strengthen landscape architecture’s professional value.

You can download a PDF copy of the full The Olmsted Scholar Agenda: from Declaration to Action, which includes all four action plans and corresponding precedents for reference and inspiration. The document is a framework for a more detailed action strategy that can be used to inspire, direct, and hold us all accountable. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to be the beginning of a larger dialogue to address the concerns and hopes stated in the New Landscape Declaration.

Stay tuned next week for a post on Action 3: “We will work to raise awareness of landscape architecture’s vital contribution.”

LAF Olmsted Scholars: Ready to Act on the New Landscape Declaration

After the close of LAF’s 2016 Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future, a group of Olmsted Scholars in attendance gathered over beer and pizza to rehash an intense 2 days of presentations and panel discussions on the demands and ambitions of the profession for the next 50 years.

Inspired by the Summit and the New Landscape Declaration, 10 of these Olmsted Scholars continued to converse through conference calls and Google documents to produce their own response focused on moving forward with deliberate actions to meet the ambitions set forth in the Declaration’s four calls to action.

Through a series of blog posts over the next few weeks, we will showcase their action plans. We begin with Action1:

We will work to strengthen and diversify our global capacity as a profession.
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ACT NOW

  • Join or volunteer with professional organizations that nourish diversity.
  • Financially sponsor and volunteer for landscape architecture student career discovery programs for K-12.
  • Financially sponsor and volunteer for projects in communities in-need.
  • Seek short-term and alternative projects for their ability to catalyze public conversation, stimulate new ideas and teach the profession how to fail forward.

PLAN NOW

  • Champion diverse leadership and client-bases within workplaces.

  • Support entrepreneurial career paths within the profession and encourage transdisciplinary collaboration beyond the design professions to break into new markets and push innovation.
  • Seek funding sources for interdisciplinary, global reach and alternative project types.
  • Evaluate existing project delivery methods and test new platforms.

You can download a PDF copy of the full The Olmsted Scholar Agenda: from Declaration to Action, which includes all four action plans and corresponding precedents for reference and inspiration. The document is a framework for a more detailed action strategy that can be used to inspire, direct, and hold us all accountable. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to be the beginning of a larger dialogue to address the concerns and hopes stated in the New Landscape Declaration.

Stay tuned next week for a post on Action 2: “We will work to cultivate a bold culture of inclusive leadership, advocacy and activism in our ranks.”

We are the next generation and are ready to act.

The Olmsted Scholars who contributed to this effort are: Leann Andrews (2013 National Olmsted Scholar), Andrew Bailey (2014 Olmsted Scholar), Zach Barker (2013 Olmsted Scholar Finalist), Marin Braco (2012 Olmsted Scholar Finalist), Nina Chase (2009 Olmsted Scholar), Kim Dietzel (2015 Olmsted Scholar), Karl Krause (2008 Olmsted Scholar), Tim Mollette-Parks (2009 Olmsted Scholar), Andrew Sargeant (2016 Olmsted Scholar), and Nate Wooten (2016 Olmsted Scholar).

LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program recognizes and supports landscape architecture students with exceptional leadership potential who are using ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits.