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Thanks for a Great Year!

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) invests in research and scholarships to increase our collective capacity to achieve sustainability and cultivate the next generation of design leaders. Since 1986, LAF has awarded over $900,000 in scholarships to nearly 500 students and invested $1.8 million in research initiatives.       

josetyThanks to the generous support of LAF’s donors and sponsors, the foundation accomplished the following in 2013:

  • Awarded over $125,000 to students through scholarships, fellowships, and research assistantships.
  • Recognized 67 new Olmsted Scholars, including the first undergraduate national winner.
  • Published the 75th Landscape Performance Series (LPS) case study, documenting the environmental, economic, and social benefits of exemplary landscape projects.
  • Awarded $22,500 to researchers to analyze the LPS and develop a guidebook on metrics and methods to evaluate landscape performance.
  • Met with over 1,400 professionals through office visits, webinars, and conference presentations to increase awareness about landscape performance.

In 2014, LAF will build on this momentum with more scholarship awards, a new guidebook on evaluating landscape performance, a new webinar series, a new clearinghouse of teaching tools for landscape architecture faculty, and even more resources to help you design better and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions.

Consider investing in the Landscape Architecture Foundation in your year-end giving so that LAF can continue to deliver innovative programs and increase its impact at this critical time when the many services and talents of landscape architects are so vitally needed. Show your commitment and give back to the profession by making a tax-deductible contribution onlinemaking an honor or memorial gift, or learn about the many ways to support the Foundation.

Olmsted Scholar Feature: Climate, Water, and Infrastructure Resiliency in Phoenix

By Ashley Brenden, 2013 University Olmsted Scholar

My pH20enix Design Thesis Project evolved from current discourse on infrastructure resiliency and a United Nations report that predicts that by 2025 two out of every three people in the world will be facing water shortages. The project postulates that current trends in global climate change are likely to continue with increasing occurrences of ecological, social and economic disasters. It also asserts that global water shortage will be the largest and most far reaching ecological, social and economic disaster that humans have faced. The basis of the project lies in a clear stance that our current infrastructure is not designed to meet the increasing demands placed on our social and environmental systems. In order to withstand inevitable natural and manmade disasters, we must, as designers, be forward thinking, utilizing a hybrid of design sensibility, aesthetic appreciation, and scientific thought.

ph2oenix03Implementation was represented graphically for 8 prototypical situations along the urban canal structures.

My thesis project investigates the interrelationships of climate, water, and the urban form in Phoenix, Arizona and the implications for decision making under uncertainty. It envisions ways that Phoenix can transform into a sustainable urban model for addressing water scarcity. Progress towards sustainability of our urban environments requires careful examination of the effectiveness of dated jurisdictional and normative planning tools in dealing with contemporary urbanization concerns. By crafting zoning and policies that are more oriented towards the natural environment, we can promote a more integrated and responsive infrastructure.

The project proposes a decentralized water infrastructure configuration that makes use of existing natural and manmade infrastructure. By coupling small-scale, site-specific, decentralized water techniques with a larger-scale, integrative, above-ground canal structure a cyclical system is created that contributes to a stable environmental equilibrium. The theoretical design suggests a cyclical system in which water that is pulled into the municipal system from the Rio Salado and from Maricopa County ground sources be used, recycled, remediated and returned to the system in quantities equal to what was extracted. Site scale techniques such as water demand reduction and rainwater harvesting contribute to lower overall extraction rates.

Above-ground water canal systems that run from North Mountain to South Mountain reintroduce the natural hydrology, while collecting municipal building wastewater along the way. The system also provides microclimatic environments for social and ecological niches along its path. The canals are joined at the Rio Salado where the water is then returned to the natural circulation process, re-establishing the natural ecological habitat along the river.

ph2oenix02Canal use and program establishment were created by using an infrastructure prototype development tool and an infrastructure adjacency matrix.

The project goal was not to propose a complete solution to water shortage within the Sonoran Desert, but rather to initiate a discussion on ways to transform one of the world’s least sustainable cities into one that is a model of sustainability and resilience. The project asks “How do we design our cities to meet the needs of an increasing population in an increasingly volatile system?” and “How do we become more resilient?”.

Ashley received her Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the Arizona State University Design School in May. She currently works in Seattle as a Landscape Designer for Mithun.

Invest in the Future: Give the Gift of LAF

There are many ways to support the Landscape Architecture Foundation during this season of giving, no matter who’s on your list. Your gift will help us continue to deliver innovative programs and increase our impact at this critical time when the many services and talents of landscape architects are so vitally needed. 

Looking for the perfect gift for someone who has everything?gift-165w

You can give to LAF in honor of someone. You’ll get a printable certificate to share, and the honoree will be recognized in LAF’s Annual Report.

Make an Honor Gift


Need a more traditional gift?

goodshopYou can support LAF when you shop online this holiday season. By using GoodShop to access well-known retailers like Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, and many more, a percent of all sales is donated to LAF at no extra cost to you.

Learn More


Remember LAF in your year-end giving

lafsupportThere are many ways to invest in the work of LAF as an individual or organization. From program sponsorships to named scholarships to planned giving, you have the opportunity to choose the type and level of gift that shows what is important to you.

Learn More

LAF is a tax-exempt organization under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your charitable contribution is deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

2014 Landscape Performance Education Grant Recipients Announced

In today’s increasingly evidence-based marketplace, landscape architecture students need to be able to convey the environmental, economic, and social value of excellent design. Incorporating landscape performance into the curriculum will give students the awareness and skills they need to design for, evaluate, and communicate the impact of their projects.

lp-whiteboardLAF’s Landscape Performance Education Grants allow select faculty to develop and test models for integrating landscape performance into standard landscape architecture course offerings. For 2014, five $2,500 grants have been awarded to the following faculty for their proposed classes:

  • Aidan Ackerman, Boston Architectural College
    Ecological Analysis & Conceptual Frameworks (MLA Studio)
  • Gary Austin, PLA, University of Idaho
    Water Conservation Technologies (BSLA Lecture)
  • Kenneth Brooks, FASLA, FCELA, PLA, Arizona State University
    Advanced Landscape Architecture Studio IV (MLA Studio) and Special Topic: Design Performance (MLA Seminar)
  • Chuo Li, PhD, Mississippi State University
    Landscape Architecture Graduate Studio II: Health (MLA Studio)
  • Mary Myers, PhD, FASLA, FCELA, Temple University
    Seminar on Landscape Performance: Focus on Temple University Main Campus Landscape (MLA/BSLASeminar)

The selection process for the 2014 grants was competitive, with applications received from faculty at universities across the U.S. The teaching proposals include studio, lecture, and seminar courses for both BLA and MLA curricula.

Students will learn about landscape performance from a variety of angles, such as stormwater management, public health, energy conservation and social cohesion. Many of the courses integrate performance metrics directly into the design process, with students setting objectives and developing metrics to evaluate the projected performance of their studio projects. In other cases, students will apply various tools and methods to measure benefits to inform design scenarios for external “real world” projects.

Grant recipients will work with LAF throughout the duration of the classes and use formal course evaluations to determine the success and replicability of the teaching models used. Course materials developed through the Landscape Performance Education Grants will form the basis of a new “Resources for Educators” section on the LAF website, which will offer teaching tools like syllabi, reading lists, and assignments for faculty members interested in teaching landscape performance to the next generation of design professionals.

The Landscape Performance Education Grants are made possible with support from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute’s Foundation for Education & Research. Five additional $2,500 awards will be made for the 2014-2015 academic year, with proposals accepted starting next fall.

2013 Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes Winner

Shannon “Miko” Mikus of Athens, Georgia has won the one-of-a-kind trip to Seattle in LAF’s Fifth Annual Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes. Miko’s name was selected from the 162 entrants whose donations helped raise $10,000 to support LAF’s research and scholarship programs. The prize package features two days of tours of some of the city’s most acclaimed landscape architecture projects led by the designers themselves.

sweepstakes-mikoMiko learns that he won the sweepstakes from LAF Board member Bill Main.

“I am very excited! Seattle is one of the top destinations for designers and design students, so this is a very welcome opportunity to experience the city under the guidance of the city’s top landscape architects!” said Miko, who is pursuing his MLA degree at the University of Georgia and has a passion for parks and playgrounds. Miko plans to travel in the spring and will get to tour 5 Seattle and 2 Bainbridge Island sites, including Gas Works Park with Rich Haag and the Gates Foundation Headquarters with Jennifer Guthrie.

“I have told other students how I won the sweepstakes, but still don’t believe it myself. I stopped by the LAF booth during the ASLA Annual Meeting EXPO to ask if there were any plans to focus the Landscape Performance Series or perhaps a CSI team on the long-term and short-term community-building aspects of playgrounds. Talking to the LAF staff, I was convinced to donate to support the Olmsted Scholars Program, a worthy cause, no doubt, and by donating, I was entered in the sweepstakes. I use the LAF website as a valuable way to find research sources and to keep in touch with the professional side of landscape architecture — I didn’t expect that stopping by the LAF booth would lead to a trip to Seattle!”

“Since I retired from 20 years in the US Air Force and started my MLA at UGA, my family has been very busy and finding the time and means for a dream get-away like this was impossible. It is a fantastic educational opportunity to receive a planned, guided tour of an American design Mecca! Thank you, LAF!”

LAF truly appreciates the support of all who participated in the sweepstakes and sends a special thank you to our Seattle team of organziers and the sweepstakes sponsors: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, SvR Design Company, Mithun, EverGreen Escapes, AgriCurean Escapes, Northwest Playground Equipment, Sheraton Seattle Hotel, IslandWood.