Landscape Architecture

Illustration showing a stone wall with lettering reading Angola Memorial Justice Center

“It was really exciting how [the students] did not even try to pretend that landscape architecture or other design professions are neutral,” says Beka Economopoulos, an artist, activist and founder of the Natural History Museum, who served as a guest critic and juror for the studio. “They’re always serving some end.”

A Fall 2020 interdisciplinary studio at Weitzman called Designing a Green New Deal asked students to produce a digital “atlas” documenting three different American regions’ carceral, fossil fuel, and industrial agriculture landscapes. Billy Fleming, the Wilks Family Director of The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, then asked the students to create set of ‘futures’ based on the Green New Deal. “Rather than focusing on a piece of technology or faux-ecology, we asked them to think about how they might produce speculative work that advances the project of abolition and climate justice, as described to them by the movements we worked with in the studio,” Fleming says.
Book cover for Beautiful China
Beautiful China: Reflections on Landscape Architecture in Contemporary China (ORO Editions, 2020) is the first serious consideration of Beautiful China, the title of the Chinese government’s broad pol
Rows of smiles
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, outdoor recreation spaces worldwide have been more popular than ever—sometimes to the detriment of the landscapes themselves, as foot traffic has increased dramatically.
Graphic with text LA+ CREATURE with fur and scales
Launched in August to engage designers with issues of biodiversity and climate change, LA+ CREATURE asked designers to take a non-human animal as a client, and to work on its behalf. They were invited to choose an animal species of any size, anywhere in the world, and design a “place, structure, thing, system, and/or process” that improves that creature’s life. The entries must also generate greater awareness and empathy among humans for the creature-client’s existence.
Rendering of a quarry transformed into a park
On Friday, August 28, as part of the Weitzman School’s New Student Orientation, teams of Design Fellows described the work they engaged in over the summer. One team of four Fellows worked under the leadership of Ellen Neises (MLA’02), adjunct associate professor of landscape architecture and executive director at PennPraxis, to re-imagine a former slate quarry as a heritage park linked to a growing trail system in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.
Project photos from Fantasy Island project
Karen M'Closkey and Keith VanDerSys' practice, PEG office of landsacape + architecture recently received a 2020 ASLA Analysis and Planning Honor Award for its ongoing work in the Galápagos Islands. The project was one of 31 Professional A
A terraced hillside is interrupted by low rise buildings and ends with a green space
For years, students in David Gouverner's interdisciplinary Urban Design Studio have helped to build an understanding of how cities can manage and improve informal settlements that develop on their peripheries. In the 2020 version, they pushed the limits of remote learning to study three sites, in three countries. 
A multi-pronged spiky brown tower rises above a dense pine forest with a flock of birds in the air above
The LA+ CREATURE international design ideas competition, organized by the interdisciplinary landscape architecture journal LA+ at the Weitzman School, asked designers to choose any non-human creature as their client and then design something that would not only make its life better, but also create greater human empathy for the creature.

Photo Eric Sucar

In a year marked by COVID-19, renewed calls for racial justice, a contentious presidential election, and an active wildfire and hurricane season, Weitzman faculty from the departments of city and regional planning and landscape architecture suggest what’s needed to make urban areas more resilient to future crises.
Two women stand outside a white tent dwelling with city in the background

Photo Nicholas Pevzner

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, is the coldest capital city in the world. On an average day, the temperature doesn’t rise above freezing, and in the winter, it often dips to 40 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale.
People at auditorium stand and cheer for a young woman speaking on stage
In a push to turn grassroots demands for climate justice into formal policy proposals and actionable legislation, The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology is launching the “climate + community project.” Funded by the Summit Foundation, the project builds on last year’s Designing a Green New Deal event, which brought together scholars and activists in the climate justice movement. “The idea is always to take movement demands and translate them into concrete federal legislation or policy recommendations, and, in an ideal scenario, to have that connected to a member of Congress who’s going to then run those ideas through a bill onto the floor of Congress,” says Billy Fleming, Wilks Family Director of The McHarg Center.
Activ-ISM fall lecture series speaker lineup
As part of raising consciousness about design justice, this semester the Department of Landscape Architecture devotes its lecture series to activist practices and community engagement. 

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