Richard Weller, professor of landscape architecture and co-executive director of The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism & Ecology, was presented with the inaugural LAF Legacy Award at the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s June 14 annual awards event.
The LAF Legacy Award was created in 2023 by the LAF to recognize past members of the LAF Board of Directors who provided extraordinary service and contributions to the organization and its legacy. Weller served on the LAF Board from 2014 to 2018 and was recognized for “help[ing] the organization turn ideas into action.”
Among Weller’s contributions to the field cited by the LAF were his role in organizingLAF’s 2016 Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future and the resulting New Landscape Declaration. “This important initiative tapped pent up frustration within the discipline, articulated a common set of values, and produced a 21st century call to action which challenged landscape architects to find ways to use their unique professional skills to address the most critical issues of our time: climate change, inequity, biodiversity loss, and rapid urbanization,” according to the LAF website.
Weller is also credited with conceptualizing the Green New Deal Superstudio and he served on the core planning team. The Superstudio, which ran from 2020 to 2021, was an open call to design schools, professional practices, individuals, and others to translate the core goals of the Green New Deal (decarbonization, justice, and jobs) into design and planning projects. Some 670 projects were submitted by over 90 universities in 39 states and 10 countries—including Penn—as well as hundreds of practitioners from across the design disciplines.
“We are forever grateful for Richard’s service and dedication to LAF, and for bringing the hopes and aspirations of the discipline together in clear and impactful ways,” said LAF CEO Barbara Deutsch when the honor was announced.
“Through its programs and events, particularly in the last decade or so, the LAF has confronted the issues of the times and connected those issues to design intelligence across all scales in both practical and visionary ways,” Weller said. “I don’t think I deserve to be singled out. Being on the Board is a labor of love and all the Board members, along with the LAF staff, are the ones we should thank.”