Skip to main content

Community Engagement During the Pandemic and Beyond

LAF hosts live webinars in which guest presenters share innovative work and discuss timely issues. The recorded webinars are archived on LAF's website, and many can be viewed on demand to earn continuing education credits through LA CES. To learn about upcoming webinars, subscribe to LAF communications.

LAF is able to make these resources freely available thanks to the financial support of individuals like you. If you find this webinar valuable, please consider making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation of $10 per month to help us cover hosting and administrative costs.

Recording from live webinar on 4/21/20


Community Engagement: Strategies, Tools, and Lessons for the Pandemic and Beyond

For landscape architects, stakeholder engagement is a fundamental part of the planning and design process. And because much of landscape architecture involves public or quasi-public space, these stakeholders are often the community at large.

Advances in technology have dramatically increased the number of ways we can gather input and collaborate. But when in-person outreach, meetings, workshops, and charrettes are no longer options, how can we ensure that community engagement is broad, inclusive, and equitable? What tools and strategies can be used to overcome the digital divide and other issues that affect access? What else is needed to meet community members where they are? Does the role of the designer change?

LAF convened this candid conversation with five landscape architects who are grappling with these questions. They shared their own experiences and what their firms/organizations are doing to continue to involve stakeholders in shaping and decision-making. Their strategies, tools, and insights offer creative solutions and valuable lessons for community engagement both during the current pandemic and beyond it. The webinar concluded with an audience Q&A to allow for further exchange of tips, ideas, and perspectives.



Coldspring logo



Headshot of C.L Bohannon

C.L. Bohannon, PhD
Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture
Faculty Principal, Leadership and Social Change Residential College at Virginia Tech
Dr. Bohannon directs the Community Engagement Lab in the Landscape Architecture Program at Virginia Tech where he teaches and researches at the intersection of community engagement and design education with a focus on social and environmental justice.


Headshot of Stephanie Grigsby

Stephanie Grigsby
Principal, Design Workshop
Stephanie leads an array of public sector work, including parks and recreation planning, streetscape design, and tourism-related transportation planning. For her, a successful project bridges social, economic, and environmental goals and serves all people in a community, today and into the future.


Headshot of Deb Guenther

Deb Guenther, FASLA
Design Partner, Mithun
Mithun’s integrated design team serves many marginalized communities. Deb’s leadership in establishing equitable project processes and co-created design is part of the firm’s commitment to addressing health disparities in the places we all live and love.


Headshot of Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson
Principal and Urban Design Practice Co-Director, SmithGroup
Michael’s ability to understand and distill complex urban challenges spans a wide range of markets and geographies. He serves on research committee as part of the Landscape Architecture Foundation Board, where he is focused on raising the profile of collaborative research that blurs boundaries between academia and practice.


Headshot of Ernest Wong

Ernest C. Wong, FASLA
Founder and Principal, site
Managing the firm for over 30 years, Ernest has been instrumental in the evolution of site design group, ltd. (site) as a multi-cultural cutting edge design entity and fostering the landscape architecture profession in the city of Chicago. site has established a reputation for creative design solutions, and developing thoughtful, community-oriented urban spaces.



ASLA's The Dirt: "How Can We Design with Communities While Apart?" by Deb Guenther

SmithGroup: "Equitable Community Engagement During a Global Pandemic & Beyond" by Michael Johnson, Janet Attarian, Kathleen Duffy

Civic Tech Field Guide: Public input and engagement tools

Key Takeaways and Additional Resources (PDF)

Audience Q&A Session (PDF)

Full Transcript (PDF)

LAF is grateful to the many individuals and organizations that provide financial support towards fulfilling our mission to support the preservation, improvement, and enhancement of the environment.

Much of what LAF is able to accomplish would not be possible without the thought leadership and financial investment of our major supporters, including ASLA, which provides over $125,000 of in-kind support annually.