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Presentations from Part 1 of the 2020 LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium

On June 16 and 18, 2020, the 2019-2020 cohort from the year-long LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership presented their projects at our virtual symposium. This unique fellowship program provides a $25,000 award that supports working professionals as they develop and test new ideas to bring about impactful change to the environment and humanity and increase the visibility and leadership role of landscape architecture.


Fellow presentations

Design as Activism: Educating for Social Change

Jeffrey Hou, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of Urban Commons Lab, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Facing environmental and social crises on a global scale, how can landscape architecture education prepare students to become changemakers in meeting these challenges? Working with a group of educators around the United States and using findings from an online survey and interviews with practitioners and program leaders, this project presents a framework of actions to reposition and transform landscape architecture education for social change.

Resource: Jeff's Design as Activism website


Un-Checking the Boxes: Learning to Read Between the Lines of Climate Resilience RFPs

Liz Camuti, Landscape Designer, SCAPE, New Orleans, LA
2018 LAF National Olmsted Scholar (Graduate)

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) largely define the potential of resiliency projects. Unfortunately, parameters set forth in these documents aren’t usually conducive to input from designers on particular structures and traditions of the communities said projects seek to “assist.” With a specific focus on the Resettlement of Isle de Jean Charles, Liz's work questions: 1) how criteria for a “successful” project might evolve through a different form of RFP, and 2) how designers can adapt their own roles in order to break historical cycles of erasure and control that have shaped environmental history in Louisiana.

Resource: Liz mentioned the Preserving Our Place: Community Field Guide


Heterogeneous Futures: Design Thinking Alternatives for Anthropologically and Ecologically Diverse Landscapes

Diana Fernandez, Associate, Sasaki, Watertown, MA

Heterogeneous Futures is at the nexus of anthropological and ecological biodiversity as a means for creating a more resilient public realm. The work exposes the interconnected relationship between difference in the ecology of the environment, and the social, cultural, and linguistic spatial mechanisms, to imagine and create public spaces that embrace a palimpsest of histories as well as spatial constructs that embrace heterogeneity as a landscape process.

Resource: Diana's Heterogeneous Futures website


The 2020 LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium can be viewed in its entirety. Part 1 includes the presentations above along with opening remarks, the Fellows' opening statement (a powerful video that addressed the unique challenges of the moment), and a Q&A discussion with the fellows.


Host a Follow-up discussion

If your design firm, organization, class, or student group is interested in viewing the symposium or its component presentations, we've created a discussion guide to help prompt follow-up conversations around themes of justice, inclusivity, the role of landscape architecture, and new ways of working.

The LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium is the culmination of a year spent exploring and advancing big ideas. Through this live event and the recorded footage, LAF shares the work of the Fellows broadly to support their continued impact. Our 2020 symposium sponsors help LAF to share these transformative projects with the world and celebrate cutting-edge thinking in landscape architecture.

Event Sponsors

LAF: 50 & Forward

The LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership was launched in 2016 thanks to the generous support of donors to the LAF: 50 & Forward Campaign. LAF sincerely thanks these 143 donors for their investment in the people and ideas that will drive the future of landscape architecture.

See campaign donors