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Presentations from Part 2 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

Working Landscapes and the Middle American City

Nicholas Jabs, Associate, PORT, Philadelphia, PA
2018 LAF National Olmsted Scholar Finalist (Graduate)

Nick's research explores the past and present condition of Middle American cities through the evolution and intersection of their working landscapes and public realm. The project positions the Green New Deal within this context and seeks to amplify the influence of the design profession by actively engaging with spatial, political, and economic drivers of their urban condition.


Landscape as Foundation for Revolution and Resistance

Pierre Bélanger, Landscape Architect, Urban Planner, & Settler Scholar, OPEN SYSTEMS / Landscape Infrastructure Lab, Boston, MA* (Traditional lands of the Massachusetts people, unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Wampanoag and Nipmuc Nations)

If landscape is a foundation for revolution and resistance to dominant forms of spatial control and political hegemonies, then the design disciplines must confront their legacy rooted in dispossession, domination, and exploitation. So, what if environmental justice was our ground zero? Who then, would we be accountable to? Landscape architects must decide if they want to champion change by engaging in deep dialogues about spatial injustice and racial erasure to rise up against legacies of white supremacy and dismantle settler colonialism. Opening a lens on the past to better understand the extreme climate of oppression and inequalities today, overlooked voices from the past 25 years shed light on alternative worlds, reciprocal ways of working, and just relations for the next generation.

Resources: Presentation script and Pierre's No Design on Stolen Land manifesto


Immaterial Outcomes: Tribal Sovereignty and Design Collaboration at the Salton Sea

Hans Baumann, Independent Landscape Architect, Los Angeles, California

Hans reflects upon his long-term collaboration with the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, sharing how landscape can act as a medium of communication between design methodology and Indigenous knowledge. His work presents the case for why landscape architects must engage with North America's diverse tribal peoples during an era of unprecedented ecological change.


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