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Presentations from Part 2 of the 2021 LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium

On June 15 and 17, 2021, the 2020-2021 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.

If you view the full recording of Part 2 of the symposium or watch all three presentations below, you can earn 1.5 PDH (LA CES/HSW) following successful completion of a short quiz. More on earning CEUs.


Fellow Presentations

Landscape and ‘the Working Country’: Food Justice and Landscape Ethics in California’s Central Valley

Alison Hirsch, Associate Professor and Program Director, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

This project considers cultural theorist Raymond Williams’ oft-cited claim that “A working country is hardly ever a landscape” through a close examination of land and agricultural labor in the San Joaquin Valley, the southern portion of California’s 430 mile-long Great Central Valley. The project interprets the valley’s environmental and cultural histories and practices through sustained forms of action research in an effort to ultimately arrive at visions for the future.

Additional Information and Resources:
Project Overview and Images on USC Landscape Justice Initiative website
LAF Fellowship Spotlight: A Landscape Ethic for the San Joaquin Valley


Descriptive transcript of presentation

Design with Disabled People Now: Including Disabled People in the Design Process

Alexa Vaughn, Landscape Designer and Access Specialist, MIG (formerly Landscape Designer, OLIN), Los Angeles, California
2018 LAF Olmsted Scholar (Graduate)

Despite increasing attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion in landscape architecture, the disabled community remains overlooked. We can no longer design for the disabled community without its members. As a Deaf woman of the post-ADA generation, Alexa’s design toolkits push beyond the minimum requirements set by ADA guidelines to facilitate a process that is more inclusive of the disabled community and aids in the creation of a more accessible and beautiful public realm.

Additional Information and Resources:
Alexa's Design with Disabled People Now website and toolkits
LAF Fellowship Spotlight: Toward Universal Design


Including Animals: Co-creating with Our More-Than-Human Neighbors

Roxi Thoren, Department Head and Professor of Landscape Architecture, Penn State (formerly Associate Professor and Department Head, University of Oregon), University Park, PA

Adapting our environments to the new, and rapidly changing, climate normal is going to take all hands on deck and inter-species creativity. How can landscape architects change our education, our language, and our practices to collaborate with our non-human community members? What do we need to know and do to imagine animals’ world-making capacities and collaboratively design with their environmental agency?

Additional Information and Resources:
Including Animals Symposium, which Roxi hopes to reorganize once she settles in at Penn State.


Continuing Education Credits

Logo of the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES)

Part 2 of the symposium is approved for 1.5 Professional Development Hour (PDH) through the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) and meets the health, safety and welfare requirements (HSW).

Learning Objectives

  • Explore the broader roles that landscape architects can play and opportunities for action on issues such as food justice and inclusion in design.
  • Learn about the process and personal growth that landscape architects experienced over the course of their fellowship year as they pursued their projects and built leadership capacity.
  • Gain inspiration to work toward transformative change in your own pursuits.

To earn 1.5 PDH (LA CES/HSW):

  1. View the three recordings above or watch the full symposium Part 2 recording.
  2. Complete the short quiz by following the link below. (You must score 75% or higher.)
  3. Wait ~2 weeks to receive your confirmation email once the quizzes are graded and results submitted to LA CES.

Quiz for CEUs

By completing this quiz, you are also signing up to receive newsletters and program announcements from LAF. You can edit your subscription preferences or unsubscribe at any time.



The 2021 LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium can be viewed in its entirety. Part 2 includes the presentations above along with opening remarks, a panel discussion, and moderated audience Q&A.


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 climate change adaptation, environmental justice, and inclusive design.

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.