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Presentations from the 2022 LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium

On June 2, 2022, the 2021-22 cohort from the year-long LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership presented their projects at a symposium in Washington, DC. 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 the symposium or watch all six presentations below, you can earn 2.0 PDH (LA CES/HSW) following successful completion of a short quiz. More on earning CEUs.


Fellow Presentations

This cohort of LAF Fellows considers their work to be part of a collective with a singular message:
Transformational leadership by landscape architects could heal our post-traumatic world; but it will require kinship, redirection, communion, empowerment, multiplicities, and evolution.

Design in Kinship: Toward Relational Work Between Designers and Community Organizations

Debra Guenther, FASLA, Partner, Mithun, Seattle, Washington

Shaped by the wisdom of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) community leaders, Deb’s work builds momentum toward systemic ways to mainstream relational work in communities that have experienced disinvestment. Climate change, the pandemic, and the social justice movement create economic pathways for collectives of community organizations to be full partners in shaping the built environment. By working together to build relationships before, during, and after typical project timeframes, designers and community organizations can achieve transformational design.

Additional Information and Resources:
Mithun R+D: Design in Kinship

Cyclical Arrest: Exploring Landscape's Impact on Recidivism

Olivia Bussey, Landscape Designer, Curtis + Rogers Design Studio, Miami, Florida

Carceral landscapes and architecture have played their intended roles in a punitive and dehumanizing system functioning as designed. At a time that feels like a pivotal moment for reforms in social justice and human rights, the call for re-envisioning carceral environments has been a growing and ever-changing movement. While the timeline is still unclear, Olivia’s work helps to illuminate one way landscape can have a stake in transforming criminal justice.

Introducing Tierra Media Project: Making Space for Latine/x/a/o Voices in Search of New Definitions of Engagement with the Land

Linda Chamorro, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Florida International University

Nine designers with roots in Latin America reflect on their relationship with each other and the land, informed by their collective identities and experience. Reckoning with centuries of trauma, displacement, and erasure, they envision a platform for healing, community, representation, and joy. This presentation is an invitation to rekindle stories of resilience, inspiration, and connection to imagine new futures for the field of landscape architecture.

Additional Information and Resources:
Tierra Media Project website

Roadsides and the Nature of Power in Landscape Architecture

Ellen Oettinger White, PhD Candidate, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Landscape architects once led teams of road designers to create highway landscapes across the nation. Though the power of these positions has diminished, highway agencies still employ hundreds of landscape architects nationwide. Ellen explored how landscape architects can still leverage these roles — and millions of acres of public roadsides — to address issues facing the profession and the greater global climate crisis.

Additional Information and Resources:
LAF Fellowship Spotlight: Roadsides and Power Theory in Landscape Architecture

New Stories for Diverse Designers: Evolving Narratives Within Landscape Architecture

Claire Napawan, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of California, Davis

Too often the stories told about landscape architecture focus exclusively on Western origins of the profession, excluding underrepresented and diverse communities that have been and continue to be impacted by its practice. Claire’s work to re-examine and expand these narratives reveals a more inclusive story of the profession, one that acknowledges an increasingly diverse audience.

Advancing the Science of Landscape Architecture: What Do We Know? How Do We Know It? 

James LaGro Jr., PhD, PLA, Professor of Planning and Landscape Architecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Professions that shape the built environment are designing solutions to future sustainability challenges. With the goal of fostering innovation, this project examines potential synergies between practice-based research and evidence-based practice. The findings provide support for university-industry partnerships, intradisciplinary scholarship, and targeted reforms in professional education.


Continuing Education Credits

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

The symposium is approved for 2.0 Professional Development Hours (PDH) through the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) and meets the health, safety and welfare requirements (HSW).

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the role of landscape architects and opportunities for action with issues such as designing with community organizations, the science of landscape architecture, Latine/x/a/o voices, expanding narratives for diverse designers, roadsides and the nature of power, and carceral landscapes.
  • Learn about the research and process that landscape architects have experienced over the course of their fellowship year in making transformational steps in the development of project work that contributes to innovation and leadership in the profession, the environment, and humanity.

  • Gain inspiration for how to work toward transformative change in your own work.

To earn 2.0 PDH (LA CES/HSW):

  1. View the six recordings above or watch the full symposium 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.


FULL Symposium

The 2022 LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium can be viewed in its entirety. (Runtime 2:18:23)

Symposium Program

Welcome + Opening Remarks
Presentations: Debra Guenther, Olivia Bussey, Linda Chamorro
Moderated Audience Q&A
Presentations: Ellen Oettinger White, Claire Napawan, James LaGro Jr.
Moderated Audience Q&A               
Closing Remarks

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.