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Presentations from the 2023 LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium

On June 15, 2023, the 2022-23 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

Scaling Up Our Carbon Conscience 

Christopher Roth Hardy, Senior Associate, Sasaki 

To help address the climate crisis, Christopher developed the Carbon Conscience tool, which can be used by designers, planners, municipalities, and others to create spaces with reduced carbon impacts in mind. The tool builds on previous research as part of an effort to produce verifiable information that can be used in project planning and design phases to show how landscapes, architecture, and planning can work together toward a sustainable future.

Additional Information and Resources:
LAF Fellowship Spotlight: Creating a ‘Carbon Conscience’

Leveraging Climate Adaptation Finance to Realize the Value in Vacant Land 

Erin Kelly, Director of Special Projects, Lambert, Rotherstien & Associates

With climate change impacting communities across the country, Erin examined how better stewardship of vacant land could help with mitigation and adaptation efforts. By leveraging climate adaptation financing, the lives of people living near thousands of these vacant properties could be improved. Erin is working to create a national atlas of vacant land within the millions of acres managed by land banks and land trusts to illustrate the opportunity and facilitate investment, research, collaboration, and advocacy at the national level.

Additional Information and Resources:
LAF Fellowship Spotlight: Realizing the Value in Vacant Land

Mega-Eco Projects: Engaging on Large-Scale Nature-Based Solutions 

Robert Morrow Levinthal, PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania

The world faces two existential crises – biodiversity loss and climate change – that require large-scale environmental restoration and construction endeavors to adequately address them. Many of these projects already exist, and future endeavors promise to be larger and costlier. Robert examines these mega-eco projects and their impacts on communities and the environment, with a goal of helping landscape architects play a more prominent role in developing and delivering them moving forward.

Additional Information and Resources:
LAF Fellowship Spotlight: Mega-Eco Projects for a Changing Climate


Future Problems, Now: Landscape Architecture in the Age of AI

Phillip Fernberg, Instructor and PhD Candidate, Utah State University

As artificial intelligence (AI) improves and its use increases, many landscape architects are apprehensive. Phillip examined AI and its place in the discipline to help designers better understand, prepare for, and use it in the future, with a call to engage in shaping the technology to align with best practices and values. The result is a new frame of thinking for landscape architecture practice fit for a new technological era.

Additional Information and Resources:
LAF Fellowship Spotlight: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Landscape Architecture

Landscape, Incarceration, and Rehabilitation

Daniel Winterbottom, RSLA, FASLA, Professor, University of Washington

By examining the history, function, and landscape environments of prisons within the U.S. and abroad, Daniel highlights the most – and least – effective of those incarceration models as part of a large-scale effort to improve carceral facilities and offer rehabilitation to those behind bars. His work illuminates the therapeutic implications of differing carceral environments and how nature-based solutions can be positively perceived, used, and designed to facilitate healing, growth, and transformation.

Additional Information and Resources:
LAF Fellowship Spotlight: Landscape, Incarceration, and Rehabilitation

A New Literary Landscape: Graphic Novels to Inspire Landscape Architecture’s Next Generation

Joe James, RLA, ASLA, Principal, Joseph James Landscape Architecture

From vivid drawings of the built environment to a storyline highlighting landscape architecture’s wide-ranging impacts, Joe aims to expose and attract a young and diverse audience to the discipline with a new graphic novel. Landscape architecture plays a key role in the story, from the setting to the characters to the social issues Joe addresses. The goal is to appeal to popular culture audiences, support existing education efforts, and recruit the next generation of designers.

Additional Information and Resources:
LAF Fellowship Spotlight: Attracting the Next Generation of Landscape Architects


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 carbon, vacant land, mega-eco projects, artificial intelligence, carceral environments, and graphic novels to attract the next generation of designers.
  • 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 2023 LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium can be viewed in its entirety. (Runtime 2:16:42)

Symposium Program

Welcome + Opening Remarks
Presentations: Chris Hardy, Erin Kelly, Rob Levinthal
Moderated Audience Q&A
Presentations: Phil Fernberg, Daniel Winterbottom, Joe James
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.