LAF is proud to invest in the people and ideas that will drive the future of the landscape architecture discipline.
Each year, LAF selects 3-4 Fellows and 2-3 Olmsted Scholars for the LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership, a year-long transformation program to develop ideas that have the potential to create positive and profound change in the profession, environment, and humanity.
2019-2020 LAF Fellows
Independent Landscape Architect
Santa Monica, CA
Position Vector Salton Sea
Hans will pursue a site-specific landscape intervention in partnership with the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe. Engaging with Tribal lands, knowledge, and creative resources, the project will culminate in the construction of a monumental artwork in the landscape that measures the disappearance of California’s Salton Sea, the homeland of the Cahuilla since time immemorial. Using landscape as a medium of communication between Western design methodology and Indigenous knowledge, this project will leverage the uniquely interdisciplinary tools of landscape architecture to draw attention to an emergent environmental catastrophe.
Landscape Architect, Urban Planner, & Settler Scholar
OPEN SYSTEMS / Landscape Architecture Lab
LANDSCAPE AS REVOLUTION: A Contemporary, Historiographic Inquiry into the Subtexts, Pretexts, & Contexts of Landscape Architecture Since 1993
Emerging from an overlooked body of work in the past twenty-five years, the project aims to create a book publication that brings together a range of landscape practitioners, including botanists, arborists, historians, hydrologists, anthropologists, and activists. Through a series of original translations, archival texts, and overlooked writings by landscape activists, the main vision of the project involves the revival of the geopolitical study of land as a contemporary, transcultural subject for greater publics.
*Traditional lands of the Massachusetts people, unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Wampanoag and Nipmuc Nations
2018 National Olmsted Scholar (Graduate)
New Orleans, LA
Resiliency Planning at the Territorial Scale of the United States’ Caribbean Islands
Climate change is already affecting the planet, yet the public is often limited in their ability to provide input on plans to address the problems it causes because of engagement models have not kept pace with a rapidly changing world. This project will seek to bridge that gap by employing multimedia installations that merge cultural literacy and community engagement. These interventions will allow audiences to engage in play and problem-solving to gain a greater understanding of landscape solutions and provide meaningful feedback.
Heterogeneous Futures: A Framework for Ecologically & Culturally Diverse Landscapes
Historically, the profession of landscape architecture has innovated practice models through distinct periods, such as the national replications, modernism, and landscape ecology movements. Today, the natural progression for our profession is to enable social, cultural, and linguistic knowledge to be an integral part of the design process. This project seeks to gather these realms of knowledge through case studies and a book manuscript to promote truly resilient landscapes that reflect the collective experiences of the people who will inhabit the spaces.
Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Washington
Educating Design Activists in Landscape Architecture
Design activists employ a range of techniques to advocate for social and ecological justice, but, for many, landscape architecture is an unknown. This project will assemble a group of leading educators and practitioners to produce a white paper and resource guide on educating design activists and leaders in landscape architecture. The results will be shared with educators and educational institutions around the world and disseminated through lectures and presentations at major conferences.
2018 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist (Graduate)
Working Landscapes and the Middle American City
Nicholas will build on his thesis work to explore the environmental and economic performance of working landscapes in the cities of Middle America. Guided by past research, the project will question the future of work in a region defined by manufacturing industries, propose a new approach to manufacturing as a design problem to be known as ‘working landscapes,’ and develop a network of designers and non-designers who can unite their efforts to create alternative futures for the working landscapes of Middle America. The knowledge generated will be shared widely with the goal of leveraging change, especially in the political and economic arenas.
2018-2019 LAF Fellows
CMG Landscape Architecture
San Francisco, CA
The Landscape Carbon Calculator: A Tool to Understand and Reduce our Carbon Footprint
To improve the impact of our projects on the planet, we need to better understand their landscape carbon footprints. To date, no publicly available carbon calculator for landscape architecture exists. As landscape projects contain trees and plants, they possess the power to sequester carbon. That said, can landscape architects do better than carbon neutral? Can we instead strive beyond neutrality to do “net good” and contribute to the fight against global warming? To do this, we must understand how to measure our contributions. With a carbon calculator specifically designed for landscape architecture, we can actively set goals for ourselves as a profession to combat climate change.
Rhetorical Virtues LLC
Thou Shalt Not Trespass: Cultural Diversity and Landscape Interpretation
Maisie will produce a documentary series that seeks to uncover feelings of belonging or exclusion in the landscape to help elucidate how socio‐economic factors affect landscape interpretation. This project will examine how different types of people interpret the same landscape by creating short web documentaries that explore the concepts of belonging and trespassing in high‐profile DC landscapes, both public and private. The project will document DC residents from diverse backgrounds in Dumbarton Oaks, Washington National Cathedral grounds, Meridian Hill Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the Gotelli and Asian Collections of the U.S. National Arboretum.
Senior Landscape Architect
The Landscape of Public Housing
Decades of diminished federal funding and limited capital improvements have left millions of Americans in deteriorating 50s-era housing in a landscape hindered by dated urban design ideas. Recent restructuring of federal support for public housing has generated billions to fund capital improvement projects. Landscape architects have an opportunity to lead developers and public housing officials in solving long-standing problems of social isolation while creating a new vision for public housing. To support this, The Landscape of Public Housing will combine site visits, interviews, and analysis to illustrate current conditions in a documentary video and create design resources for those engaged in the rehabilitation of public housing communities.
James Corner Field Operations
New York, NY
Volume for Water: Legislating our Urban Waterfronts for a Resilient Future
As coastal cities grapple with sea level rise and more frequent occurrences of flooding, it is necessary to codify standards for open space in waterfront developments, with zoning laws and codes that focus not only on area but also on volume provided for water. Public-private partnerships will continue to be responsible for urban development projects that will shape our cities and coastlines in the years to come. It is incumbent on our profession to question and critique existing legislative frameworks that govern these developments and to propose replicable and incremental mechanisms that allow public open space to perform a role beyond its traditional social and ameliorative characterizations.
de la Cruz
2017 National Olmsted Scholar (Graduate)
Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust
Los Angeles, CA
Environmental Justice through Community Engagement and Education
Through film, David will archive the built environment of Los Angeles by exploring the land uses that affect communities and point to the potential of landscape architecture paired with on-site phytoremediation as a way to address sites that are polluted. This project is intended for high-school classrooms to explore topics of both environmental and social sciences while simultaneously grounding the built environment experiences of high-school-aged youth from working class families. In partnership with extensive advocacy work, this film will also point to landscape architecture as a profession fit to address environmental justice issues.
2017 National Olmsted Scholar (Undergraduate)
Coal Ash Ponds and Designed Remediation
Lauren will continue her thesis explorations at Virginia Tech to explore the future of coal ash ponds and research successfully remediated wastescapes in the U.S. and abroad. Lauren plans to collect precedent case studies through the documentation of site visits, discussions with stakeholders, and the collection and study of existing remediation strategies. Lauren looks forward to the support of the fellowship cohort to help her develop and refine a strategy for further research on disturbed sites. Participation in the fellowship will be valuable in guiding her research and building her leadership skills to allow her to propel her advocacy work from academia into the public realm.
2016 University Olmsted Scholar (Undergraduate)
Immersive Technology and Landscape Architecture
Andrew seeks to emphasize and clarify the benefits that immersive technologies offer the profession of landscape architecture. Immersive technologies, specifically augmented reality and virtual reality, provide greater potential than all previous rendered visualizations of landscape. Although traditional means allow us to prototype, with immersive tech, designers are provided a more direct experience by being able to walk, fly and interact with their prototypes, either in a VR or AR environment. Andrew plans to conduct survey research and use it to garner partnerships with stakeholders to create and make available solutions for landscape architects to use in the design of and advocacy for public space.
2017-2018 LAF Fellows
Mia Lehrer + Associates
Los Angeles, CA
For the Love of Teenagers: Advocating for Safe, Restorative High School Environments
Claire is leveraging her journalism and landscape architecture experience to advocate for high school environments that support student mental health and well-being. Using Los Angeles as a case study, she is working with students, educators and administrators, designers, non-profits, city agencies, and community members to develop policy and design recommendations that reflect a sense of love and safety rather than security and fear.
Senior Landscape Architect
MIG l SvR
Making Space: Optimistic Strategies for Urban Homelessness
What is the role of public space in confronting the growing challenge of homelessness? Through the HomeLandLab project, Brice Maryman explores the ways that the connective tissue of our cities—our public spaces—can be shaped, programmed and managed to improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness.
University of Florida
Critical Places: Design Interventions to Address Water and Other Issues in Rural India
Alpa’s work in India aims to prototype a process to address critical issues such as water scarcity and waste management through design strategies and small-scale, physical interventions to create a stronger, more cohesive and forward-looking community.
Cotleur & Hearing
Cultivating Future Landscape Architects: Career Discovery in K-12 Education
Who will shape the future of landscape architecture? Nicole explored how the continued development of her nonprofit, Future Landscape Architects of America (FLAA), can help to grow and diversify the profession in the coming years.
Michael Vergason Landscape Architects
Shifting Perceptions: Reconceiving Public Space in the American South
A Native Tennessean, Harriett (2014 Olmsted Scholar Finalist) explores the opportunities of public space in the South to catalyze social resiliency and reconciliation. She is interested in the power of place to shape our personal narratives and its ability to expand and reshape those narratives through sites of conscience.
Hahn Horticulture Garden
The (Large) Space Between: Reimagining Highway Corridors as Performative Landscapes
Scott (2016 University Olmsted Scholar) investigates alternative uses for the maintenance-intensive highway corridors. His work includes a review The Ray, an 18-mile section of Interstate 85 in southwest Georgia that serves as a testing ground for new ideas and technologies to transform transportation infrastructure.