Skip to main content
Vertical slices with headshots of each of the six LAF Fellows
LAF Fellowship lead facilitator Lucinda Sanders

The LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership was established to foster transformational leadership capacity and drive positive change beyond the traditional scope of landscape architecture practice.

The $25,000 fellowship is an opportunity for landscape architecture professionals to dedicate the equivalent of 3 months’ time over the course of one year to nurture emerging ideas and to think deeply. It is designed as a time to reflect, research, explore, create, test, and develop ideas into action.

Each year, LAF selects a six-member cohort of Fellows and recent LAF Olmsted Scholars for the LAF Fellowship through a competitive application process based on a proposed project. Selected Fellows receive a $25,000 financial award and participate in three 2.5-day residencies over the course of a year, as well as monthly conference calls. Their projects must demonstrate the potential to bring about impactful change to the environment and humanity and have the capacity to grow the leadership potential of landscape architects.


Program Goals

As we confront increasingly complex and interrelated environmental, social, and economic challenges of the 21st century, this fellowship brings together a diverse group of landscape architecture professionals to develop and test new ideas in support of a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable world. It is an entrepreneurial investment in the people and ideas that will drive the future of the profession.

The LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership nurtures and inspires landscape architecture professionals toward the following goals:

1. Support Innovation in Landscape Architecture

By providing a testing ground with critical review and constructive feedback, the fellowship facilitates the realization of each Fellow's proposed project. Through inquiry that raises supportive questions, Fellows explore, tune, and evolve their ideas. The fellowship provides support and guidance to set goals, overcome obstacles, and identify next steps.

Fellows take advantage of LAF’s broad reach and network within the discipline. They present their ideas, engage in critical discussion, and collaborate with leading academics, practitioners, allied organizations, and industry partners. Additionally, Fellows are expected to share their work strategically with the public in ways that will increase the visibility of landscape architecture and its role in addressing critical issues.

2. Cultivate Transformational Leadership

Effective innovation requires criticality, courage, and profound insights into the world in which we live. Through readings and discussions, Fellows explore transformational leadership and are tasked with building leadership capacity during their fellowship year. They discover their intrinsic motivation and identify the change they want to see and why.

3. Foster Intergenerational Mentorship

The fellowship also aims to build leadership capacity through intergenerational mentorship. The Fellows and emerging professionals from LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program are brought together as a cohort team. Throughout the year, this intergenerational team will present, discuss, and provide guidance and support to each other towards the pursuit of their ideas and future endeavors. This structure fosters camaraderie as cohort participants mentor, inspire, and teach one another.

LAF Fellowship recipients have tackled critical issues like homelessness, energy justice, inclusive design, climate change, and more.

See More

Alpa Nawre presents her Fellowship findings at the LAF Symposium for Innovation + Leadership

I do not know of any other program that allows such mental space and financial support for taking risk, pushing the envelope, and challenging the norms. -- LAF Fellow Alpa Nawre

LAF Fellows discuss their ideas at Residency I

To date, 28 Fellows and 15 emerging professionals have participated in the LAF Fellowship.

The LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership was launched in 2016 thanks to the generous support of donors to the LAF: 50 & Forward Campaign. We would like to specially thank the following organizations for their leadership and significant commitments to this campaign.


Become a Leadership Program Sponsor

This new sponsorship offering supports the LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership, its culminating symposium each June, and the annual LAF Awards Dinner.

Learn More