Practice Landscape was started in 2006 by Rosetta S. Elkin. Since then, academic pursuits, research projects and scholarly publications have contributed to a shift in our relationship to plant life. The question of how this extends to our practices is registered as we progress from a time of predictability and control to one of collaboration and respect. Extant practices are also rendered extinct in a time of planetary change. And so we need to keep practicing.
Practice Landscape was started in 2006 by Rosetta S. Elkin. Since then, academic pursuits, research projects and scholarly publications have contributed to a shift in our relationship to plant life. The question of how this extends to our practices is registered as we progress from a time of predictability and control to one of collaboration and respect. Extant practices are also rendered extinct in a time of planetary extinction and climatic change. And so we need to keep practicing.
Landscape is a field of borrowed reference. Design advances by leaning on adjacent fields—architecture, art history, gardening, social theory—in order to articulate our own terms. The appropriation unfolds in much the same way as landscape can borrow a view, steal time and lend itself to more formal standards. On a disciplinary level, the term ‘landscape’ resonates in relation to its modifier: landscape architecture, landscape ecology, landscape planning, landscape gardening, and more recently landscape urbanism. The field relies on its modifier for definition. Each modifier alludes to the scale of the discipline with a distinct assumption that complexity emerges in the consideration of larger and more expansive lands. Such delineation has helped refine specialties, as designers imagine ‘landscape’ as stable enough to form the foundations of scalar analysis. Abridged as it sounds, such modifiers have contoured landscape as a creative discipline without any sensible inclusion of what might unfold if stability itself started to fall apart.
Rosetta S. Elkin, MLA, FAAR, PHD
“Climate change is an environmental issue”
Rosetta S. Elkin is an Associate Professor at McGill University and an Associate of The Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University. Rosetta’s work considers living environments with a particular focus on plant life and climate change. Rosetta teaches planting design, fieldwork, and seminars that advance a theory of plant life between ecology and horticulture. In her work, Rosetta engenders access to plant knowledge by prioritizing public exhibitions, living installations, maintenance plans and open access publishing. Among her awards, Rosetta is the recipient of the 2018 Garden Club of America Rome Prize in landscape architecture, The Harvard University Climate Change Award, and has received support ranging from The Graham Foundation for the Arts to the Rockefeller Foundation. She is author and co-author of articles, book chapters, and monographs including Tiny Taxonomy (Actar 2017), a publication that reflects on the scale of individual plants in practice through a reading of three gardens. An upcoming publication problematizes tree-planting in arid landscapes. Her design work is exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Les Jardins de Metis, Chelsea Garden Festival, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and featured in a range of publications including Journal of Landscape Architecture, New Geographies, and Lotus International. Rosetta is committed to design as a means to address the risk, injustice, and instability brought about by the shifts in our shared climate and welcomes projects that heighten the awareness of plant life.
For more about Rosetta please visit her faculty page
Joanna Lombard, AIA, LEED AP
“Climate change is a public health issue”
Joanna Lombard is a registered architect (Florida) and Professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture with a joint appointment in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine. Her scholarship explores the influence of the cultural landscape on living environments with focus on climate migration and managed retreat in relation to the transformation of South Florida. An Abess Faculty Scholar in the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, she is a founding member of the Built-Environment Behavior & Health Research Group with funded projects in the area of neighborhood design and health, currently studying the impacts of streetscape-greening on Miami-Dade Medicare beneficiaries. She is author and co-author of articles, book chapters, and publications that address a public awareness of the cultural landscape, using historical studies to inform the future. She is co-leader of one of the eleven university-based teams selected as charter members of the American Institute of Architects Design & Health Research Consortium, and a member of the University of Miami U-LINK team exploring “Hyper-localism: Transforming the Paradigm for Climate Adaptation.” Joanna enjoys working with other universities and scholars to shape policy and influence the public realm. In this capacity she has worked recently with colleagues at Georgetown University, The CLEO/Van Alen Institute Climate Design Lab, and The Nature Conservancy, and currently with the HyLo team is working with community partners at Catalyst Miami and CLEO.
For more about Joanna please visit her faculty page
Emily Hicks, MLA
“Climate change is a generational issue”
Emily Hicks is a senior designer and project manager at Practice Landscape. Her work explores how temporal and historical land management creates and limits the landscape, and how landscape thinking can provide greater access to the living environment. Currently, Emily is managing the landscape strategy for a long-term adaptation plan on Captiva island, with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. This includes a local partnership to create a plant inventory, source novel plants to support an adaptive management plan, and the implementation of a novel coastal meadow ecosystem. Emily is the recipient of the Landscape Architecture Thesis Prize at Harvard Graduate School of Design for her co-authored thesis “Wild Rice Waters” that proposes recovering the St. Louis River Estuary through the practice of wild rice harvest. She is currently developing an article for Places Journal on wild rice as the center of a political struggle for wild rice waters and the protection of the landscape.
Emily is the President of the Practice Grant. For more information about the grant please visit the Practice Grant page.
Sarah Diamond, MLA
Sarah Diamond is a junior designer and project manager at Practice Landscape. Her work examines the intersection of representation, memory, and maintenance in landscape practice and discourse. Currently, Sarah manages the landscape strategy and long-term landscape succession of a post-agricultural site in Libertyville, Illinois. This project includes close collaboration with hydrologists and ecologists as the highly disturbed site is analyzed and, over time, with the adaptation of maintenance practices, woodlands, meadowlands, and forestlands succeed agricultural fields. Sarah is the 2019 Landscape Architecture Foundation Olmsted Scholar from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, a 2018-2019 co-chair of Womxn in Design, and co-organizer of the 2018 Convergence at the Confluence of Power, Identity & Design. She continues her longstanding art practice, working in oil to reconcile the spatial and the imagined.
Our current collaborators:
Dane Carlson, MLA, is a landscape designer and researcher based in the United States and Nepal, currently working as an environmental design strategist at UNOPS Nepal and Visiting Assistant Professor at Principia College.
Mariel Collard Arias, MLA, is a landscape and architecture practitioner and researcher based in Mexico, currently working as a Lecturer at Mcgill University.
Gracie Villa is a designer pursuing an MLA degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Santiago Mota, MDE, MDes, is a designer from Mexico City, currently based in Cambridge, MA where he is a Researcher at Harvard University.