This seminar examines the nature of contemporary landscape architecture and public realm practices. In this context, practice is considered broadly in terms of the various ways designers have applied their ideas about landscape and the public realm into professional settings that allow them to develop work. The term is pluralized in the seminar title to acknowledge the increasingly diverse contexts in which we practice (and issues we could and should be addressing) and the multiplicity of practice types, approaches, and leaders that have emerged over the past few decades.
The seminar will shed light upon the ways in which a diverse array of practitioners and designers have both conceptualized what they do—the nature of and ideas behind their work—and operationalized it in terms of how they do it—the mechanisms, structures, and strategies that put their ideas into play. The focus will be landscape practices, as well as practices that work generally within the public realm, at the various edges of landscape architecture and beyond. For-profit, non-profit, and academic/research practices will all be featured. The course will benefit from individual presentations and case studies by over a dozen prominent designers working today. The firms featured are from across the country and around the world, of different races and socio-economic backgrounds, led by both women and men, from established and newly emerging practices, and are both at the center and at the various edges of landscape architecture. The seminar will include broader panel discussions on women in practice and on race and practice, and we will together identify—throughout the semester—barriers to entry and advancement for women and for people of color.
Interim assignments will ask students to reflect on issues of race, identity, and sex as they impact practice. Final projects will ask students to imagine their own forms of practice and to create an operational strategy for realizing them.
The seminar is intended especially for advanced Landscape Architecture, MLAUD, and MDes ULE students, but is open to all. Candidates should have already taken a basic/required course in Professional Practice, whether at the GSD or elsewhere.