GSD Talks: Mia Lehrer, “Advocacy by Design”

Piggyback Yard Conceptual Master Plan

As founder and president of Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA), Mia Lehrer (MLA ’79) leads the studio on a wide range of projects that include urban revitalization developments, urban parks and greenways, streetscapes and mobility planning, and watershed masterplanning. Internationally recognized for her design excellence and environmental leadership, Mia is passionate about bringing nature to the city and seeks opportunities to improve the relationship between the built environment, urban ecology, and the community. She is especially known for her work with complex natural systems in collaboration with diverse consultant teams and public stakeholders. Mia serves as a board member for a wide range of agencies and non-profits. In 2014, President Obama appointed Mia to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which is tasked with advising the President, the Congress, and District of Columbia governments on matters of design and aesthetics, as they affect the federal interest. She was also awarded the 2016 LaGasse Medal for her notable contributions to public landscapes.

Focusing on Los Angeles and the greater southern California region as a case study, this lecture will explore the challenges and strategies for design advocacy in the urban landscape. The lecture will first provide an overview of the environmental, climactic, infrastructural and political context of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. The lecture will then share several built and conceptual projects that exemplify the MLA studio’s focus on using advocacy as a design tool in recalibrating the city.


Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].