Dane Carlson

Design Critic in Landscape Architecture

Dane Carlson is a landscape designer and researcher practicing primarily in Nepal. Dane’s practice, REALMS, is a place-based practice emerging from partnerships with land and the people who hold intimate, dynamic knowledge of that land. This practice operates as a series of ongoing collaborations between landscape architects, communities, herders, governance structures, development organizations, shaman, and many others.

Current institutional collaborators include UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services) and ICIMOD (the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development). Ongoing work with UNOPS investigates the root causes of recurring flood disaster in Nepal’s southern Terai plains and asks how adaptive design strategies can be operationalized over time through partnerships with distributed community adaptation networks. Though the origins of the practice are place-based and hyper-local, this engagement is working to advance much-needed dialogues between large-scale governance structures, the land, and its people. In Nepal’s Himalayan far west, REALMS and ICIMOD are partnering with communities to design and implement strategies supporting generative seasonal herb harvesting cycles in high mountain valleys.

Dane's research also focuses on points of intersection between continuity and change in Nepal’s hinterlands. As a Nepal Fulbright scholar in 2017-2018, he studied emerging landscape change as experienced and understood by goat herders in the high rangelands of trans-Himalayan Mustang district. Efforts are currently underway to fund the on-the-ground operationalization of this research in partnership with the herding community.

Dane holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture with Honors from Ball State University and Master of Landscape Architecture II with distinction from the Harvard GSD.