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The Landscape Architecture Foundation: Support and Scholarship

By Susan Everett, FASLA, and foundation staff

University of Washington graduate student Sarah Preisler (Inset) has support for her project, "Animated GIS Visualization of Ecological Flows Across Seattle's Urban Terrestrial and Marine Systems" thanks to a LAF grant.

The Landscape Architecture Foundation, or LAF, was founded in 1966 to support the preservation, improvement and enhancement of the environment. During its 40-year history, the foundation has supported this mission through publications, conferences and scholarships.

In recent years, LAF has reinvigorated the foundation by expanding and diversifying its programs, developing communication vehicles, hiring staff, establishing an office, improving financial stability, and increasing its assets and annual funding. Since 1998, LAF has accomplished these goals by:

o Raising $2.4 million for the Second Century Endowment, which supports LAF programs and initiatives in perpetuity
o Increasing total assets from $623,000 to $3 million
o Doubling its scholarship endowment--from $313,000 to $641,000
o Doubling the operating budget from $335,000 to $666,000
o Creating a development plan and initiating an annual giving program--the American Landscape Fund--to provide additional support for LAF programs and initiatives
o Moving to a new LAF headquarters in downtown Washington, DC in 2002
o Establishing financial, human resources, communication, and development infrastructure, policies, and procedures
o Developing a strategic plan, based on annual strategic planning sessions

Programs and Initiatives

Land and Community Design Case Study Series

The Land and Community Design Case Study Series, which documents innovative projects and analyzes contemporary topics, is enabling landscape planners to meet the public's demand for more livable communities by enhancing their skills and knowledge base, informing public policy, and providing material for professional and public education.

The first three published case studies are now available from Island Press:

Urban Open Space: Designing for User Needs --Mark Francis

Successful public spaces respond to the needs of their users, are democratic in their accessibility, and are meaningful for the larger community and society. Urban Open Space identifies critical user needs and guidelines for addressing these needs in the planning, design, and management of public spaces.

Village Homes: A Community by Design --Mark Francis

The Village Homes neighborhood in Davis, Calif., built in the 1970s, is one of the few long-standing examples of sustainable community design. The author takes a critical look at Village Homes, addressing its contributions as well as its limitations. He also examines the question of why, despite its success, the Village Homes development has not been replicated.

The Paris-Lexington Road: Community-Based Planning and Context Sensitive Highway Design --Krista L. Schneider

The Paris-Lexington Road, located in the heart of the historic Kentucky Bluegrass Region, is a scenic, twelve-mile corridor between Lexington and Paris. This case study offers a critical review of the Paris-Lexington Road project, which has come to be regarded as the model for context-sensitive highway design in America. The author describes the Paris-Lexington Road's significance to landscape architects, regional and community planners and policymakers, and transportation officials.

With support from LAF, Harvard Graduate School of Design faculty member Robert France is documenting the interaction between design features and natural systems at Clark County Wetlands Park near Las Vegas.

Future Case Studies

Clark County Wetlands Park--Robert France

This study will document Clark County Wetlands Park, a hallmark example of community-based open space planning and natural habitat recreation. The site located near Las Vegas, Nev., features 43 miles of mixed trail types, including pedestrian-only, equestrian, multi-use, unimproved, and boardwalks in wetland areas.

MetroGreen: A Regional Greenway Initiative for Metropolitan Kansas City --Stephanie A. Rolley

A site-based study will document MetroGreen, a seven-county initiative to make cities more livable by uniting existing and proposed trails and open space into 1,144 miles of greenway in the Kansas City area. The connection of disparate recreation areas into a continuous system is creating additional places and opportunities for recreation and increasing access points throughout the region.

Three Pacific Northwest Environmental Learning Centers --Julie M. Johnson, and Nancy D. Rottle

This issue-based case study will investigate, analyze and present the design programs, goals, concept, approaches, processes, built results and life of three environmental learning centers recently constructed in the Pacific Northwest: (1) Cedar River Watershed Education Center, (2) Islandwood Environmental Learning Center, and (3) North Cascades Environmental Learning Center. Landscape type, interpretive focus, ownership and design processes vary for each of these three environmental learning centers, illustrating transferability and a wide range of solutions.

Urban Community Gardens --Jeffrey Hou, Julie M. Johnson, and Laura Lawson

An issue-based study will examine the design and development of urban community gardens as place making for healthy, active and sustainable communities. Six candidate sites, all located in Seattle, vary from brownfield sites and abandoned lots to the grounds of community centers and parks. The study will document the community garden as an active-living community framework, a link with other forms of recreation and open space, and pedestrian-accessible destinations that engage users in frequent maintenance work.


LAF will be a catalyst for change, and an active participant and leader of a new collaborative effort to improve the American environment. LAF envisions an American environment where:

o A strong sense of place is evident in community development
o Development is integrated more sensitively into the natural environment.
o People live and work in quality safe and healthy environments, and participate actively in decisions that affect their physical surroundings
o Greater understanding and respect for natural systems lead to more holistic environmental policies and programs.

In order to achieve this vision, LAF has undertaken the following programs and initiatives.

Landscape Futures Initiative

With its Landscape Futures Initiative, a series of seven symposia, LAF is addressing the direction and needs of the land design and planning professions by analyzing future drivers of global landscape change.

The series, each symposium focusing on a specific driver of change, is being hosted by universities across the country. Leadership in Landscape Change, the final session, will synthesize findings of the series and result in a publication that will serve as a vision and plan for the landscape architecture and planning professions in the twenty-first century.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded LAF a $65,000 grant to support the symposia series, and both EDAW, Inc. and Sasaki have sponsored the series. The first five symposia were held between 2002 and spring 2005, and the remaining two will be held this year and next.

Kentucky's scenic Paris-Lexington Road is the subject of an in-depth design analysis by Krista L. Schneider, published as part of LAF's Land and Community Design Case Study Series.

For additional information, please visit LAF at

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December 9, 2019, 11:27 am PDT

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