How The Civil Rights Movement Shaped Latino Urbanism in East L.A.

“As I played in my backyard in East Los Angeles on Saturday August 29, 1970, just a few blocks away the streets were aflame. The Chicano Moratorium, a protest against the recruitment of young Hispanics drafted into the Vietnam War and a demand for civil rights, ended with the destruction of Whittier Boulevard, the East Los […]

The Education – and Miseducation – of an Urban Planner

An essay by planner and Place It! founder James Rojas. From James, “This essay explores how my personal experiences with African Americans and space helped me develop Place It! which gives under represented communities a voice in the planning process. We can all learn from each other.”

Design is Political: White Supremacy and Landscape Urbanism

“Landscape architecture and its allied professions must engage in critical discourse recognizing design’s role and responsibility in addressing issues of environmental racism and draw important connections between physical, spatial, and environmental maladies of our cities and structural racism and discrimination.” Author: Jennifer Low  

America’s Cities Were Designed to Oppress

“Architects and planners have an obligation to protect health, safety and welfare through the spaces we design. As the George Floyd protests reveal, we’ve failed.”  Bryan Lee Jr.’s recent article for CityLab serves as both a poignant reminder of the legacy of designed racial oppression in the United States and a call to arms to […]

Design Activism for Whom?

In this article, Randolph Hestor argues that all design is design activism because there is no such thing as passive design. If all design is design activism, then what are the stances that designers take? Hestor outlines five main design stances and concludes by describing the characteristics of designers who are catalysts for social and […]

From Pop-Up to Permanent: 5 Lessons in Tactical Urbanism

Tactical urbanism involves pop up projects that are designed to engage the public and inspire more permanent change. This article outlines five stages that can lead a temporary project to have more lasting impacts. These stages include: uncovering value, engaging stakeholders, documenting/measuring, attracting attention and inspiring programs or policies. Authors Melinda Hanson and Majed Abdulsamad

Equity-Centered Community Design Field Guide

When one interacts with a community, one must prepare to be on his best behaviors. This guide provides activities that make you reflect and seeks to redesign your behavior in relation to the community in a more equitable manner. Design in this case signifies how one navigates and acts. To be more equitable this guide […]

Black Landscapes Matter

There is a lack of Black presence in landscape architecture. There are near to no Black figures in landscape architecture history, and the current enrollment in landscape architecture education is astonishingly low. We should work to dismantle barriers so that more Black community members can be involved with landscape architecture, as it would serve as […]

Environmental Justice + Landscape Architecture: A Students’ Guide

Landscape architects must enact equitable designs to bring forth environmental justice. They must be aware that low-income people are more likely to take residence in a place that poses environmental health risks thus landscape architects must take in a thorough land assessment. Then they should also co-generate with the population in order to design built […]

Design as Activism: to resist or to generate

This article seeks to address a couple of common critiques of design activism: that activism is primarily about stopping or preventing things and that activism raises awareness but doesn’t actually accomplish anything. The author argues that designers have the ability to practice a more generative and pragmatic kind of activism by creating positive disruptions that […]

Sharing Design Agency with Local Partners in Participatory Design

This article provides an overview of some of the opportunities and challenges associated with participatory design processes, especially those involving local partners in high poverty and informal settings. It reviews a participatory design project that took place in a Brazilian favela in collaboration with a local NGO and outlines 5 strategies for addressing challenges and […]

Massive Codesign: A Proposal for a Collaborative Design Framework

This book outlines strategies for involving large groups of people in codesign processes. It includes a “collaborative design framework,” case studies and a series of “quick lessons” on collaborative creative process. Authors Anna Meroni, Daniela Selloni, Martina Rossi

Design and the Green New Deal

This is a call to action for landscape architects and designers to get politically active. Landscape architects cannot become the climate remediators they have propped themselves up to be if they remain intact with the client-based processes. The renowned landscape architect Olmsted challenged the status quo, he put himself in the political arena. Landscape architects […]

Places in the Making: How Placemaking Builds Places & Community

Published by MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, this paper provides an overview of placemaking. It claims that the collaborative design process results in both great places and stronger communities. The paper outlines opportunities and challenges in the practice and presents a series of case studies from around the United States. Author Susan Silberberg; […]

Democratic Drawing: Techniques for Participatory Design

This article addresses the challenge of drawing with the public in collaborative design processes. It outlines methodologies for representing people, exchanging information spatially, coauthoring design, encouraging self-representation and visualizing deep community values. Author Randolph Hester

Project Drawdown: Solutions

Lack of active measures in climate change mitigation is largely due to the fact that dismantlement of high greenhouse gas industries creates a vacuum. Project Drawdown is an organization that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing design solutions such as alternative industrial practices and technologies. In order to fulfill human needs, the transition […]

New Landscape Declaration

The New Landscape Declaration builds on the Landscape Architecture foundation’s 1966 Declaration of Concern. Uniquely trained in systems thinking and interdisciplinary facilitation, landscape architects are poised to promote the ideals of equity, sustainability, resiliency and democracy through an integration of form and function. This declaration calls on landscape architects to use their skill sets to […]

A Refrain with a View

In this classic text Randolph Hester, a pioneer of community engaged design, presents a survey of participatory design history and outlines opportunities for improving this practice today. He notes the need for visionary synthesis as well as greater inclusivity and collaboration in planning. Author Randolph Hester

The Just City

This collection of essays honors the diverse perspectives of architects, mayors, artists, doctors, designers and scholars, philanthropists, ecologists, urban planners and community activists from 22 cities across five continents. The essayists were prompted to answer two questions: What would a just city look like and what could be the strategies to get there? Their writing […]