Blog / Cover Story / Featured

Identity, Innovation, Impact: Landscape Architects Shaping Climate Solutions [Video]

During the Land8x8 Lightning Talks, landscape architect Robert Curtis of Curtis + Rogers Design Studio shares insights gained from almost five years in the landscape architecture profession. He highlights the challenges faced in addressing the climate crisis within the built environment sector, emphasizing perceived limitations and barriers to influence.

Robert categorizes the landscape architect’s influence into three spheres: personal, political, and practical. Personal influence involves individual values, political influence addresses structural and systemic factors affecting the design process, and practical influence focuses on implementing design through actions. The speaker identifies barriers such as limited budgets, lack of coordination, cultural values, and regulatory challenges within these spheres.

The Climate Action Plan and Field Guide are acknowledged as significant progress, but Robert emphasizes the need for intentional transformation of landscape architects’ identities to embrace a broader role in climate action. Three key ways to achieve this transformation are outlined:

  1. Scale Up: Robert advocates for landscape architects to collaborate with allied professions and groups, including historians, soil scientists, and indigenous communities. A case study involving a partnership with coastal engineers illustrates the benefits of hybridizing knowledge and working collaboratively to enhance climate resilience.
  2. Push Boundaries: Landscape architects are urged to go beyond predefined scopes of work, demonstrating the broader impact of design. A project involving the redesign of Jose Marti Park showcases the importance of expanding boundaries and educating clients about the ripple effects of design decisions.
  3. Build an Audience: The presentation emphasizes the need for landscape architects to advocate for sustainable policies and regulations. Robert shares experiences from joining the Climate Action Committee and pushing for an ordinance requiring landscape architects with nature-based infrastructure experience in stormwater management projects.

Robert concludes by encouraging landscape architects to build platforms for education and public engagement. Initiatives such as a climate action lab for high school students and collaboration with a youth-focused nonprofit demonstrate the profession’s unique ability to influence how people experience and interact with the natural world. He emphasizes the responsibility of the current generation to make a meaningful difference in addressing climate change and challenges the audience to decide what story that will be told.

This video was filmed on January 23, 2024 as part of the Land8x8 Lightning Talks sponsored by Anova Furnishings.

asla FloridaANOVA-2023-logo-transparent

Published in Blog, Cover Story, Featured
Matt Alcide, Affiliate ASLA is the Editor of Land8

Leave a Reply

Lost Password