Dear alumni and friends,
I hope this letter finds you and those close to you are safe and well.
As we begin a new academic year, we are fully engaged in an online experience for our students, staff and faculty. Building from student feedback after their rapid transition to online education last spring term, our staff and faculty have worked assiduously to provide the students with a high-quality education and a diverse set of opportunities to learn about the field, discipline and potential of landscape architecture.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to adapt to a new world of online learning, the racial violence in our country, highlighted in recent months by the protests against the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others, has forced us to critically reflect on the role of landscape architecture and higher education in perpetuating systems of racial oppression. We are deeply appreciative of the work of the Departmental Equity + Justice Task Force, a group of students, alumni and professionals, who collaboratively developed a comprehensive list of recommendations and potential actions for our curriculum, outreach and department culture. We plan to incorporate these recommendations as we continue in our endeavor to become more fluent and accessible for all our students’ needs. As part of this work, our faculty formed an anti-oppression reading and discussion group. This academic year, our students, faculty and staff will also read and discuss the first-ever College of Built Environments’ Common Book—How to be Anti-Racist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. We encourage you to join us.
a glimpse into our UW//LA Faculty/Staff Kick-off meeting.
Despite beginning the year online, we are planning a strong lineup of events and activities and we encourage you to participate. We will be hosting the NorthWest Faculty Exchange, a collaborative program of the landscape architecture programs in the region to share ideas, build community and help frame the character of landscape architecture in the PNW (details coming soon). We are also looking forward to hosting the previously postponed exhibit highlighting the new book Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden sponsored by Hoshide-Wanzer Architects, Jones and Jones and the Kubota Garden Foundation. The book features chapters authored by Jeff Hou, Iain Robertson, David Streatfield and Thaïsa Way.
SEVERAL BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS!
Professor Iain Robertson has retired. After more than 30 years with the department, Iain has retired. He plans on spending more time with his grandkids and wrapping up a book he has been working on about engaging the creative mind.
JoAnne Edwards has retired. After 24 years with the department, JoAnne has embarked on her well-deserved retirement with interests in continuing her education and training in yoga and screenwriting.
Jennie Li has joined us! An MLA and MUP graduate from 2015, Jennie returns to us as the department administrative and advising assistant and to support Nick Dreher, Julie Parrett, Vanessa Lee, and myself in managing the department.
Congratulations to Professor Daniel Winterbottom and two years of international design/build students for receiving the 2020 ASLA Student Community Service Honor Award! Read more about their award-winning project in Sweden and watch this short documentary about the project on our website.
We also recognize students Lauren Iversen (MLA) and Sidney Greenslate (BLA) as this year’s LAF University Olmsted Scholars.
Catherine De Almeida
Awarded Urban@UW Research Spark Grant for a collaborative project with the Duwamish Tribe entitled: Co-creating an Adaptive Community-Science Network: Supporting Tribal and Grassroots Action through the Puget Creek Watershed Assessment.
As a 2019–2020 LAF Innovation and Leadership Fellow, Jeff developed the Educating Design Activists in Landscape Architecture project. You can read more about the project and find links for Jeff’s LAF Symposium discussion on the website designactivism.be.uw.edu. Jeff will also be presenting at the upcoming ASLA Conference panel – Design Activism: Uplifting Black and Immigrant Leadership in American Public Space Design (virtually on Nov 18th).
Julie Johnson and Brooke Sullivan
Work continues on the Raising Resilience: Connecting compassion + well-being with pedagogy in the College of Built Environments. Faculty from the departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Design and Planning shared disciplinary perspectives and collaborated to identify and integrate practices for student resilience and well-being practices in classroom and studio instruction. Look for the summary report in early 2021.
The second edition of Place Attachment: Advances in Theory, Methods and Applications comes out this December (co-edited with Patrick Devine-Wright). Following on from the ground-breaking first edition, which received the 2014 EDRA Achievement Award, this fully updated text includes new chapters on current issues in the built environment examining the powerful emotional bonds that form between people and their physical surroundings.
With help from our partners and community scientists, the Green Futures Lab is testing new ways to heal and restore essential ecological function to our urbanized shorelines and is currently researching the use of floating wetlands — aka BioBarges – to provide juvenile fish habitat and water quality benefits along the Duwamish shoreline. To learn more visit livingshores.be.uw.edu.
Check out the Fairy Tales of the City book from our summer studio taught by Mackenzie Waller. In the studio, students explored the social, economic and environmental transformations underway in our cities through visual design and narrative fairy tales.
Earlier this summer, Routledge published Design-Build: Integrating Craft, Service, and Research through Applied Academic and Practice Models. This book examines the craft and pedagogy of more than 20 years of design/build projects at the University of Washington and abroad.
Thaïsa continues to serve as the Resident Program Director for Garden and Landscape Studies (GLS) at Dumbarton Oaks. She is responsible for leading the programming for GLS including the residential fellowship program, scholarly visitors and events, and senior fellow meetings.
SUPPORTING OUR STUDENTS
We thank you for all the support you have provided to our students over the years. In these times their needs are even greater, and the college has established the CBE Emergency Fund to support them in the pursuit of their educational goals. These funds are distributed upon request and provide direct and immediate support to assist our students.
Another opportunity recently emerged from the Departmental Equity + Justice Task Force of current students and alumni who have spearheaded the establishment of the Landscape Architecture Fund for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion. This fund provides support for equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives in the Department. Ideas for use of these funds include direct support for mentorship programming, workshops, training, and conferences for faculty, staff and students.
We strongly encourage you to provide support for one or both of these funds.
On behalf of our community of students, staff, and faculty, I thank you for your continued support of our Department and programs.
Associate Professor + Chair