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A Transnational Perspective on Cultural Landscapes

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Like Joe himself, Christine Chung, the 2018 recipient of the $20,000 LAF Honor Scholarship in Memory of Joe Lalli, FASLA, places great value on service to her community and to the profession. Christine is a Master of Landscape Architecture candidate at the University of Pennsylvania with an interest in urbanism and cultural landscapes. Christine has lived all over the world. She grew up in Auckland, Seoul, and Toronto and brings a transnational perspective to her work. As a landscape architect, she leverages the interdisciplinary nature of the discipline to explore how social and ecological movements can be supported through design and how historical preservation can safeguard the intangible qualities of communities’ cultures.

Living and working in Vancouver as an undergraduate, Christine became familiar with the rhythms of the city’s Chinatown. Though she had daily conversations and interactions with neighborhood residents and spaces, she had “a feeling that there was a city that we know, and then there was a city that we had forgotten, inhabited by those we had forgotten.” Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in Canada, formed in the history of racism and segregation. Today, the neighborhood has been the subject of much debate as development and revitalization plans push its low-income, senior Chinese immigrants, First Nations, transients and otherwise marginalized people to the edges of the community. At the same time, the area is losing its cultural heritage; new developments are being welcomed in to attract a younger more affluent crowd as the community’s long term residents have settled in other districts of the Vancouver metropolitan area. The city has been active in protecting the physical manifestations of culture in its historic Chinatown district, but Christine advocates for the city to further acknowledge that there is more to the community than just its landmarks, but both the tangible and intangible cultural values of its people, tradition, and narratives.

In 2012, Christine employed the medium of documentary to bring attention into this crisis of culture. She co-created intangible: Heritage for the Future, a project that portrayed heritage as “not merely physical artefacts, but a fluid and living concept taking the form of oral histories, social practices, and street life in between buildings.” The film advanced the importance of protecting the community’s oldest members and their way of life as gentrification and diminishing spirit of place loomed over Chinatown’s cultural landscape. Doing so would promote not only community health, but a fuller and more productive city future. In 2013, Christine, in partnership with Creative Cultural Collaborations and Reconciliation Canada, co-created a mural depicting the cultural and historic connectivity of the First Nations, Chinese, and Japanese communities that converged in Vancouver’s historic Downtown Eastside.

christine-chung-supplemental-image-530pxChristine collaborating with local artists on the Radius mural

Now through her graduate work, Christine remains committed to demonstrating the capacity of landscape architecture to address issues of disinvestment, economic decentralization, and racial inequality in urban settings. Currently she is in collaboration with a team on a project that focuses on understanding the ongoing urban water crisis and water shutoffs in in the city of Detroit, which will be featured in Architectures of Refusal and  Detroiters’ Spatial Imagination journal of UrbanNext. The project considers how architectural design research can bring critical attention to social issues. According to the accompanying text, the project will be “an exploration of how the forces that are driving Detroit and the management of the water of Detroit are coming together to direct it through a neoliberal market driven logic that suggests that it is dismantling its black and poor neighborhoods.”By applying her professional experience and knowledge gained in the classroom, she aims to facilitate a basis of preventative health for neglected communities.

At PennDesign, Christine will continue to maintain a focus on urbanism and cultural landscapes. With the support of the 2018 LAF Honor Scholarship in Memory of Joe Lalli, FASLA, she will commit greater attention to creative pursuits and social activism, which she believes to be two sides of the same coin. She is intent on expanding the definition of preservation beyond physical landscapes to include sustaining the cultural practices of urban communities.

Looking toward the future, Christine envisions a leadership role for landscape architects to “create momentum for ecological and social movements.”

 

 

Thank You to Our 2018 Scholarship Jurors

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In 2018, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) will award $63,500 to students through 9 different scholarships and fellowships established by generous sponsors. The winners are chosen through a competitive application and selection process. LAF convenes juries to decide the winners of four awards, and we would like to extend a sincere thank you to this year’s jurors. We appreciate the energy you put in to the process and your commitment to supporting the next generation of designers!

LAF Honor Scholarship in Memory of Joe Lalli, FASLA Jury

Calvin Abe, FASLA
Founding Partner and President, AHBE Landscape Architects

Kona Gray, FASLA
Principal, EDSA

Mikyoung Kim, FASLA
Founding Principal, Mikyoung Kim Design

Mark Johnson, FASLA
President, Civitas

Jacinta McCann, FASLA
Executive Vice President of Designing, Planning and Economics, AECOM

 

Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden and Design Jury

Ryan Moody, ASLA
Principal, Moody Graham

Julieta Sherk, PLA, ASLA
Associate Professor, Horticultural Science and Landscape Architecture Departments, College of Design, North Carolina State University

Biff Sturgess, ASLA
Managing Partner, Hocker Design Group

 

Steven G. King Play Environments Scholarship Jury

Sara Schuh, PLA, ASLA
Principal, SALT Design Studio

Joseph Fry, CSLA, ASLA
Principal, Hapa Collaborative

Kaki Martin, ASLA
Principal, Klopfer Martin Design Group

 

Landscape Forms Scholarship in Memory of Peter Schaudt, FASLA

Bill Burton, FASLA
Owner, Burton Studio

Rob Gray, PLA, ASLA
Principal, Hoerr Schaudt

Claire Agre
Principal, West 8 New York

Landscape Forms Scholarship Honors Peter Schaudt (1959-2015)

peter-schaudt-xtremela2014Peter Schaudt at the Landscape Forms 2014 Xtreme LA Challenge

Since 2007, Landscape Forms has offered a scholarship through the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), awarding $33,000 to 11 promising students to date. This year, Landscape Forms increased the award amount and relaunched the scholarship in memory of Peter Schaudt, FASLA (1959-2015) and his nearly 30-year career as a landscape architect.

A leader and visionary in the profession, Peter was one of the founding principals of the award-winning firm, Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architecture in Chicago, Illinois and a dedicated member of the Board of Directors for Landscape Forms. Peter was widely admired for his incredible talent, dedication, generosity, and integrity. Distinguished by his focus on the “art of design,” professional stewardship, and social responsibility, Peter’s body of work leaves a lasting legacy.

The $5,000 Landscape Forms Scholarship in Memory of Peter Schaudt, FASLA is open to landscape architecture students in their final two years of full-time undergraduate study in a LAAB- or CSLA-accredited program in the U.S. or Canada. Applicants must demonstrate passion, commitment, and competence in creating artfully-designed places for people. The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of academic accomplishment and creative design ability.

The scholarship is one of nine offered through LAF, now totaling $63,500 available annually to reward superior student performance, encourage diversity, support original research, and assist students with unmet financial need. Applications are now open and due Feb 1.

Learn more at: lafoundation.org/scholarships

Olmsted Scholar Feature: Redefining Our Borderlands

By Anjelica Sifuentes, 2017 University Olmsted Scholar

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We are currently living in one of the most divisive political eras, with the issue of border security between the U.S. and Mexico at the forefront of many debates. My parents are Mexican-American, and our family is from the part of the country that has been scrutinized and villainized because of its location along the Rio Grande. Until recently, I hadn’t recognized the connection between my culture and my self-identity, both personally and professionally, but as I look back at my journey through these defining moments, I can’t imagine identifying without it.

I was born in early 1993 in San Antonio, Texas, a short 145 miles away from my extended family in Eagle Pass, Texas and the Mexico-U.S. border which runs along it. My father grew up in this border town, and my mother spent her childhood in El Paso and Mexico City until they both moved to San Antonio to start their own family. My entire life was consumed with my culture, but I was naive to living without it until I moved from this diverse and inclusive Texan city to the noticeably segregated and conservative Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This intense culture shock quickly made me reevaluate who I was as a person and what I planned to focus on in my professional career. 

A huge part of my Mexican heritage revolves around community, which helped inspire my research as I enter my final year at Louisiana State University. I see an opportunity to confront the struggling relationship between the U.S. and Mexico by designing regional border prototypes derived from the way people lived before the current interferences. In this research lies an opportunity to promote social change through unconventional means during a time when the future seems uncertain for immigrants and anyone who feels vulnerable because of who they are and where they’re from.

eagle-pass-green-space-530wUninhabited green space between downtown Eagle Pass and the Rio Grande

Generally speaking, the celebration of our border has become a quiet whisper due to political pressure that has left our cities feeling neglected and somewhat ashamed. Historically, as one sister city grew in size and density, the other did as well, but cultural and political setbacks have caused the cities to experience negative withdrawals. Our native ancestors settled along these areas for water, food, and shelter. It wasn’t until political power and modern adversity intervened that the current border conditions were created. Through my research and design iterations, I aim to shed light on the trends that have developed from these interventions and how to improve on them moving forward for the benefit of both countries.

As a student of landscape architecture, I feel a certain power and responsibility that is more formidable than some even realize. Our designs can influence people in ways that are invisible to the untrained eye because we have the ability to create significant change with deliberate research that informs the design process. I know this sounds like a romanticized rendition of what landscape architecture is, but seeing that opportunity has helped carry me forward into what I feel is my place in the profession.

I often think about the relationship between my self-identity and the passion that makes me fight for the protection and freedom of my heritage as I resist the powers that try to silence it. The issues surrounding border security are some of the most polarizing problems we face as a nation, but taking on such an immense challenge brings out the drive that I owe to the very culture that I’m fighting for. It’s important for me to use my role as a designer to challenge these controversies in a way that not only helps bridge the gap between different societies but also highlights the ability we have to inspire others to create change themselves. Although aspects of our country may seem uncertain, I truly believe we are at the beginning of a cultural revolution, and I will take this as an opportunity to be both an innovative designer and unapologetically Mexican-American.

Anjelica Sifuentes is entering her final year as a BLA candidate at Louisiana State University. She is a 2017 University Olmsted Scholar and the winner of LAF’s 2017 EDSA Minority Scholarship, which supports African American, Hispanic, Native American, and minority students of other cultural and ethnic backgrounds to continue their landscape architecture education.

Thank You to Our 2017 Scholarship Jurors

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Each year, the Landscape Architecture Foundation offers over $60,000 in awards through up to 11 different scholarships and fellowships, established by generous sponsors. The winners are chosen through a competitive application and selection process. LAF convenes juries to decide the winners of four awards, and we would like to extend a sincere thank you to this year’s jurors. We appreciate the energy you put in to the process and your commitment to supporting the next generation of designers!

LAF Honor Scholarship in Memory of Joe Lalli, FASLA Jury

Cheryl Barton, FASLA, FAAR, LEED AP
Founding Principal
Office of Cheryl Barton

Dennis Carmichael, FASLA, LEED AP
Principal
ParkerRodriguez, Inc

Doug Hoerr, FASLA
CEO and Senior Principal
Hoerr Schaudt

Mia Lehrer, FASLA
President
Mia Lehrer + Associates

Signe Nielsen, FASLA
Principal
MNLA

Gregg Sutton, PLA, ASLA
Principal
EDSA

Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden and Design Jury

Randall W. Mardis, ASLA, PLA
President
Landscape Technologies

Kevin Campion, ASLA
Principal
Campion Hruby

Julieta Sherk, PLA, ASLA
Associate Professor, College of Design
North Carolina State University

Landscape Forms Design for People Scholarship Jury

Scott Rykiel, FASLA, LEED AP
Executive Vice President
Mahan Rykiel Associates

Terry Guen, FASLA
Principal and Founder
Terry Guen Design Associates

Bill Burton, FASLA
Owner
Burton Studio

Steven G. King Play Environments Scholarship Jury

Kate Tooke, PLA, ASLA
Senior Associate
Sasaki

Julie Johnson, PLA, ASLA
Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture
University of Washington

Sara Schuh, PLA, ASLA
Principal
SALT Design Studio