I AM AN ADVOCATE
Advocacy means listening and responding to the needs of others in a spirit of collaboration and support.
I advocate because I empathize. I listen to the needs of my clients, communities and coworkers. I put myself in others’ shoes and I visualize how better design of space or systems can solve problems. I create narratives that inspire others to share my vision and passion for change. I advocate especially for communities that do not have access to sustainable design, not only because it is the equitable thing to do but also because it expands the role, impact, understanding and appreciation of design and planning done by groups like yours.
I came into the professions of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning from the field of social justice work in Washington, DC. I worked with Bread for the City, an organization that provides myriad services to the DC’s poorest residents, leading volunteer projects and coordinating sustainability projects including the construction of the District’s largest rooftop vegetable garden.
I strongly believe that designers, planners and their allies have the calling and capacity to massively transform cities into healthy, productive and socially just communities. My graduate capstone project explored how ecological restoration of a superfund site could not only remediate contaminated water and soil, but also create leverage for community development, job creation and government investment in a low-income area. It won the 2014 Capstone Award and was celebrated by local stakeholders.
I AM A FUTURIST
Futurism means anticipating trends and preparing for change.
When I think about the future, I think about how changes to our world—from population growth and climate change to lab-grown meat and crowdsourced science—will impact the fundamental ways that we live. I look at current trends, consider the nature of paradigm shifts and imagine how planning and design can capitalize on change to build a healthier future. By anticipating the future, we create it. I will help you design projects that position you to take advantage of emerging trends and remain on the cutting edge.
Futurism fuels my imagination and spurs my creative work. Wondering how the world could be transformed for the better keeps me optimistic, and projects steeped in optimism are easier to sell to clients and the public. For example, Transition: Seattle explores how landscape designers and planners can anticipate massive change over coming decades in economic, political and ecological paradigms. My proposal envisioned a new landscape for an economy of small-scale production and capitalization on ecosystem services. Together with the 2012 Everywhere Nowhere Duwamish studio, it won the 2013 Award of Excellence from the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
I AM A STRATEGIST
Being a strategist means finding leverage for success and building a roadmap toward my goals.
Great ideas don’t simply happen because of they are great. I am interested in how planners and designers can bring the best ideas to fruition. I analyze social, political and economic playing fields to identify allies, opportunities and leverage. I strategize possible steps and alternative courses of action to build relationships, support and capacity for projects. Design is political, and building political resilience into an implementation plan is crucial to making your best ideas a built reality.
For my graduate capstone project, I identified key partners that would not only be affected by my proposal, but could also be powerful allies in making it happen. I identified policies and economic opportunities that gave leverage to the strategies I designed. I mapped relationships between the goals of organizations and framed my own proposal to satisfy the mission of several groups. I developed a participation plan and timeline for community involvement in the project, and I continue to collaborate with government agencies and community advocacy groups on this proposal.