For the Love of Teenagers

The following is the talk I gave at last week’s Landscape Architecture Foundation Symposium in Washington, D.C. You can view the recorded talk here. During fifteen years working and living in Los Angeles I’ve visited, studied, and helped to design landscapes for at least two dozen LA Unified School District public schools. For twelve years, […]

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Tense Teens: Why High Schools Should Provide Restoration

Even if you don’t yet or won’t ever have a teenager, you were one once. This one is for all of you. Teendom is a time of exploration and change and stress and too often, trauma. This year I’m using my Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership with the Landscape Architecture Foundation to look for ways high school […]

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Restorative Landscapes for Restorative Justice

During over a decade of personal and professional experience with Los Angeles public schools, I’ve struggled to understand the impacts that school landscapes have on our children’s hearts, minds, and bodies. So, I was thrilled to be selected as one of four Fellows for the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s first Fellowship in Leadership and Innovation to advocate for changing school […]

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Reframing Lawn: From Fallow to Bygone

The fourth Drought and Beauty series lecture was last Friday, organized by the landscape architecture departments of Cal Poly Pomona, USC, and UCLA. Eleven of us gave quick, pecha kucha format presentations, followed by a brief response from two local writers. I chose to tell the story of one reason I work in landscape architecture: my […]

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Sharing Beauty

Today was different. This morning I went out in my garden and watered for the first time in a month. I did a little pruning. Just a little … to remove the spent flowers from my favorite Poppy. I didn’t notice what was different at first, but I felt it. In fact, I didn’t realize what was different […]

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For the Birds…

My grandma was a birder. I caught her enthusiasm for spotting and identifying our flying feathered friends on a trip to Sanibel Island in 1980. She introduced me to Great Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets, Ibis and Roseate Spoonbills. We saw Cormorants and Little Green Herons and Cattle Egrets. These most magnificent wading birds stood poised for us in […]

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Biophilia/Biophobia

We humans have a complex relationship with nature. Those of us who work to conserve, restore or design with nature often take for granted humanity’s dependence on and innate love for nature. “Biophilia” was E.O. Wilson’s suggestion that we as humans have an instinctive bond with other living systems. I feel this when I’m in urban […]

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Who Lives Here?

AMTRAK DAY FOUR November 25th The train rolls through the backside of cities, past loading docks of old industrial buildings adorned with faded painted monikers and fresh graffiti. Heading out of Dallas-Fort Worth, under the gleaming skyline, we pass the common visage of suburban growth: curving cul-de-sacs lined with crisp new homes and newly-planted twig […]

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Rain and Teenagers in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Deluge Part One You’ve probably heard, or been in, the rain this weekend. After months of no rain, we’ve had a deluge in Los Angeles. In a record low rainfall year – the last I heard was 3″ – we got that much in a 48-hour period. For Southern California, that’s a big […]

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The Nature of a School Landscape

Think back to your childhood school … what is the first image that pops into your head? I have two distinct memories of elementary school.​ One is of me swinging next to Katie Coffee on the big metal swing set the day after Jimmy Carter was elected President.​ The other is of a big maple […]

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