Growing Conformity
Landscape Research Record 12, (2024), 36-48. [ link ]

This paper presents a critical study of the plant species listed by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) award-winning student projects in the general design category from 2005 until 2020. Primary data analysis generated a cumulative plant palette of 965 species by recording each written or annotated incidence of a species across all 103 award-winning projects. While recognizing that individual projects proposed plant material to meet specific aims, this research studied the summative plant list to reveal trends and overlaps in plant species selection. In addition to evaluating the most common plants listed across multiple projects, this research reaches conclusions by directing attention to the types of plants that were not selected. In the first instance, the results show that students favor plants that conform to a savannah-type landscape, defined as scattered trees among grassland and near water. Secondly, the overwhelming majority of students who have achieved design excellence, according to the ASLA, show little concern for promoting endangered species. Ultimately, the evidence shows that award-winning student projects express a limited aesthetic and ecological diversity.

Verdant Persuasion: The Use of Landscape as a Warfighting Tool during Operation Enduring Freedom
Journal of Architectural Education 76(1), (2022), 37-48. [ link ]

This paper documents the United States military’s use of landscape as an active warfighting tool during Operation Enduring Freedom. A selection of declassified projects that outline plans for tree plantings, which range in scale and design intensity from individual tree replacement to urban park improvements and large-scale reforestation efforts, demonstrate a consistent weaponization of the physical and mental health benefits that result from exposure to green space. Together, the examples show how landscape design tactics can subdue counterinsurgency by promoting stability through social control and improving the mental health of local civilians. Finally, the paper offers a lens to understand the associations between health and landscape as a matter of military interest and political concern and, ultimately, as subject to control and resistance.
Towards a Landscape of Equality: Design of the Palladian Villa to Control Access to Health
Landscape Architecture 28(10), (2021), 107-119. [ link ]

Venetian elite of the sixteenth century invested their wealth in villas on the mainland terraferma. A villa is an agricultural unit that combines architecture, landscape, and gardens. Their construction had a significant impact on the environment of the terraferma, converting unproductive and unhealthy sites into profitable and pleasurable retreats. The Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) remains well known for his villa designs, popularized through his 1570 book I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura (Four Books of Architecture). Through historical analysis and spatial critique, this essay will explore Palladio’s strategies to construct a healthy environment and benefit the landowners’ health at the Villa Emo and Villa Almerica. However, by looking at the same villas through a lens of atmospheric inequality, I will reveal that a state of health was available to the elite in part by denying others the same opportunity. On the terraferma in the sixteenth century, by controlling water, air, and land, a Venetian’s ability to be healthy was secured by dispossessing others of the same right. This paper will show that access to health raises questions of spatial justice. Furthermore, gains for one segment of the population must consider the consequences to others. While this study focuses on two well-known villas that exemplify design techniques used repeatedly by Palladio, this article also identifies an opportunity to analyze structural inequalities in Palladio’s other works and in works that follow the model he developed.
The Common Border
On Site Review 38, (2021), 14-19. with Diana Guo and Jiahui Hwang. [ link ]

Green Infrastructure and Stranded Landscapes
Waste Matters: Adaptive re-use for productive landscapes, Nikole Bouchard, ed., (2020), 102-113. [ link ]

Challenging Forms of History: The dialogic counter-monument
Landscape Research Record 9, (2020), 65-77. [ link ]

As monuments to once revered figures receive increasing public criticism for their celebration of problematic histories, a new type of monument is emerging in our time. As its name indicates, a dialogic counter-monument is a designed response to an existing monument that challenges the monument’s connection to place and expands and recontextualizes its account of history. The term dialogic suggests that the new monument does not ignore, erase, or supersede the collective memory that the existing monument produces but instead engenders an exchange between the two for observers. A dialogic counter-monument functions similarly to interpretive signage that provides crucial background and context, but it relies on physical spatial design over written text. This paper presents the work of a graduate-level studio where students were asked to design a dialogic counter-monument and harness landscape architecture as an effectual means of engaging collective memory (Wasserman, 1998). Critically, the site of this design studio was on the unceded, traditional, and ancestral territories of the ʷməθkʷəy̓əm, sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and sel̓íl̓witulh people. The design projects had to recognize and respect that Indigenous connections to place have been severed by forces of colonialism that have effaced the ongoing traditional uses and aesthetic expressions of the landscape. At the same time as they sought to foreground these preexisting yet unacknowledged ties to place, students also endeavored to design for today’s transitory immigrant population, inhabitants who similarly lack significant relationships to land. Ultimately, the design work required a sensitivity to the plurality of affective memory experiences.
The Ethics of Form: Designing new landscape histories through an alternative pedagogy
Landscape Research Record 8, (2019), 389-401. [ link ]

This paper presents the work of an advanced graduate level studio from the University of British Columbia that engaged disciplinary history as a site of research through speculative design. Fourteen students working in teams of two explored the relationships between physical form and social function in canonical works of building and landscape architecture completed in the eighteenth century at Stowe house, grounds, and park in Buckinghamshire, England. They used design as a tool to envision alternative proposals which give form to a set of contemporary ethics. Stowe was critical in the development of the discipline of landscape architecture, as it provided the location, labor, and funds for William Kent and Capability Brown to formalize a new aesthetic, later called the “English landscape garden.” This design direction moved away from an ordered geometric design and toward a less formal, more picturesque approach. This landscape tradition also anticipated the rise of ecological design and an ethic of environmental responsibility. Beginning with this historical narrative, this design studio asked, “what are the physical forms that other ethical commitments would have taken?” This question is particularly important in academia today, where social justice and activism are attracting increasing attention. This paper discusses how design was used as the method to research these historically celebrated works at Stowe, and critically engage with history through the proposal of alternative designs.
The Softest Power: Trees in combat
Harvard Design Magazine 45, (2018), 153. [ link ]

Provisional Notes on Ecological Urbanism
Shanghai regeneration, Xiangming Huang, Xiangning Li, and Dingliang Yang, eds., (2017), 62-81. [ link ]

Phantom Ecology: Aesthetics, ethics, and ecology
Landscape Architecture Frontiers 5(6), (2017), 126-135. [ link ]

Operation ‘Early Breakfast’
Bracket 3: At Extremes (2016), 98-104. [ link ]

Operational Environment
LA+ Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture 3, (2016), 62-67. [ link ]

Operation ‘Hello Eden’
Bracket 2: Goes Soft (2015), 122-129. [ link ]

Climate Supremacy: an interview with Mr. Byrne
Ground Magazine 21, (2013), 16-19. [ link ]