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FRIENDS OF FAIRSTED LECTURE SERIES 2016-2017

The Nature of Cities: Practice and Perception

MARCH 2017 LECTURE

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Lewis Mumford’s Green Urbanism

Aaron Sachs
Professor of History and American Studies, Cornell University

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6:00pm Reception | 7:00pm Lecture
Wheelock College, Brookline Campus
43 Hawes Street, corner of Hawes and Monmouth Streets, Brookline, MA

Lewis Mumford’s critique of modern cities was accompanied by a positive, constructive vision for how people might design and occupy urban spaces more sustainably. Influenced by Frederick Law Olmsted’s environmentally and socially responsible approach to urban design, Mumford sought to imagine how cities could continue to embody these values as a hedge against the increasingly de-humanizing and unhealthy environment of the industrial city. Sachs examines how Mumford, as one of the most important public intellectuals of the early twentieth century, foresaw the ecological problems of cities and proposed solutions that are essential tools of the landscape architecture profession today.

An environmental historian, Aaron Sachs investigates nature and culture from multi-disciplinary perspectives, looking at how ideas about nature have changed over time and how those changes have mattered in the western world. He is the author of The Humboldt Current: Nineteenth-Century Exploration and the Roots of American Environmentalism (2006) and Arcadian America: The Death and Life of an Environmental Tradition (2013). Sachs supports innovative history writing with co-editor Jonathan Demos through Yale University Press’s New Directions in Narrative History series, and serves as the faculty sponsor of Historians Are Writers (HAW), bringing together Cornell graduate students who believe that academic writing can be moving on a deeply human level.

Limited street parking is available. Public parking is not allowed in the Wheelock parking lot. Venue is easily accessible by MBTA Green Line “C” (Hawes Street) or “D” (Longwood) trains.
Thank you to Wheelock College for their generosity in hosting our lectures.

We thank our co-sponsors for the 2016-2017 Lecture Series:
Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
Boston Society of Landscape Architects
Charles River Conservancy
Emerald Necklace Conservancy
The Fenway Alliance
Friends of Mount Auburn
Friends of the Muddy River
Friends of the Public Garden
Klopfer Martin Design Group
Library of American Landscape History
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Massachusetts Historical Society
National Association for Olmsted Parks
New England Landscape Design & History Association
New England Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians
Pressley Associates
Stantec
Pat Surhcke
Tom Woodward and David LePere

DECEMBER 2016 LECTURE

Thursday, December 1, 2016

From the Granite Garden to West Philadelphia (with a nod to the Fens):
Restoring Nature & Communities

Anne Whiston Spirn
Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning, MIT

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Frederick Law Olmsted’s design of Boston’s Fens and Riverway established landscape architecture’s role in constructing nature. Creating invisible environmental solutions continues as the basis for healing the neglected and polluted neighborhood of West Philadelphia, and educating Philadelphia’s planners.

Since the publication of The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design (1984), Anne Whiston Spirn has challenged the segregation of ecology from urban planning and infrastructure by pursuing innovative approaches to the design of urban environments. Since 1987, Spirn has directed the West Philadelphia Landscape Project, an award-winning program dedicated to restoring nature, rebuilding inner-city communities, and empowering youth. Spirn’s book-in-progress, Top-Down/Bottom-Up, for which she received a Guggenheim fellowship, describes this research-in-action and its lessons for designing healthier, more equitable and sustainable communities.

PAST LECTURES
2015–2016
April 2016:
Parks: Cornerstone of Civic Revitalization

Rolf Diamant
December 2015:
The “Fairsted School”: An Enduring Legacy

Ethan Carr

2014–2015
March 2015:
Visible|Invisible

Gary Hilderbrand

December 2014:
Dwelling in Landscape

Daniel Bluestone

2013–2014
March 2014:
The Shaping of Regions: The New York Regional Plan and the Origins of Planning in America

Robert Yaro

November 2013:
From Buffalo to Boston: Olmsted’s Evolving Vision of Urban Park Systems

Francis R. Kowsky

2012–2013
March 2013:
Brooklyn’s Resilient Edge: The Transformation of Industrial Waterfront into Brooklyn Bridge Park

Nate Trevethan

November 2012:
Time Made Visible: Charles Eliot and the Planning of the Metropolitan Park System

Anita Berrizbeitia

2011–2012
March 2012:
Frederick Law Olmsted, 1882-1890: Boston, Brookline and Beyond

Ethan Carr

November 2011:
The Enduring Design Legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. in the Nation’s Capital

Arleyn Levee

2009
October 2009:
The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline

Keith Morgan