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
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.