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In Recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service

America’s Best Idea: Fairsted, the Olmsteds and Our National Parks

Series Commentator: Anne Whiston Spirn
Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning, MIT

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Our National Parks and the “Fairsted School”: An Enduring Legacy

The Olmsted firm is famous for the design of hundreds of municipal parks and other landscapes. The achievements of Olmsted and his successors in scenic preservation are less well understood, but park design and scenic preservation were both aspects of the practice of landscape architecture Olmsted developed in the second half of the nineteenth century. This talk explores the role of the “Fairsted School” of landscape architecture and its influence on scenic preservation and the design of state and national park systems through the twentieth century.

Ethan Carr lecture

Ethan Carr, PhD, FASLA, is a landscape historian and preservationist specializing in public landscapes. He has taught at the Harvard GSD, the University of Virginia, and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is a professor. He has written two award-winning books, Wilderness by Design (1998) and Mission 66: Modernism and the National Park Dilemma (2007), and is the volume editor of Volume 8 of the Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, The Early Boston Years, 1882-1890 (2013).

March 2015:

Gary Hilderbrand

December 2014:
Dwelling in Landscape

Daniel Bluestone

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

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

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

October 2009:
The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline

Keith Morgan