FRIENDS OF FAIRSTED LECTURE SERIES 2015-2016
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
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Parks: Cornerstones of Civic Revitalization
Rolf Diamant, writer, historian and adjunct associate professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.
The quality of park systems has long been a measure of a healthy and functional society. Our national parks represent a democratic, and increasingly uncommon, commitment to the common good. This talk will focus on how the tradition of public park making initiated by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.’s seminal Yosemite Report in 1865 continues today as an expression of national and community ideals.
Rolf Diamant enjoyed a 37-year career with the National Park Service as a landscape architect, planner, and park manager. He served as superintendent of Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site and was the first superintendent of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, a national park that tells the story of conservation, the evolution of land stewardship and the emergence of a national conservation ethic. As liaison with the National Parks Second Century Commission, he helped re-think the value and function of national parks in a changing world. He is past president of the George Wright Society and his column, “Letter from Woodstock,” addressing the future of national parks, appears regularly in the society’s journal.
A Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks is a guidebook like no other. In twenty-three essays, richly illustrated with more than 350 color photographs, authors with personal and professional connections to the national parks share their deep and invaluable knowledge. This book illuminates the astonishing diversity of America’s more than 400 national parks, bound together into a single national park system that expresses and preserves the nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage.
Source of “America’s Best Idea“:
National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”
Co-sponsors of 2015-2016 Lecture Series:
Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
Boston Society of Landscape Architects
Brown, Richardson + Rowe
Richard Burck Associates, Inc.
The Fenway Alliance
Friends of Mount Auburn
Friends of the Muddy River
Friends of the Public Garden
Historic New England
Library of American Landscape History
National Association for Olmsted Parks
New England Landscape Design & History Association
New England Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians
Ray Dunetz Landscape Architecture, Inc.
The Trustees of Reservations
Tom Woodward and David LePere
December 2018: Saving Central Park: A History and A Memoir
Elizabeth Barlow Rogers
What Is a Park For? Olmsted, Obama, and the Meanings of Urban Landscape
Beyond Drawings: The Olmsted Archives as Muse and Vision
Lewis Mumford’s Green Urbanism
From the Granite Garden to West Philadelphia (with a nod to the Fens): Restoring Nature & Communities
Anne Whiston Spirn
Dwelling in Landscape
The Shaping of Regions: The New York Regional Plan and the Origins of Planning in America
From Buffalo to Boston: Olmsted’s Evolving Vision of Urban Park Systems
Francis R. Kowsky