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.

Anne-Spirn-past-lectureSince 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.

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
Pat Surhcke
Tom Woodward and David LePere

December 2018: Saving Central Park: A History and A Memoir
Elizabeth Barlow Rogers

April 2018:
What Is a Park For? Olmsted, Obama, and the Meanings of Urban Landscape

Carlo Rotella
December 2017:
Beyond Drawings: The Olmsted Archives as Muse and Vision

Lucinda Brockway

March 2017:
Lewis Mumford’s Green Urbanism

Aaron Sachs
December 2016:
From the Granite Garden to West Philadelphia (with a nod to the Fens): Restoring Nature & Communities

Anne Whiston Spirn

April 2016:
Parks: Cornerstone of Civic Revitalization

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

Ethan Carr

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