Landscape as Relational Practice: Connecting People To and
Through the Land
As a profession, landscape architecture has traditionally focused on building physical things. As landscape architects, we try to understand a place and then propose what comes next. While this focus has led to many beloved projects, within our practice we increasingly recognize that physical construction alone is not sufficient to confront the broad range of challenges in our world today. In communities across the United States the legacy of racism and colonization has systematically broken relationships between people and the land. Whether this takes the form of denied access, destruction of narratives, or erasure of the land itself, the damage is staggering.
This talk will explore the potential of a relational practice focused on broader goals of supporting
connections between people and the land. This approach is rooted in the idea of landscape as both the physical world and understandings or relationships to that world. When we acknowledge this larger idea of landscape, we find new opportunities extending beyond our traditional role as landscape architects focused on physical construction. The process of design itself becomes a critical opportunity to deepen relationships between communities or individuals and their place. By illuminating such learnings and opportunities in GGN’s India Basin Park and John Treviño Jr. Metropolitan Park projects, this talk will also highlight the need to continually challenge our assumptions about who we are and what we are doing to ensure we are engaging the most critical issues of today.