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Common Lecture Series - Spring 2021

Worldwide @ 4:00 pm (GMT-5), unless otherwise noted (*)

All lectures are remote-online via Zoom this semester. If not enrolled in the course and you wish to attend please request a link via Gail McKenzie @

*Please note : Links to view previous lectures can be streamed only by people with current Rutgers NetIDs.

Wed Jan 20, 2021 WELCOME 2021  
Wed Jan 27, 2021

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Prof. Nina-Marie Lister is Graduate Director of the School of Urban Planning at Ryerson University where she founded and directs the Ecological Design Lab. Her work as a planner and landscape ecologist connects people to nature in our cities. Her research is funded by the federal government and is published widely, focused on green infrastructure design for climate resilience and human wellbeing. Recognized by the Canadian Green Building Council’s excellence and leadership awards, Lister was nominated among Planetizen’s Most Influential Urbanists.

Wed Feb 3, 2021

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Ayo Harrington has been involved in social justice issues most of her life with a strong focus on reclaiming land to repurpose it for public benefit and use. In the 1980s helped gut and rebuild abandoned buildings to provide affordable housing. In 1999, she founded Friends of the New York African Burial Ground to ensure adherence to the Federal MOU outlining the agreement between the Federal government and the descendant community for the site. Ayo has cleared garbage strewn, vacant lots turning them into community gardens and founded 30-year-old Orchard Alley one of the largest community gardens located on the Lower East Side of New York City. In 2018, Ayo co-founded the East River Alliance.


Creative and Sustainable Place Making Through Trans-active Engagement.
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Landscape architecture has been the most viable way to positively shape place, and give vulnerable populations not only a voice, but a tool for strengthening and sustaining the communities in which they live. The most creative and sustainable design and place making evolves from the creativity, knowledge of place, and expertise of both landscape architects and the communities they serve.  This presentation will explore projects that use engagement techniques and trans-active design for creative and sustainable place making.

Wed Feb 17, 2021 ADVISING SESSIONS  
Wed Feb 24, 2021 GARETH DOHERTY

Critical Landscapes
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I will present the work of the Critical Landscapes Design Lab at Harvard Graduate School of Design which was established as “a space for speculation on people and places.” The aim of the Lab is to engage with pressing socio-ecological issues across the postcolonial and Islamic worlds where the design disciplines—and especially landscape architecture—can imagine better futures. The work of the Lab is based on two questions: How can theoretical, educational, and design possibilities be expanded and diversified through working in societies where there is no formal landscape architecture discipline? How can landscape architects more sensitively work outside of their own social contexts with respect and deference for others’ values and ways of life? These questions will be addressed in the lecture through projects in the Arabian peninsula, Ireland and the UK, the Caribbean, and Brazil and West Africa.

Gareth Doherty is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the MLA program at Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Wed Mar 3, 2021

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Landscape designer and educator, Julia Watson is a leading expert in the field of Lo—TEK nature-based technologies for the built environment and climate-resilient design. Her bestselling book with Taschen, Lo-TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, Monocle, Architectural Digest, and more. Regularly teaching at Harvard and Columbia University, Julia’s studio work involves landscape and urban design, along with consulting with brands on sustainability. In her studio, she collaborates with horticulturist  Marie Salembier as Watson Salembier, with a focus on rewilding.

Julia has written for Topos, Landscape Architecture Frontier, ioARCH, Kerb, Water Urbanisms East and co-authored A Spiritual Guide to Bali’s UNESCO World Heritage. She’s a 2020 TED speaker, and a fellow of Summit REALITY, Pop!tech, & The Christensen Fund.

Wed Mar 10, 2021

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Craig Verzone is a principal at Verzone Woods Architectes, a collaborative multi- disciplinary studio working within the overlapping realms of landscape, urban design and architecture. Verzone graduated from Cornell University as a Presidential Scholar with a Bachelors degree in landscape architecture and from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design with a Masters degree in Urban Design. In 1995 he moved to Europe and began his partnership with architect Cristina Woods thus establishing VWA.

Wed Mar 24, 2021

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McKenna Cole is an Art Director with a focus on experience design for cultural institutions, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations. Currently at the exhibition and media design firm Local Projects, she has contributed to projects including the Legacy Museum, the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, the National Museum of Australia, and Greenwood Rising.

Foregrounding Aboriginal stories in a museum about Australia’s convict history. Highlighting once-silenced narratives about the destruction and resilience of a neighborhood in Tulsa. Utilizing data analysis and visualization in the service of reporting human rights violations.  Each of these are examples of the unique and deeply personal stories that are amplified through the design process.

Wed Mar 31, 2021

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Alex Olson is a professional skateboarder, musician, and entrepreneur. He is the mind behind coveted fashion label Bianca Chandôn and skateboard company Call Me 917. Alex has been featured in many prominent cultural publications including the New York Times, GQ and Hypebeast. In addition to guiding the creative and artistic direction of his companies, Olson is focused on wellness through yoga and meditation and has recently released his Tribes EP through Jolly Jams Record Label under the moniker Balearic Skip.

Alex will talk about skateboarding and the creative process as it applies to the myriad of his creative endeavors.

Wed Apr 7, 2021

Beyond the Bagel: MSP’s Iconic Design for a Sustainable Future
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Kimberly Tryba, Associate ASLA, MLA
Associate Partner, Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP)

Kimberly’s commitment to the transformative power of collaborative, iconic design is rooted in her training in landscape design, fine art, and her previous experience as an integrated marketing professional in the media and luxury brand industries. Her inclusive approach is evident in the development of work she engenders at MSP, with projects located throughout the United States, Europe, India and the Middle East. As associate partner, Kimberly spearheads the firm’s global business development efforts and manages the firm’s New York City office, which she helped launch in 2015.

While MSP’s foundation has always been rooted in the design of the landscape as a cultural expression, the practice has continuously evolved to tackle the larger and the more complex environmental impacts facing our communities, cities, and the planet. Over the past ten years, MSP has delved further into research, study, and the building of a body of information for mitigating against the changing climate - the number one threat to the continued life, health, and safety on our planet.

Wed Apr 14, 2021

Multidisciplinary Spatial Workflows
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SITU is an unconventional architecture practice that combines design, research and fabrication across three distinct, yet collaborative, divisions. Projects range from architectural design and the construction of large-scale art installations to the compilation of evidence for federal and international court cases. Staff from each division will share techniques unique to their focus area, and will also speak to ways that this multidisciplinary approach reinforces the creative and social impact of their work.

Wed Apr 21, 2021

Takeshi Nagasaki, Art Gardener, N-tree
“Tree, Stone, Air, and People”
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The cell of the tree, the crystal of the stone, a form of the air, the memory of the people. These landscapes are fundamental sources for making a garden for me.

Takeshi Nagasaki (born 1970, Nara, Japan), the founder of N-tree, calls himself an ‘art gardener’. Having studied at Tokyo University of the Arts he spent two years in Spain to study painting and returned to Japan to work with woodcuts and sculpture, while at the same time embarking on a degree in landscape studies. In 2008, relocated to London, moving back to Japan in 2010. Nagasaki created many Asian minimalist landscaping design in various environments, whether its large or small. The theme of his art garden is a Think Roots. “Niwa” means garden in English.

Wed Apr 28, 2021 CLOSING SESSION  

See List of previous semesters Common Lectures