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Hosted by ARC 208
Advocacy by Design: Urgency to Act Now
In recent decades, accelerating numbers of people are sounding the alarm about global climate shifts, human and wildlife migration, and worldwide socioeconomic inequity. The root causes are many–including systemic racism and exclusion of marginalized voices. Each urban center is, in its own way, re-examining the nuanced relationship between critical resources and the health of its food, energy, air, and water systems. As landscape architects, we are in the fortuitous position to analyze the pressing issues impacting our cities via a layered and systematic approach. We can identify holistic strategies to recalibrate ecological and social systems and re-envision future infrastructural needs using processes that empower communities. Indeed, the health and well being of a community relies on the strength of its social fabric, the prosperity of its economy, and perhaps most importantly, an urgent recalibration towards a balanced relationship with its natural surroundings that is intrinsic to its resilience.
Mía Lehrer, FASLA founded Studio-MLA to create places that inspire human connection, unite communities, and restore environmental balance. The studio is aligned with impassioned and proactive groups and professional organizations that advocate for the issues of our time. Through our voices and our abilities to create design solutions, we are committed to work that improves the well being of our cities. This results in establishing new approaches that reflect local cultures and native ecologies, raising awareness about environmental issues, and highlighting personal and collective stories centering on the nexus between natural and urban landscapes. Over the past 25 years, Studio-MLA has led many revitalization projects throughout California and around the world that span ecological site planning and design. We treat each project-yet-to-be as an elder, someone interesting that you would want to lean into, study, and learn from – not something that you want to stuff with what you already know. These efforts are well received by politicians, nonprofits, and government agencies and can even lead to new legal policies. Our hope is to contribute to a greater collective legacy promoting a balance between nature and cities for future generations via lived commitment, action, resourcefulness, technological innovation, and a reverence for the natural world.