Board Member Robin Karson Made Honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects

The Foundation for Landscape Studies is proud to announce that FLS board member Robin Karson was recently made an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Other 2017 awardees include Mitchell Silver, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and Eric Garcetti, Mayor of the City of Los Angeles.

The award cites Karson's service to the profession as author of several influential books and through her work as founder and director of the Library of American Landscape History.

"It's important to acknowledge the reach of the Library of American Landscape History," notes renowned landscape architect Gary Hilderbrand, among five ASLA members who nominated Karson, "with serial books, periodicals, and symposia aimed at a wider shared knowledge of the forces that shaped the designed American landscape.

This is Robin’s legacy. She has built a connective, persuasive coalition that stretches across the U.S., bringing together leaders with diverse backgrounds and a common, driving commitment to knowledge in the field."

In the early 1980s, Karson began researching the life and work of the landscape architect Fletcher Steele – a process that grew into a passion for landscape, history, and preservation. After the publication of her award-winning biography, Fletcher Steele, Landscape Architect, in 1989, she developed the first nonprofit organization in the country dedicated to the publication of books about the American landscape.

LALH is now in its twenty-fifth year and has published books on topics as diverse as environmental history, native plants studies, segregation in state parks, and the work of little-known landscape architects whose designs have shaped America.

news_geniusofplace_pic1.jpgA hallmark of LALH’s anniversary year was the completion of the Warren Manning Research Project, an unprecedented collaborative effort involving hundreds of volunteers throughout the country, all working to document the legacy of this important yet obscure practitioner. The result of this national effort, Warren H. Manning, Landscape Architect and Environmental Planner, is the only source of information on Manning and his over 1,600 projects throughout the nation.

The project’s unique strategy of community outreach galvanized volunteers to identify previously unknown Manning landscapes, from parks and public gardens to entire city plans.

Over the last decade, LALH has become a national voice in debates about the value of cultural landscapes, the importance of environmental design, and the need for landscape preservation. The organization reaches a broad audience through North America by Design, a documentary film series, and its museum exhibits educate visitors throughout the nation. LALH’s annual magazine, VIEW, has expanded to become a nationally significant publication – the only journal of its kind in the field.

news_view_pic1.jpgIn the pages of VIEW, readers experience the breadth of Karson’s vision of the American landscape. The magazine includes articles on current practitioners as well the pioneers who preceded them, stories about extraordinary efforts to restore landscapes across the country, and interviews with historians, conservationists, and practitioners on topics relevant to the field. Karson has always understood that increasing public awareness of the landscape is about illustrating the cultural value of place and sharing a sense of wonder for the natural world.

It is fitting then that the ASLA has awarded Robin Karson an honorary membership in its organization, and that this acknowledgement of her profound contribution to the field of landscape architecture should come as LALH celebrates twenty-five years of scholarship and landscape stewardship.