Community Impact / Why should Landscape Architects be leaders in their community and have a passion to serve? - Vince Lattanzio

Amidst the pressing challenges of climate change, the demand for environmental stewardship and nature-based solutions has reached a critical juncture. Landscape architects, with their distinctive skill set and comprehensive grasp of natural systems, are ideally positioned to spearhead this transformative journey. It's imperative to elevate the role of landscape architects in decision-making processes, given their expertise in collaborating with nature and communicating innovative solutions. As a profession, we must cultivate a fervent dedication to serving our communities and regions, crafting localized responses to global environmental issues.

Whether serving on committees, boards, or as elected officials, landscape architects have a responsibility to advocate, educate, and protect the natural world. My personal journey reflects this commitment. I initiated a Neighborhood Alliance Group (NAG) 24 years ago, comprised of eight Bel Marin Keys’ residents dedicated to safeguarding our natural environment and community. Through our advocacy efforts, we successfully lobbied for funding nature-based improvements in our region. Subsequently, I was invited to run for a seat on our community service district board, where I collaborated with experts in various fields to complete over 110 projects aimed at climate change adaptation and environmental restoration.

Aerial of Bel Marin Keys

Our efforts were centered on revitalizing the watershed and enhancing water quality. By installing aeration systems, we aimed to boost community health and biodiversity, while employing natural enzymes to manage algae blooms. This approach fostered a robust ecosystem capable of sustaining high biodiversity levels, promoting the healing and longevity of our natural systems. Additionally, we prioritized community education on watershed protection and improvement, advocating for a strategy that embraced the "4 R's" - sediment removal, relocation, restoration, and recreational education - as alternatives to dredging, thereby working in harmony with nature.

We're incredibly fortunate to reside alongside an undeveloped watershed, offering a prime opportunity for restoration efforts. By revitalizing this area, we can return the watershed to a sustainable system, bolstering natural habitats and safeguarding against flooding amid rising sea levels and the impacts of climate change.

With the expiration of our previous 20-year funding in 2022, our community rallied together, forming a new Neighborhood Alliance Group (NAG) to educate and advocate. Through six months of concerted efforts, including door-to-door outreach and town hall meetings, we successfully passed a new tax measure with overwhelming 80% support. 

While our community may be distinct, the challenges of climate change and sea-level rise resonate universally, underscoring the importance of collective action. My 38 years of volunteer experience have been emotionally and personally fulfilling, marked by collaboration, discovery, and resilience in the face of adversity. It has been a journey filled with challenges, but also with celebration, as we work together to protect and preserve the delicate balance between humanity and nature.

To delve deeper into Bel Marin Keys, take a look at this article featured in the SF Chronicle:

Vince Lattanzio prepares for passing through the south lock at the Bel Marin Keys community in Marin County.

Feature / People

Carducci Spotlight / Principal Edition

Wishing you a Happy New Year! This month, we're shining a light on our dedicated principals, delving into their perspectives on the profession through a brief Q&A. 

What are you most passionate about in Landscape Architecture? 

  • "I am passionate about creating places and experiences where people can discover, connect, and engage with nature."  - Vince
  • “Plants. They are consistent and diverse at the same time.” -  Bill 
  • “Improving human and environmental health” - Jin 

What is something you wish you knew when first starting in the profession? 

  • "Wish I knew how important presentation and sales skills were to the success of a business in landscape architecture." - Vince
  • “The importance of the environmental impact of development.” - Jin 

What was your most memorable job?

  • “My most memorable job was the Pleasant Hill City Hall competition with Charles Moore.  We charretted at his home in Sea Ranch and won the competition by public vote.  It was a very creative collaborative experience that gave me the confidence to design with an architect and to seek clients that wanted the landscape design to be a collaborative experience.” - Vince
  • “The first ones are most memorable.  I took care of an orchid collection and a vegetable and flower garden as a weekend and a summer job in college.  It taught me to manage my time independently and get things done.” - Bill 
  • "Fallon Sports Park" - Jin 

What inspires you right now?

  • “My inspiration is the new areas of Landscape Architecture. In response to new ongoing environmental issues. Climate change, sea level rise, and that the profession is grounded in the natural world” - Vince
  • “Automation and AI to help us advance our work and the quality of life. In 1980 futurist John Naisbitt authored the concept of “high tech/high touch” and it is still inspiring today as technology advances, people still crave nature.  And providing people access to nature is what we do as designers.” - Bill

What is your favorite plant and why? 

  • "Quercus agrifolia (Coast live oak) and Sequoia sempervirens (Coast redwood).  They are both coastal, so I enjoy seeing them in coastal California. Each plant has a strong individuality, like people." - Bill 
  • Quercus agrifolia. Something about groves of Coast Live Oak trees that connects me to nature. It is a force.” - Jin 

Who do they look up to? Which landscape architect has been an inspiration to you?

  • "The landscape architect I respect and look up to was an architect named Charles Moore.  He was so talented, gracious, collaborative and joyful and loved creating experiences and connections between the built world and the natural world." - Vince
  • “It is a long list:  Olmsted and Vaux because they created the masterpiece of Central Park; their innovations inspired a profession.  Ian McHarg because he respected nature as a strong force and asked questions like:  “What does the land want to be?”  I worked with Bob Royston who had worked with Thomas Church.  When doing design work, Bob was like a child in a sand box playfully creating what had not been done before.  He told me:  “Always look at the big picture.”  Whenever he started a new project, he would always scout the surroundings to observe which trees were growing well and remember them for his plant palette.” - Bill 
  • “The designers of Central Park, Olmstead and Vaux. I have always been impressed by how advance Central Park's design is.” - Jin