Carducci Spotlight: Emma Lesser / A Culture of Change: The Inherent Power of Restorative Justice to Transform Public Schoolyards

Emma recently completed an MLA thesis entitled: “A Culture of Change: The Inherent Power of Restorative Justice to Transform Public Schoolyards” that explores how landscape architects can co-create safe and healing spaces in Oakland's public schoolyards. Her thesis topic stems from a deeply personal conviction that childhood learning environments play a crucial and protective part in a child’s experience of trauma. She first sets the scene with a review of the psychology and physiology of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), and how they are currently addressed by schools, focusing on restorative justice (RJ). She then investigates the current state of America's public-school spaces, their effects on students, and the politics and logic behind their designs. She presents landscape precedents that were designed with social emotional learning in mind, and their theoretical bases. Few of these precedents include schoolyards, particularly public ones, as they have only recently become the focus of landscape architects. Over the past several decades, the green schoolyard movement has grown to address heat and pollution, stormwater, community access, ecological learning, and even experimental or 'risky' play. Emma proposes restorative justice as a worthy rationale for schoolyard transformation. In doing so, she intends to not only push landscape architects towards working in support of social programs, but to also promote a more emotionally compelling rationale for schoolyard changes—and one that takes advantage of existing school social infrastructure. She concludes that RJ programming can indicate a school “culture of change” that would both more readily allow for and be supported by built environmental changes. 

"Restorative landscapes might serve as "compatible" feeling spaces: where one's environment is compatible with one's emotional state. In these contexts I demonstrate how my RJ landscape principles and elements can work together. In "the grove," loneliness can be met with connection under the warm colors and diffused light of a fabric-lined structure. Evergreen trees provide further shade, seasonal interest and greater enclosure of the space."

Feature / On the Boards / People

The Essential Work of a Landscape Architect

Most people seem to miss the intention behind all public outdoor spaces - designed by landscape architects - to preserve the environment and serve the public. Creating safe places for people to connect while working with nature makes our profession meaningful and critical to our future, but it seems that much of the daily work of landscape architects goes by unnoticed, unaware, and unrecognized.

In an article titled, “An enormous responsibility: The misunderstood and essential work of landscape architects," Torey Carter-Conneen aims “to improve public understanding of landscape architecture." We hope this serves as a source of clarification, insights, and inspiration. More importantly, we hope that it helps you see the intention behind any outdoor space.

Press Release

Kim Chan is Promoted to Marketing Director / 2023 Promotion

Kim Chan, Landscape Architect, LEED AP | Associate 

Carducci Associates is delighted to announce the promotion of Kim Chan to Marketing Director.  Kim is a licensed landscape architect and a long-term Carducci Associates’ employee. Her background gives Kim a keen understanding of who we are and how to showcase Carducci’s talents.  Over the last five years, she has shifted her focus to spearhead Carducci’s marketing and social media.  Her promotion to Marketing Director is in recognition of her insights and achievements and we look forward to her getting the Carducci message out there.

“I am excited to focus on advancing the firm's mission of creating places that are inclusive, purposeful, and sustainable.”

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Capuchino High School Athletic Complex Nears Completion

Carducci Associates approaches the final stages of construction completion for the Capuchino High School Athletic Complex Project.  Over the years, Carducci’s team has dedicated itself to improving the complex athletics-based program for this project, including new baseball, soccer, softball and multi-purpose fields, new tennis courts, sports and pedestrian lighting and Accessibility updates.  Lead landscape architect Bill Fee and Lead landscape designer Jin Kim facilitated the design and construction of the modernized athletic facility for Capuchino High School, along with Timothy Skinner, Joel Franceschi & George Chacon, with Greystone West Company Construction Management, Goodland Landscape Construction, ZFA Structural Engineers, Bohley Consulting (Civil), and Zeiger Engineers (Electrical). 

Hard Hats Off to the complete team for making this one of the most significant and successful athletic fields developed for the San Mateo Union High School District! For more info about the project see:  https://www.carducciassociates.com/projects/project/capuchino-high-school-athletic-complex-project

Event / Press Release